After scorching heat baked a very dry Aiken County in May, the area has been pounded by heavy rain lately.
“An area of weak low pressure and a strong upper level trough that kind of sat over the mid and lower Mississippi Valley allowed Gulf moisture free access,” said Mike Proud, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Columbia on Sunday. “We were wide open for Gulf moisture for the past several days, and that combination, along with instability like we typically get this time of year, is producing some torrential rains.”
A brief tornado was seen east of Beech Island and south of Aiken during Sunday's thunderstorms.
The National Weather Service in Columbia issued a flood advisory for Southwestern Aiken County at 1:45 p.m. Sunday, but it expired later in the day.
“One of the issues that we had concerns about, when this whole thing started, was that the area had been dry for so long and when you get heavy rain on top of dry, compacted ground, it’s not going to soften up and absorb the moisture right away,” Proud said. “There was a threat of flooding due to the hard soils causing more runoff than absorption.”
He reported that the far northeast portion of Aiken County received “right in the neighborhood of three inches” of rain Friday.
On Saturday, Aiken received “right in the neighborhood of three inches,” Proud said. “And a little to the southeast, between Aiken and the Savannah River Site, there was almost four inches. Most of the county had somewhere between two and three inches.”
And the rain continued Sunday.
According to a map posted June 6 on the United States Drought Monitor website, there were moderate drought conditions in Aiken County as of June 4.
“Likely it (the recent rain) is going to be enough to help some,” Proud said.
The National Weather Service in Columbia’s extended forecast as of Sunday afternoon for Aiken was calling for a 60 percent chance of precipitation Monday and a 70 percent chance Monday night.
The chance of rain was expected to be 40 percent Tuesday and 50 percent Tuesday night.
The predicted chance of precipitation for Wednesday was 60 percent, and it was 30 percent Wednesday night.
The high temperatures on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were expected to be near 85, 80, and 75 degrees, respectively.
The respective predicted lows were around 69, 63 and 64 degrees.
Skies were expected to be partly sunny Thursday, with a high temperature near 83.
For more information about the forecast, visit weather.gov/cae/.