Flash Flood Watch in effect

Published 11:07 am Wednesday, September 29, 2010

After an extremely dry summer, it appears the Roanoke-Chowan area and all of eastern ‘Carolina will experience a drought-buster today and tomorrow.

The remnants of what is now Tropical Depression #16 is expected to combine with a stalled frontal system along the southeast coast, producing heavy rain along with thunderstorm activity. A strong southerly flow along and east of the front should carry additional moisture from the tropical cyclone over Florida into the Carolinas later today.

Once the cyclone combines with the frontal boundary, the storm is expected to become subtropical in nature. Winds are not expected to be an issue with this storm system, but rainfall amounts will be significant.

With that in mind, the National Weather Service Office in Wakefield, Va. has placed all of eastern North Carolina and southside Virginia under a Flash Flood Watch from now until Thursday afternoon.

Weather Service officials said the rain today will be heavy at times and will increase in intensity overnight.

Rainfall amounts from this system are expected to range between 3 and 4 inches over the watch area. There is the possibility that some isolated areas could experience heavier amounts of up to 7 inches.

That rainfall, combined with the 3.5 inches that fell earlier this week, will cause flooding problems, especially in low-lying areas. Those living in those areas are advised to keep a close eye on rising water levels and take any evasive action when necessary. Small streams and creeks can quickly rise and cause flooding problems.

Motorists should be aware of the possibility of flooded roads, which should never be crossed. Just one foot of moving water can cause a small vehicle to be swept off the roadway.

Isolated tornadoes embedded within thunderstorms are also a possibility with this system.

The tropical system, which this morning (Wednesday) was over the southern tip of Florida, may briefly intensify into Tropical Storm Nicole. However, it is expected to be downgraded to a subtropical system by the time it reaches North Carolina. Its projected path brings it across Eastern ‘Carolina by midday Thursday.

Meanwhile a high wind watch is in effect through Thursday evening for coastal areas, including the Outer Banks. Residents and tourists along the coast can expect winds at 30 – 45 mph, with gusts up to 55 mph.

A high surf advisory is also in effect for all beaches through tomorrow. Big waves, dangerous rip currents, minor beach erosion, and some ocean overwash are all possible.

Skies are expected to clear by Friday. The weekend outlook is delightful, with highs in the low to mid 70’s and overnight lows in the 50’s.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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