2018 was the U.S.'s third-wettest year on record—here's why
The eastern U.S. got a ton of rain, while the west stayed dry. A warming climate probably contributed.
On Wednesday, NASA and NOAA announced that 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record. But the impacts of a warming planet extend beyond just warming air; the feverish state of the planet is also changing when, where, and how intensely rain and snow fall. And 2018, the reports say, was the third-wettest year since 1895, when steady record-keeping began.
Overall, the U.S. got 4.68 inches more precipitation in 2018 than the 20th-century average, but that rain and snow was not anywhere close to evenly distributed across the country. In the eastern half, several states, like North Carolina and Virginia, blew past their previous precipitation records, while most of the western U.S. remained mired in drought.
It’s too early to know