Florence to renew flood concerns in northeastern US early this week
By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
September 18, 2018, 9:17:03 AM EDT
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Florence will unleash disruptive downpours and raise the risk of flash flooding in the northeastern United States through Tuesday.
While rainfall from the upper Ohio Valley to the central Appalachians and southern New England will not be measured in feet like in North Carolina, even a few inches of rainfall can cause trouble in the saturated Northeast.
The good news is that Florence will be moving at a faster pace across the Northeast, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliott.
“However, even 1-3 inches of rain can bring more flooding concerns since streams and creeks throughout the region are still running high,” Elliott added.
Unlike Gordon’s deluge which lasted several days in early September, the quicker pace of Florence will result in the wet weather generally lasting less than 24 hours in most locations.
However, a few places can pick up 4-5 inches of rain, which is enough on saturated soil to trigger flash, urban and small stream flooding.
The short duration of the storm may not limit its impact on some communities.
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Tioga County, New York, officials declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, due to extensive flash flooding that had closed numerous roads. The emergency declaration banned all unnecessary travel.
The rain caused flooding problems around Baltimore and Washington, D.C., on Monday night, as well as in southern New York state. A portion of I-95 just outside of Baltimore was blocked by high water.
Motorists across the mid-Atlantic and southern New England coasts will need to remain wary of flooded roads through Tuesday. Slow down in the downpours to lower the risk of hydroplaning.
Flooding, severe weather risk to focus on Interstate-95 and coastal areas Tuesday afternoon
The worst of the rain and greatest risk of flash flooding through the midday hours on Tuesday will focus from northeastern Pennsylvania to southern Maine. This risk and the potential for strong to severe thunderstorms will shift toward the mid-Atlantic and southern New England coasts as the day progresses.
"There could be a few torrential downpours on Tuesday over the coastal mid-Atlantic, as a last gasp from Florence," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek.
"In addition to the likelihood of isolated flash flooding, a few severe isolated thunderstorms are anticipated," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
On Monday, a small swarm of tornadoes occurred in Virginia, which claimed one life.
While the risk is lower on Tuesday, a couple of brief spin-up tornadoes cannot be ruled out from eastern Virginia to southeastern Massachusetts during the afternoon hours.
"People should pay attention to weather bulletins and keep eyes and ears open if outdoors for signs of threatening conditions," Sosnowski said.
Even in the absence of severe thunderstorms, the downpours can cause disruptions to commutes, flights, sporting events and other outdoor activities.
“After Florence departs, high pressure building down from the northwest will bring a much more refreshing air mass into the Northeast on Wednesday,” Elliott said.
Humidity levels will be slashed and sunshine will return, making for great weather to head outdoors or open up the windows.
Steamy conditions are predicted to return late in the week ahead of an approaching storm system, which will also bring the next opportunity for rain.
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