Ophelia Brought Eastern Moisture Levels Up, but Still Some Dryness in Western SC, NC

Wow, what a wacky weather weekend we had last week, and the few days leading up to that did not really give us a clue about what to expect. I’m Mike Davis. I’m talking with Corey Davis climatologist from the state climate office of North Carolina. Of course, I’m talking about, what was it technically called, a tropical cyclone, tropical storm? What was Ophelia, actually?

Well, Mike, it went through kind of a transition late last week it started out is really just an area of low pressure that was forming along that stalled frontal boundary off the coast of Florida. There was a lot of uncertainty around this system for several days really weren’t even sure if it was going to develop into a name storm. It spent a day as what the hurricane center called potential Tropical Cyclone 16. And then finally, by midday last Friday, it did become Tropical Storm Ophelia. It was packing pretty strong winds at that point. And when it finally made landfall around the Emerald Isle last Saturday morning, it was a very strong Tropical Storm sustained winds of 70 miles per hour. So borderline hurricane strength. All that meant that it was a pretty surprising storm, just with how fast it developed.

So naturally, that means we have no areas of dryness now in the Carolinas. Right, Corey?

Well, not so fast, Mike, you know, we play this game sometimes, especially at this time of the year where we’ll have a strong, wet, named storm move through and bring a lot of rain to a part of the state. Meanwhile, the other part of the state starts drying out. And that’s exactly what we’ve got going on at the moment. If you look across western North Carolina, especially the southern mountains, and then upstate South Carolina as well looking at the Greenville and Spartanburg areas, they really haven’t seen a whole lot of rain over the last month. They basically didn’t see anything from either Idalia or Ophelia. And we’re looking at some places like Shelby, just on the west side of Charlotte, they’ve only had about an inch of rain in the last month. So again, that’s a big contrast and some of those areas down east that have had 15, 16 inches of rain, but that does mean we’ve got a little bit of abnormal dryness showing up on the map and those areas. Again, one decent rain event could help a lot in those spots. But we know how dry it’s been. And the forecast is showing another dry week coming up.

All right, and for the forecast, still maintaining these fall light temperatures?

Yeah, that’s the good news in the forecast. We’re going to be very seasonable through the weekend and even on through the middle of next week. Nice sunny afternoons in the upper 70s to low 80s. The only bad news is that we don’t really have any rain in the forecast. So for some of those western areas, and even across the southern Piedmont in North Carolina, where they didn’t see quite as much rain from Ophelia. They would like to have a little bit more rain and we’re just not seeing that coming up. So we’ll enjoy the fall days while they last though it’s certainly won’t complain about these nice temperatures.