**SUBSCRIBER EXCLUSIVE** Heavy Rain Brings Flood Risk Back To Western NC.
High Impact Weather Outlook
Boy for the last three years it has really been feast or famine, hasn’t it? Well this comes as no surprise then that we are talking about going from being significantly dry to significantly wet. In 2016 it was drought and wildfires. In 2017 it started to rain. In 2018 it continued to rain, setting record annual rainfall totals at many locations. Then we remained super wet through the first part of this year. We started off the first half of this year with rainfall amounts averaging 8-10 inches above normal.
In May we dried out in a hurry and quickly started needing rain after temps went straight from Spring to above normal even for Summer standards. Areas of Eastern NC and SC saw the return of the drought in just one month.
June says. “well hold my beer.”
Not to be outdone June is now shaping up to be significantly wet. In fact, I’m almost certain that many in our coverage area will receive their entire June normal rainfall this weekend.
I’m reminded of the movie Forrest Gump. “One day it started to rain, and it didn’t stop for four months.” Welcome to June Western NC. A strong blocking high over Greenland and an upper level low tapping into tropical moisture will work together to strangle all the toads across Western NC.
This all starts a little today. A little weak boundary will move through as energy passes by to the North. Widespread thunderstorms will develop this afternoon and then become severe as they spread Southeast. There could be some localized flash flooding just from today and this isn’t even the area of the atmosphere that holds the highest moisture content. Rainfall rates today could reach locally 2 inches of rain per hour. The one saving grace for today is that the thunderstorms should move along and not train over the same areas (see other post about severe weather timeline). All in all .50 to 2 inches of rain will be possible today with the highest amounts, we think, being In Catawba and Alexander Counties.
That sets the stage for the weekend. Thursday will feature shower and storm chances but will in large be quieter and a much better outdoor day than today will be.
Friday afternoon showers will really get underway, becoming widespread Friday Night. The first axis of torrential rainfall will arrive Friday Night into Saturday Morning. Rainfall rates could exceed normal by as much as 180 - 200%. That means rainfall rates will approach 2 inches per hour across the board. By this time flash flood guidance will be lower due to Wednesday and Thursdays rain. If antecedent conditions were wet going into this event then flooding would be significant. Being though that we are very dry we will be able to tolerate a little more water. Rainfall totals Friday Night into Saturday will be the highest right along the East slope of the Blue Ridge, then will taper back the further east you come off of the slope. So Eastern slopes could receive 1-3 with local 4 inch amounts Friday Night into Saturday. Areas just off to the East of the Eastern slopes such as Old Fort, Marion, Lake James, Oak Hill, Gamewell, Lenoir, and Kong’s Creek will likely only see 1 - 1.5 inches overnight Friday into Saturday. While all of the remaining areas totals will be .50 to 1.5 inches by midday Saturday,
The second round of torrential rainfall gets in here Saturday Night into Sunday and this could be a little heavier. It looks like showers and storms will cluster Saturday Night again and train over the same areas over and over again. In turn the flash flood risk goes up another notch Saturday Night. New rainfall totals of 2-4 inches should be common along the immediate Eastern slopes, 1-3 inches in the western towns/cities, and then 1-2 inches in the eastern and southern foothills.
The third batch of torrential rain gets in here Sunday Night into Monday and that could be the heaviest. Rain rates could exceed 2 inches per hour and I’m not ready to put a forecast amount on Sunday Nights rainfall just yet.
As any other time in weather, things can and will change that will cause the need for adjustments to this forecast.
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