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Florence could bring 'major flooding' to the already-saturated midstate

Written by Teresa Boeckel/The York Daily Record | Sep 10, 2018 6:51 AM
florence_pa.jpg

Central Pennsylvania could see major flooding if Florence moves inland over the Carolinas and travels up the eastern seaboard, said Rob Miller, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.com. (Photo: AccuWeather.com)

Uncertainty still exists with the storm, and residents are urged to stay tuned to the forecast.

(Undated) -- Tropical Storm Florence, which is expected to re-intensify into a hurricane, could bring "major flooding" to central Pennsylvania late next week if it strikes the Carolinas and moves up the eastern seaboard.

That's the one scenario that meteorologists are watching right now, said Rob Miller, senior meteorologist with AccuWeather.com. The other is that the hurricane curves out to sea and would not have any impact on central Pennsylvania.

"There's still a lot of uncertainty," he said.

Central Pennsylvania already is under a flood watch through Monday because several inches of rain is expected from the remnants of tropical storm Gordon. The flood watch comes a week after flash flooding damaged businesses, homes and roads in parts of the area.

If Florence moves inland over the Carolinas and moves up the eastern seaboard, central Pennsylvania could receive 5 to 6 inches of rain, Miller said. 

"That's just a recipe for major, major flooding," he said.

Flooding Duke Street in Hummelstown

Street signs show where Duke Street can usually be seen above Swatara Creek in Hummelstown on July 25, 2018. (Lisa Wardle/WITF)

Florence is expected to intensify into a major hurricane, possibly a Category 3 or 4, which would bring devastating or catastrophic damage, said Michael Colbert, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College. Wind speeds for a Category 3 storm range from 111 to 129 mph. For a Category 4 storm, it's 130 to 156 mph.

The National Hurricane Center is urging residents to keep monitoring the forecast and to prepare in case Florence strikes the East Coast. The area of particular interest right now is from northern Florida to North Carolina.

Residents in central Pennsylvania should prepare, too, just in case Florence brings rain to the area.

Residents should secure loose objects, such as garbage cans, lawn chairs and more. They also should be prepared to put down sandbags, have supplies on hand in case the power goes out or to evacuate if needed, Miller said. 

The rainfall total so far for 2018 already has surpassed the normal yearly amount, Colbert said.

Harrisburg has received 43.51 inches of rain. Normal for the year is 40.74 inches, he said.

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The York Daily Record.

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