AccuWeather forecasters say DC to Boston at risk of severe weather
Drenching rain overtook much of the Northeast to start off the week on Sunday. Now, AccuWeather meteorologists say that the threat of flooding could be compounded by the potential of severe thunderstorms through Tuesday.
The same storm that brought torrential rainfall to Chicago, which flooded basements and turned Soldier Field into a swamp, began bringing rounds of rain to the Northeast on Sunday.
The storm system unloaded 1.64 inches of rain in Salisbury, Maryland on Sunday, with rainfall amounts around an inch elsewhere in eastern Maryland and Delaware. Heavy rain also persisted from the western Philadelphia suburbs to north-central New Jersey.
A surge of tropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic that helped to enhance rainfall on Sunday is likely to continue to bring heavier-than-normal downpours to the Northeast again through Monday night.
Some localized areas could receive as much as 2 inches of rain, especially should any area get more than one heavy thunderstorm.
"In some parts of the Northeast, only an inch or two of rain in a couple of hours would be needed for flash flooding to happen, based on recent rains," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Mary Gilbert.
In the first week of September, Pittsburgh reported 2.64 inches of rain, almost 300% of normal during that time and just shy of the average amount of rain for the entire month. Downtown Baltimore recorded 2.35 inches of rain in just two days, putting the city on a fast track to a wetter-than-normal September. Scranton, Pennsylvania, reported 4.5 inches of rain in just four days, surpassing the month's normal rainfall amount. Cities such as these could be more susceptible to flooding from new rounds of rain this week.
AccuWeather forecasters say heavy rain could bring a rise to creeks and streams, making low-lying areas most susceptible to flooding.
The influx of tropical rainfall is not only expected to bring flooding rain, but also increase the risk for severe weather across the region.
"Drenching downpours and damaging winds are likely to be the most widespread severe weather threats. However, there is the potential for isolated hail and a tornado or two also," explained Gilbert. More widespread wind gusts of 55-65 mph are likely, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 70 mph.
These threats could target cities like Allentown, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Monday afternoon and evening. Severe thunderstorms may not hold together long enough to threaten Central Park, but some of the western New York City suburbs could experience heavy, gusty thunderstorms.
Both the heavy rain and severe thunderstorms could bring travel delays. Downpours could bring reduced visibility for motorists, especially those driving at higher speeds on highways like Interstates 76, 80 and 95. Bursts of strong wind gusts could make high profile vehicles more difficult to control and could lead to airplane landing and take-off delays.
By Tuesday, much of the rain in the mid-Atlantic will have ended; however, New England will be enduring their day of heaviest rain. The severe weather risk will also shift into this zone.
With more dire drought conditions across southern New England, flooding concerns will be highest in that area as heavy downpours push into the region.
Following the threat for severe weather and flooding, the rainfall anticipated for this are of the country is likely to be welcome.
In the Northeast, there are lingering pockets of drought conditions. Abnormally dry conditions have been observed across parts of Pennsylvania and New York, while portions of southern New England are in moderate or severe drought, according to the latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Behind the volatile weather, drier conditions and normal mid-September temperatures are forecast for the area.
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