Fishel: 'Awfully good chance' annual rainfall record will be broken at RDU

Posted December 27, 2018 6:46 a.m. EST
Updated December 27, 2018 10:38 p.m. EST

— Wet weather is on the way Friday and for the weekend, capping off what could end up being the wettest year on record at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Light rain began falling in places across central North Carolina on Thursday night and the rain will pick up during the overnight hours, WRAL meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

Morning commuters will see a lull in the rain as they hit the road Friday, but more wet weather is expected for the afternoon and evening.

"It may not be all that terribly bad on your way to work tomorrow morning," Fishel said.

Along with the wet weather comes an unseasonably warm forecast high of 70 degrees. Temperatures will follow a pattern that is inverse from the norm over the next 12 to 18 hours, Fishel said.

"Whatever the temperature is at dinner time tonight, that will be the low for the night as temperatures will rise all night long, and parts of our area could reach 60 by morning. Then tomorrow, 60s and 70s will be the rule," he said.

The Triangle won't see the severity of storms this system sparked further south. The chance for any severe storms is only a 1 in North Carolina (on a scale of 1 to 5), but it is still something to be aware of, Fishel said.

"It's even possible one or two thunderstorms could get into the strong to severe category," he said.

Another .61 inches of rain needs to fall before Monday night at RDU to break the record for the wettest year, which was set in 1996. The record only includes measured rain at RDU, not elsewhere in the state.

"I think there's an awfully good chance if we don't [break the record] tomorrow, we certainly have a shot of doing it Sunday and Monday," Fishel said.

Saturday looks like the bright spot of the next few days, with a forecast high of 63 degrees for Raleigh and partly cloudy skies.

"We may actually get through an entire daylight period without seeing any wet weather, Fishel said. "We urge you to enjoy that dry period on Saturday, because it's going to be rather unique."

The tables are turned and winter returns Sunday, when a chilly rain dumps temperatures into the 40s and keeps them there throughout the day.

"We're looking at a wet and chilly Sunday," Fishel said. "And the threat of at least some rain will be with us every day from Sunday through next Thursday."

That includes the chance for showers on New Year's Eve, although the precise time and place are still unclear.