Rain… it was the theme of the summer of 2018. At times, the rain fell lightly… at other times it fell at torrential rates. But it seems as if it was a day that ended in “Y”, it was raining. In the 92 days from the start of July through the end of September… 40 of those days had measurable rainfall in Poughkeepsie. That’s 43.5% of the time that it was raining… so basically every other day it rained in the Hudson Valley.
We’ve had MANY questions about the rainfall this summer, and how it compares to average… as well as if this summer was the wettest ever. In an attempt to answer this question, we’ve looked at the 3 month period from July 1st through September 30th. So lets take a look at September first… how much rain fell in the month of September across the Hudson Valley:
September was a very soggy month, but not record breaking by any stretch. Part of the problem may be that by the time we reached September, we were already rain weary. With roughly 150% of average rainfall in September, it was surely more than we’re used to… but within reason. So now, lets look at August and September combined…
Now the water is rising above our ankles. In an average summer, Poughkeepsie would see roughly 8.5 inches of rain between the months of August and September. But in 2018, we saw nearly double that… at 14.5 inches of rainfall. This made sure the grass was always green, and growing like the weed that it is. The problem being, it was always raining… so when the heck were we supposed to cut the grass?
The Big Picture (July-August-September)
So now, lets look at the entire summer period… from July, through August, and into September. We’re going to look at 3 graphics: Total Rainfall, Percent of Average, and Rainfall Amounts Compared to Normal. Brace yourselves, so you’re not washed away in the monsoon…
Hopefully you’re still with us, and haven’t been washed downstream. An incredible amount of water fell across the region over the summer. Roughly 1.5 to 2.0 times the average rainfall on average across the Hudson Valley… and in the Catskills, 2 to 3 times the average rainfall. Over 20 inches of rain in many areas… and nearly 30 inches of rain in the Catskills! Truly incredible.
Record Breaking Rainfall?
One of the most frequent questions, has been, “Is this the wettest summer ever?”. We always say that our ‘weather memory’ is short, and that most times when you feel like “this is the worst its ever been”… when you research the data, you find that may not be the case. We need to go back only to 2011 to find a comparable 3 month period across the Hudson Valley…
Now… this is not to say 2018 isn’t extreme… quite the contrary. 2011 was an extreme summer across the region, in many cases the worst on record. In a matter of 2 to 3 weeks, Tropical Storm Irene and Tropical Storm Lee inundated the region with flooding rainfall. While 2011 saw roughly 1.5 inches more rainfall… 2018 was more consistently wet… with all 3 months seeing 6 or more inches of rainfall. The rainfall we saw in 2018 was better… because it was spread over a longer period of time, making for less flash flooding incidents than what we saw in 2011. But any way you slice it… both summers were just amazing in terms of rainfall.
So there you have it… 2018 was not the wettest summer on record, but it certainly was up there. Make no mistake, the rainfall we saw this year was extreme when compared to average. We have seen summers this wet in the past… but very, very few can compare to the super saturated summer of 2018.