For lack of a better moniker, I’m naming the super rainstorm which affected the Eastern Seaboard of the United States Sept. 26 - Oct. 1 after Tropical Storm Nicole, which supplied the stream of sub-tropical moisture that fueled this rain event. Tropical Storm Nicole itself dissipated well south of the Florida Peninsula on Sept. 29.
UPDATE: A number of vigilant readers have pointed out (correctly) that TS Nicole had only a tangental role in contributing to this rain event. As Dr. Masters emailed me "the rain event in NC was a PRE (Predecessor Rain Event) associated with the plume of moisture that accompanied Nicole, and very little of the rain was actually the remnants of Nicole". So, I guess, I should rename the storm as 'Super Rainstorm Diffluence Aloft'. Hmmm..doesn't have quite the cachet...!
The recent rainfall totals rival those of Hurricane Floyd (Sept. 15-17, 1999), the flooding from which was considered a 100-year event in many of the same places affected by this recent storm. The flooding was less severe this time around since the event was preceded by widespread drought conditions in most areas affected, and the rainfall from Floyd fell almost entirely within a 24-hour period for most locations; the ‘Nicole’ rainfall was spread over a three- to five-day period. Below is a chart comparison between the highest measured storm totals by state:
Some of the totals above are preliminary, COOP, CORAHS and spotter reports (as reported in the various NWS public information statements) and may not be final or official.
*NOAA has erroneously reported this total as 24.06”, but close examination of the COOP form for Southport indicates the actual total was 23.56”.
** NOAA reports
this total as 14.00”, but the USGS states
12.59” was the total at this same site.Figure 1.
Rainfall totals from Hurricane Floyd of 1999. Image credit: NOAA/NCEP/HPC.Figure 2.
Rainfall totals for the 7-day period ending at 8am EDT October 2, 2010. Image credit: NOAA/AHPS.
Nicole references: Wilmington, NC National Weather Service report
Floyd references:NHC report on Hurricane FloydUSGS report. "Two Months of Flooding in Eastern North Carolina, September - October 1999: Hydrologic Water-Quality, and Geologic Effects of Hurricanes Dennis, Floyd, and Irene"USGS report, "Flooding in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland From Hurricane Floyd, September 1999"
Christopher C. Burt