Wondering what kinks Tropical Storm Andrea may have put in your weekend plans?
Paddling. If you were planning on paddling, you might think again. With projected rainfall amounts of four inches or greater, some local rivers may be swollen to the dangerous level, especially for less experienced paddlers. Your best bet for assessing paddle conditions on specific rivers is to check with the outfitters who serve them. Find a list of 44 such outfitters, specifically those who rent canoes and kayaks, here. If you’re familiar with a specific waterway, you can check levels and flows at the U.S. Geological Survey site, here. If you need help interpreting what those numbers mean — what’s optimum, what’s safe, what’s not — you should have a copy of Paul Ferguson’s “Paddling Eastern North Carolina” for the eastern part of the state, the Benner boys’ “Carolina Whitewater: A Paddler’s Guide to the Western Carolinas” for the west.
Just because a river is dammed, don’t expect it to be safe — or runnable. This morning, after several hours of heavy rain, American Whitewater (which cites USGS gauges) reported a flow of 122 cubic feet per second on the Neuse River just below the dam. That’s deemed too low to run. Don’t make assumptions: check ahead.
Hiking. The rain is expected to move out by the end of today, but two to four inches can wreak havoc on a trail. Add to that winds that, in some places, were expected to gust to 30 to 35 miles per hour and we could be facing trail closures. North Carolina State Parks says it will report any closings in its system on park websites, which you can find here. National Forest Service trails may not technically close, but keep in mind that they tend to be less erosion resistant and thus more susceptible to washouts and other scourges of bad weather. If you’re contemplating a trail you aren’t familiar with, you might wait until things dry out.
Road cycling. Since the state should begin drying out over night, the weekend should be good for road rides (although lingering thunderstorms could be an issue). However, with flooding possible in low-lying areas there could be some lingering effects, especially in the flatter eastern part of the state. Storm-related road debris could be an issue as well.
Mountain biking. Forget about it. It will be awhile before even the most well-designed trail network dries out. If you’ve really got a hankering to ride, check out your favorite forest road.
Climbing. If you do get rained out of your favorite activity, there’s always your local climbing gym. It’s always sunny (in a florescent way) and 72 (in an HVAC way) at your local indoor climbing wall. Find the gym nearest you, here.