Published: 2013-07-11 07:27:00
Updated: 2013-07-11 23:22:43
Posted July 11, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Widespread showers and thunderstorms poured into central North Carolina on Thursday afternoon ahead of a slow-moving cold front that sagged into the western part of the state.
When that cold front combined with a huge disturbance in the upper atmosphere Thursday night, the rain intensified, ushering in a wet period that will last through the weekend, said WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel.
"It looks like everybody is going to be dealing with this rain activity over the next couple of days," Fishel said. "With the soggy, saturated ground, flooding is definitely possible."
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for much of central North Carolina from 10:45 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday. Weather Alert Center
Heavy showers moved into western and southern portions of Wake County shortly after 3 p.m., dumping rain on parts of Raleigh, Apex and Cary.
The southern counties began seeing torrential rains around 4 p.m., including parts of Fayetteville.
Rainfall projections show North Carolina's coastal and eastern counties getting up to 3 inches of rain in the next few days, while the Triangle, Sand Hills and central counties will see up to 1.5 inches.
"It will be a good soaking for the entire state," Fishel said.
Daytime highs on Thursday topped out in the mid-80s, a few degrees below normal for the middle of July. Temperatures will linger in the low 80s Friday and Saturday before steadily climbing to 90 degrees by the start of next week.
The approaching frontal system generated dozens of storm reports in the Ohio Valley Wednesday, delaying flights at several airports in Mid-Atlantic states. Every flight arriving and departing from Raleigh-Durham International Airport late Wednesday was delayed – some by two to three hours.
Tracking Chantal's remnants
Tropical Storm Chantal was downgraded Wednesday to a tropical wave as its scattered clouds drifted quickly westward toward Jamaica. But heavy rains from the weakened system continued to drench parts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and force the evacuation of thousands from flood-prone areas.
What was once a fast-moving storm began degenerating late Wednesday afternoon about 230 miles (370 kilometers) east-southeast of the Jamaican capital of Kingston.
Its remnants still packed maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph), but a reconnaissance plane found that Chantal lacked the closed circulation necessary to be classified as a storm.
"It's fallen apart, but it still has the chance to come up the East Coast and generate rainfall in parts of Florida," said WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner of Chantal's remnants.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the wave was expected to spread over Jamaica and eastern Cuba into Thursday. It was projected to move over or near the Florida peninsula by Friday, where heavy wind shear is expected to keep it from reforming as a storm.