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If it seemed like it rained a lot in the past year, that's because it did, though not enough to break the overall yearly record for the capital city.

Rainfall totals for 2018 in Little Rock reached 71.41 inches, the fourth-highest rainfall total since record-keeping began for the Little Rock area in 1874, according to statistics from the National Weather Service in North Little Rock.

Little Rock's yearly average rainfall is 49.75 inches, based on a 30-year average. Little Rock's record is 81.79 inches, recorded in 2009.

North Little Rock recorded its second-highest year with 70.54 inches of rain in 2018, but records for North Little Rock's official precipitation total only date to 1975, said meteorologist Travis Shelton at the National Weather Service.

Periods of "just prolonged rainfall events" occurred in 2018's final months, Shelton said. Rainfall in December totaled 10.3 inches at the Adams Field weather station in Little Rock, the fifth-wettest December on record.

Tropical Storm Gordon in September led to 7 inches being recorded that month, followed by 8 inches of rain in October and 4.58 inches of rain recorded in November, Shelton said.

The highest monthly rainfall in Little Rock occurred, however, in February, when 14 inches of rainfall was recorded at Adams Field. That amount ranks as the ninth-highest monthly rainfall total at Adams Field for any month on record, he said.

Steady rainfall has also extended into the new year, with periods of rain Wednesday through Friday, but a drier week should be ahead, Shelton said.

"The rain we have right now is about to push out by midafternoon," Shelton said Friday. "Then we'll get a little bit more on Monday, but there's no more in the forecast that goes through Thursday."

Heavy rains broke yearly records in several cities in the southern and eastern United States, including record amounts of 79.36 inches in Asheville, N.C., 71.56 inches in Lexington, Ky., 60.29 inches in Raleigh, N.C., 66.28 inches in Washington, D.C., and 71.71 inches in Baltimore, according to totals listed on accuweather.com.

Atlanta had its second-wettest year on record with 70.03 inches of rain. Tuscaloosa, Ala., recorded its third-highest rainfall amount with 69.76 inches and Dothan, Ala., had its wettest year on record with 72.08 inches of rain. Rainfall amounts in December were the second-highest for that month in both Dothan and Tuscaloosa.

There is a good chance for higher-than-normal rainfall to continue in much of Arkansas for at least the early part of 2019, according to the National Weather Service three-month outlook for February through April, Shelton said. Temperatures, meanwhile, are expected to be in the normal range that time of year, he said. That will follow below-normal temperatures for much of the country, including Arkansas, for the latter half of January, according to the latest National Weather Service forecast for the next four weeks.

"In the climate outlook, there's a 40 percent probability for above-average precipitation for all but the northeastern quarter of the state," Shelton said of the three-month forecast. "For the northeastern corner of the state, the average precipitation amount is forecast to be normal. There is a 33 to 40 percent probability for above-normal precipitation for the northwest, west, central and southeast parts of the state, all but the northeast quarter."

Among other cities in the state recording near-record rainfall totals in 2018 were Pine Bluff and Camden, Shelton said. Pine Bluff had 76.83 inches recorded at Grider Field for the second-highest yearly rainfall there since 1905. Camden recorded 71.48 inches for its sixth-highest total.

Metro on 01/07/2019

Print Headline: Arkansas rainfall in 2018 exceeds average

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