The Christmas presents have all been opened and the cookies and leftovers are still being devoured. Now, we turn our attention to champagne toasts and New Year’s resolutions as we look forward hopefully to a healthy, prosperous and peaceful 2019.
Let’s all hope that Mother Nature’s New Year’s resolution is to turn off the faucet around here. No, it’s not your imagination: This has been a downright soggy year in southwestern Pennsylvania.
How soggy is it? For starters, we’re inching closer and closer to a record and this is a big one.
The all-time wettest year on record in Pittsburgh is 2004 when Hurricane Ivan hit the coast then sent inches and feet of rain inland. Pittsburgh measured a whopping 57.41 inches of precipitation (rain and snow) that year, making it number one in the record books.
This year, we are sitting at a very, very close second place as of this writing with 56.75 inches of precipitation, with still a week left in 2018. That’s a mere .66 inches behind the wettest year on record for Pittsburgh. We have a realistic shot at breaking the record as more rain (and temperatures near 60!) arrive, starting Thursday. We set another soggy record last Friday when we picked up 1.08 inches of rain in Pittsburgh, which broke the one-day record for that date by almost a quarter-inch.
It’s been so soggy that I couldn’t even get the leaves in my yard raked. The temperature was so warm so late into autumn that the leaves didn’t fall until very late into the season. By the time they did, it was cold and, yes, rainy.
I contemplated leaving the leaves there to rot beneath the eventual snowfall but got motivated one last time the other day when it was warm and sunny for a brief minute or two. I raked up the front yard and by the next morning, more leaves were right there in their place from some tree that does not sit in my yard. I’m not sure where they blew in from because all of the trees on the block are bare by now!
I may take one more shot at raking them up tomorrow when temperatures will be close to 50 before (you guessed it) more rain arrives!
We are not alone in our soggy suffering through 2018.
Thanks in part to catastrophic, record rains from Hurricane Florence, Wilmington, N.C., is sitting on its wettest year on record at more than 101 inches of precipitation. They broke their all-time record when Florence hit in September and then the rain just kept coming. It’s also interesting to note that their average annual precipitation is 57.61 inches.
So their average is just a smidge more than our wettest year ever. By contrast, Pittsburgh’s average annual precipitation is around 38 inches.
Let’s hope that 2019 starts off on a drier, brighter note.
Kristin Emery can be reached at email@example.com