The North Carolina Cooperative Extension reports that the western counties of North Carolina saw an average of 75.2 inches for the year in 2013 which is nearly 10 inches higher than the previous annual record and nearly twice the normal annual rain fall of 40-45 inches. The heavy amounts of precipitation lead to a landslide last January that closed Highway 441 through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for weeks. There were other landslides as well as high levels of flash flooding and erosion reported throughout the region during the year. The Cooperative Extension says in agriculture, dry weather crops, such as tobacco, were the most effected, but nearly all aspects of growing saw changes. Hay growing was effected for cattle raisers, and even the regions bee colonies saw lower production since bees cannot fly and pollinate in the rain. Last year’s record rain fall has regional farmers hoping for a dryer 2014 with the approaching spring planting season.