CHAMPAIGN, Ill., 1/8/2019: More than 120 stations across the Midwest had their wettest year on record in 2018, according to the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC) at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS).
Regional precipitation for the Midwest ranked among the 10 wettest on record (1895-2018), and may be the wettest with official data still pending. Statewide totals in Kentucky, Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin also ranked among the wettest years on record.
Heavy rain fell on many occasions across northern Iowa, southern Wisconsin, and the Ohio River Valley, where most of the station records occurred. Several cities with broken precipitation records included Lexington, KY (71.98 inches, 134 years on record); Green Bay, WI (39.21 inches, 132 years on record); and Waterloo, IA (54.05 inches, 124 years on record).
More than twice the normal amount of precipitation fell in a record month of February in the region. Heavy rain returned in June to the Ohio River Valley, with extreme rainfall in August, September, and October across northern Iowa and southern Wisconsin.
One-day rainfall amounts of more than 3 inches were common at stations on multiple occasions. One of the most extreme events led to more than 10 inches of rain west of Madison, WI on Aug. 20-21.
Flooding and flash flooding from heavy rain affected the region throughout the year and led to record crests on tributaries of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Damage to property in the Midwest from flooding and flash flooding was estimated at over $340 million through September 2018 alone, according to NOAA’s Storm Events Database.
More than $17 million in crop damage was also reported in Iowa and Wisconsin. At least 14 fatalities were recorded from flooding or flash flooding in the region.
Midwestern Regional Climate Center, Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois
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