May 31, 2016

Record rainfall set in areas of Hatteras on Memorial Day


A plume of tropical moisture along with the remnants of Post-Tropical Cyclone Bonnie teamed up to bring record rainfall to areas of Hatteras Island on Memorial Day.

According to the National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City,  widespread 4- to 5-inch rainfall totals were measured on Hatteras with a record 7.09 inches for May 30 recorded at Billy Mitchell Airport in Frisco.  The previous record was 3.44 inches, set in 1940.

A monthly rainfall record for the month of May at Billy Mitchell also fell yesterday. Through Monday, May 30, 12.24 inches of rain had been measured at the airport, breaking the old record of 11.7 inches, set in 2003.  Since more rain is expected today, that monthly total will go up.

Bonnie came ashore in South Carolina as a weak tropical storm -- 40 mph -- on Sunday morning and has just been meandering around the coast of the Carolinas ever since.  At mid-day on Tuesday -- two days later -- the remnants of the storm -- now post tropical -- had just moved across the border into North Carolina and it was spinning around just off the coast of Cape Fear, south of Wilmington.

Since there is a very weak steering flow, forecasters at the local Weather Service office say it will be late Thursday before the remnants of Bonnie finally move off the coast of the Outer Banks.

Meanwhile, we can expect a chance of showers and thunderstorms each day -- a 60 percent chance today and Wednesday, 40 percent chance on Thursday, and 30 percent chance on Friday.

However, forecasters say the coverage of the rainfall will be not nearly as widespread as it was on Memorial Day, although some locally heavy rainfall amounts are possible in persistent downpours.

"We don't see anything like yesterday coming up," said meteorologist Jim Merrell.

Merrell said a narrow plume of tropical moisture set up just east of the Bahamas and just kept moving northeast toward the Outer Banks all day Monday.

"That channel of moisture has moved offshore," added forecaster David Glenn.

Both forecasters noted that although the remnants of the tropical cyclone are now back over water just offshore, no redevelopment is expected. 

"It will just be a rainmaker through the week," Glenn said, "and then we'll be back to the regular highs and lows and cold fronts."

The post-tropical system will move east of the Outer Banks by Friday, but a cold front will approach from the west on Saturday and perhaps stall over the area until another front pushes through on Monday, followed by a chance for some drying.

Currently, chances of showers over the upcoming weekend are running 30 to 40 percent.

For more information on the forecast, go to the local Weather Service website at  Or check out the local office on Facebook at

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