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Water rescues, road closures reported as rare summer rainstorm slams mid-Atlantic

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
July 29, 2017, 6:59:29 AM EDT

A rare storm for late July will unload flooding rain and gusty winds to a large part of the mid-Atlantic through Saturday morning.

The rainstorm is unusual for this time of year since it will unleash steady rain for 6 to 10 hours or more in many locations. Typically in the summer, rainfall is limited to a few hours in the absence of a tropical rainstorm.

"This type of setup will deliver very heavy rainfall and raise the risk of flooding," according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

Saturday regional Northeast 7.29

The threat for life-threatening flash and urban flooding will remain high through Saturday morning as downpours fall over areas that have already picked up 3 to 6 inches of rain. This threat will be greatest across southwestern Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and the coastal mid-Atlantic.

The worst of the rain has ended in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Motorists will need to be vigilant of road closures and washouts even where rain has ended.

As early as late Friday morning, some suburbs around Washington D.C. were already experiencing flash flooding. Heavy and slow-moving storms caused flooded roadways in Montgomery County, Maryland. According to emergency managers, water rescues were needed for trapped vehicles in floodwaters.

Several roads were closed in Baltimore due to high water on Friday evening after a band of heavy rain moved over the city, a 911 call center reported.

Numerous water rescues were underway in southwestern Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, as a nearly stationary band of heavy rain set up over the region on Friday night.

friday flooding 1

Four Mile Run flooding in South Arlington, Virginia. (Photo/Twitter user @JosephFraker)

The heavy rain caused Friday evening's Washington Nationals game to be postponed. A double header is planned on Sunday.

"The same storm system affected parts of the Plains and Midwest on Thursday with torrential downpours," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Frank Strait.

The storm is responsible for triggering widespread flooding and road closures in the Kansas City, Missouri, metro area on Wednesday night and Thursday.

North of the storm, cool and dry air will prevent rain from spreading across much of upstate New York and central and northern New England.

This cool air will be poised to rush southward in the wake of the storm this weekend.

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High temperatures are likely to be no better than the 70s F for much of the Northeast on Saturday.

Winds will pick up along the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts on Saturday and remain brisk through Sunday. The stiff breeze will add to the coolness of the air for a time and create rough surf and strong rip currents.

The combination of gusty winds and saturated soil will also raise the risk of sporadic tree damage and power outages.

coastal impacts 72817

Mariners may want to consider making alternative plans as strong gale-force winds will be possible from Cape Cod to the Delmarva Peninsula.

Enough dry air may mix in to allow some sunshine across the interior mid-Atlantic, New England and the central Appalachians on Sunday.

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