With the ground soaked and more downpours likely, yet another flood watch is up, along with a now-familiar plot twist — the threat of an isolated tornado.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for areas west of the Delaware River in effect until 4 a.m. Thursday, and a severe thunderstorm watch for Bucks, Chester, and Montgomery Counties until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.
And while no tornado watch has yet been posted, the weather service says it “can’t rule out” an isolated tornado.
Otherwise the region could see damage from the strong winds that move from point A to point B, rather than in circles.
“We’re expecting widespread thunderstorms,” said Alex Staarmann, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly.
The igniter in this case won’t be tropical remnants but a cold front in tandem with strong upper-air winds and an energized atmosphere. The front is going to leave a magnificent September wake that will persist through the weekend.
First, we have to get there.
The flood threat has more to do with the state of the soil, still drying out from Ida’s deluges, said Staarmann.
Parts of the region are in the 99th percentile of soil wetness, according to the government’s Climate Prediction Center. Areas under the flood watch have had rain 75% above normal the last 30 days, the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center reports.
» READ MORE: A Timeline of Ida's Philly Destruction
But as convulsively as the atmosphere has behaved at times, “the overall weather pattern hasn’t been that unusual,” said Tom Kines, senior meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. “What makes this worse is that we’ve been through a spectacular weather situation.”
Forecasters say this will not be Ida II.
The flasher streams might be vulnerable, but neither the Schuylkill nor the Delaware River are forecast to crest past flood stage.
And once this is all out of the way Thursday morning, the region might well be in a for a rain- and tornado-free week.