After making landfall in Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, Hurricane Ida is expected pack enough of a punch to still cause heavy rain and flash floods as far as the Mid-Atlantic.
Now downgraded to a tropical storm, Ida still has a projected path that could impact rain totals from as far south as Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and as far north as Wilmington.
According to Jonathan O’Brien, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, the main issue will be heavy rainfall starting around Wednesday from the southwest to the northeast.
“In this area, we’re fortunately not going to deal with the sort of wind threats seen along the Gulf Coast,” O’Brien said. “There is the threat of locally heavy rain between 2 to 5 inches over a period of 12 to 18 hours. That does have the potential for some flash flooding or some river flooding.”
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He added he could not rule out strong to severe thunderstorms on the Delmarva Peninsula. A flash flood watch may be in effect for much of the area with Ida pulling away by Thursday and cooler, more dry air settling in the region shortly thereafter.
“Tropical Storm Kate was just named this morning, but it’s a weak storm still in the middle of nowhere in the Atlantic and isn’t forecasted to have much of impact in the region. It may strengthen over the next couple of days, but it’s still in the (far) Atlantic,” O’Brien said.
Ryan Rogers, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Wakefield, Virginia, also noted the Virginia area is bracing for similar issues.
“We won’t see much for the next 24 to 48 hours since it’s making slow north by northeast progress,” Rogers said. “We are expecting impacts starting on Wednesday, but not really in the area of strong winds. The moisture and remnant low pressure will bring a chance for heavy rainfall and the potential for severe storms and tornadoes.”
According to Rogers, NWS forecasts indicates the worst rainfall will be from north and west of the line from Richmond. The greatest totals are expected to fall in that area, and thus flash floods are very possible.
The National Hurricane Center noted that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration updated its seasonal outlook Aug. 4 and it remains consistent with the original report released in May.
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“It still calls for an above average season and we’re just about at the halfway point and we have three months of hurricane season left,” said Dennis Feltgen, meteorologist and communications and public affairs officer for the National Hurricane Center, based in Miami.
“September is typically one of the most active months with the peak of the season from mid-August to late October. The outlook only tells the number of main storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin.”
Feltgen warned the report is not a landfall forecast with that data only available about five days prior to any projected area being hit.
He went on to note to treat any storm as the one that could impact your area. That included having a hurricane plan and supplies ready. Make sure insurance is maintained and that your shelter is up to code for your local jurisdiction. Also knowing if you are in a storm surge evacuation zone is vital.
Such a designation is based on water levels and not on wind velocity.
“Figure out where you would go if you were told to evacuate,” Feltgen said. “It doesn’t need to be hundreds of miles inland, just out of the zone. If you activate that plan when the time comes, the odds are very good you’ll be a survivor and not a victim.”