Historical Rainfall Event for the Cape Fear Region
WILMINGTON, NC - On the morning of Sunday, September 26, 2010, the Cape Fear region was in the midst of a moderate drought. The 29.96 inches of precipitation that had accumulated at the Wilmington airport so far in 2010 was well below the normal of 45.92 inches. Most of this deficit built up during the tropical season, when the eastern Carolinas typically experience their wettest months. In September, the Wilmington airport had received only 0.18" of rainfall up to that point...making it the third driest September on record.

Things were about to change.

In the Caribbean, a broad area of disturbed weather and disorganized low pressure lingered behind the recently dissipated Tropical Storm Matthew. At the same time, a cold front had made it's way across the Appalachian Mountains, and by Sunday night had become a stationary boundary stalled over the eastern Carolinas while a wave of low pressure was beginning to develop along this boundary over Georgia.

Surface Analysis at 00z Monday, September 27th.
In the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere, a closed low pressure was digging across western Tennessee. This created a region of diffluence aloft which aided in enhancing lift and increasing rainfall rates over the Carolinas. Closed lows tend to move very slowly since they are basically removed from the zonal winds...and this would allow the moisture stream to sit over the southeast for the entire week.

Water Vapor Analysis at 00z Monday, September 27th.
This surface stationary boundary would remain almost directly across the region through the week and function as a conveyor belt on which waves of low pressure would ripple and advect tremendous amounts of tropical moisture into the region. These waves were subsequently pulled westward by the influence of the upper low which allowed each one to impact the same areas across the Eastern Carolinas. In addition...Tropical Storm Nicole would form near Cuba. Although she would dissipate rapidly...her remnant copiuos moisture would act to aid in the tremendous rainfall across the region.

The stage was set for a prolonged rain event which would bring the most rain to the area since Hurricane Floyd in September 1999.