Skies aren't about to run out of rain - Wet week brings more flooding, fallen trees

At this point, what's a few more showers?

Two days of rainfall, heavy at times, caused minor flooding in some areas of Delaware on Wednesday, swelling streams and further saturating an already wet region.

More showers are possible today through Saturday, and a flood watch remains in effect for parts of New Castle County through 6 p.m. today, according to the National Weather Service.

"I don't think the flooding's going to be any worse than we've seen recently," said Kelvin Ramsey, a geologist with the Delaware Geological Survey at the University of Delaware.

Forecasters warned of a high risk for rip currents at the Delaware beaches today and Friday, as a weakened Hurricane Katia moves off the Atlantic Coast. Surf swells could build to heights of 8 feet today or Friday, according to the weather service.

Katia, the 11th named storm of the Atlantic season, could also add to the rainfall forecast in Delaware and elsewhere, said Jim Poirier, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, N.J.

"Even in central and southern Delaware, the grounds are pretty wet, so streams and water courses are high," Poirier said.

"If we see excessive rainfall, people need to be on watch for rapidly rising water that could occur," especially in areas with poor drainage and low-lying roadways.

A coastal flood advisory for the Delaware Bay and tidal Delaware River on Wednesday was set to expire at 1 a.m. today.

Nearly 3 inches of rain fell in parts of northern New Castle County on Tuesday and at least 1.5 inches more Wednesday, according to the Delaware Environmental Observing System. Chester County, Pa., received 5 inches on Tuesday and at least 2.5 inches more Wednesday.

Due to storm activity Wednesday afternoon, air-traffic controllers grounded planes around the country bound for Philadelphia and Baltimore, delaying departures and arrivals for several hours at airports.

"We are definitely being affected by the weather," said Victoria Lupica, a spokeswoman for Philadelphia International Airport.

Flooding of the Brandywine closed several roads in the area of Smith Bridge near Centreville Wednesday morning. Roads in other flood-prone areas closed due to high water, including East 12th Street in Wilmington near the Howard R. Young Correctional Institute, east of Bowers Street.

Arborists and tree-service companies had a slight uptick in calls Wednesday for trees and branches felled during the rain, they said.

Jeff Stein of Stein Tree Service in Wilmington and Newark blamed the combination of saturated ground soil and trees already weakened or loosened by the winds of Hurricane Irene.

"When the top layer of soil is saturated, there's more likelihood that trees could fail," Stein said.

More than 4,600 Delmarva Power customers lost electric service following storms that moved through the area overnight Tuesday; however, weather did not cause those outages, said Delmarva spokeswoman Bridget Shelton. Crews repaired issues with copper wiring and had restored electricity to most customers Wednesday afternoon.


Published in the News Journal, Sep. 8, 2011

For questions and information, contact DGS at, 302-831-2833

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