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More flooding likely in Ida-ravaged Northeast this week

By Courtney Travis, Accuweather.com
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More flooding likely in Ida-ravaged Northeast this week
Cars are left stranded on the Long Island Expressway due to flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in New York City on Wednesday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Additional flooding could be on tap for the Northeast this week as residents struggle to recover from the devastation caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

Forecasters warned people in the region to be on the alert for showers and thunderstorms that could trigger more flooding by mid-week.

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Ida produced historic and deadly flooding, as well as severe weather, across the Northeast last week.

Nearly 50 people died due to the storm as it unleashed torrential rainfall that inundated basement apartments in New York City, caused homes to collapse in New Jersey and put a major highway underwater in Philadelphia.

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President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit New York and New Jersey to survey the damage this week. On Monday he ordered federal aid to New York after declaring a major disaster in the state.

Benign weather conditions have followed in the wake of the storm and generally dry conditions are likely to continue into Tuesday.

But that much-needed quiet stretch is coming to an end in mid-week, AccuWeather meteorologists warn. The same cold front that will produce severe weather across the Great Lakes on Tuesday will shift into the Northeast on Wednesday and deliver new rounds of stormy weather.

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Showers will first arrive in Ohio, northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York in the morning hours of Wednesday. Throughout the day, thunderstorms could develop as the front pushes across the Northeast.

"For the first time since Ida's catastrophic flooding, parts of the Northeast will have the potential for more downpours and gusty winds," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Dean Devore.

Widespread rainfall amounts near half an inch are forecast across the region, while more localized amounts around 1 inch are expected, especially in any thunderstorms. The heaviest rainfall is likely as the front moves through the interior Northeast and I-95 corridor midday Wednesday through the evening hours.

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While an inch of rain is not an excessive amount on a typical late-summer or early fall day, the recent heavy rain across the Northeast will make many areas more susceptible to flooding. Since Aug. 1, New York City has recorded more than 300 percent of the city's normal rainfall. Other cities such as Boston and Washington, D.C., have had more than 200% of their normal rainfall.

Totals in some other areas went up significantly when Ida pushed through the region last week. In the Philadelphia suburbs through portions of New Jersey, the nearly 10 inches of rain that fell last week will make it possible for some areas to flood on Wednesday, even if less than an inch of rain falls over three hours time.

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Residents should be vigilant in heading any warnings that are issued for their area. Motorists should be prepared for slowed travel, due to downpours reducing visibility and causing ponding on roadways.

Widespread severe weather is not expected as thunderstorms develop across the northeastern U.S. and southern Quebec later on Wednesday, but there could be some stronger wind gusts. Even a wind gust of 30 mph could have the potential to knock over a weakened tree, especially given the saturated soil in the region following a very wet last month.

Once it pushes off the New England coast later on Thursday, this front will also be responsible for steering Hurricane Larry away from the United States. Even without Larry making landfall, however, the powerful hurricane will be able to bring rough seas and strong rip currents to the mid-Atlantic and New England beaches during the second half of the week.

"People at the beaches are urged to obey restrictions that authorities have in place. With the number of lifeguards dwindling at most beaches after the Labor Day weekend, the level of danger will increase for swimmers with Hurricane Larry at sea," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

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Behind the stormy weather, a refreshing surge of cooler air will follow for the eastern U.S., allowing temperatures across the Great Lakes and much of the Northeast to drop as much as 5 degrees below normal for early September. Dew points will also drop, which will create less humid conditions across the region.

Near-normal temperatures are likely to persist for parts of the I-95 corridor from New York City up through New England and coastal locations in this stretch. High temperatures are forecast to be near 80 degrees for New York City and Boston.

The cool air rushing over the warmer Great Lakes may allow some lake-enhanced showers on Thursday and even an occasional waterspout to develop. However, high pressure is expected to move into the Ohio Valley on Friday, which will bring dry conditions just in time for the weekend.

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