There’s a bit of buzz about our hurricane season today. We finally have a storm that is expected to hit the mainland. At first glance, you might think that’s not a good thing, and for the Gulf Coast area that takes a direct hit, it won’t be pretty. However, tropical systems bring rain, and after a couple weeks of dryer weather, Raleigh could use it. No, we’re not in a drought, but you might have noticed how dry the soil in your yard is at this point. I know I have.
Tropical Storm Karen is forecast to become a weak hurricane while she moves northward through the Gulf of Mexico. Conditions will become a little less favorable for her with more wind shear and slightly cooler sea surface temperatures when she approaches the Gulf Coast. Still, the National Hurricane Center warns that she could be near hurricane strength when she makes landfall late Saturday.
Once over land, Karen will further weaken and be absorbed into a frontal system moving from the Rockies east toward the Mid-Atlantic States. Her additional moisture will cause that system to dump more rain than it normally might have, and some areas of eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, and western South Carolina could see 2-3 inches of rain between Sunday and Monday night. The Triangle could see about a half inch in the same period.
The above map shows the forecast track for Tropical Storm Karen from the National Hurricane Center's 1pm update on Thursday, October 3rd.
The above image is taken from the GFS forecast model for Monday evening. The yellow curve highlights the frontal system, and the yellow circle shows the remnants of Tropical Storm Karen.