Mary­land pre­cip­i­ta­tion tops 129-year record

Kent County News - - NEWS - By HAN­NAH COMBS [email protected]­

CENTREVILLE — Pre­cip­i­ta­tion in Mary­land in 2018 broke a 129-year record.

The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice doc­u­mented to­tal pre­cip­i­ta­tion for the Bal­ti­more/Wash­ing­ton area at 71.82 inches — nearly 6 feet of rain for the year.

The record rain­fall trans­lated to farm­ers, gar­den­ers and home­own­ers through­out Mary­land strug­gling through the year with bad har­vest, low crop yields and dis­ease.

Ac­cord­ing to Rachel Rhodes, with the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Ex­ten­sion Queen Anne’s County, a very slow spring warm-up at the be­gin­ning of 2018 and record rain­fall in the state — in­clud­ing mul­ti­ple rain events of more than 2 inches — de­layed plant­ings, hin­dered growth and in­creased dis­ease and weed pres­sure.

The com­bi­na­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors — ex­cess rain, wet soils, wildly fluc­tu­at­ing spring tem­per­a­tures and high heat and hu­mid­ity through much of the sum­mer — con­trib­uted to a lot of plant stress, leached nu­tri­ents, and soil ero­sion, said Rhodes.

Justin Berk, me­te­o­rol­o­gist, pub­lished a graph of the five wettest win­ters on record. For Mary­land, the av­er­age rain­fall per year is just un­der 42 inches. the 2018 to­tal sur­passed the pre­vi­ous record of 2003 by al­most 10 inches. Com­ing in as the third wettest year on record was 1889 with 62 inches of pre­cip­i­ta­tion, fol­lowed by 1979 and 1996.

The Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion is cur­rently pre­dict­ing above nor­mal pre­cip­i­ta­tion for eastern Mary­land through Fe­bru­ary.

Mike Halpert, deputy di­rec­tor of NOAA’s Cli­mate Pre­dic­tion Cen­ter, said, “Although a weak El Nino is ex­pected, it may still in­flu­ence the win­ter sea­son by bring­ing wet­ter con­di­tions across the south­ern United States, and warmer, drier con­di­tions to parts of the North.”

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