Friday, 12 June 2020 19:18

Parts of East Coast brace for more than 12 inches of rain

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

The combination of lingering tropical moisture and a weather battle zone will set the stage for repeating downpours that can lead to flooding across the lower mid-Atlantic and southern Atlantic coastal areas into the weekend. Forecasters say the flooding risk could extend into next week with excessive rainfall amounts predicted.

Downpours along much of the Interstate-95 corridor could be persistent and heavy enough to lead to localized urban and poor drainage area flooding along with travel disruptions. Isolated damaging wind gusts are also possible in the heavier thunderstorms.

The most intense and steadiest rain is likely to occur during the afternoon and evening hours, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Courtney Travis.

Across the southern mid-Atlantic and points south, the rain will continue into the weekend. Due to an atmospheric traffic jam, the likelihood of more heavy rain is forecast from southeastern Virginia to northern Florida from Friday through Sunday.

By early Thursday evening, flooding had inundated parts of Durham, North Carolina. One street in Northern Durham was completely flooded as rain continued to pour, the rising waters reaching halfway up car tires.

Just before 8 p.m. EDT, a tree fell onto power lines amid strong winds in Durham County, according to the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center. A county over in Orange County, strong winds downed power poles.

High pressure over the Atlantic Ocean will hold its ground while a southward dip in the jet stream develops over the eastern Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and Appalachians. This setup can squeeze copious amounts of tropical moisture out of the atmosphere.

From Friday through Sunday, a general 3-5 inches of rain is likely with an AccuWeather Local StormMax of 10 inches.

In total, rain could amount to over a foot in some locations when the tumultuous pattern wraps up, which may not be until sometime late next week. Rainfall of this magnitude could set into motion rising water levels on the major rivers in the region and the risk for large tracks of land in low-lying areas taking on water.

AccuWeather meteorologists are also concerned that the area of excessive rain and resultant flooding problems may extend northwestward toward the Piedmont and Coastal Plain areas from the Carolinas to Virginia, next week.

"Either the rain will hold together and shift inland or building warmth will cause it to break up and become more spotty in nature," Travis said.

At the very least, flooding of small streams and urban area are anticipated.

People in the heavy rainfall potential areas should keep an eye on the situation. Should the rain persist for five to seven days or more in the same area, very serious flooding could result.

Abnormally dry to drought conditions in part of northern Florida were already negated by several inches to a foot of rain related to Cristobal earlier this week.

Several streets in New Orleans, Louisiana, were submerged by flood waters after heavy rains hit the area on June 10.

Even though the first few inches of topsoil may have dried out in recent days along parts of the Appalachians and the Atlantic coast, downpours through the end of this week will moisten the soil to the point of saturation in some cases and lead to rapid runoff into area small streams and larger rivers.