Saturday, December 20, 2014
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Rainfall total exceeds year's worth already

The area is far exceeding the normal rainfall totals. Henderson County has already received more than the usual amount of rain for a whole year, records show.


A persistent plume of moisture stalled over the area has dumped 8.32 inches of rain since July 1, a total that is 7.4 inches above the total for the month. The unusual run of torrential downpours and thunderstorms follows what was already a near-record pace of rainfall totals.The rain has caused problems both in growing and harvesting crops and in fighting diseases like fungus that are worse in wet conditions.

The area has received 46.41 inches of rain this year, more than the normal total for the entire year of 45.57 inches, according to National Weather Service readings at the Asheville Regional Airport. The total rainfall so far this year is currently 22.6 inches above normal.
"We could go into drought and still exceed totals for the year," said meteorologist Danny Gant of the NWS office in Greer, S.C.
"An upper level disturbance that settled over the central plains did not move for days," he said. That caused tropical like conditions that dumped so much rain for so long. "That kept us in that strong southerly flow."
The moisture plume remains, although it has moved to the west. Still, more rain is forecast for today.
"We don't think you're going to have quite the same intensity today that you have had for the last few days," Gant said. "The plume of moisture has shifted westward but it's going to move back across us today. It doesn't like we're going to have quite the same amount of rain today but you could see some flooding because everything is so water-loaded right now. It's not going to take much."
Henderson County could see an inch of rain today, which is bad news for tomato and other produce growers, said Mark Williams, the executive director of the Henderson County agriculture business development office.
"The biggest impact will be the vegetable and berry crop," he said. "They're the most perishable. They can't withstand a lot of water. It'll affect the quality of fruit and they could get disease issues."
In addition, heavy rain prevents farmers from getting into fields to spray for fungus and other diseases that are more likely to develop in such wet conditions.
The French Broad River at Blantyre was at 18.6 feet at 8:30 Sunday morning, 2.6 feet above flood stage. A flood warning remained in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday night. The forecast called for an 80 percent chance of rain today, 60 percent Monday, 30 percent Tuesday and Wednesday and 50 percent Thursday.
National Weather Service reported rainfall totals on Saturday of 1.06 inch at Bat Fork Creek, 1.13 inch at Mud Creek. .24 at Mills River, .06 at Cane Creek, .64 at Bearwallow Mountain and .8 at Sugarloaf Mountain.