An especially rainy December made 2018 the wettest year on record for the Tennessee River Valley and Northwest Georgia with a total of 67.01 inches of rain, topping the previous record of 65.1 inches set in 1973.
While that was good for crops — up to a point — the heavy rain and number of rain days also slowed planting and harvesting, as well as construction of highway projects and business and residential construction projects across the area.
Rainfall for the year was more than 140 percent of normal and runoff more than 200 percent of normal, said James Everett, senior manager for TVA’s River Forecast Center, both boosted by hurricanes Florence and Michael and Winter Storm Diego.
Metro Atlanta also set a record of 70.03 inches as it received almost 1 foot of rain in December alone, which is three times the average monthly rainfall.
For Georgia overall, 2018 was the second wettest year on record, with 20 inches above the average.
There was more rain the last two weeks of the year than the Tennessee Valley typically sees in a month — even during the wettest months. “We got the entire month's average in just the last two weeks,” National Weather Service meteorologist Sam Roberts said.
Nearly 5 inches of rain in Chattanooga from December 14 through New Year's Eve helped push the Tennessee Valley to a new record rainfall. The TVA utility company tracks weather patterns for the 41,000-square-mile, seven-state Tennessee Valley area and has rainfall data going back 129 years.