Good Wednesday Afternoon. As of the 10am advisory from The National Hurricane Center has Nicole 4mph below hurricane status. Nicole will come ashore somewhere near West Palm Beach Florida tonight. High pressure over the northeast will ridge down the east coast and continue to steer Nicole west into the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Thursday. As that high pressure weakens and moves away, this will allow Nicole to turn North, Northeast and come north.
We have been dry across the area and some parts of our area are now listed as abnormally dry (yellow shaded area). Our mountain areas are in a D1 drought status oddly enough. I have looked at the KBDI values this morning. In fire weather this is how we measure drought. Those values run from 0 – 800. Generally every 100 means that the area indicated needs 1.00 inch of rain to come out of a drought. All values are below 350 which generally means 3.50 inches will bust the drought. In fact, Taylorsville is sitting at 38 kbdi. Virtually there is no drought in Alexander. I say that to say this, I expect that this will be a drought busting rain.
Here is our forecast for the area. Nicole will start to turn North Thursday Afternoon. Rain showers should begin to impact our area Thursday Afternoon between 2pm and 8pm. Upslope areas along the eastern slope could see light showers start earlier than that. Rainfall rates will increase through the night Thursday Night and into Friday. Right now it looks like rainfall rates will peak across the entire area between 10am and 3pm Friday. I think this is the time of greatest concern for flash flooding. As the rainfall rates peak, they will have the potential to exceed flash flood guidance. Below is our storm total rainfall forecast. Note that the highest amounts are along that eastern slope. Those ridgetops are highlighted in red and are the areas where we expect the highest totals for 4-9 inches. The main problem is that we will introduce this amount of rain in a 24 hour period. If we could stretch this out over a three day period, there would likely be no issues. That will not be the case this go around. The landslide risk is also going to be higher with this system because of the quick, high dose of rainfall.
Below are our peak wind gusts forecast for Friday. I’m not ready to put exact numbers for each town and community yet. Those will come tomorrow because a track change of 20 miles will impact this greatly. So here is a wide brush at what we are expecting. Currently we are not expecting tropical storm force wind gusts in our area, outside of the mountains. We will keep an eye on this though and will update this graphic again tonight and in the morning.
With the more western track of Nicole, we have to introduce the possibility of fast moving tornadoes. For that reason The NWS Storm Predictions Center has introduced a marginal risk for severe weather across our area during the day Friday. Depending on the exact track, this forecast will continue to evolve over the next 24 hours. Stay tuned.