It’s official — 2018 is Baltimore's wettest year on record. And the rain keeps coming.
By Nov. 15, precipitation at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport surpassed the record 62.66 inches set in 2003, by a couple hundredths of an inch.
After downpours Saturday, the total for 2018 reached 64.86 inches. More rain is forecast Monday.
The record book goes back to 1871.
Here’s a breakdown of the historic year:
130 rainy (and snowy days)
Through Thursday, there has been at least one-hundredth of an inch of rain in about 4 out of every 10 days this year in Baltimore. That adds up to 12 or 13 rainy days every month.
Climate data websites suggest Baltimore normally gets about 110 rainy days in a year.
Seven records within a record year
There were five daily rainfall records set during what was an unusually wet summer:
» July 17: 3.35 inches
» July 21: 4.79 inches
» July 24: 4.07 inches
» Sept. 9: 2.23 inches
» Sept. 18: 2.22 inches
And there were two monthly rainfall records.
» July: The 16.73 inches of rain was more than 5 inches above Baltimore’s previous July rainfall record, dating to 1889. It’s also the second-rainiest month ever in the region.
» November: Through Saturday, precipitation totaled 7.72 inches. The old record was 7.68 inches, set in 1952.
Three other months ranked within the top 10 wettest on record for that particular month – 8.17 inches of rain made this May Baltimore’s third-wettest May on record, and September landed at No. 6, with 9.19 inches of rain.
The region also unofficially set records for the most rain within any 14-day, 60-day, 90-day, 120-day, 180-day and 365-day period. There was more than 48 inches of precipitation in the 180 days ending Nov. 9, for example — about 6 inches more than Baltimore usually gets in a year.
There had been more than 66 inches of rain in the 365 days ending Monday, just barely surpassing the 365-day period that ended Aug. 4, 1889.
Three flooding deaths
Floodwaters were so dangerous, they caused three deaths in two separate incidents this year.
Sgt. Eddison “Eddie” A. Hermond, 39, was swept away as he rushed to help a shop owner in Ellicott City on May 27, and his body was found days later. A devastating deluge struck the old mill town for the second time in two years.
Two people drowned in floodwaters near Abingdon on Aug. 31 — 67-year-old Daniel Samis and 34-year-old Melissa Lehew. They died as Lehew tried to rescue Samis, who was trapped in his car in floodwaters.
2 feet above normal
Precipitation across most of Central Maryland is running more than 20 inches above normal, according to National Weather Service models. Many areas have received 150 to 200 percent of normal rainfall, and in some areas, including Southwest Baltimore and areas around Frederick, it’s more than 200 percent.
On average, about 42 inches of precipitation falls at BWI in a full year.
Two tropical systems
Some of the rainfall came from brushes with the remnants of Hurricane Florence in September and Hurricane Michael in October.
But what meteorologists found remarkable about the year of wet weather is that none of it was the product of a direct hit with a tropical system, unlike many of Baltimore’s other wettest years on record.
Much of the rain was instead the result of an unusual and persistently wet weather pattern that dominated for much of the summer.
1 inch of rainfall — in 10 minutes
It’s impossible to know when and where the most intense burst of rainfall fell — but if Ellicott City’s flooding is any indication, there were moments of extreme precipitation around the state.
As torrential downpours hovered over the historic mill town May 27, 0.96 of an inch of rain fell in a 10-minute span, from 4:11 p.m. to 4:21 p.m. Almost 2 inches fell within a 30-minute stretch, and nearly 3 inches within an hour. Ellicott City saw 6.56 inches of rain in a three-hour span that afternoon.