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Flash Flood Watch

Soaking rain, milder air to move into eastern US at late week

By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
December 27, 2018, 11:50:31 PM EST

The stretch of tranquil weather in the eastern United States has ended as drenching rain, milder air and a bit of a wintry mix move through into Friday night.

This latest storm will renew the risk of urban, small stream and even river flooding in some cases.

The storm system that unleashed heavy snow and severe weather in the central and southern U.S. from Wednesday to Thursday will spread eastward into the end of the week.

In parts of upstate New York and New England, precipitation can start as a bit of sleet or freezing rain into Friday morning, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Carl Babinski. This includes in Albany, New York, Portland, Maine, and the northwestern suburbs of Boston.

This wintry mix can create a slick layer on untreated roads and sidewalks before precipitation switches over to plain rain.

Static Friday NE

In northern New England, the mild conditions may never fully break free, which can allow for a lengthier period of snow, ice and slick travel in Caribou, Maine.

The major airport hubs of Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Washington, D.C.; New York City and Boston may also be impacted by delays due to rain, a low cloud ceiling and/or a gusty wind at times.

Commuters and people getting a head start on their New Year’s Eve destinations can be slowed by rain on stretches of interstates 10, 20, 40, 70, 77, 80, 81, 85, 90 and 95.

Before venturing out, motorists should ensure windshield wipers are in good working order and tire tread is not too worn, which can further heighten the risk of vehicles hydroplaning at highway speeds.

A general 0.5-1.5 inches of rain can fall from the Ohio Valley to the mid-Atlantic into Friday evening.

While these amounts are not excessive, rises can occur on small streams and creeks, given how saturated the ground is from excessive rainfall in recent weeks and months.

“The soaking rain could introduce more flooding issues to the area,” according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

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Many of the larger rivers are running near full in the Northeast, and some remain out of their banks in the Southeast.

The greatest risk for heavy rain and flooding may extend across the South, with any flooding issues in the Northeast being more isolated.

Static SE Friday

Rainfall on the order of 1-3 inches, with locally higher amounts, can occur over the southern Appalachians and Piedmont areas to the central Gulf coast.

Much of this rain may fall during a 12-hour period. A mere 3 inches of rain in 12 hours is enough to lead to new flooding along small streams and to cause some rivers to again rise by several feet.

The rain will come with a surge of milder air, with Friday’s highs expected to be in the 50s F from Buffalo, New York, to Boston, and 60s F in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore

While people will not be able to step outside without a rain jacket or umbrella, they can get by with fewer layers than earlier in the week.

Download the free AccuWeather app to see when and what type of precipitation will fall in your area.

Conditions will turn cooler but drier for the weekend in the Northeast, but clouds and rain are likely to linger in the South.

Static US Weekend 11 am

Not enough cool air will make it in to allow a new storm to bring much in the way of snow and ice to the Northeast on New Year's Eve. That storm to close out 2018 will bring rain to much of the eastern part of the nation.

Both of these storms may bring more drenching rain to the Southeast. As a result, rivers and streams are likely to remain high in the Northeast and above flood stage in the Southeast.

Continue to check back with AccuWeather for updates on the latest forecast for the New Year’s holiday.

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