By Alan Smith, Meteorologist Posted 1 year ago June 20, 2023

Heavy Rain and Flash Flood Threat for the Southern Appalachians

A nearly stationary upper level low pressure system will result in multiple days of heavy rain along with the potential for flash flooding across the Southern Appalachians this week – including higher terrain in Georgia, the Carolinas, and Southwest Virginia. 

A large area of low pressure in the upper atmosphere is centered over North Georgia on Tuesday, and this low will exhibit very little movement in the days to follow.

Winds blowing in a counterclockwise (cyclonic) direction around the low will transport and reinforce abundant Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic moisture into the Blue Ridge Mountains, where orographic lift will help to enhance rainfall rates.

The Southern Appalachians have already experienced locally heavy rainfall and flash flooding early this week. Tuesday morning 24-hour rainfall reports courtesy of Cocorahs Network included 7.95 inches of rain near Saluda, NC, 6.84 inches near Rocky Bottom, SC, and 6.31 inches near Woolwine, VA.

Cocorahs 24-hour Reports on Tuesday AM, June 20:

Numerous showers and occasional thunderstorms will continue to impact the Southern Appalachians from Tuesday through Thursday with a significant threat of flash flooding in vulnerable terrain and near rivers/streams, along with the potential for mudslides. The threat may even increase for some areas over time as soils become saturated.

The heaviest rainfall over the next three days can be expected along the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Georgia to Southern Virginia, while Northern Virginia into Western Maryland will see decent rainfall totals as well.

Needless to say, conditions will be poor for outdoor recreation in the Southern Appalachians for much of this week, with heavy cloud cover and below-average temperatures resulting in limited drying potential between rounds of showers.

Heading into the weekend and early next week, conditions will gradually improve with fewer/lighter showers as the upper low gradually weakens and moves out of the area. Warmer temperatures and periods of sunshine can also be expected, though afternoon showers/thunderstorms will remain possible.

Here is the 10-day forecast for Boone, NC:

If you live in or are spending time in the Southern Appalachians this week, be sure to review our Flash Flood Safety Article. In addition, you can use our interactive Radar and Forecast Radar to track showers and thunderstorms in real time. 

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About The Author

Alan Smith


Alan Smith received a B.S. in Meteorology from Metropolitan State University of Denver and has been working in the private sector since 2013. When he’s not watching the weather from the office, Alan loves to spend time outdoors skiing, hiking, and mountain biking, and of course keeping an eye on the sky for weather changes while recreating.

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