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Area rains a byproduct of Hurricane Katrina

August 31, 2005|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

erinc@herald-mail.com

The Tri-State area felt more like southern Florida as the region braced for expected thunderstorms that were to begin late Tuesday evening and end today.

"It is really humid, which makes sense," accuweather.com meteorologist Dave Dombek said. "You have a tropical storm passing by."

While the center of Hurricane Katrina was anticipated to pass to the north and west of Washington County, there was the potential for heavy rainfall, Dombek said.

"There certainly can be and will be some downpours," he said. "It will be more localized. Somebody in a small area for a short period of time will get a lot of rain."

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Rain began to fall in Hagerstown about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Rainfall could range from half an inch to more than 2 inches, Dombek said. He said flooding should not be a major concern. Some storm drains could overflow causing minimal flooding, but rivers and streams should not flood, he said.

Average wind speeds Tuesday night and today were expected to range from 12 to 25 mph, he said. During a large thunderstorm, gusts could reach as high 50 mph, he said.

Deputy Chief Ron Horn said Hagerstown Fire Department stations are not expecting severe weather and had not requested extra personnel to assist as of Tuesday evening.

"Normally, if they put out a broadcast for a severe thunderstorm, we have a lot of volunteers that show up at the stations," Horn said.

During thunderstorms, most emergency calls are for fallen power lines or tree limbs. Dombek said he expected those types of calls Tuesday evening.

Verna Brown, emergency management coordinator for Washington County, said Monday that her staff was keeping an eye on the weather but had not taken any pre-emptive action.

"At this point, we're looking at our resources and seeing what we have," she said. "We're keeping in touch with the state and with the weather service."

Dombek said the thunderstorms and humidity are expected to clear Thursday through the Labor Day weekend.

"It will be dry, sunny and partly cloudy with no rain after tomorrow," he said. "It's moving away quickly, and there's a string of nice weather coming."

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