I can't recall a year that brought such an amazing array of dazzling but dangerous weather to Missouri and Illinois. 2008 will go down in the books as a year of wild, wet, and tumultuous weather in and around St. Louis.
The year was bookended by severe thunderstorms, getting off to an early start with a round of hail, wind damage, and a couple of tornadoes on January 7th. At the other end of the calendar, flash flooding and severe weather impacted much of our area near the close of the year on Saturday, December 27. One tornado touchdown was confirmed in Lincoln County, Missouri, leaving behind a mile-and-a-half swath of damage.
We had a whopper of a late-winter snowstorm on March 3rd and 4th with more than 10 inches falling across most of St. Louis County. At one point, Lambert International Airport reported 4.7 inches of snow in just two hours! The storm total tied for the third heaviest March snowfall in St. Louis history.
On April 18th, I, along with many in Missouri and Illinois, experienced my first earthquake. It was a magnitude 5.2, and woke people up from Indiana to Missouri. The days that followed brought several aftershocks, some of which could be felt in the St. Louis area.
And then... someone turned on the faucet. Relentless rains sent rivers rising, and major flooding occurred along many local waterways. The Mississippi River was particularly hard hit. The remnants of Hurrican Gustav on September 4th, followed by Ike's leftovers on the 14th, certainly didn't help the situation.
By far, the most impressuve stat to come out of 2008 is the new annual precipitation record. We'll end the year with a total of 57.97 inches of precipitation for St. Louis, making 2008 the wettest year on record for us. Not only that, but we obliterated the previous record of 54.97 inches set in 1982. Topping the old number by nearly three inches should ensure that this record stands for a long time to come.
The St. Louis National Weather Service office has put together a comprehensive list of 2008's top weather events. If you'd like to read more about them, and see some great photographs of the aftermath, check out their full report.
I wish everyone a very happy and safe New Year! From all of us here in the 4Warn Storm Center, thank you for your viewership and for your frequent visits to KMOV.com. See you in 2009.