WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - What a year the DC region has had. Not including this Friday’s rainfall here in DC since official rainfall amounts are not yet out, yearly rainfall was already far and away in record territory.
Take a look at the top 5 wettest years in DC history:
1) 1889 - 61.33”
2) 2003 - 60.83”
3) 1878 - 60.09”
4) 1886 - 58.17”
5) 1948 - 57.54”
2018 has already surpassed all of these at 64.78” of rain as of midnight Friday and will continue to widen the gap with more rain anticipated before the year is out. I love the phrase that all records were meant to be broken. But when this year is out, this is likely a record that will not be broken for a very long time.
Tucker Barnes and I have been having arguments over whether or not we will break it in our lifetimes. It’s that type of extreme. Consider that the 30-year average yearly rainfall is just under 40” of rain here in DC.
So essentially we have had over a year and a half's worth of rain in just one year. You can count how many years we have had on similar levels since the late 1800s (when records began) on just one hand.
They are a rarity.
With such a wet year about to go into the record books, I suppose it is only fitting that we send out the year with yet another rain storm. The unfortunate thing is that it looks poised to impact New Year’s Eve festivities across the East Coast, including the famous ball drop in New York City.
Following a cooler but dry weekend, the final big storm of 2018 will begin to gather strength across the Deep South early Monday morning. Similar to the majority of the storms we have seen the past couple of weeks here in the DC region, the center of this storm system is expected to pass to our west.
Storms that track west of our region keep the threat of a liquid rain, as opposed to any type of frozen precipitation. Here in the District, Monday morning will likely start cloudy, cool, and dry for the vast majority of the region. The latest model guidance we have suggests rain moves into the region by the mid-morning, is heaviest from the middle afternoon into the early evening, with lingering showers into the late evening hours. If you plan on traveling or watching the ball drop in New York City, expect to see some rain coming down, more than likely during the actual ball drop itself as rain will be heading up in that direction once it leaves our region. Here in DC, we may luck out as some weather models suggest we may get a break during the late evening hours in time for the turning of the year. Then, a cold front crossing the region during the overnight hours brings one more round of quick rain prior to sunrise on New Year’s Day.
The one benefit of the storm taking the track to the west is it should keep temperatures relatively mild compared to what we were last year. If you recall, last year’s New Year’s holiday was one of the most brutally cold in recent memory. A high temperature of just 23 degrees last year on New Year’s Eve was the fourth coldest on record for DC, with temperatures falling back into the teens as the New Year’s holiday was ushered in at midnight. New Year’s Day was also the coldest since the 1960s across our region.
This year should be quite different. Even with the rain coming down, temperatures across our region should range from the upper 40s to lower 50s even during the late evening hours thanks to the storm enhancing southerly winds and pulling some of that southern warmth northward.
By New Year’s Day, some residual warmth may lead to a somewhat mild start to 2019 with temperatures in the 50s. However, a strong northwest wind picking up on the backside of the storm will start to usher chilly air back into the region as the day continues to go on.
By the late afternoon, many are likely looking at temperatures falling back into the upper 40s. However, while there could be some early showers prior to sunrise, the majority of the first full day of 2019 looks dry and should feature some clearing skies. Then we will keep an eye on later next week as the next piece of energy swings for perhaps the first rainfall if 2019.
From all of us here in the weather department, have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve!