When future precipitation climatologists take a look back at 2018, the one word which will be used is average.

The final precipitation for The Missourian office in Downtown Washington was 45.56 inches.

That’s slightly over the 1951-2018 yearly average of 43.63 inches, but still ranks as the driest year since 2012, when 33.27 inches of precipitation was measured.

Last year marked the fourth year in a row that precipitation was down. Following 2015, which had the second-wettest year on record at 68.32 inches, precipitation dropped to 48.49 inches in 2016 and 47.26 inches in 2017.

Unlike those years, this marked the first time since 2013 without an extreme month (over 10 or less than 1 inch of precipitation).

By months, the 2018 precipitation, along with the monthly average from 1951-2018 was:

• January — 1.92 measured, 2.36 average;

• February — 5.74 measured, 2.43 average;

• March — 4.60 measured, 3.54 average;

• April — 2.45 measured, 4.28 average;

• May — 3.98 measured, 5.01 average;

• June — 5.18 measured, 4.38 average;

• July — 1.06 measured, 4.00 average;

• August — 4.88 measured, 3.56 average;

• September — 2.71 measured, 3.83 average;

• October — 3.75 measured, 3.45 average;

• November — 4.25 measured, 3.66 average; and

• December 5.04 measured, 3.15 average.

That ended up being seven months over average and five under average.

Highlights of individual readings follow below.


The first precipitation reading of 2018 was Jan. 5 with a dusting of snow which ended with 0.01 of an inch of precipitation. 

Readings are made each day at 8 a.m., or at that time on a Monday for weekends. There were times where readings were made at a time other than 8 a.m.

Freezing precipitation was measured Jan. 12 and 1.25 inches of snow was recorded Jan. 15 following a weekend.

The most precipitation for a single reading was 1.12 inches measured Jan. 22.

An EF0 tornado was confirmed in the Gray Summit area. The twister measured 25 yards in width with a path of 0.18 of a mile. It touched down at 1:12 a.m. and lifted a minute later. Maximum wind was 75 mph. 

The storm dropped west of Decker Road and Dusty Road and snapped several trees before crossing an open corn field. Debris from that field was detected by National Weather Service radar at 4,300 feet and lasted 15 minutes after the storm dissipated.


The shortest month started with a dusting of slow over the weekend and measured Feb. 5. The total precipitation was 0.04 of an inch.

Freezing rain was measured Feb. 6, a small amount of snow qualified for Feb. 7 and sleet was in the area Feb. 8.

More snow was measured during the weekend measured Monday, Feb. 19.

The top measurement was 1.70 inches measured Feb. 21. There was a 1.63-inch reading Feb. 24 at noon.


Snow was measured once, March 12.

Overall, precipitation was measured on 13 different days. 

Twice, readings of over an inch were measured.

The top reading was 1.21 inches March 20. An inch was measured March 27.


April started with snow and rain measured April 2.

Heavy storms dropped 1.70 inches of precipitation April 16. That was the biggest reading.

There were only five days of readings in April.


May continued April’s trend of few readings with only seven days of precipitation.

Storms were reported May 15.

The most precipitation in one day was 1.59 inches May 21.


The first really stormy month, June had the biggest reading of the year, 2.58 inches June 15 following a heavy storm.

Another day of major storms was recorded for the June 27 reading of 0.92 of an inch. There was a tornado warning issued with that event. 


Things dried up in July with only four days worth of precipitation.

The top reading came for the weekend measured July 30 and put the month over an inch. That event contributed 0.70 of the 1.06 inches for the entire month.


Normally one of the drier months, August yielded 11 days worth of readings with two being over an inch.

The top mark was 1.17 inches Aug. 20.

Another measurement of 1.08 inches was recorded Aug. 29 at 8:45 a.m. 


It was another dry month with only four days of readings. However, two of them were over the inch mark.

Remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon dropped 1.19 inches of precipitation for the weekend ending Sept. 8.

The other reading of over an inch came Sept. 26 at 1.05 inches.


There were eight days with rain, including weekends, during October. In fact, it rained on three different weekends.

The top measurement was 2.12 inches Oct. 8, which was a weekend reading. This was the second-highest reading of the year. None of the rest topped 0.43 of an inch.

The lone flood crest of the Missouri River at Washington happened in October. The river reached the 2018 high of 21.14 feet Oct. 14. Flood stage in Washington is 20 feet.


November was the snowiest month of the year with six different snow readings.

That started Nov. 9 with a trace amount. Snow fell Nov. 12 through the weekend. A total of 3 inches was measured Nov. 13 with 5 more inches Nov. 15. Snow also was measured Nov. 16 and Nov. 26.

The top reading was Nov. 5, when 0.98 of an inch was measured.

November had 11 different measurements.


For the most part, December was a bunch of small measurements. Snow was recorded Dec. 5 and Dec. 7.

The top readings came later in the month with 1.60 inches Dec. 27 and 1.40 inches Dec. 31.

The year ended with the Missouri River rising. It crested out just below flood stage Jan. 1 at 19.85 feet.