West Gets Dryer While East Gets Rainy Relief

We turn to climatologist Corey Davis for a look back at last Saturday’s rain event, and I don’t think we were expecting all the rain that we got last Saturday. But some areas really got a good good dousing, didn’t they?

That’s right, Mike. It’s really a case of good news and bad news on the drought map this week. And the good news is some of those areas, especially in the Triangle in North Carolina, and North toward the Virginia border, so a lot more rain than we really expected from that frontal system and move through last Saturday, we were only looking at totals of maybe half an inch to three quarters of an inch, in some places, some more than double that an inch and a half to almost two inches. So that’s basically two weeks’ worth of rain falling in a single day for this time of the year. Certainly no one’s going to complain about that even for it happening on a Saturday because that was the first rain a lot of those areas had seen in several weeks. So as a result, we have seen some improvements mainly around Raleigh, and Durham, North toward Oxford, on the Drought Monitor map this week, those areas had been abnormally dry. And now they’re just back to pretty normal conditions. But like you say, there’s also been some degradation, especially in the upstate in South Carolina, and the first southern mountains in North Carolina. These are places that sell really less than a quarter inch from that system last Saturday. And that’s just continued to build those deficits over the last month, some places have seen less than an inch of rain over the last month. So we are seeing moderate drought in place across those areas. At this point, the main impacts are really to the surface water conditions. A lot of the streams and rivers are running a little bit low. I was just in Asheville late last week, and I saw the French Broad River there, how low it was, there was a lot of exposed bank there. And we do see that reflected in the stream flows as well. So again, for this time of the year, those are the main impacts you would expect. If it does stay dry over the next few weeks. Once those leaves have changed, and they start to fall off the trees, we could start to see an uptick in fire danger as well, because that would really increase the fuel loading with all those dry dead leaves. But I will hope for a little more rain between now and say the middle of November.

Did South Carolina get anything out of that system on Saturday?

It was really mixed conditions across South Carolina last week. And in that case, really the farther east you went, the better off they were around Charleston, they had a little over an inch, the Columbia area was around half an inch and then again, as you headed farther to the north and west, closer to the North Carolina and Georgia border, they were only down around a quarter inch. So again, as a result, Greenville Spartanburg those areas remaining in moderate drought this week, and we have seen just a little bit of expansion on the South Carolina side of the border.

As we get closer to the end of October, we start thinking about that first freeze some frost conditions. So what are you seeing in the forecast right now?

Well, we do have a chance of at least a few cooler nights early next week, especially on Sunday night and Monday night. At this point, most of the forecasts are showing low temperatures getting down in the low 40s, maybe the upper 30s in some outlying areas. So not looking at a widespread freeze event. There could be some very scattered frost on those nights early next week. But Mike, it’s really about two weeks early for us to see a widespread freeze, I usually get Halloween is that guideposts for the average first freeze date sometime in late October, early November is when that typically happens. So again, not expecting to freeze anytime, at least in the next week. But certainly something to be watchful for as we head toward the end of the month.

Any activity in the Atlantic to be concerned about right now?

Well, as of Wednesday, we do have another named storm that this is tropical storm Tammy that’s just developed on the east side of the Caribbean islands. It’s not something to be concerned about. It’s expected to take a pretty sharp curve to the north here over the next couple of days. So it will say out at sea of a mike, we talked about you know that above normal season all those forecasts have proven to be accurate. And now we’re working toward the end of the alphabet, there’s only two names left on the typical list for the season. So still a chance with a little over a month left in hurricane season that we can exhaust those names and move on to that supplemental list that we talked about.

I know we were like halfway through the season. And they updated the forecast. We only had had maybe three maybe four named storms, as I recall at that point. And I scoffed, I laughed. I said, huh, they’re saying we’re still gonna have an above average season. And yeah, they were right. That’s amazing.

It really is Mike. Again, it shows the value of the longer range forecasting that we have. I was in the same boat. I thought that by the time we got to the middle of August, and I’d only seen that handful of storms for us to even get to the normal levels, which would have meant getting nine or 10 more storms would be a stretch. And again, we’ve seen how active September and October have been so shows you not to count out those forecasts even when it looks like it’s going in the complete opposite direction.