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Flash Floods and a Hell Commute May Return on Friday

noaa03.jpgThat stuff you see hovering over Ohio may wreck your Friday commute, according to the National Weather Service. Satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

It could be another horrible commute on Friday morning. The National Weather Service issued the following warning at about 4 pm on Thursday (forgive the shouting, the NWS gets very excited about these things):

A * FLASH FLOOD WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY AND SOUTHEAST NEW YORK...INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS...IN NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY...BERGEN...EASTERN PASSAIC...ESSEX... HUDSON...UNION AND WESTERN PASSAIC. IN SOUTHEAST NEW YORK... BRONX...KINGS (BROOKLYN)...NEW YORK (MANHATTAN)...QUEENS AND RICHMOND (STATEN ISLAND)..

* FROM MIDNIGHT EDT TONIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY AFTERNOON * THERE MAY BE A FEW SPRINKLES OR A BRIEF SHOWER THROUGH THIS EVENING...THEN SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL DEVELOP AFTER MIDNIGHT. THESE STORMS WILL PRODUCE AREAS OF HEAVY RAIN THAT ARE EXPECTED TO RESULT IN RAINFALL AMOUNTS BETWEEN ONE AND ONE AND A HALF INCHES. LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS WILL ALSO BE POSSIBLE WHERE THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY IS THE MOST FREQUENT AND INTENSE. WITH A SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL IN THE RECENT PAST...SOIL MOISTURE LEVELS ARE ALREADY HIGH...WHICH WILL INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF RAIN THAT RESULTS IN RUNOFF. THIS WILL TAX LOCAL SEWER SYSTEMS AND RESULT IN SIGNIFICANT RAPID RISES ON SMALL STREAMS AND RIVERS...AND COULD RESULT IN FLASH FLOODS ACROSS THE WATCH AREA. A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED

So what does that mean? Well, it took only 2.5 inches of rain—recorded at Central Park—to completely paralyze the entire subway system on Wednesday. The NWS is forecasting about 1.5 inches this time. This difference may be the MTA, which was admittedly left unprepared for Wednesday's deluge. This time let's hope its different.

The Times Cityroom blog reports:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority sent employees fanning out across the city, put buses on reserve, rechecked storm drains and postponed virtually all construction this afternoon, as meteorologists forecast strong thunderstorms for tonight and early Friday morning.

If your commute is hellish, please send us your stories (don't be afraid to be find humor in your anger.)


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