'Soaker' on the way for Great Lakes, Northeast
Dry conditions and heat waves have been ongoing in parts of the western United States as autumn draws near. However, on the opposite side of the country, AccuWeather meteorologists say some of the same places in the East that got soaked on Labor Day weekend could be drenched again in the coming days.
After bringing rounds of showers and thunderstorms across portions of the northern Plains, a storm will slowly move eastward into this week, spreading rain from the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
As the storm moves east, it will strengthen, increasing its power to pull cool air south from Canada and warm air north from the Gulf of Mexico. The rainfall will blossom where these two air masses clash.
"The same tropical moisture that will be enhancing downpours across the Southeast into early week will be drawn northward and could prove to be a soaker for some," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alyson Hoegg.
Showers and thunderstorms were concentrated in the central Appalachians southward on Saturday afternoon. As the storm strengthens, the influx of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico is likely to make downpours more robust as they pivot across the Ohio Valley, mid-Atlantic and Northeast from Sunday into Monday. Rain is likely to linger across New England on Tuesday as well.
Widespread rainfall amounts of around half of an inch are expected, while some localized areas could receive as much as 1-2 inches of rain.
Such a pattern will bring repeated chances of thunderstorms to some locations that have been recently deluged with rain.
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. Such locations could be more susceptible to flooding, especially in low-lying and poor drainage areas.
The slow-moving nature of the storm, as well as the heavier downpours it will unleash, will raise concerns about flooding.
"If too much rain falls too quickly, or if areas get hit by multiple thunderstorms within a few hours, residents could be left dealing with flash flooding," said Hoegg.
Hoegg also noted that some places across the region could really use the rain.
Across the Great Lakes and into the Northeast, there are lingering pockets of drought conditions. Abnormally dry conditions have been observed across parts of eastern Illinois and Indiana as well as Pennsylvania and New York. Portions of central Michigan and southern New England are in moderate or severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Even without officially being in a drought, no measurable precipitation has fallen in Detroit so far this month, when close to an inch of rain is the norm. Indianapolis is also falling behind on rainfall so far in September, recording only 0.30 of an inch, a measly 10% of normal for September.
Persistently dry locations can also be susceptible to initial flash flooding before the ground is able to absorb the rainwater.
Those with outdoor plans from Michigan and Illinois to Massachusetts and Virginia this weekend should keep an eye on the forecast, as rainy weather set to spread across the northeastern quarter of the country could disrupt weekend plans for many.
Those attending the first week of NFL football Sunday games in Chicago, Cincinnati and East Rutherford, New Jersey, could be dodging wet weather. Those spending time outdoors should be aware of any nearby lightning strikes and take cover indoors if thunder is heard.
On the other hand, those heading to the beaches could be in luck, at least for part of the weekend. Beaches from Virginia Beach to East Hampton on Long Island were dry and sunny on Saturday, with rain waiting to move in until Sunday. Farther north, beaches such as Ocean Beach Park in Connecticut to Kennebunk Beach in Maine are expected to be dry through Sunday afternoon.
Despite the dry weather forecast for at least some of the East Coast beaches this weekend, Hurricane Earl spinning well offshore, by about 800 miles, and could continue to bring the risk of rough surf and strong rip currents to those venturing in the ocean.
Cooler conditions are expected to follow behind the showery weather. High temperatures in cities like Chicago and Cleveland could struggle to reach the lower 70s on Monday afternoon.
On Tuesday, more widespread wet weather is likely to linger for parts of New York and New England. Spotty showers and thunderstorms are likely farther south across the Interstate 95 corridor.
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