what’s left of Relentless Hurricane Ida It targeted the northeastern United States on Wednesday as the potential for life-threatening and devastating floods spread to New England.
More than 50 million people in the Northeast alone were under observation or warning of flash flooding, four days after Ida roared ashore in Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane. The winds waned significantly, but the storm was dumping heavy rain, mostly in areas already saturated with recent floods.
“Many areas along the Ida Trail are likely to experience waves of rain over a period of 12 to 18 hours, but the heavy rain can last six to eight hours,” AccuWeather Chief meteorologist Dan Bednovsky warned.
The National Weather Service released a flash flood watch for New York City until Thursday at 2 p.m. City Emergency Management officials warned that 5 to 6 inches of rain was expected with locally higher amounts of 8 inches. Authorities said winds could reach 30 miles per hour.
AccuWeather’s chief meteorologist, Tom Keynes, said the city is on the brink of a worrying set of severe weather so much that a hurricane is “not out of the question.”
Accuweather forecast 4 to 8 inches of rain in parts of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York state, and parts of southern and central New England. Some areas could see 12 inches of rain, Accuweather said.
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Virginia was bracing for heavy rain, flooding, and possibly hurricanes Wednesday. Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency. In Washington, D.C., all testing and vaccine sites in the city were closed Wednesday in preparation for the storm.
Baltimore was handing out sandbags. Maryland Emergency Management officials have warned of winds of up to 35 miles per hour that could cause trees to fall, potentially causing power outages.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has declared a state of emergency in all 55 counties. The National Guard prepared to assign 60 members to the flood reporting venue and promised that more Guard personnel would be tapped if needed.
“Our highest priority has always been the safety and survival of our colleagues in West Virginia. We will do everything in our power to meet any challenge Mother Nature may present to us,” said Lt. Col. Walter Hatfield, Director of Guard Operations.
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In Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfe signed a disaster emergency declaration in anticipation of widespread flooding.
“We’re expecting heavy rain across the state,” Wolf said. “I urge Pennsylvania to … prepare for potential flooding.”
The National Weather Service in Boston warned of “heavy rain Wednesday night through Thursday… with the potential to cause flash floods.” The Meteorological Service said there could be up to six inches of rain.
“This storm could bring torrential rain as far as southern Maine and southern New Hampshire before finally taking to sea,” Keynes said.