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Triangle sets record for wettest year and more rain is on the way

December 29, 2018
The Triangle broke a record that has stood since 1996.

It’s official: 2018 is now the wettest year on record in the Triangle, and we could add to our rain totals before the New Year arrives.

WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said as of noon. Friday, 59.22 inches of precipitation has fallen in 2018, surpassing the previous rainfall record of 59.14 inches.

More rain is expected before 2019 arrives, with rain in the forecast expected to fall around the area on Sunday and Monday.

“Sunday is not looking as bad as it once did,” WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said. “It doesn’t look like an all-day rain the way it appeared the last few days.”

The previous rainfall record was set in 1996. And precipitation at Raleigh-Durham International Airport was first recorded in 1944.

“We had two tropical systems affected us in 1996, and we had two tropical systems affect us this year, so it’s not surprising that we would break the record,” Gardner said.

Fishel said the majority of the rain should be out of the Triangle by about 7 p.m., but downpours and strong winds caused problems Friday afternoon.

In Sanford, strong winds damaged trees and buildings as the system moved through.

Randy Todd, who owns Todd’s Upholstery in Sanford, said the wind damaged his shop.

“The wind came up all of a sudden and it blew the glass doors open on the front of the shop, so we went to close the door and as we did, the window next to us exploded inward,” he said.

The wind also lifted Todd’s storage building blowing it two blocks away from where it originally stood, he said. Before it returned to the ground, the flying building had damaged a fence and a truck.

“I’ve never seen anything with this strong of a wind before,” Todd said. “I was glad that we didn’t get injured, that the Lord protected us.”

In Raleigh, a crash was reported on Interstate 440 near Capital Boulevard as a result of wet roads and a car got stuck in floodwaters on Lynn Road near Glenwood Avenue.

Fishel said Triangle residents should wake up to sunny skies Saturday, but the sunshine will be short lived, as rain moves back in for the first part of the day Sunday.

“By time we get to the wee hours of the morning tomorrow, it looks like we will be rain free,” he said.

The week will be warm, with Saturday, Monday and Tuesdays in the 60s. Sunday will see a quick drop in temperatures, but things will warm up again in time for New Year’s Eve.

“It’s certainly not going to be cold ushering in the New Year,” Fishel said.

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