Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gradually, the rain will get here

Anyone who has looked at weather radar for the last 48 hours must have thought a deluge was headed for the Charlotte area.

But it hasn't happened. The area of moderate to heavy rain over the Mid-South has moved very slowly eastward since Monday, but it's about to get a little nudge, and the rain intensity will increase across the Charlotte region soon.

Low pressure is expected to form along the slow-moving cold front and bring the whole system eastward later today and Wednesday.

We'll still remain dry much of the time today, but shower chances will increase considerably tonight. And Wednesday will be rainy much of the time. By the time the rain ends late Wednesday night, much of the area will get about an inch.

Since the growing season is over, many of us haven't been paying attention to rainfall totals, but the precipitation has been arriving at a healthy rate. Since Sept. 1, about a foot of rain has fallen in the Charlotte region. The months of September, October and November can be extremely dry some years, but we've been blessed with ample amounts of rain in autumn 2011. That will help us a lot when the 2012 growing season begins.

As you might expect, our balmy temperatures will go away when the rain ends and the cold front pushes through. In fact, it'll get downright chilly in the Charlotte area from Friday into Sunday, with highs struggling to hit 50 degrees over the weekend. And a couple inches of snow are likely in the mountains.

But there is nothing frigid on the horizon. Looking out two weeks, to around Dec. 19 and 20, the computer models don't show any really cold outbreaks in the Southeast.

The long-range forecasts point to a continuation of what we've been seeing -- brief chilly spells, followed by a warm-up and rain.

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