National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Current Year-to-Date Total

96.45"

2018 Wilmington rainfall

 

2018 is already the wettest year in Wilmington's history.  The all-time annual record that stood for over 140 years was broken on September 16th during Hurricane Florence, almost three and a half months before the end of the year.  Every raindrop since then has continued to extend the record, which is now approaching 100 inches!  A few climate statistics will show just how unimaginable this year's rain has been.

  • Wilmington's average annual rainfall: 57.61"
  • Previous record annual rainfall:  83.65" in 1877
  • This year Wilmington has recorded the most number of days ever with daily rainfall greater than 1.50, 3.00, and 4.00 inches.
  • Total rainfall from just the 17 wettest days this year: 58.96" --more rain than in an entire typical year!
  • 96 inches is eight feet -- the standard depth of the "deep end" of a backyard swimming pool

Why has 2018 been so wet? A large part of it was Hurricane Florence's record-breaking 23.02" of rain at the Wilmington airport September 13th through 16th.  This is the largest rainfall total from any single weather event in Wilmington's history, handily beating Hurricane Floyd's 19.06" rainfall total back in 1999.  According to NOAA Precipitation Frequency Estimates, that much rain falling at Wilmington in just four days occurs, on average, once every 1,000 years. 

A steady stream of non-tropical low pressure systems, cold and warm fronts, and daytime thunderstorms also brought well-above normal rainfall amounts in January, May, June, July, and November.  Most of North Carolina has recorded well-above normal rainfall this year.

Our local observations show the last five years (2014 through 2018) have all had above-normal rainfall in Wilmington, and are collectively the wettest five year period since records began in 1871. While it's never possible to attribute a single storm or even a particular year's weather events to climate change, the Fourth National Climate Assessment states "Across most of the United States, the heaviest rainfall events have become heavier and more frequent. The amount of rain falling on the heaviest rain days has also increased over the past few decades."

 

 

Wilmington Rainfall Calendar for December 2018

S M T W T F S
           

1

Actual: 0.47"

Year: 95.79"

2

Actual: 0.03"

Year: 95.82"

3

Actual: 0.01"

Year: 95.83"

4

Actual: 0.00"

Year: 95.83"

5

Actual: 0.00"

Year: 95.83"

6

Actual: 0.00"

Year: 95.83"

7

Actual: 0.00"

Year: 95.83"

8

Actual: 0.62"

Year: 96.45"

9

Predicted: 1.69"

10

Predicted: 0.27"

11

Predicted: 0.00"

12

Predicted: 0.00"

13

Climatology: 0.11"

14

Climatology: 0.12"

15

Climatology: 0.12"

16

Climatology: 0.11"

17

Climatology: 0.12"

18

Climatology: 0.11"

19

Climatology: 0.12"

20

Climatology: 0.12"

21

Climatology: 0.12"

22

Climatology: 0.12"

23

Climatology: 0.12"

24

Climatology: 0.13"

25

Climatology: 0.12"

26

Climatology: 0.12"

27

Climatology: 0.11"

28

Climatology: 0.11"

29

Climatology: 0.11"

30

Climatology: 0.11"

31

Climatology: 0.11"

         

 

 

Latest 60-hour Rainfall Forecasts from NWS Wilmington, NC

Text Forecast

Graphical Forecast

 

Latest NWS Weather Prediction Center (WPC) Rainfall Forecasts

Days 4-5

Days 6-7

 

 

Latest NWS Climate Prediction Center (CPC) Rainfall Outlooks

6-10 day Outlook

8-14 day Outlook

 

3-4 week Outlook

Green colors indicate higher chances for above-normal rainfall, while brown colors indicate higher chances for below-normal rainfall

 

Research and Page Author: Tim Armstrong
Page Created: December 3, 2018
Last Modified: December 9, 2018