Danville’s 2018 was very rainy — but not record-setting

Published 7:05 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Although Lexington and Louisville are reporting record years for rainfaul, Danville’s 2018 was not its wettest ever.

Tom Reaugh, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said Lexington’s rainfall ended up totalling 71.98 inches for the year. “They beat their old record by several inches; Frankfort set a new record, as well,” he said. Records go back to the 1800s.

2018 ranked as the eighth-wettest year in history for Danville, with a total of 60.19 inches. But that is still a hefty leap from what U.S. Climate Data reports as Danville’s average annual rainfall — at 46.41 inches.

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The rainiest year so far locally was back in 1989, Reaugh said, when the area saw 65.36 inches of precipitation.

“So, you’re not too far away from beating that,” he said.

Lexington’s 2018 rainfall was more than 20 inches higher than 2017’s. But the city first broke its own record on Dec. 1, according to NSW, when it reached 66.97 inches.

“We at the NWS office remarked that 2018 seemed to almost have only two seasons,” Reaugh said. The state went quickly from cold, wintry weather to very warm weather, and then seemed to go from very warm in early October to a very chilly November, he said.

“April was very cold and snowy compared to normal, but May was much warmer than normal … Obviously we were speaking in hyperbole (about only having two seasons). It just seemed like we had sudden changes in the general temperature regime and ‘skipped over’ the transition seasons of spring and fall,” Reaugh said. “We really didn’t of course.”

As far as the “only having two seasons” goes, Reaugh said he wouldn’t necessarily say this is becoming a common thing — “A fair amount of research would be necessary to suggest that, but it felt that way in 2018.”

Although traveling in the area on New Year’s Eve was a bit hazardous at times, with pouring rain turning into sheets because of wind gusts of up to 22 miles per hour, local agencies did not report any increase in vehicle incidents.

“We had three wrecks Monday, all in parking lots,” Danville Police Chief Tony Gray said.

Sheriff Derek Robbins said his office didn’t have any noticeable increase, either.

“We didn’t have any issues I’m aware of, anywhere with the rain,” said Mike Wilder, director of emergency management services.

“What always gives us problems is the heavy rain that comes quickly, due to the flash flooding. That’s what we have to be concerned about,” Wilder said, adding he hasn’t been made aware of any problem areas. 

Danville and Boyle County can handle a lot of rain, Wilder said, if it’s over a period of time — it’s the heavy, quick rainfalls they have to be concerned about. “We can handle a lot of rain, over a period of time.”

He said his office has about “three or four different mechanisms to talk to the (NSW),” and often when inclement weather is on the way, “I’ll have a chat with their meteorologists. They’re real good about scheduling conference calls with the Kentucky Department of Emergency Management and ourselves.”

Gray said regardless of whether there’s been high water reported or not, it’s always a good reminder to slow down.

“It’s all the same things we say year after year — give more distance between vehicles, be on the lookout for pooling water, slow down. Give yourself more travel time to get somewhere, and please do not be distracted …” while driving, Gray said.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported a car hydroplaned into a pool of water Monday morning; the driver got out safely, but the car remained in high water for hours because a tow truck driver deemed it too hazardous.

According to the NSW, Danville should be dry until Friday, when the next round of rain is forecast to hit sometime after 1 p.m., with new precipitation amounts expected up to a quarter of an inch.