Charles City sets precipitation record in 2018

Precipitation 2018 Charles City


By Bob Steenson, 

Charles City received more precipitation last year than any year on record, according to information from the National Weather Service and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

The city received a total of 61.37 inches of precipitation in 2018 — most of that in rain in early summer and later in the fall. That’s almost twice the average 33 inches the city usually receives in a year.

Interestingly, only one month last year — June — set a record for the most precipitation received during that month in Charles City.

A couple of other months were close, however, and it was the total of those near-records and higher-than-average months that pushed the 2018 total to a new height.

Charles City received almost 12 inches of rain in June and more than 12 inches in September. The June rainfall — including 2.64 inches on June 10 — was almost 2½ times the usual amount.

The September downpours — including 1.74 inches on the 1st, 2.70 inches on the 5th, 1.71 inches on the 19 and 3 inches on the 20th — totaled more than three times the amount usually received in that month.

More precipitation than usual fell in every month last year except for March and April.

Precipitation records with the National Weather Service for Charles City go back to 1893.

Across the state, Iowa received an average of 45 inches of rainfall – nearly 10 inches more than normal. That puts 2018 second only to 1993 for average statewide precipitation, according to the year-end water summary update from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

While there was some dryness in the southwestern portion of the state, 27 northern Iowa counties including Floyd County marked their wettest year on record.

“The concerns about dryness and drought in southeastern Iowa were ended with the wet summer and fall, and the entire state is in pretty good shape for groundwater going into the normally dry months of winter,” said Tim Hall, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources coordinator of hydrology resources.

Flow rates in streams and rivers was above normal for most of the year, while shallow groundwater levels recovered from low levels in southern Iowa to become normal to above normal for the entire state, Hall said.

Temperatures were typical of Iowa weather in 2018 — all over the map. April was the coldest on record. May was the third warmest, and June was the 10th warmest. November was 6.4 degrees below average and December was 5.1 degrees above average, statewide.