With an approximate total of 90.05 inches of rain, 2018 was one of the wettest years on record in the past three decades, per the National Weather Service (NWS) Newport / Morehead City office.
The 90.05 inches of rain was tallied from data collected at Cape Hatteras, and is the second highest recording in the past 30 years. The record for wettest year was set in 1989, with a total of 90.84 inches.
“We are missing a few days of data, too, so it could be that 2018’s total is equal [to 1989] or higher,” said Tony Saavedra, Observation Program Leader for NWS Newport / Morehead City.
The average amount of precipitation for the year at Cape Hatteras is roughly 58 inches, which the island surpassed over the summer of 2018.
The 90.05 inches of rain is also a minimum of 20 inches above the rainfall totals for the past five years, which is recorded as the following:
- 2018 – 90.05 inches
- 2017 – 58.75 inches
- 2016 – 72.37 inches
- 2015 – 69.56 inches
- 2014 – 61.84 inches
July, November, and December were all big contributors to the record precipitation, with 10.92 total inches of rain recorded in December, (or 6.65 inches above normal), 11.27 inches of rain recorded in November, (or 6.65 inches above normal), and 20.31 inches of rain recorded in July, (or 15.32 inches above normal.)
There were also several record-setting individual days when it came to rain in 2018 as well, including 4.02 inches of rain on December 10, which broke the old 1957 record of 2.18 inches.
The high amounts of precipitation for Hatteras Island follows a trend across the state, with multiple regions from the mountains to the coastline announcing record breaking rainfall in the past year. Wilmington, N.C. recorded more than 100 inches of rain in 2018, while Raleigh, N.C. recorded 59.2 inches, which just barely beats the previous record set in 1996.
Hurricane Florence was responsible for many North Carolina communities’ record amounts, although locally, a series of storms and heavy rains – most notably in July – was a big contributor to the 90.05 total on Hatteras Island.
For more information on the local forecast, visit www.weather.gov/mhx for weather information, or the National Weather Service office in Newport / Morehead City’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NWSMoreheadCity/.