Periods of heavy rain and local impacts from Hurricane Zeta

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Minor local impacts from Thursday's heavy rain...

Hurricane Zeta, now a Category 2 hurricane over the northern Gulf of Mexico as of Wednesday afternoon, is just hours away from landfall in eastern Louisiana.

The storm has shown some impressive strengthening over the last 24-48 hours and the Gulf Coast will feel the strongest impacts from hurricane force wind, storm surge, and torrential rain. It will unfortunately be the 11th tropical system to make landfall in the United States this hurricane season, and the 5th landfall of a tropical system in Louisiana- both of these landfall stats will be records held by the 2020 hurricane season.

While this hurricane season has been record setting for the United States, Pennsylvania has been spared by these powerful storms. Isaias in July was the most impactful overall with some wind gusts and periods of heavier rain. With that in mind, what can Central PA expect from the remnants/leftovers of Zeta?

For the most part, this will be very beneficial rain for the Midstate. We can expect the rain to begin by sunrise Thursday and last through sunrise Friday. 1-2 inches of rain is likely on average, and that total has been consistent across model runs and updates. The good news is streams and rivers locally are low, as is the water table in general across the region. On a smaller scale for individual towns, creeks, and roads some swelling of water levels/ponding is possible if bands of heavy rain dwell over a single location and produce upwards of 3 inches of rain. However, that should be more the exception than the general outcome.

If you encounter a flooded, low-lying road do the right thing every time. Turn around, don’t drown. It does not take much flood water to stall your vehicle and leave you stranded!

Expected rainfall as Zeta rolls through the Central Pennsylvania.


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