Maryland precipitation tops 129-year record
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.”