Waterlogged Northeast faces more rain and now a heightened tornado risk
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
June 20, 2019, 1:50:40 AM EDT
The caboose in a train of storm systems will travel to the Northeast on Thursday with concentrated heavy rain and the potential for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.
Round after round of rain in some areas and thunderstorms in others have riddled the Ohio Valley, central Appalachians and mid-Atlantic region in recent days, leaving the region vulnerable to flooding.
Stormy weather will continue to slow travel, foil outdoor plans and even pose risk to lives and property in some cases before the weather improves late in the week.
Thursday may prove to be a volatile day overall and not only in the Northeast, but parts of the Southeast as well.
Rain on saturated ground to increase risk of flooding
From Sunday morning to Wednesday morning, southern parts of Indiana have received 8 inches of rain. From 1-6 inches of rain have fallen on the balance of the Ohio Valley and the western slopes of the central Appalachians. Local rainfall amounts to 2 inches have fallen closer to the mid-Atlantic coast.
The landscape is primed for flooding. Additional heavy rainfall is likely to trigger urban and small stream flooding through Thursday.
On Wednesday night, road closures and water rescues were reported throughout Ohio due to slow-moving downpours. Flash flooding was also ongoing across southeastern Pennsylvania, including near Philadelphia.
Rises on the secondary rivers in the region are likely. These include some of the tributaries of the Ohio, Potomac, Susquehanna and Delaware rivers.
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People living along or camping in unprotected areas of these water ways should closely monitor the situation.
Much of the rain thus far has avoided the lower Great Lakes and the northern parts of New York state and New England.
However, the largest and strongest storm system of the bunch will force heavy rain into many of these northern tier locations by Thursday.
Since these areas have received significantly less rain in recent days, compared to others, any flooding is likely to be limited to low-lying areas of streets and highways.
Heavy, gusty thunderstorms may turn violent with a tornado risk
The same storm system will raise the bar for severe weather in the Ohio Valley spanning Wednesday and Wednesday night and a large part of the Eastern states during Thursday and Thursday night.
On Thursday, the entire corridor from Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina, to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and perhaps part of the New York City metro area may be at risk for dangerous and damaging storms.
"We feel there is an enhanced risk of severe storms from eastern Pennsylvania and central New Jersey and northeastern Virginia," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio.
This means that a higher concentration of severe storms may occur in this area.
"Should the storm strengthen quickly and there is sufficient sunshine to heat the region ahead of the thunderstorms, a violent severe weather outbreak that includes tornadoes may result," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Jake Sojda.
Heavy to locally severe thunderstorms may extend eastward across part of southern New England and farther to the west over the interior South in places such as northern Alabama.
A number of communities may be hit with winds that can knock down trees or break tree limbs, trigger power outages and cause minor property damage.
As the storm system slides eastward, where warm and humid air exists, there is the possibility of several tornadoes, some of which may be strong.
With the great concentration of major airports in this zone, airline passengers in the region may experience a significant uptick in flight delays and cancellations during the afternoon and evening hours.
As has been the case so far this week, a few of the strongest storms can also produce large hail.
AccuWeather will continue to provide updates on the situation. Download the free AccuWeather app to receive severe weather and flash flooding watches and warnings. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
In the wake of the storm, a break from rain may last two to three days with the longest stretch of dry weather likely in New England and northern New York state.
The break of dry weather will be centered on this weekend.
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