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Thunderstorms expected in Tri-State area today

April 20, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER | kate.alexander@herald-mail.com

Thunderstorms are expected to hit the area again today as a line of storms makes its way east on the heels of Tuesday's heavy rain, the National Weather Service said.

Nearly an inch of rain fell Tuesday in the Hagerstown area, adding insult to Saturday's nearly 2 inches of injury that flooded rivers and creeks, according to information from Hagerstown Weather Watcher Greg Keefer's website i4weather.net.

A line of storms, stretching from Illinois to Arkansas, working its way east, was expected to reach Franklin (Pa.), Washington, Jefferson (W.Va.), and Berkeley (W.Va.) counties around noon, weather service meteorologists said.

Thunderstorms developing with the system could become severe, according to a weather service hazardous outlook statement issued for eastern West Virginia and Central Maryland.

Additional flooding also was possible, according to the statement.

However, area rivers and streams remained below flood stage Tuesday.

Meteorologist Aaron Tyburski, who works in the State College, Pa., office of the weather service, said that the Conococheague and Antietam creeks were expected to crest below flood stage in Franklin County.

Heather Sheffield, a meteorologist with the Sterling, Va., office of the weather service, said the Potomac River also remained well below flood stage from Hancock to Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

Emergency dispatchers in Berkeley County were the only officials in the Tri-State area to report road closures due to flooding Tuesday night.

A few side streets in Martinsburg were still closed, including East John Street, Rothwell Avenue, and north Tennessee Avenue at the bottom of War Memorial Park, a dispatcher said.

While no flood warnings were in effect for the counties as of 10 p.m. Tuesday, Tyburski said the thunderstorms expected today could produce additional flooding.

Consistent rain this spring has put the area above average precipitation totals for the year to date, Tyburski said.

Franklin County typically sees about 8.5 inches of rain by this time of year, and is about 1 to 2 inches above that, he said.

Keefer's website reported that for the month of April a total of 5.06 inches of precipitation has fallen in Hagerstown, bringing the year-to-date total to 14.26 inches. The site separately tracks snow and ice.

The adage might say that April showers bring May flowers, but a wet spring does not necessarily signal a moist summer, Tyburski said.

Dry, hot weather that scorched area crops last summer could very well return this year, depending on what weather patterns develop, he said.

Dry weather is expected to return on Thursday, but its stay will be short, he said.

Increasing clouds should develop through Friday producing another wet weekend, he said.

Chambersburg, Pa. weather watcher Jerry Ashway measured .75 inches of rain Tuesday, and 5.14 inches of rain for April.

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It rained nearly 2 inches, 1.92 to be exact, on Saturday, Ashway said.

"That's on the pretty heavy side (for April)," he said.

Ashway said the normal precipitation per day is .117 inches.

A Franklin County (Pa.) Emergency Services spokesman said the 911 center was "pretty quiet in reference to rain" on Tuesday night, when asked about road closures or flooded basements.

"There might not be flooding right now, but there could be some runoff concerns later in the evening as previously saturated ground takes on more water," Ashway said.



Staff Writer Roxann Miller contributed to this story.

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