Flooding Another Threat from Northeast Snowstorm

October 29, 2011; 6:35 AM ET
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While tree-crushing snow will take center stage with the impending Northeast storm, flooding is also a serious concern.

Flooding problems are expected to develop from central Virginia and the Delmarva to the southern New England coast this weekend. The two culprits will be heavy rain and strong winds driving ocean water onshore.

Flooding from Heavy Rain

As significant snow buries places to the west, a widespread swath of 1 to 2 inches of rain will spread from central Virginia to eastern Massachusetts into Saturday evening.

This includes the Interstate 95 corridor from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston before a changeover to snow occurs.

Low-lying, poor-drainage and urban areas will be most susceptible to flooding problems. Rapid rises are also expected along small streams.

Coastal Flooding Threatens Beaches

It is not just heavy rain that residents of mid-Atlantic and southern New England beaches have to be concerned about this weekend, but also coastal flooding.

Gusty east to northeasterly winds will whip the coastline for 6 to 12 hours Saturday, driving ocean water onshore and potentially flooding coastal roads and beachfront homes that are not protected by sand dunes.

Similar problems may develop along the northern New England coast for a brief time Saturday afternoon and evening.

The quick pace of the storm will prevent the Northeast beaches from suffering severe erosion.

As the storm passes by and winds shift around to the northwest, the danger of coastal flooding will follow suit. Saturday night into Sunday, the northwest-facing shorelines of bays and sounds from the Chesapeake Bay to Cape Cod will experience a rise in water of a foot or two above published tide levels.

Northwesterly winds will whip the Northeast Sunday as the worst of the storm bears down on Atlantic Canada.


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