Hurricane Joaquin reaches category 3 ahead of significant rainfall; Van Denton has the latest

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The Piedmont is in for more rainfall -- ahead of Hurricane Joaquin, which became a category 3 hurricane Wednesday night. This, along with other contributing factors, will result in significant rain in North Carolina.

We had the lull in rainfall most of last night and today and the next round is ready to start.

We expect clouds to increase tonight along with the chance for showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Lows near 60. Rain becomes more widespread tomorrow and this trend continues into the weekend.

Flooding is a real threat as we head through this period. Also, there is a growing concern that wet grounds will weaken roots and cause some trees to come down with expected higher winds late this week and weekend.

Rainfall amounts should average around 6 inches with some spots possibly picking up over 10 inches. This on top of our heavy rains from last weekend and earlier this week complicates matters.

The track of the hurricane is also important. As of the 5 p.m. Wednesday update, Hurricane Joaquin is forecast to be along the North Carolina Outer Banks late Sunday morning and afternoon. Winds near 100 mph with higher gusts. It is then forecast to travel NW across SE Virginia into central and northern Virginia on Monday morning where it should weaken to a tropical storm. If this track plays out, we would be on the weaker left side of the storm, but winds could still gust to near 40 mph here on Sunday. Given the wet ground, that could cause some issues with trees.

Over the weekend along with rain, it will be cool with highs in the upper 50s on Friday to the 60s on Saturday and Sunday. Lows in the 50s.

Click here for the today's forecast.

Click here for the FOX8 interactive radar.