BOONE – Saturated soil, localized flooding, mudslides and road washouts were some of the impacts of the wettest year on record in Boone, according to data from the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va.
NWS Blacksburg meteorologist Vance Joyner confirmed that NWS data showed 93.42 inches of rain were recorded in Boone for 2018, shattering the previous Boone record of 74.83 inches in 2013.
The NWS rainfall archives for Boone go back to 1980, Joyner said. The rain is collected in a rain gauge by an observer, who follows NWS guidelines to come up with as accurate a number as possible.
According to David Still, director of business development for local weather site RaysWeather.com, NWS data only goes back to 1980 for Boone due to the previous observer moving sites around town and changing co-op ID numbers. Currently, NWS rainfall totals are observed at the town of Boone Water Treatment Plant. Boone rain data that has been collected by RaysWeather.com goes back to 1929 and according to historical data, the previous record was 82.79 inches in 1979, Still said.
The wettest month in Boone for 2018 was May, which had 13.39 inches of rain. The driest month was February, with 3.93 inches on rain. May, July, August, September, October and December all saw double-digit rainfall totals.
Still noted that at 10.29 inches, December 2018 was the wettest Boone December on record, with the previous record of 9.04 inches set in 1931.
As for what caused the record rainfall in 2018, Joyner said there was nothing really definitive.
“There were a mixture of a lot of complicated worldwide phenomenons that happened to come together the right way to dump a lot of rain on us,” Joyner said.
According to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, or CoCoRaHS, a nonprofit, community-based network of volunteers, an observer in the Foscoe area recorded 112.7 inches of rain in 2018, reporting all but four days of the year. A Blowing Rock area observer recorded 111.78 inches of rain, someone in Seven Devils reported 100.94 inches and two more county observers also recorded over 100 inches of precipitation.
Elsewhere in the region, the NWS observer near West Jefferson recorded a record rainfall in 2018, measuring 79.43 inches.
Record rainfalls were noted statewide in cities such as Asheville, Greensboro and Raleigh. Wilmington marked 102.45 inches of rainfall, breaking the previous record of 83.65 set in the 1870s.
Hurricane Florence also set the record for most rainfall in a single North Carolina municipality as the coastal town of Swansboro recorded 30 inches from the storm Sept. 14-15.
The impacts of the excessive rain have been felt across the High Country.
Boone Public Works Director Rick Miller said that besides some trees falling over due to soft soil, the town didn’t see many adverse effects due to the rain. However, Watauga Democrat readers noticed the record rains.
“Trees down everywhere, wooden fence posts have rotted and the ground is eternally squishy so the dogs won’t go outside anymore,” said Leslie Smith in a Facebook post.
“All the wet weather has delayed the building of our new home,” said Pat Kinnaman in a Tweet.