Elliot Abrams

River of Tropical Moisture Flows through the East

By Elliot Abrams, AccuWeather chief meteorologist
9/30/2010, 3:38:03 AM

Thursday 8AM

From east-central New York state through most of central and eastern Pennsylvania (but mostly west of Philadelphia for now) south through eastern Virginia to the eastern Carolinas, it is just plain pouring. Some places in eastern North Carolina have been inundated by more than 15 inches of rain during the last week. In just the 12 hours between 7PM and 7AM, Richmond, Virginia and Coatesville, Pennsylvania each received 3 inches of rain, and other places from eastern Pennsylvania to eastern Virginia got anywhere from a half inch of rain to 4 inches. Since the rain will continue to pound the same areas all day, there will be numerous reports of flooding. Of course it is the dangers to people and property that are infinitely worse than "reports."

In the video at the top of the page, the first map shows the arrangement of the rain as it existed at 7AM. The eastern arm of rain that was drenching New York City is moving north, so they will probably have a significant period with little or no rain today. However, as the north-south river of moisture moves slowly eastward, the risk of heavy rain in Philadelphia, and then New York City, will increase. It may take until tomorrow for the heaviest rain to affect the area from Providence to Portland.

A low pressure center in eastern North Carolina will move north northeastward and cause strong, gusty winds as it approaches and passes various places. The sustained winds near the center have been nearly up to tropical storm strength, and at Cape Hatteras, N.C. it was gusting to 50 mph at 8AM. Those kinds of gusts are likely at coastal locations all the way to New England.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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Elliot Abrams