Welcome to the fourth quarter! Three months remain in 2015, and what is historically one of our drier months won’t start that way! Details on lots of rain and a hurricane are up on today’s Tri-Cities Weather Blog Forecast. Thanks for stopping by!
The weather world is all aflutter about Hurricane Joaquin (pronounced wah-KEEN if you’re interested), and with good reason. There’s another low pressure closer to the South Carolina/Georgia coast that will cause us problems even if the hurricane doesn’t. But more on those two areas of low pressure in a bit.
Right now, there are scattered rain showers around parts of the area as of 5:25pm. Temperatures are in the mid to upper 60’s for most of us, but for folks like Boone, where there’s already been a lot of rain, they haven’t seen 60 yet. Or if they did earlier, it didn’t happen for long. We should have cooler than normal conditions through most of the weekend, as evidenced by today’s short forecast. Discussion to come!
Tonight-Cloudy, scattered mainly light rain showers. Low near 60. Fog possible in spots.
Friday-Mostly cloudy, rain likely but mostly late. High 67.
Friday night-Rain, with heavy rainfall at times, especially after midnight. Low 57.
Saturday-Rain. Heavy rainfall likely. High 63.
Sunday-Cloudy, scattered showers likely. High 65.
Monday-Partly to mostly cloudy, rain starts to taper off. Highs near 70.
There’s a lot to discuss, but first, the National Weather Service has our entire area under a Flash Flood Watch starting Saturday morning at 8am through Monday at 7am. There will very likely be heavy rain, and flooding will be an issue in spots. Keep that in mind, and if you normally have to go to higher ground in situations like this, get your plans together to do just that, starting Saturday morning.
All of this rain is not, at least just yet, caused by Hurricane Joaquin. There is low pressure just off the east coast–just west of the hurricane–that is sending all this rain in here. It’s part of that cold front that we got through here a while ago. All of that is stuck on the coast at the moment, causing them a lot of rain already.
Here is where Joaquin is located right now. This is a tracking cone the National Hurricane Center produces as their forecast, and it goes through Tuesday. As of late this afternoon, Joaquin is a Category 4 hurricane, with winds sustained at the center (average wind, not gusts) of 135 miles per hour. This storm has strengthened very quickly! It is giving the Bahamas some horrible conditions right now, but it’s about to make a right turn to the north, as seen in the NHC’s prediction.
The cone is a prediction of the most likely area the hurricane will be through Tuesday afternoon. Right now, it looks like that low off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina might steer this thing far enough out to where there’s a chance it might go out to sea. That would be great news for folks along the east coast, from North Carolina up to Cape Cod! But as this picture indicates, the storm will be close enough to the coast to cause several problems, especially if it’s still a Tropical Storm as it gets near Boston.
There’s reason to believe that Joaquin and the low will merge, and that might help everyone out, causing less rain. The computer models are split between this track and another one taking it toward Bermuda and away from the coast. Should that happen, the low will still be around, but it will help steer the hurricane out of the way. That’s what we need to hope for at this point for our friends on the coast!
Also, keep in mind that the center points of this hurricane are not the only places that will see effects from the storm. Tropical storm force winds always extend quite a bit around the center. The Carolinas are going to get a lot of rain from this. I saw a five day graphic earlier that posted a chance for 20 inches of rain in southwest North Carolina between now and Tuesday. If that happens, flooding will be pretty severe.
As it is, flooding might get pretty bad for us, so keep that in mind this weekend. It’s not necessarily tropical moisture, except on the chance that Joaquin takes a left turn and makes landfall in North Carolina. That would bring lots of rain across the mountains into our area. The hurricane still involves a lot of uncertainty…so don’t believe for a second that the track of the storm will be juts like what happens above. It can and probably will be different, and the forecasts will change each day to reflect that.
For now, make sure you’re ready if you’re in an area prone to flooding. Get to higher ground, likely a friend or relative’s house if you need to and spend the weekend. There’s a chance we could see a month’s worth of rain in the next five days, even on the backside of the mountains (from the storm’s perspective). That will cause flooding in lots of places in and around these mountains.
Tomorrow shouldn’t be all that bad, so if you need to prepare for what’s coming, that would be a good idea! I know a lot of people will be at the race track buying football tickets, but save a little cash and make sure you have a weather radio and some supplies like food, water, and medicine, just in case things get rough with flooding this weekend. I’ll be watching things either from the station or at my house, so I’ll keep updates flowing here. You can also follow me on Twitter (see the right side of the page) for more instant updates and any pictures I find from this mess. And, I’ll have another forecast for the weekend tomorrow afternoon.