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January 2013 likely wettest on record

Jennifer Sprouse • Jan 30, 2013 at 9:51 PM

After Tuesday’s 70-degree weather, residents had to once more break out the galoshes and umbrellas to walk outside as lots of rain dumped on the Tri-Cities.

According to Sam Roberts, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Morristown, this month residents in the area have seen around twice the amount that it usually sees.

Roberts said Wednesday that as of Tuesday, the Tri-Cities area was “sitting at 7.85 inches and that is 4.71 inches above normal for the month of January.”

Wednesday’s rain totals were not complete, but he said that the area had seen around 1.56 inches so far, with more on the way.

Roberts said the all-time January rain record, which has been documented in statistics kept from 1948-2012, was set in 1957, when the region had a monthly rainfall total of 9.18 inches.

Only needing to surpass the 9.18 inches by 1.33 inches, Roberts said that “it does look like that this will be the wettest January on record.”

While the rain did not cause any severe problems in Johnson City Wednesday afternoon and evening, there were some reports of high water and ponding in spots along city streets.

There also was heavy rainfall in North Carolina with flooding reported in parts of Asheville and Boone. The intersection of U.S. Highways 221 and 321 in downtown Boone near Appalachian State University had water several feet deep in the road.

The Watauga Democrat reported on its website that numerous roads had been closed in Boone and Watauga County and a mudslide was blocking a section of N.C. Highway 105.

In Asheville, flooding was reported in the Biltmore Village section of the city, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times website. A flash flood warning was in effect for Buncombe and Henderson counties until 8:30 p.m. and there was a chance for flooding in areas including Hendersonville, Weaverville, Black Mountain and Swannanoa

Roberts said a high pressure system off the coast of Florida built a ridge across the area, which provided the warmer weather on Monday and Tuesday, but a cold system then mixed with the warmer temperatures on Wednesday.

“It was ... just the high pressure building off the coast of Florida, it really increased our temperatures and brought in some moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and then the cold, dry air in that trough, as those two air masses collide, you’re going to have storms and rain develop,” Roberts said. “We’re kind of on the tail end of the system now, even though we’re still going to be dealing with some rain. The worst of it (has) passed. As the system continues to push to our east that cold air’s going to filter in on the back side.”

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are predicted to dip today, as a 30 percent chance of snow showers could be in the area before 7 a.m. Today’s high is expected to be around 34 degrees.

Tonight, a low of around 18 degrees and snow showers are likely, with a 20 percent chance of snow showers holding on until around noon Friday.

Friday night the low is expected to be around 15 degrees.

On Saturday, a 30 percent chance of snow showers is possible between 1-2 p.m., which is predicted to be followed by rain. The Saturday high is expected to be around 39 degrees with a low of 29 degrees. There is a 40 percent chance of snow on Saturday night.

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