Rain from Tropical Depression Ida was expected to begin moving into the Culpeper area on Tuesday, bringing a chance of windy thunderstorms, the National Weather Service says.
Very heavy rain is expected in the northern Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions over the next 36 hours, with the possibility of serious flooding. East of the storm’s center track, there could be the threat of tornadoes.
“Scattered damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes are possible with thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday evening,” the National Weather Service said in Tuesday’s hazardous weather outlook for the Washington-Baltimore area.
“Quick-hitting funnels ... could touch down with relatively little warning,” The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang wrote.
By sunset Wednesday, several inches of rain could fall west of Interstate 95, regional meteorologist and weather blogger Chris White (@chrisvawx) said Tuesday.
The National Weather Service has flash-flood watches up for Culpeper, Fauquier, Rappahannock, Charlottesville and Roanoke from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning.
The Weather Service has also issued a river flood watch for the Rappahannock River at Remington, affecting Culpeper County and southern Fauquier County, from Thursday morning to early Friday morning.
The 15-foot flood stage may be reached late Thursday morning, which would inundate Tin Pot Run Road and Sumerduck Road near Remington, the Weather Service said Tuesday. At 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, the river was 4.0 feet, or 11.0 feet below flood stage.
“The remnants of Ida will interact with a stalled front, resulting in a prolonged period of heavy rainfall beginning Wednesday morning and continuing through Wednesday night,” the Weather Service said. “Rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are expected, with localized amounts up to 6 inches possible.”
“Heavy tropical rainfall could result in considerable flash flooding,” the agency said. “River flooding is also possible, which could continue through the end of the week.”
Ida could result in some localized, short-term hazards in central Virginia, but it will be a very different situation from the catastrophic hurricane that struck the Gulf Coast, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Tuesday.
If any part of the region deals with enough rain to cause widespread disruption or damage, it would probably be somewhere north and/or west of Louisa, the Times-Dispatch’s John Boyer wrote. At the very least, steady rain could slow travels north of Fredericksburg and west of Charlottesville and Lynchburg (and especially the closer one gets to Maryland and West Virginia), Boyer wrote.
“But for parts of Southside and Tidewater, it might be difficult to sense much difference from typical late-summer weather—unless, of course, there’s a tornado threat,” he said.
Ida’s second act as an inland rainmaker could last twice as long as its trek over the Gulf of Mexico last weekend, Boyer said.
Rain totals in Central Virginia could range from a few tenths of an inch at minimum to as much as a few inches, Boyer said.
There’s still some uncertainty about how quickly the cold front and tropical moisture will clear out of central and eastern Virginia on Thursday. It could be a pleasant day, or a little unsettled in the morning, Boyer said. But high pressure promises to bring some cooler, drier, September-like conditions heading intoLabor Day weekend.
With showers and thunderstorms likely tonight in the Culpeper area, some of the storms could produce gusty winds, the Weather Service said.
“This amount of heavy rainfall will not only result in the potential for considerable flash flooding of creeks, small streams and urban areas, but also the potential for river flooding on the main stem rivers,” the Weather Service said.
On Thursday, morning showers are likely. The rest of the day should be mostly sunny, with a north wind of 11 to 14 mph. Winds could gust as high as 23 mph. The chance of precipitation is 60%.