Tropical Storm Lee and the Threat of Major Flooding

Lee continues to move very slowly north then turn north northeast.

Winds are expected to be around 65 mph with a few higher gusts when the storm makes landfall.

However, the more serious threat is not the wind, it is the rain.  A few spots in far southeast Louisiana have already recorded more than 4″ of rain.

Radar estimate of rainfall amounts. Darker yellow ≥4″, note small
spot over the Mississippi Delta

On top of what has already fallen, more than 20″ additional is forecast to fall.

NWS rainfall forecast

Major flooding will likely occur and it is quite possible numerous roadways will be washed out in southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi. There is also a threat of major flooding in west central and northern Alabama where above normal rain has fallen the last 30 days.

If you look at the above map, the melding of Lee along with a cold front could bring heavy rain into New England the first of next work week. The NWS rainfall forecast shows moderate amounts. However, the ECMWF model, from AccuWeather, shows some locations getting more than five inches (dark maroon color) in the Northeast and Middle Atlantic States. Given that some of these areas received heavy rain from Irene, it may cause rivers to rise again.

ECMWF model via AccuWeather’s PRO web site.

It is too soon to pin down how much threat there is to the Middle Atlantic and New England regions but I would advise residents of these areas to continue to monitor the weather forecasts.

I believe this is another major disaster in the making — one of the seemingly endless weather disasters of 2011.

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