By Ray Wyche
Parts of Columbus County received 14.30 inches of rain last month, leaving residents wondering if the heavy precipitation is an indication of what this year’s hurricane season is going to be like.
The U.S. Weather Service figures the hurricane season began June 1.
The extensive rainfall in May fell on Columbus County ground that had been saturated by previous rains. Agriculture officials say there was no damage to crops as only a few crops had been planted. Some farmers complained about having to wait to plant some types of products because extensive rains had left the ground too wet to till.
The normal rainfall for May at Border Belt Tobacco Research Station seven miles northwest of Whiteville is 4.26 inches, according to the Weather Service, but thus far this year, some areas of the county have measured 32.31 inches of rain. The normal precipitation to this date at the Research Station is 20.16 inches.
The more than 14 inches of rain that fell last month is not a record for May rainfall totals; in September 1999, 18.87 inches fell on the county.
The average high temperature for last month was 83.22 degrees, compared to 81.99 degrees, the average high since record keeping began in 1954. The average low for May 2018 was 63.58 degrees, compared to the long-term average low thermometer reading of 42.09 degrees.