By CALVIN ADKINS
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Edgecombe County residents can put away their umbrellas, at least for the next few days, according to Kathleen Carroll, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Raleigh.
Carroll said moisture from the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico caused the torrential rains this week throughout Eastern North Carolina, but said a high pressure system from Bermuda has pushed the rain out of the area. The National Weather Service four-day forecast call is calling for clear skies with slight chance of rain.
"We're expecting things to turn back to normal," Carroll said. "We may get a few showers here and there, but nothing like we had."
The rainfall didn't set any records, but the precipitation left the ground saturated above normal during the latter part of June and the first part of July. Meteorologist Mike Strickler said Tarboro reported 4.3 inches of rain while Rocky-Mount Wilson Airport reported 2.3. The highest amount of rainfall was about 5 inches reported to have fallen in Sims.
"It was wet," Strickler said.
Edgecombe County Emergency Manager Butch Beach said the rain did not cause any major problems for Edgecombe County other than too much water on farmers' crops.
"We are fortunate that we were dry when the system came through," Beach said. "The river was low and our ditches and creeks could hold the water. As far as I know, we were never in any danger of flash flooding. There's been some report of crop damage. Not a lot that I'm aware of."
Thursday evening, Strickler said the Tar River was at nearly 16 feet and still rising. It is expected to crest at 20 feet sometime tonight, he said. Underneath the bridge that connects Tarboro and Princeville, water spilled over the banks causing authorities to close River Road and Riverfront Park.
Last year around this time, Edgecombe County and its surrounding area was in a minor drought. Today, the saturated grounds may be a reminder to Edgecombe County citizens about the conditionsleading up to Hurricane Floyd.
Before Floyd dumped 15 inches of ran in Edgecombe, Hurricane Dennis had saturated the grounds weeks early. Although, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted an active Atlantic hurricane season, no storms were brewing as of Thursday. The six-month hurricane season began June 1.