MIAMI, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. East Coast may have dodged a bullet now that Hurricane Joaquin is forecast to track out to sea, but a complex weather system poses the potential for record rainfall in the region.
South Carolina and North Carolina appear likely to bear the brunt of the system as a front stalls over the region. The heaviest rains were expected to begin Friday night, fed by dense tropical moisture pulled up by the jet stream from the Pacific off Central America and from Hurricane Joaquin.
Charleston, S.C., and inland areas to the northwest were expected to see up to an additional 20 inches of rain through Sunday.
This new rain will come on top of heavy rains that already fell over the past week, with a foot or more rain recorded from Destin, Fla., to Beaufort, N.C. Lesser but still major amounts have fallen all the way north to Maine. Major flooding was reported in Virginia, New York, North Carolina, Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Joaquin has been battering the Bahamas for two days with 130 mph winds, torrential rains and storm surge. The storm is now forecast to remain well off shore from the United States, but will send heavy surf to beaches in the coming days.
The National Weather Service issued flash flood watch for much of the region through 8 a.m. Monday. Gusty winds were also forecast.
The rain is expected to fade out on Monday and a drier pattern should take hold in the area through Thursday.