Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Heavy Rain Threat Continues Through Midweek

Heavy rains have already fallen over parts of eastern North Carolina since Sunday, and more is on the way from Wednesday into Thursday. Flooding will be a concern through at least midweek. Rainfall totals have reached just over 12" in Wilmington since Sunday. Over 10" of that came Monday making for the second highest daily rainfall on record in Wilmington. The highest ever one day rainfall in Wilmington was over 13" during Hurricane Floyd on September 15, 1999. Elsewhere, rain totals since Sunday have reached almost 6" in Fayetteville and 3" in Raleigh. Additional heavy rainfall on top of those totals will cause flooding problems.

Waves of low pressure will move along a stalled frontal boundary near the coast beginning Wednesday. That will spread rain across the eastern half of the state during the day with some of the heaviest rain coming Wednesday afternoon and night. The heavy rain will not only fall along the coast but also across the Triangle and Sandhills. An additional 5" of rain is possible across much of the area through early Thursday, but some locations could see much more than that.

A possible tropical system developing just south of Cuba this morning could add to the heavy rain threat through Thursday and into early Friday. Wednesday and Wednesday night's rain will not be related to this tropical system. This would only serve to add more rain Thursday. Most computer models bring this storm near south Florida Wednesday and then either off the southeast coast or up the Carolina coast Thursday into early Friday morning.

Stay tuned to News 14 Carolina and news14.com for the latest on the flooding threat through the week.

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Changes Could Be on the Way....

It has been a hot and dry September across North Carolina, and this hot and dry pattern will not let up for the rest of the week. Near record highs are expected around the Triangle through Saturday, but a cold front that will move through this weekend signaling what could be big changes in our weather next week.

Not only are cooler temperatures in the forecast for next week, but some of the best rain chances we have seen in quite a while are expected. Rain would be very welcome, as we are currently on track for one of the driest Septembers on record. At the Raleigh-Durham Airport, only 0.13" of rain has been measured this month and Wilmington has only recorded 0.18". That puts Wilmington more than 15" behind in rainfall for the year.

There is still some disagreement among extended weather models on exactly what days next week we will see rain. Beginning Sunday, we should have a chance for rain through at least the middle of next week. While some of those days may feature little to no rain, other days could feature thunderstorms and heavy rain. Forecast details on the timing of the best chances for rain next week should be ironed out over the next few days.

Looking ahead to late next week, our attention may have to turn to the tropics. This morning we're already watching a tropical wave in the southeastern Caribbean that could eventually become a player in weather across the southeastern United States.

Most computer models seen in the above image from Colorado State University keep this tropical wave in the Caribbean the next several days bringing it near Central America and then Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula by early next week. During that time, it appears the tropical wave will develop into at least a tropical storm. If that happens, it would be named Matthew.

Since this storm has not even developed yet, there is a lot of uncertainty on exactly where it may go. It is worth noting that the GFS model has been consistent in bringing this storm into the Gulf of Mexico sometime toward the end of next week. One run of the model this morning even brings the storm off the Carolina coast the following weekend (first few days of October).

A lot could change with this possible tropical system over the coming days though. Stay tuned for our tropical updates at :21 after the hour for the latest.

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hot and Dry September So Far...

As I write this post, the Triangle is about to tie the record for the most number of days in a year with highs of 90 or higher and rainfall deficits are climbing across the state. Wilmington's deficit stands at over 13.5" for the year. Raleigh-Durham's deficit is now over 7".

The hot and dry pattern does not appear to be letting up with no signs of rain for at least the next 7 days. The driest September on record for Raleigh-Durham was September 1985 when only 0.23" of rain fell. So far this month, only 0.13" of rain has fallen at RDU. Of course, we still have half of September to catch up on rainfall. However, the outlook beyond 7 days is still dry. The 8 to 14 day outlook calls for below normal rainfall across the Carolinas.

Soaking rains from a tropical system could be the only hope to break out of our dry pattern anytime soon. While the tropics are active, any tropical systems through this week and into early next week will stay far away from North Carolina.

Our weather pattern could change toward the end of September, but for now the hot and dry weather continues...

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Hurricane Earl -- Thursday morning update

Hurricane Earl remains a powerful hurricane just off the Carolina coast this morning. There has not been much change in the forecast track for the storm over the last 24 to 36 hours. The storm should be tracking to the north just brushing past the North Carolina coast tonight. The eye of the storm may get very close to Cape Hatteras between midnight and 3am.

Even though the center of the storm may stay just off shore, Earl remains a very large hurricane. Hurricane force winds extend 90 miles from the storm's center. Tropical storm force winds extend 230 miles from the storm's center. Much of the North Carolina coast will at least experience those tropical storm force winds with hurricane force winds possible from the Crystal Coast through the Outer Banks.

The Outer Banks will experience the worst of the storm late tonight through the early morning hours. The intense winds will create high surf that will likely wash over parts of Highway 12. Street flooding can be expected along with wind damage and power outages.

Crystal Coast residents should be making their final preparations for the possibility for hurricane force wind gusts tonight. The winds will be picking up through the afternoon as rain bands begin to move inland. Winds may gust to 75mph or slightly higher tonight.

Along the Cape Fear coast and inland toward Wilmington and Jacksonville, winds will not be as strong but are still expected to reach tropical storm force strength. Gusts up to 60mph cannot be ruled out.

Central North Carolina including the Triangle, Sandhills, Triad, and Charlotte area are not expected to be impacted by the storm.

If you have any questions about Earl, Weather on the Ones meteorologists are answering your questions as time allows on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WeatherontheOnes

Stay tuned for the very latest on Hurricane Earl every 10 minutes on News 14 Carolina.

Lee Ringer
News 14 Meteorologist

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Hurricane Earl Update -- Wednesday Morning

Hurricane Earl remains a very powerful hurricane today moving to the northwest. A direct path to the northwest would bring the storm directly over North Carolina by Thursday night. Fortunately, most all computer models indicate the storm will turn more to the north and north-northeast at the last minute just skirting the coast. The eye may remain just offshore possibly crossing near Cape Hatteras into the early morning hours Friday. The storm is so large though, that much of the coast, especially the Outer Banks, will be battered by the storm.

Along the Outer Banks, we expect hurricane force wind gusts (75mph+) by Thursday night through early Friday morning along with heavy rain bands. High surf could cause Highway 12 in parts of the Outer Banks to be washed over.

Just south of the Outer Banks along the Crystal Coast (Morehead City-Atlantic Beach-Emerald Isle), there's a slight chance for a brief hurricane force wind gust, but tropical storm force winds (40mph-74mph) are expected along with locally heavy rain.

Along the Cape Fear coast, occasional tropical storm force wind gusts are possible along with some rain.

Inland areas across central North Carolina should not be impacted by Earl based on its latest forecast track.

We'll have to watch very closely for the northerly turn tomorrow. There is still a possibility that that turn could take longer to occur. In that case, there could still be a dramatic change in the forecast.

Stay tuned to News 14 Carolina and news14.com for the latest updates.