We saw it coming early last week. With a decaying ALMOST tropical circulation feeding in moisture-laden Atlantic air our way, we are set for some downpours.
With a stationary front in place, we issued First Alert Weather Days from Wednesday Through Saturday and warned of tropical downpours. We thought the area would see between 3 and 6 inches of rain.
However, many areas surpassed that total.
A closer look reveals the biggest totals in the Metro area were from central Caroline County to the West End of Henrico County - the area outlined in green got up to 9 or 10 inches. This lead to extensive flash flooding.
When it was all said and done, the airport had set two daily records for rain (Thursday and Friday) plus Friday setting the one-day May record for rainfall at 3.86 inches.
To put in perspective, there has not been a rainier day in May since record-keeping began in the late 1800s. That's the rainiest single day in May out of around 4,000 May days.
The May rain record was broken because even though we are before hurricane season, we basically had a stalled out tropical low sitting right on top of us.
It was a "pre-season" event that didn't quite reach tropical storm strength, but was able to produce tropical storm rain totals with the assistance of a stationary front.
And the hits keep coming: the May 2018 rain total is now at the fifth highest of all time.
With just 0.96 inches of rain in the next 10 days, 2018 would be the rainiest on record, which was set in 2016. No. 8 in the list is 2017, which means the past three years will ALL be in the top 10 list for May precipitation.
That No. 1 spot is reachable: Check out the European model for Memorial Day. There's plenty of moisture streaming our way with a high rain chance on Memorial Day.
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