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Weekend Washout Could be a Drought Buster

Animated explanation of why so much rain is likely to fall across South Carolina over the next five days.

Friday 12 pm Update

Rain showers have been widespread this morning along the border with North Carolina. Another round of scattered thunderstorms is expected across much of the state Friday afternoon and evening. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK has placed the entire state in a "marginal risk" for severe thunderstorms. Forecasters at the center say the air may become unstable enough for a couple of thunderstorms to produce damaging winds and a brief, isolated tornado. For the most part, the storms are expected to mainly be a localized flooding threat with downpours. 

The drought in South Carolina's Lowcountry is now considered “severe”, but that's about to come to an abrupt end.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has classified areas of the Lowcountry from Charleston to Hilton Head as having a level two drought (out of four). Conditions were also noted as “abnormally dry” across most of the state, according to an update to the U.S. Drought Monitor Index published Thursday. In fact, data from NOAA shows much of the state has experienced less than 15% of their normal rainfall over the past two weeks.

The strong ridge of high pressure that supplied the abnormally hot and dry weather is breaking down. Replacing it will be a slow-moving area of low pressure that is on track to reach the Tennessee Valley this weekend. A deep feed of tropical moisture ahead of the disturbance will create an environment that's more favorable for showers and thunderstorms.

NOAA's Weather Prediction Center is forecasting 3 to 7 inches of rain across the state through Wednesday of next week, with the highest totals mostly likely in the Upstate. If this much rain falls, it will prove beneficial to parts of the state that are currently experiencing a drought.

However, the heavy rain may be too much of a good thing in a few areas. The National Weather Service offices in Columbia, Greenville, and Peachtree City have all warned that heavy rainfall rates from persistent thunderstorms may lead to localized flash flooding in their hazardous weather outlooks.

Rain chances are forecast to decrease somewhat during the middle of next week as the weather system finally weakens and/or moves offshore.

Meteorologist Jeff Huffman contributed to this report.