Friday, August 29, 2008

Fay’s heavy rains bring record flooding to parts of drought stricken North Carolina

US Geological Survey: The remnants of what was Tropical Storm Fay brought a deluge of water to parts of North Carolina that were parched by a record-breaking drought. Yet scientists watching the rapidly changing water situation find themselves cautioning residents that this drought is far from over.

"Despite the currently high streamflows, effects of the drought likely will linger, as ground-water levels have not returned to normal," said Dr. Jerad Bales, director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) North Carolina Water Science Center. "Moreover, the intensity of the storms resulted in rapid runoff, providing little opportunity for the ground-water system to be replenished."

On August 26-27, twenty-four hour rainfall totals at 33 of 74 rain gauges operated by the USGS in Mecklenberg County exceeded the 100-year rainfall—50 of those gauges exceeded the 25-year rainfall. (There is a one-percent chance that the 24-hour, 100-year rainfall is any given year.) Rainfall totals in excess of 10 inches were reported at 7 of the rain gauges in and around the County. An additional 53 sites reported more than 5 inches for the event….

North Carolina topographic map, Wikimedia Commons

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