Flood watch in effect through Thursday
The National Weather Service issued two hazardous weather statements on Wednesday that could make an impact here in Caldwell County.
First, a flood watch is in effect until Thursday evening as a stalled front has dumped significant amounts of rainfall on the area — as much as 2 to 3 inches in some areas. Some low-lying areas could flood, and water levels will continue to rise in local rivers and streams. According to the National Weather Service, heavily saturated mountainous terrain could give way, creating the possibility of landslides. Particular areas of concern are places where slides have occurred in the past.
The front was expected to finally push through Wednesday, but another upper-level disturbance was expected to approach early Thursday morning, bringing the potential for a wintry mix Thursday night as colder air begins to move into the mountains. With another inch or two of rain possible Thursday, temperatures will begin dropping quickly, falling into the mid-30s by 5 p.m. Rain, snow, sleet and freezing rain are likely to develop by 1 a.m., Friday, and temperatures will fall into the low 20s. No major accumulation is expected by NWS forecasters.
AccuWeather.com sees things differently, calling for as much as 6 inches to fall in Caldwell County Thursday night after more heavy rainfall early in the day. The web site’s forecast for Lenoir and the surrounding area is heavy rain and cold Thursday with a high of 43 with the rain eventually turning to snow that could fall in accumulations of 3 to 6 inches. An advisory issued on the site warns that any rain that has fallen could freeze rapidly with lows dipping into the low 20s early Friday.
AccuWeather forecasters say the storm has potential to dump as much as a foot of snow on the North Carolina mountains, especially the southern Appalachians. Eventually, they say, the storm will move past the mountains and spread the snow east of the mountain chain.
While there’s no mention of snow in any of the major forecasts, the unpredictably of the storm system could create rapidly changing circumstances.
“Some wet snow can mix in around Birmingham, Atlanta and Charlotte,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Mark Mancuso. “Cities that have the potential to receive several inches of snow include Knoxville and Bristol, Tenn., Asheville and Winston-Salem, N.C., Roanoke and Richmond, Va.”
Recent warmer temperatures are expected to ease the potential travel headaches since much of any falling snow or freezing rain will melt on roadways. However slippery travel is likely — especially on bridges and overpasses — in higher elevations.