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'Susquehanna River will rise again' when Tropical Storm Florence rain hits PA

Written by Candy Woodall, York Daily Record | Sep 15, 2018 9:45 AM

(York) -- Pennsylvania boaters who sail the Susquehanna River might want to pull their watercraft away from the docks before Tropical Storm Florence rain covers the state on Tuesday. 

The state is expecting 1 to 6 inches of rain with isolated downpours. Small streams could flood and "the Susquehanna River will rise again," according to Paul Head, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College. 

"If boats wander in high water, you might want to take them out," he said. 

While high water is expected on the Susquehanna, flooding is not, Head said. Though the Pennsylvania ground is saturated, Head said trees are still drawing a lot of water from the ground -- with each tree absorbing about 175 gallons a day. 

While Head predicts an inch of rain will fall in the southcentral Pennsylvania region, the northeastern branch of the Susquehanna will see 4 inches or more of rain when the eye of Tropical Storm Florence passes over the area on Tuesday. 

The storm is expected to arrive in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania and move in a northeastern arc across the state, bringing the heaviest rain to the Pittsburgh and Scranton areas. 


An AccuWeather map shows Hurricane Florence rain moving across Pennsylvania on Tuesday. (Photo: AccuWeather)

National Weather Service meteorologists expect Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties to miss the worst of Florence. 

"Florence could bring a downpour or two and gusty rain to the area, but it will be small fry stuff compared to what the region has experienced this summer," Head said. 

Much of the region is still drying out from one of the wettest summers on record and several rounds of devastating flash floods that destroyed homes and roads. 

The forecast for Florence's impact on Pennsylvania has changed several times. Meteorologists are sure that the state will get rain, but frequently change predictions on rainfall amounts.

More: Pa. 'can't handle another drop,' but Hurricane Florence to bring 'days of rain'

Could the National Weather Service's forecast for southcentral Pennsylvania change again and trend upward? 

"Of course it can change," Head said. "Florence was originally going to curve out to Bermuda two weeks ago." 

That forecast changed dramatically to Florence making landfall in the Carolinas and causing catastrophic damage. 

More: 'Uninvited brute': Florence leaves 7 dead; threatens Carolinas with 15 more inches of rain

More: Tropical Storm Florence: Weather outlook dire as flooding approaches historic levels

AccuWeather meteorologists say the threat of flooding throughout Pennsylvania is not over. 

Because the groundwater is unusually and unseasonably high, the torrential downpours Florence will bring -- even if they are brief -- could cause flash flooding throughout the arleady-soggy state, meteorologists said. 

"Residents from the Ohio Valley to the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts should be prepared in case of tropically enhanced rain and flooding occurring next week," AccuWeather meteorologist Courtney Spamer said in a weather report. 


This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between the York Daily Record and WITF. 

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