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More Scattered Showers in the Forecast, ‘Quite a Few Thunderstorms To Dodge’ on Independence Day

By Jesse Wood

June 28, 2013. Scattered showers are in the forecast for at least the next four days, according to Ray’s Weather on Friday, and by the time Fourth of July rolls around, “there will be quite a few thunderstorms to dodge” in the High Country.

These days, rain seems the norm with April showers reaching into May and June, too.

The weather station atop Grandfather Mountain, for example during the month of May, recorded 16 days of rainfall, and the 10.5 inches of rainfall experienced at Grandfather for May was 85 percent above the 56-year average rainfall total for the month.

David Still, a meteorologist with Ray’s Weather, said while “numbers-wise,” the High Country had some big single and multi-day torrential rains such as the Jan. 30 flood where the Watauga River rose nearly 14 feet, many of the rainy days only dropped one-quarter inch of rainfall or less.

“A lot of it is perception,” Still said, when asked about the possibility of any record-breaking rain totals and the wet weather in general.

According to NWS Cooperative Station Network, which is comprised of more than 11,000 volunteers who take observations on farms, seashores, mountaintops, national parks, and urban areas across the state, observed precipitation for Boone for the year, as of June 27, is nearly 40 inches, which is about 150 percent of average.

The National Weather System Cooperative Station Network also observed nearly 47 inches of precipitation in Banner Elk; more than 45 inches of precipitation atop Beech Mountain; and just over 40 inches of precipitation in Jefferson.

And the seemingly Seattle-like weather isn’t just happening locally either.

Two weeks ago, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources reported that the state isn’t experiencing drought or abnormally dry conditions for the first time in three years, attributing the wetness to storm systems such as Tropical Storm Andrea.

While wet conditions remain, drought officials said they couldn’t predict with accuracy whether high precipitation levels would continue or if a summer dry spell was on its way because, as experts said, summer rainfall isn’t as predictable as winter climate conditions.

“North Carolina’s rainfall becomes more difficult to forecast, as well as less reliable, during the summer months,” sai d Michael Moneypenny, a meteorologist for the NWS Service in Raleigh and a member of the N.C. Drought Management Advisory Council, in a release.

And Ryan Boyles, director of the N.C. Climate Office at N.C. State University and another member of the drought council, added, “Winter climate conditions can be predicted several months in advance due to factors such as La Niña. However, summer seasonal conditions are not currently predictable, and the upcoming summer is just as likely to be dry as wet.”

Might as well keep a raincoat or umbrella handy.