THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Monday, August 28, 1995 TAG: 9508280031 SECTION: LOCAL PAGE: B1 EDITION: FINAL SOURCE: BY STEVE STONE, STAFF WRITER LENGTH: Medium: 92 lines
There were cheers and jeers on a rainy-day Sunday as the remnants of Tropical Storm Jerry stalled over the Southeast, bringing a steady soaking to parched Hampton Roads.
Residents celebrated the possibility that the storm may yield up to several inches of rain, bringing life back to their gardens; Oceanfront visitors lamented the loss of the sun.
And folks in the Carolinas sought higher ground as they experienced a deluge. Some of the worst flooding in three decades hit the Charlotte area, and upwards of 5 inches of rain has fallen over parts of North and South Carolina.
And Jerry may not be leaving.
``The most likely scenario at the moment is that Jerry will get pulled apart over the next 24 to 36 hours'' and break into a couple distinct storm systems, Tony Fulkerson, a meteorologist at The Weather Channel in Atlanta, said Sunday evening.
One of those pieces is expected to move east into the Atlantic, just off the Outer Banks, where there's a slight possibility that it could re-form and once again become a tropical depression.
Fulkerson noted that though Jerry has been over land for several days, it is still a well-organized system. And waters off the Southeast coast are certainly warm enough to feed a tropical system.
But it's more likely that Jerry will stretch out off the coast, possibly producing clouds and showers for a couple days, Fulkerson said.
The storm's center was stalled just north of Augusta, Ga., on Sunday, but was expected to begin drifting east. Its heaviest rains were concentrated over the Carolinas with lighter rain stretching into southern Virginia.
Radar maps of Hampton Roads showing where rain was falling were delightfully green Sunday afternoon - the color of light to moderate rainfall and, hopefully, a sign of the color to come to many a browned lawn.
Although forecasts suggest that Jerry may dump as much as 4 inches of rain over Southeast Virginia and Northeast North Carolina, Fulkerson said he expects less.
Some places might get that much if they're hit by heavier rainfall bands, he said, but generally, ``I think it's going to be more like scattered showers for the next two days.''
Sunday, rainfall amounts varied around the region with some locations getting more than a half-inch. By 5 p.m., about a quarter-inch had fallen at the National Weather Service office at Norfolk International Airport.
But it appeared that a high-pressure system to the north would block Jerry's rains from reaching Northern Virginia or Washington, where drought has become severe.
The heaviest rain was falling in the Carolinas. The weather service office in Charlotte issued a flash-flood warning Sunday evening for a wide area after a day of record rainfall swelled streams and rivers and inundated low-lying areas.
By late afternoon, 3.45 inches of rain had fallen at Charlotte's Douglas International Airport. And it was still raining. The old 24-hour rainfall record was 2.99 inches set in 1975.
Parts of Interstate 85 were closed because of knee-high water, and some residents fled their homes and apartments when flood waters threatened early Sunday.
``Around 5 a.m., I woke up and my hand was in water,'' Robert French told The Associated Press. ``I knew we had to get out of there.'' He wasn't alone. Rising flood waters from Sugar Creek forced the evacuation of about 200 people from two apartment complexes.
French said women and children were taken out of some apartments in small boats and on jet skis.
More than 60 residents of a nursing home also were evacuated.
Meanwhile, the tropics remained active Sunday. Although Hurricane Humberto was heading harmlessly north over open water, Tropical Storm Iris was strengthening as it moved through the islands of the Caribbean, and it may yet become a hurricane again.
Tropical Depression 12 was moving west, and yet another tropical wave spun off the coast of Africa.
And remember Felix?
North Carolina tourism officials worry that too many people do. While the remnants of that storm were over Europe on Sunday - bringing rainy weather to Germany - state officials launched a national advertising campaign to let vacationers know that the Outer Banks is ready for them.
The full-page advertisement in Friday's editions of USA Today proclaimed: ``The Coast is Clear.'' ILLUSTRATION: Staff graphic by Steve Stone
For copy of graphic, see microfilm