State

2015 goes out as seventh wettest year on record in Lexington

Warm winter temperatures caused trees around Fayette Mall to flower.
Warm winter temperatures caused trees around Fayette Mall to flower. mcornelison@herald-leader.com

Since 1872, there have been only six years with more precipitation in Lexington than 2015.

Of the top seven wettest years in recorded history, three have been since 2000, National Weather Service meteorologist Ron Steve said. The wettest was in 2011 and the third wettest was in 2004. In 2015, Lexington got 59.89 inches of precipitation.

Though the year ended warmer than usual, it started as one of the snowiest on record.

This year included the third snowiest February and the second snowiest March on record, Steve said. In those two months, the city received about 32.5 inches of snow, according to National Weather Service reports.

Lexington has seen “wild swings” throughout the year, Steve said.

There have also been turbulent severe weather days in 2015, with areas in Eastern and Western Kentucky experiencing severe flooding, Steve said.

In addition to the sixth wettest, December was the second warmest on record, Steve said. The average temperature was about 50.2 degrees, while most years the average is closer to 36 degrees.

“It was warm in November, but it was off-the-charts warm in December,” said Steve, who works in the National Weather Service’s Louisville office.

Mary Kemper saw flashes of spring Wednesday with newly formed berries and blooming buds on trees at Fayette Mall that stopped her in her tracks.

“I don’t ever remember seeing spring blooms in December,” Kemper, 75, said.

And even if a cold snap will “almost certainly” cause the blooms to perish, Kemper said she’s thankful she didn’t miss it.

“It was a miracle,” she said.

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