A Foot of Rain is Possible
Good afternoon folks! Hope the first day of school is going well for most of us and unfortunately the forecast for the first week back is not very exciting and for some locations, possibly dangerous. We still expect roughly 3 - 5" of rain for a good portion of SW NC today through Friday, while the southern sections of Cherokee, Clay, Macon, Jackson, and Haywood counties (don't forget about northwestern Transylvania county) are on track to pick up 7 - 12" of rain! Since Sunday morning (as of midday Monday) several weather stations have surpassed the 6" mark in northwestern Transylvania county, so technically we have reached the forecasted amounts, but these were from individual downpours and the 7 - 12" forecast is actually across the entire escarpment area. Technicalities aside, we expect small landslides to occur with so much rain, mainly in the Highlands - Cashiers - Lake Toxaway area and of course flash flooding along small creeks and streams. This is all brought to us by a steady stream of moisture (well above average levels) out of the south, coupled with remnants of Fred crossing the region late Tuesday. The bulk of the heavy rainfall will be Monday night through Tuesday night, with a slight easing in coverage and intensities Wednesday afternoon. We'll experience coverage scaling back even further on Thursday but not enough to dry us out as we return a setup similar to this past Saturday and Sunday (muggy, pop up showers, high clouds). A front brings a round of thunderstorms to the region Friday and possibly again on Saturday but confidence is low for the upcoming weekend.
We'll kick off the timeline Monday night, as shower coverage ramps up to widespread by the early - mid evening hours, expanding from the escarpment where shower activity will continue for most of the day. An inch of rain is likely overnight for the interior portions of SW NC, while 1 - 3" is likely for the escarpment. Overnight lows settle into the upper 50's - mid 60's depending upon elevation.
Tuesday will be our wettest day of the week with consistent moderate - heavy rain and numerous downpours peppering the region from sunrise to sunset, extending through night into Wednesday morning. Its during this timeframe we expect small landslides to occur, alongside small creeks and steams breaking past their banks. Most of SW NC will pick 2 - 4" during this 24 hour window, while the upslope areas along the escarpment wring out double this amount (4 - 7"). As you can imagine temps will be cooler because of the steady flow of showers across the region, reaching the low 60's above 5500', while the valleys push into the mid 70's. Overnight lows settle into the low - upper 60's (not much movement from daytime highs).
Widespread rain starts the day on Wednesday with little interruption from the night before, however coverage should begin to scale back during the late afternoon hours. The problem is that moisture levels never really decline following Fred's exit and this steady supply of excess moisture hitting the Highlands Plateau will keep shower activity going through the day and night, spilling over into the interior portions of SW NC. Temps warm to the upper 60's - low 80's Wednesday under more cloud cover than sunshine. Overnight lows fall back to the low - upper 60's depending upon elevation.
Thursday and Friday are slightly different in that Thursday may offer up more sunshine than Friday but this will only lead to showers developing as above normal moisture levels stick around the region. Expect scattered showers and thunderstorms both days, with a possible line of thunderstorms Friday afternoon as a front approaches the region. Temps climb to the mid 80's both days across the valleys, with overnight lows in the upper 50's - mid 60's depending upon elevation.
We'll stop here and circle back Wednesday morning and post a discussion tomorrow if we think the forecast needs updating, but either way you slice it, a lot of rain is coming our way and the usual spots will likely flood, alongside some small landslides across the Highlands Plateau. Stay dry! Turn around, don't drown!