Summer Rainfall Recap : Super Soaker 2018

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.

14 thoughts on “Summer Rainfall Recap : Super Soaker 2018”

  1. Great job putting the information together.

    I would like your thoughts on a battle I have with the NWS. The NWS out of Albany forecasts for our area PLUS above and along I-90 and into Vermont. In winter they concentrate on the snow belt, storms around Albany north and a little south their forecasts at times are lengthy, technical and can reads like a science project among Meteorologists. In active weather at the end of the lengthy book they put out every six hours the Mid-Hudson valley becomes an after thought. When the activity shifts toward our area out comes this science book of terms Einstein would need help on and then they go into the phase of “Hedging our bets”. I think the NWS needs to either let Syracuse take over the snow belt and the I-90 corridor and Albany concentrate Saratoga area and ours. Concentration of information with the average reader getting the report without a science lesson. I think it is much more difficult to forecast our area weather because of the interaction of terrain, the direction system is moving over such as west or south to north and temperature issues with ocean influences.

    That’s why we come to you , you explain but not over the heads of the average reader looking for that very same information. Thank you again for the detail of the rain this summer and please keep doing what the NWS can’t seem to understand however, I continue my quest to get them to understand what they are putting out and how difficult it reads for the average person as well as aerial coverage.

  2. I have been studying weather across our are since1988, I record the weather daily. I have found over the years a correlation between wet summers vs dry winters. This summers extreme amount of precipitation would lead me to believe a dry and less snowy winter could be ahead. The only cavet here in thinking this is the weather extremes that have occurred over the past 10 years makes it difficult to expect anything normal anymore.

  3. Regarding Albany vs. NYC > Ulster County – Dutchess – Orange – Putnam are all part of the NYC Statistical Metro Area as well as all other measures of socio-geographic connections from housing to employment and tourism; we, at least in the counties noted, are NOT connected to the Albany Region, flat out, period.

    Further, it is common place that New Paltz, Kingston, Rosendale, Woodstock, Rhinebeck and Poughkeepsie are noted verbally and on real-time weather maps on NYC media…they are “including us” regularly.

    This is simply to say that “we are not forgotten” as so many would like to think that we are. And this is simply to say that we GET THE ADDED BENEFIT of having HVW giving us extra-detailed analysis…which is fantastic. So, we actually are covered-doubly and it is typically inline with eachother.


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