Local residents likely don’t need to see the numbers to know 2018 was one of the wettest years in recent history, but data from Kansas State University shows just how much.
Records from the KSU Agricultural Research Center at Hays show the cumulative precipitation total for 2018 at 37.55 inches, the third-highest total on record since 1868.
That’s 14.77 inches above the center’s 146-year average of 22.78 inches and 14.09 inches above the National Weather Service’s 30-year average of 23.46 inches.
Only 1951 and 1993 — both years of devastating floods in Hays — have larger totals at 47.34 and 37.99 inches, respectively.
Seven months of 2018 recorded above their 146-year average, according to the center’s records, but only one month — April — recorded an inch or more below the month’s average. Just under three-quarters of an inch was recorded in April, 1.37 inches below the average.
July was the wettest month in 2018, with a total of 7.66 inches. Most of that came July 6. The Dodge City National Weather Service office on that day reported more than an inch of rain in 20 minutes from a storm system that sat over Ellis County much of the morning. The research center's 24-hour total recorded the next morning was 3.11 inches.
Runoff from that storm overwhelmed Lincoln Tunnel, flooding areas around Ash and Fort streets. Other areas of town saw flooding as well.
October was the second-highest month for precipitation in 2018, with 6.72 inches, followed by August with 5.33 inches, and May with 4.86 inches.
February was the driest month, at 0.15 inch.