Ohio Had a Very Wet 2018




If your yard has been a swampy no man’s land all year, there’s a reason for it. 2018 was one of the wettest years ever across the state. In some cities, almost every month featured above normal precipitation. Let’s take a look across the state to see how places fared in this extraordinarily soggy period.


Here were the final 2018 totals in major Ohio cities and how they rank since their records began.

Cincinnati: 55.90″ 3rd wettest since 1871.
Columbus: 55.18″ 1st wettest since 1878.
Cleveland: 51.47″ 4th wettest since 1871.
Youngstown: 50.97″ 2nd wettest since 1896.
Dayton: 48.99″ 10th wettest since 1893.
Akron: 48.46″ 5th wettest since 1896.
Toledo: 38.01″ 22nd wettest since 1871.

In big cities in Ohio, only Toledo managed to avoid having a top 10 wettest year. Columbus had its wettest on record, beating the previous record of 54.96″ set just a few years ago in 2011.

Locally in the Columbus metro, here were some other totals.
Newark: 56.01″
Marysville: 51.12″
Lancaster: 50.51″
Circleville: 46.66″
OSU Campus: 46.66″

Biggest Individual Precipitation Day and Rank
Cincinnati: 5.02″ on 8/16/2018, 2nd highest since 1871.
Youngstown: 3.50″ on 9/9/2018, 11th highest since 1896.
Dayton: 2.88″ on 4/3/2018, 24th highest since 1893.
Akron: 2.50″ on 9/9/2018, unranked.
Cleveland: 2.12″ on 11/1/2018, unranked.
Columbus: 2.06″ on 4/15/2018, unranked.
Toledo: 1.62″ on 3/1/2018, unranked.

Cincinnati had 2 days in the top 10, but most other cities had just constant rain rather than exceptionally high individual totals.

Total 2018 Measurable Precipitation Days and Rank
Youngstown: 191 1st most since 1896.
Akron: 180 1st most since 1896.
Cleveland: 177 8th most since 1871.
Columbus: 162 6th most since 1878.
Cincinnati: 151 7th most since 1871.
Dayton: 148 10th most since 1893.
Toledo: 142 16th most since 1871.

3 cities saw more than half their days with measurable precipitation. Columbus came in at just under 50%. This also had the unfortunate result of making most of the year feel unusually gloomy. Traditionally sunny months in the summer and fall were much cloudier than normal.

Total 2018 1″+ Precipitation Days and Rank
Columbus: 15 1st most since 1878.
Cleveland: 13 2nd most since 1871.
Cincinnati: 12 7th most since 1871.
Dayton: 11 6th most since 1893.
Akron: 10 5th most since 1896.
Toledo: 7 7th most since 1871.
Youngstown: 5 9th most since 1896.

Columbus had the most 1″ days of any year on record, and even beat every other major Ohio city.

Wettest 2018 Months
Cincinnati: 8.21″ in August
Youngstown: 7.91″ in September
Akron: 7.26″ in September
Dayton: 6.72″ in September
Columbus: 6.71″ in June
Cleveland: 6.68″ in July
Toledo: 5.91″ in May

No cities saw any of their months be even close to the wettest ever. There were not really any events with heavy flooding, either, except in February in Cincinnati, when the Ohio River reached the highest since the 1997 flood. There was also some scattered flooding from some tropical system remnants that passed through, particularly in September, but for the most part, it was just constantly wet from beginning to end in most places.

Cincinnati flooding in February, 2018.

One might ask if 2018 was merely a blip or part of a long-term trend in the state. Climate scientists have actually looked at this, and the state has indeed been getting both warmer and wetter over the last century or so, but the pace of both the warming and the increase in precipitation has been much faster since the 1970s. Many of the Ohio’s wettest years on record have occurred since 1990.

The Week in Review #2

So last week, the FBI finally released the full crime numbers for 2017 for all cities. How did Columbus fare? Well, it was a decidedly mixed bag. Total murders were their highest ever, at 143, but the rate fell quite short of the record set back in 1991. So far for 2018, murder is behind 2017’s rate by about 22%, so it’s a good improvement, but still not even close to where it should be.

Other violent crime figures 2016 to 2017
-Rape continued its multi-year rise in the city, reaching 919 incidents. This was a 6% increase over 2016.
-Assaults were up 4% over 2016, but in the context of still being one of the lowest totals in the past 30 years.
-Robberies were down almost 8.5% over 2016.
-Despite the rises in most types of violent crime, the drop in robberies meant overall violent crime dropped by about 0.5%.
Property crime figures 2016 to 2017
-Burglaries were down more than 8%.
-Larceny thefts were down about 2.9%
-Motor vehicle thefts were up 17.6%, so not a good trend, but still less than half the rate it was 15-20 years ago.
-Overall property crime was down about 2% versus 2016.

