Update: Rainfall totals scaled back, flood watch still in effect

06/13/2013 1:00 PM |

northeast radar

The National Weather Service has scaled back projections for this week’s latest summer storm, with forecasts now predicting about an 1.5 inches of total accumulation over the next 48 hours, weather experts said.

Town officials said they’re still taking precautions to prevent flooding from the storm.

Meteorologist Joey Picca with the National Weather Service’s station in Upton said the worst of the storm may have already passed with bands of heavy rain and thunderstorms moving through the area early Thursday.

“It’s very possible that could have been, in terms of [rainfall] rates, the heaviest it will be,” Mr. Picca said.

The next round of heavy rain is expected to move through the area around 3 p.m. and last through the evening hours, he said.

Meteorologists are tracking the storm over Pennsylvania now, he said, adding that breaks in the cloud cover could destabilize the system and increase rainfall totals for the North Fork.

A flood watch remains in effect for Thursday morning through Friday evening for Long Island, as previous storms over the past week have saturated the ground.

“It wont take as much as it normally would to lead to some flooding issues,” Mr. Picca said.

The flood watch has been issued for all five boroughs of New York City and Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The National Weather Service had originally predicted higher totals as high as 5 inches in some locations, but the track of the storm shifted south over New Jersey meaning the worst of the rain will fall into the Atlantic Ocean south of Long Island.

The predictions may have changed, but Riverhead Town Highway Superintendent George “Gio” Woodson said he’s taking no chances.

His highway crews are targeting problem areas, like Sound Avenue near Church Lane, by pumping out storm drains.

“Most of the drains are really full and it’s hard to keep up,” he said. Crews are also setting up orange barrels to warn drivers to slow down near puddles and areas of flooding.

Mr. Woodson said the town parking lot behind Digger’s flooded in the last, sending rainwater down the steps and into the restaurant. Highway crews were on scene then to pump out the water.

Mr. Woodson said he had sent crews out overnight for the last storm, but won’t do it again tonight, because reckless drivers on the road make it too dangerous for his crews to work.

The state Department of Transportation has warned drivers to slow down and drive cautiously as the storm moves through the area. Route 25 at the Orient Point Causeway is expected to flood, and residents are asked to avoid the road until the water subsides, the state DOT said in a statement.

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