The tropics had another shock in retailer this season with Hurricane Nicole, which introduced moist and windy climate as its remnants crossed North Carolina late final week.
Nicole was the 14th named storm of the yr, matching the 30-year common for the basin. Whereas 2022 was predicted to have above-normal exercise, the almost two-month lull in July and August in the end restricted this season’s potential even regardless of the late-season surge, which additionally included Hurricane Lisa and Hurricane Martin previously three weeks.
Nicole initially shaped as a subtropical storm – a hybrid system that features some components of a tropical storm, equivalent to circulation round a middle of low stress, in addition to non-tropical options equivalent to a large, open eye with clouds and rain extending removed from the middle.
It will definitely moved over hotter water close to the Bahamas and have become a full-blown tropical system, even reaching Class-1 hurricane power earlier than hitting the Florida coast on Thursday.
Nonetheless, it retained a few of these subtropical traits as a big storm with tropical storm-force winds as much as 450 miles from the middle of circulation because it made landfall, in keeping with the Nationwide Hurricane Middle.
That meant its impacts have been felt all throughout North Carolina because it moved via on Thursday night time and Friday.
Rain and Wind in NC
Nicole introduced a minimum of half an inch of rain statewide, which was welcome aid for areas which have seen the emergence of drought in current weeks.
The best totals got here alongside the Blue Ridge Escarpment, the place moist air compelled up the mountain slopes by southeasterly winds produced greater than 4 inches of precipitation. Our Mount Mitchell ECONet station measured a two-day complete of seven.73 inches, which was essentially the most rain from a single storm there since an upper-level low stress system in Could 2020.
Nicole additionally snapped a two-month dry spell for a lot of western areas that largely missed out on the rain from Hurricane Ian in late September. Since September 11, the Asheville airport had obtained only one.54 inches of rain and was greater than 5 inches beneath regular. The two.79 inches from Nicole successfully minimize that deficit in half.
Whereas a number of flash flood warnings have been issued within the Mountains, river flooding was restricted, largely as a result of streamflows had dropped a lot throughout the ongoing drought. Of word, the French Broad River at Blantyre briefly reached motion stage because it crested late Friday and early Saturday.
Not all drought-affected areas noticed such excessive rainfall quantities, although. Graham and Swain counties, together with the Nice Smoky Mountains, had lower than an inch of rain because the storm’s moisture largely wrung itself out on slopes farther east. Bryson Metropolis obtained solely 0.85 inches from Nicole and stays mired in its 2nd-driest fall since 2011.
Elsewhere, rainfall totaled 1 to 2 inches throughout the Piedmont and Sandhills, together with 1.98 inches in Greensboro and a pair of.06 inches in Laurinburg. In jap North Carolina, totals typically ranged from a half-inch to an inch and a half. The 0.92 inches in Wilmington was the primary important rain there since Ian greater than a month in the past.
Winds weren’t a widespread situation from Nicole; on Friday morning, less than 3,000 power outages were reported in North Carolina, in comparison with a peak of greater than 360,000 throughout Ian. Nonetheless, there have been some gusty circumstances particularly within the west. A mile up atop Grandfather Mountain, winds gusted to 56 mph at 6:28 pm on Friday night time.
Nicole’s closing menace was a twister danger related to thunderstorms in its outer rain bands. The jap half of the state was underneath a tornado watch on Friday morning, and funnel clouds have been noticed close to Siler Metropolis and Franklinton. As of this writing, the Nationwide Climate Service has not confirmed any tornadoes related to Nicole in North Carolina.
Nicole Amongst Historic Storms
The observe taken by Nicole, from its landfall alongside Florida’s east coast to its inland motion over western North Carolina, was much like Jeanne in 2004. Nonetheless, that storm’s impacts have been rather more pronounced than Nicole’s. Jeanne was the third tropical system in a month to soak the Mountains, and it ended that September with extra flooding rains to cap off the wettest month ever recorded at some western locales.
Tropical methods affecting North Carolina this late within the yr are a reasonably unusual occasion. A 2007 report by James Hudgins on the Nationwide Climate Service workplace in Blacksburg famous simply 7 days in November with tropical cyclone exercise in North Carolina within the earlier two centuries. That’s in contrast with 119 such days in September – our climatologically most energetic month of hurricane season.
The final storm to have an effect on us in November, and maybe our most impactful November storm, was Tropical Storm Eta in 2020. Whereas the middle of Eta by no means reached North Carolina, moisture from the storm fed in forward of a chilly entrance and produced as much as 9 inches of rain, which brought on flooding points within the western Piedmont and northern Coastal Plain.
Whereas the rains from Nicole have been much less intense than Eta’s, they have been additionally broadly useful given our current dry spell. That made it a well timed storm in an uncommon time of yr.
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