From the Vine – Rain 2021

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If Eddie Rabbit (country singer) was still alive, he would definitely be enjoying our recent weather patterns, because he had a #1 hit song, I Love a Rainy Night. For us, he could change it to I Love a Rainy Year. One question that I have gotten more frequently since fall has been “when is it ever going to quit raining?”  The inundation of rain we have had the last several months has affected everyone within our county and region. You can’t ride down the road and not see mud holes, water standing in ditches, ponding in fields, or standing on the highway. And you know there is a problem when the most popular memes on the internet are about rain. Some of my favorite memes are mud holes with the caption “Thank goodness it is raining again, because my mud was getting dehydrated”. Another is a picture of a guy with a fish on a leash on the highway with a caption “walking my fish”. My favorite is of Forest Gump when he was in Vietnam and the caption reads “One day it started raining and it didn’t stop for 4 months.”

I’m sure most of you feel the same way, that it hasn’t quit raining for 4 months, and you are ready for it to dry out. So, when can we expect drier weather? I contacted the NC Climate Office and asked their experts. They explained that we are currently in a La Nina weather pattern, which is typically associated with drier and warmer winters, but we haven’t seen the dryness over eastern NC. Our weather setup over the last few months has brought the jet stream over us and with it, storm systems that have tapped into the ocean’s moisture. This has brought us our current rainy conditions. Moving forward, they are forecasting the same weather pattern for the next 1-3 months before it is expected to break in the spring.

Historically, North Carolina’s average rainfall is 49” per year. For the previous 4 years our rainfalls recorded in Clinton are as follows:

2017:  46.6”

2018:  64.5”

2019:  54.9”

2020:  69.1”

In January 2021, there was 8.3” of rain recorded in Clinton and .8” of rain recorded in February. We are currently 200% above normal precipitation for this year, and more rain is forecasted.

The continuing wet weather in eastern NC has been a frustration for farmers, cattlemen, gardeners, and homeowners. Some soybeans are yet to be harvested and small grains such as wheat and oats may see reduced yields since fields have been too wet to apply fertilizer. Gardeners can’t work their ground, preemergent herbicides may not work on lawns, and many driveways have turned into mud runs.

The good news is that 99 counties in NC are free from drought and the weather is forecasted to break in spring. Keep your boots and umbrella handy until then. To learn more, visit the NC Climate Office.