Tryon receives almost 7 inches of rain in less than a week

Published 10:48 pm Thursday, October 1, 2015

By Leah Justice

Just a week ago the N.C. Drought Management Council listed Polk County as one of 16 counties across the state suffering from a severe drought. Beginning last Friday, Sept. 25, that situation changed as heavy rains have plagued the area every day for a week and much more is forecast through the weekend.

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As of Thursday, Oct. 1, Polk County was listed as abnormally dry, according to after being listed in some type of drought for months.

The drought map is updated every Thursday.

Tryon recorded 6.93 inches of rain from Friday, Sept. 25-Wednesday, Sept. 30, according to the National Weather Service. Saturday, Sept. 26 recorded the most rain for the month with 2.91 inches. The total rainfall for the month of September this year was 9.35 inches of rain, which is four inches more than normal. The normal rainfall for September is 5.38 inches based on averages from 1981-2010.

Other areas in the county and the foothills recorded higher rainfall than Tryon over the past week.

So far this year, Tryon has received 37.4 inches of rain, which is almost 10 inches short of the area’s normal for this time of year. Normally by September, the area would have already received 47.08 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service. Normal rainfall for the year is 61.77 inches of rain. The area still needs an additional 24.37 inches of precipitation over the next three months to not end 2015 lower than normal.

While September experienced well above average rainfall this year, the months of January, February, March, May, June, July and August all saw below average rainfall. The area received 6.23 inches of rain in April, the only month this year except September to see above average rain. The normal for April is 4.58 inches. May only received 1.04 inches of rain this year compared to the normal of 4.57 inches. July normally receives 5.27 inches of rain but this year Tryon only recorded 1.59 inches of rain in July.

Forecasts for the weekend call for more excessive rain over the next couple of days, with some predictions calling for 1-2 ft. of rain in some areas. The recent rain patterns with Hurricane Joaquin are creating flood warnings for the area. Polk County Emergency Management Director Bobby Arledge said as of early Thursday, no flooding had occurred in Polk County, but his office will be monitoring the weather this weekend.

The Town of Tryon issued the following statement Wednesday night, Sept. 30 regarding possible flooding expected this weekend:

Advisory: Possible flooding this weekend
As many of you are aware forecasts are becoming more ominous for Polk County as we head towards the weekend. As such, the town is passing this information along to you for preventative measures and for information purposes.
Most places in the town have received in excess of 7 inches of rain since Friday. The sun today (Wednesday) has been unexpected but also allowed some absorption and evaporation from soggy yards and the like. Some totals close to town exceed a foot of rain.
As such the ground can’t handle much more rain, but it appears that such an event is setting up.
There are several weather elements that appear to be colliding over the southeast – including what is now Hurricane Joaquin, which is currently some 200 miles off the coast of Bermuda. These elements will combine to create a torrential rain event of which the heaviest begins Friday and lasts into Sunday at this point. Any rain we get between now and then (scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected as we move forward) only adds to our woes. Look for steadier rains by later on Thursday.
Model data can vary from source to source but most seem to point to incredible rain amounts in the area. Most all meteorologists have placed a “bullseye” on the foothills of North Carolina. Jason Boyer, who is the chief meteorologist for WLOS in Asheville, posted the following a short time ago:
“As more and more model data comes in, the potential for a devastating flood event for Western North Carolina is growing. In short, moisture from a cold front that moves through today will likely begin to spread an intensify rainfall across the region starting tomorrow (Thursday).
Heaviest rain likely falls from Friday through early Sunday. Hurricane Joaquin will play a major role in this as more moisture from it is pushed westward over the remnants of a cold front.
Worst-case scenario would mean one to two feet of rain for areas along the Eastern Continental Divide into the Foothills and Piedmont, along with sustained winds of 40 plus miles per hour.
Widespread power outages, along with significant flooding would be likely.
While there is still time for a shift in the track of Joaquin, and thus the rainfall, now is the time to start thinking about an emergency plan of action.
If you live in a typical flood-prone area (near creeks, streams & rivers), be prepared for extensive flooding. Also be prepared to be without power for an extended period (several days at least).
While it’s certainly not time to panic, this is a case of it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Some models have anywhere from 1-2 ft. of rain in Polk County by the time this event winds down on Sunday.
Please understand that model data changes from run to run – and as the position of Hurricane Joaquin changes these forecasts will be adjusted. All tend to agree that a swath of incredible rain rates sets up somewhere in the area of the foothills – and while the model may shift this east or west of us, this is a serious situation. As such we offer the following suggestions and information:
1. If you live in a flood prone area be aware of the weather. Tryon Fire, Tryon Police, and Tryon Public Works will be out in the storm and will help keep check on these areas. If you notice rapidly rising waters near your home, or any other emergency situation during this storm, please notify 911 immediately of the situation.
2. Power outages are to be expected with the storm. Quite simply our ground is too saturated – so many trees can easily be uprooted with windy conditions. We’ve already seen numerous trees and power lines down since rains began on Friday.
3. Be prepared to seek higher ground if flooding conditions occur. Have a plan now.
4. Do NOT attempt to drive across flooded roadways. It is too dangerous.
Because of the heavy nature of the rains associated with this event conditions should be expected to deteriorate rapidly – meaning flash flooding will potentially occur rapidly should these heavy rain bands set up in our area.
If you have questions, please contact the Town of Tryon. We will use our social media presence to keep you informed of this situation. Please help us by passing this information along to those who may not receive our notices.


2015 rain data by month


jan       feb      march  april    may     june    july      aug     sept
















Monthly normal from 1981-2010