Raleigh’s soggier than usual year set to rank eighth wettest since 1944

sbarr@newsobserver.comDecember 30, 2013 

— Sunday’s soggy weather helped put 2013 in Raleigh’s top 10 list of the wettest years.

By early evening, the National Weather Service had recorded 1.94 inches of rain at Raleigh-Durham International Airport for the day, bringing the year-to-date precipitation total for Raleigh to 50.69 inches.

That makes 2013 the city’s eighth wettest year on record – going back to 1944. It’s just ahead of 1999’s ninth-place final total of 50.64 inches.

With meteorologists forecasting mostly clear skies for the last two days of 2013, this year’s precipitation total is unlikely to surpass 1972’s seventh-ranked total of 51.74 inches.

On average, Raleigh gets 43.15 inches of precipitation each year.

Rather than being concentrated in one or two major storms, this year’s above-average total generally was distributed throughout the year, said Terry Hudgins, a weather service meteorologist.

“It seems like it was spread out for the most part,” he said.

The last time Raleigh saw as much precipitation or more as this year was in 2006, when 53.69 inches fell. The highest precipitation level on record, 59.14 inches, came in 1996, the disastrous year of Hurricane Fran.

The official record for 2013 matches up with what David Pope, owner of Pope’s Strawberry Farm in Knightdale, has seen in his fields.

“It has been a wet year the whole year,” he said.

Heavy rainfall caused problems for Pope’s strawberry operation. Wet weather can bring mold. And gray skies tend to keep customers away from his pick-your-own farm. Rain also delayed Pope’s planting of a soybean crop. Then, just when his plants could have used the rain, the weather dried up again.

Like Pope, farmers throughout the region reported that heavy rain in June and July caused problems for their crops.

“The summer was just terrible,” said Don Nicholson, an agronomist with the state’s department of agriculture and consumer services.

Barr: 919-836-4952

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