National Weather Service predicts up to 6 inches of rain before Hurricane Ida leaves the Lehigh Valley

Written by on August 31, 2021

National Weather Service predicts up to 6 inches of rain before Hurricane Ida leaves the Lehigh Valley

By Rachel McDevitt / StateImpact Pennsylvania

August 31, 2021

Marine unit police officer Robert Jonah walks through flood waters from the Schuylkill River on Main Street, Thursday, May 1, 2014, in the Manayunk neighborhood of Philadelphia. Heavy rains sent rivers and streams over their banks, flooding low-lying areas in Philadelphia and surrounding counties and forcing the evacuation of several apartment complexes and many rescues. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Much of the state is under a flash flood watch as the remnants of Hurricane Ida travel to the northeastern United States.

Up to 6 inches of rain are predicted locally and officials in Lehigh and Northampton counties advising residents to update emergency supplies and have enough drinking water on hand to last a few days.

Forecasters say heavy rain will move west to east across the state from Tuesday night to Wednesday night.

Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana as one of the strongest storms ever to batter the U.S. It has weakened to a tropical storm as it moves north.

Greg DeVoir, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College, says the southern half of Pennsylvania could see up to 4 inches of rain. Some places could see up to 6 inches.

“Right now the groundwater tables are pretty high and so we’re going to see more in the way of run-off. The big concern always with tropical systems is flooding, both flash flooding and river flooding, and it looks like we’re going to have impacts in both areas,” he said. 

People should limit travel but DeVoir had advice for anyone who has to drive and encounters a flooded road.

“Do not drive into that. That’s the number one cause of death in floods is people driving into there, the road is compromised, the car floats away,”  DeVoir said. 

Scientists say climate change is increasing the likelihood of more intense storms.

The Wolf Administration says climate change will bring more rain, flooding, and consequences from tropical storms to the state, but that dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions could help limit the worst effects.

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