I-95 Corridor Braces for Flooding Rain

March 29, 2010; 3:16 AM ET
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A storm unleashed damaging thunderstorms in the Southeast, while rain soaked the remainder of the Eastern Seaboard on Sunday. As the rain continues to drench New England and the mid-Atlantic Coast today, travel headaches and flooding problems will arise.

On Sunday, the storm sparked violent thunderstorms from southern Virginia into Florida. These storms sparked flash flooding problems, forcing officials to close numerous area roadways and pelted some with quarter-sized hail.

Thunderstorm wind gusts howled past 40 mph in places, downing trees and power lines. Several tornadoes lashed North Carolina between Charlotte and Greensboro, tearing roofs off homes and businesses and leaving thousands without power. A handful of injuries were also reported.

Heavy rain will soak a vast portion of the I-95 corridor today as the storm sidles northward along the East Coast. Rainfall totals could top 4 inches in some cities and towns along the coast from Virginia to Massachusetts.

This will lead to travel problems both on the ground and in the air. The windswept rain could cause delays and cancellations at airports in the major cities from Washington D.C., to Boston through tonight. Ripple-effect delays could radiate across the nation as a result.

Commuters will face slow-going travel due to reduced visibility in downpours and spray from other vehicles. Hydroplaning will become a hazard at highway speeds.

Motorists will also have to contend with road closures and detours due to localized flooding problems. Not only could small streams overflow their banks, but larger rivers that are already swollen run the same risk.

Evacuations may become necessary as flood waters rise, especially in low-lying and poor drainage areas.

Meanwhile, howling winds with gusts reaching 50 mph will pound the Northeast Coast. This will lead to unusually high tides, coastal flooding and beach erosion.

A couple inches of rain from this storm combined with the 9.94 inches of rain that has already fallen over Boston this month will likely catapult this March into the top 10 all-time wettest months in the city's history. The storm could make this month the wettest March on record in Boston as well.

Into Tuesday, rain will continue to inundate the Northeast, before tapering off from south to north on Tuesday night.

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