Rain falls in downtown Exmore in September during the wettest day recorded on the Eastern Shore in the last seven years. 

By Ted Shockley

If you thought it rained a lot last year on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, records show you are right. And the wetter-than-normal conditions could continue.

Northampton and Accomack counties had one of their soggiest years in memory in 2018, according to statistics at the local Virginia Tech research station.

In all, 53.60 inches of rain were measured at the Painter station, which is formally known as the Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

It has been keeping daily rainfall totals since 1940, or the past 78 years.

Last year’s total was almost 10 inches higher than the 78-year average. It was the second-highest total rainfall recorded on the Shore since 2009.

The wettest month last year was September, when 9.44 inches were measured.

Almost seven inches were recorded on Sept. 10 — the single-wettest day in the last seven years. That day nearby areas incurred 17 inches of rain, washing out the Hillsborough bridge and flooding streets in downtown Exmore.

Jon McGee, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield, said the Eastern Shore wasn’t alone.

“The entire Mid-Atlantic region had record rainfall,” he said.

“The El Nino pattern that we’ve seen is still expecting to continue into spring and probably summer,” said McGee. “There’s a good chance that we’ll continue to see bouts of wet weather.”

The wettest year on the Eastern Shore since 1940 was in 2004, when more than 69 inches of rainfall were measured in Painter.

The driest year was 1941, during which just 26.23 inches of rain fell. The second-driest year was 2010, when 29.45 inches were measured.