And if you think this year’s been particularly wet, you are right! Through October 1st, Columbus is having its 3rd wettest year on record. Only 1882 and 1890 are ahead of 2018 at this point, and by barely 1″. 2018 at this point is running almost 14″ above normal.
Top 10 Wettest Years Through October 1st
1. 1882: 44.55″
2. 1890: 43.56″
3. 2018: 43.31″
4. 1979: 42.17″
5. 2003: 41.58″
6. 2011: 41.12″
7. 1990: 39.10″
8. 1949: 38.54″
9. 2004: 38.46″
10. 1996: 37.46″
It is surprising how many recent years are on this list. Still with 3 months to go, the pattern could break, but it’s very unlikely that 2018 doesn’t end up in the top 10. Here are the top 10 wettest full years.
1. 2011: 54.96″
2. 1990: 53.16″
3. 1882: 51.30″
4. 1890: 50.73″
5. 2004: 49.27″
6. 1979: 49.17″
7. 2003: 49.03″
8. 1883: 48.88″
9. 1881: 46.99″
10. 2017: 46.61″

Guess it could always be worse.

Summer 2016

Now that Summer 2016 is but a memory, let’s take a quick look back at where it stands in the record books.

Temperature

Summer 2016 Means
June-August Mean High: 85.5
June-August Mean Rank since 1878: 26th Warmest
While the average high for Summer 2016 was certainly warm, it fell just outside of the top 25. By comparison to recent years, 2010 (85.6), 2011 (85.7) and 2012 (87.7) all had warmer average highs.

June-August Mean Low: 66.1
June-August Mean Low Rank since 1878: 4th Warmest
The average low for the summer is what made 2016 much more exceptional. No recent years (last decade) were warmer, although 2010 did tie.

June-August Mean: 75.8
June-August Mean Rank since 1878: 10th
So if you thought this summer was hot, well you were right. Only 2010 (75.9) and 2012 (76.4) were warmer of any recent years.

Monthly Means
June Mean: 73.2
June Mean Rank since 1878: 17th Warmest
July Mean: 76.6
July Mean Rank since 1878: 20th Warmest
August Mean: 77.6
August Mean Rank since 1878: 6th Warmest
The summer gradually became hotter as it went on.

Summer 2016 Misc. Temperature Stats
# of 90+ Days: 18
90+ Days Rank: 22nd
Warmest High: 95
Warmest Low: 77
Coldest High: 72
Coldest Low: 48

Daily Temperature Records
June 11th: Record Warm Maximum Tie: 95: Tied with 1914 and 1933.
August 10th: Record Warm Minimum Tie: 75: Tied with 2001.
August 11th: Record Warm Minimum Tie: 76: Tied with 1918.
August 12th: Record Warm Minimum: 76: Beat record from 1947.
August 13th: Record Warm Minimum Tie: 75: Tied with 1995.

Precipitation

June-July Precipitation Total: 13.53″
June-July Precipitation Rank since 1878: 29th Wettest
Besides being warm, Summer 2016 was also fairly wet.

Monthly Precipitation Stats
June Precipitation: 5.22″
June Precipitation Rank since 1878: 29th
July Precipitation: 2.49″
July Precipitation Rank since 1878: 27th Driest
August Precipitation: 5.82″
August Precipitation Rank since 1878: 13th Wettest
So the summer was bookended by wet months with July being fairly dry.

Summer 2016 Misc. Precipitation Stats
Total Precipitation Days (including Trace): 45
Total Measurable Precipitation Days: 30
Measurable Precipitation Days Rank since 1878: 16th Highest
Days with 0.25″ or Higher: 16
Days with 0.50″ or Higher: 10
Days with 1.00″ or Higher: 4

Daily Precipitation Records
June 23rd: 2.75″: Beat the old record in 1901.

Summer of Rain 2015

This summer has been wet… very wet. Rain has fallen on far more days than not, and cloud cover has hung thick and heavy in what are historically much sunnier months. To top it all off, temperatures have been somewhat below normal.

How wet has summer 2015 been up through today? Meteorological summer runs June 1st-August 31st, and today makes the midpoint of that period, so I thought it would be a good time to check in and answer that question.

Here are the top 10 wettest summers through yesterday.

1. 1958: 12.54″
2. 2008: 11.68″
3. 1990: 10.93″
4. 2015: 10.66″
5. 1949: 10.40″
6. 1973: 10.23″
7. 1917: 10.06″
8. 1928: 10.02″
9. 1937: 9.75″
10. 1969: 9.38″

So 2015 is running the 4th wettest. It looks to be dry the next few days before more thunderstorms and rain return, so 2015’s position may end up rising.

What are the wettest full summers of all time? A few of the above years went on to be in the top 10, but not all.

1. 1958: 22.02″
2. 1979: 20.92″
3. 1995: 19.85″
4. 2003: 19.39″
5. 1969: 19.09″
6. 1915: 18.92″
7. 1992: 18.44″
8. 1973: 17.81″
9. 1989: 17.45″
10. 1949: 16.54″

Summer 2015 needs about 6″ more to reach into the top 10 wettest summers, which at the current pace is more than possible.