The Water Cycle On Overdrive

The seemingly overactive water cycle has eastern North Carolina stuck in a wet pattern that means more rain and milder temperatures. Starting off the season wet (we were 4.42 inches above average for our June rainfall) leads to a trend of wet weather because the heat of summer leads to increased evaporation. If there is an abundance of water on the ground, there will be an abundance of water evaporating in to the atmosphere, creating more clouds with higher water contents. Those clouds then rain back over the wet grounds of eastern Carolina, perpetuating the cycle. This is referred to as a positive feedback mechanism in the meteorological world.

The increased water content in the air does have an effect on our temperatures. While conditions still feel humid and hot, we tend to avoid the extreme heat that is prevalent during dry periods. This happens because water has a high heat latency (it takes a long time for it to heat up). The high water content in our atmosphere acts as a coolant, keeping us in the 90s, rather than the 100s.

For the next few days we will stay mostly dry, aside from an isolated afternoon thunderstorm or two. The forecast for Sunday and Monday paints a different picture as a front moves overhead. And because of our saturated ground, we can expect quite a bit of rain as that front rolls through, causing the cycle to continue its roll.

Sources: University of Washington, Southeast Regional Climate Center, National Climatic Data Center


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