Potential tropical storm soaking parts of the South (with forecast video)

Road closed sign in flooded area.

A stubborn weather system that continues to drench parts of the Southeast could become the next tropical storm later this week.

SONAR Critical Events and radar: Tuesday, July 8, 2020, 8 a.m. EDT; Potential tropical cyclone

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has named the system Invest 98L. “Invest” is short for “investigative area,” which is an area of disturbed weather that the NHC watches for potential tropical cyclone development.

As of this morning 98L was centered to the northwest of Charleston, South Carolina, and is forecast to move toward the mid-Atlantic Coast or central East Coast states over the next two days. Some tropical development of this system is possible later this week if it moves over water.

The NHC is giving 98L a 50% chance of becoming a tropical depression or tropical storm sometime in the next five days. If it becomes a tropical storm, it’s name will be Fay, and minor wind damage would be possible.

Regardless of development, 98L will likely produce locally heavy rainfall that could cause flash flooding across portions of the Southeast and mid-Atlantic today and Thursday.

The most persistent rainfall will soak eastern North Carolina and its Outer Banks, as well as portions of the Delmarva Peninsula, where rainfall totals could reach 4 inches. Locally higher amounts of 5 to 6 inches are possible.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has not issued flash flood watches as of this morning, but this may change. If flash flooding looks imminent or is reported to the NWS, their meteorologists will issue flash flood warnings.

On the west side of this system, thunderstorms could produce heavy rainfall and localized flash flooding in other parts of the South, particularly the Gulf Coast states.

SONAR ticker: HAUL

Fortunately, the worst of 98L won’t hit key Southeast freight markets like Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, which have higher levels of outbound loads than inbound trucks. This difference between outbound and inbound is reflected in the Headhaul index (HAUL) in FreightWaves SONAR. The blue-shaded markets on the map directly above offer carriers more load opportunities and less dwell time between loads.

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