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Drier weather on its way

From tropical storms and depressions to low systems dipping into North Carolina and hovering above for multiple days, an above-average amount of rain has fallen on Beaufort County this month. However, the National Weather Service says drier weather is expected to come.

Chris Collins, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, explained that the area has received about 6.1 inches of rain in the month of May, whereas the average for the month of May is about 3.7 inches. Along the coast, they’ve received five or six inches above the average amount rainfall for the month of May.

“Obviously, we had the tropical systems to come through that brought in one round of rain. Then, we had a persistent upper-level low for about four days after that bringing us more rain, and we had another upper level low bringing us rain this week. So, that’s just been the pattern we’re in right now,” Collins said. “We should really start to dry out this Sunday and most of next week looks dry.”

Collins said that in the warm season, humidity and the flow off of the ocean is the reason behind more storms developing locally and from the coast, as opposed to systems sweeping across the country.

“After about early May, you don’t see very many fronts coming in anymore,” Collins said. “You’ll see more of just scattered showers from here on out through the summer.”

Prior to the beginning of hurricane season, which starts June 1, two named storms have already formed in the Atlantic Ocean and brought rain to the coast of the Carolinas. It marks the sixth-consecutive year a tropical system has developed in the Atlantic basin prior to the beginning of hurricane season. With the amount of rainfall eastern North Carolina has already received this month, Collins said another tropical storm system right now wouldn’t be good.

“It would be terrible (to be hit right now). The rivers are already at a high level. Hopefully, if we do get anything, it will be at least a couple of months away,” Collins said. “We’ve kind of expected an above average (hurricane) season all along. The thing we always try to emphasize is: even if it’s not an active season, it only takes one big storm to come in and cause all sorts of issues. We want folks to make sure they don’t always focus on the overall forecast, but continue to be prepared.”

The peak of hurricane season is typically mid-August through late October. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal season, with anywhere from 13-19 named storms. Six to 10 could become hurricanes, including three to six major storms (category 3 or greater).