Soaking nor'easter triggers flooding from DC to NYC, Boston

Steady rain will continue into Thursday morning across portions of southern New England after a powerful storm dumped multiple inches of rain from the Midwest to the mid-Atlantic. The relentless rain already has streams on the rise and triggered travel hazards related to urban and flash flooding, AccuWeather meteorologists warn.

Into Tuesday, much of the rain that has drenched the nearly 1,000-mile-long swath from the Midwest to the mid-Atlantic coast has been produced by a stalled front and disturbances moving along the front. A general 1-3 inches of rain fell from parts of Missouri and Iowa to Pennsylvania from Sunday to Tuesday and more is on the way, particularly for the Northeast.

An additional 1-3 inches of rain poured down from the central Appalachians to the mid-Atlantic coast through Wednesday night, with the latest round that began on Tuesday night in some locations. A similar amount of rain will continue to fall on southern New England into Thursday, with locally higher amounts likely.

Along with foiling outdoor plans, the most widespread problem will be excessive water on the streets, highways and areas that drain poorly. Some storm drains may be overwhelmed and lead to high water, especially in underpasses.

Many streams in the region are running high, and some secondary rivers are already surging.

Those living in unprotected, flood-prone areas along small streams and rivers in the Midwest, central Appalachians, the mid-Atlantic and southern New England may need to take action.


Minor to moderate flooding is forecast to occur along the Illinois, Kankakee, Wabash, White, Miami and Ohio rivers, to name a few in the Midwest. Similar conditions are anticipated in the days ahead along portions of the Potomac River and the Passaic and Millstone rivers in New Jersey. Portions of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania will approach flood stage.

"Because the rain was drawn out over a few days versus a few hours, major flooding is not anticipated," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty said.

The stretch since Dec. 1 has been a soggy one for the Northeast, with some areas receiving close to double their historical average rainfall.

The first month of meteorological spring did not hold much promise for drier conditions for the full season ahead, with dozens of locations along the Atlantic coast experiencing their top-five wettest March on record.

In the New York City area alone, both John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports had their wettest March on record, as did Bridgeport, Connecticut. New York's Central Park recorded its top four wettest March with 9.06 inches. The wettest March at Central Park was in 2010, with 10.69 inches.

As colder air circulates into the storm, the rain has changed to snow across some interior locations as a major snowstorm unfolds over the northern portion of the Northeast. The lower temperatures and the conclusion of the heavy rain will help ease runoff, but that decrease will not be reflected in the larger rivers until next week in some cases.

Along with concerns for rising small stream and river levels, minor to moderate coastal flooding is anticipated from near New York City to eastern New England as the nor'easter pushes Atlantic Ocean water westward and causes it to pile up near the shore. Some coastal roads may be impassable during times of high tide on Thursday.

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