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Weather Watch: Flood Threat Continues; Tornado Watch Issued

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This afternoon is shaping up to be quite interesting. We are in the middle of a humid and sticky airmass that is being influenced by the remnants of tropical cyclone Beryl, which lies just south and west of Lake Erie at the time of this update. As we move into the hours leading up to the main event, our computer modeling is able to say with better consensus what we can expect from the elements this afternoon. Before getting into those details, it is important to note what alerts are currently in effect for our area:

TORNADO WATCH in effect until 9 p.m. this evening for all of northern and central Vermont

A warm front currently rests over south-central Vermont and is slowly lifting north, stalling out over north-central Vermont this afternoon. This stalled front will be the focus for winds changing speed and direction with height, which may produce some thunderstorms capable of producing scattered damaging straight-line winds and an isolated tornado, especially as we get into the late afternoon-early evening hours.

FLOOD WATCH for flash flooding in effect until noon Thursday for all of northern and central Vermont

Rainfall rates of up to two to three inches per hour are possible in any thunderstorm that does develop, regardless of their severity, but we expect these to be isolated in our area through 6 p.m. There may be a heavy shower that crosses parts of northern Washington county early this afternoon, but additional development may occur later.

photo by Raymonda Parchment A rainbow appears over Hardwick, along Route 15, across from the Lamoille River, June 24, following a heavy rainstorm.

The heaviest of the rain will fall between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. tonight, when those same heavy rainfall rates will be sustained for longer as a line of slow-moving heavy rain crosses with the occlusion of the front. This will lead to total rainfall amounts locally of 3-5” inches over the region, heaviest in areas that see repeat episodes of rainfall.

Current flash flood guidance shows our threshold of being able to tolerate rainfall before having major flooding problems is about 1.5 inches in an hour, and 2.25 to 2.5 inches in six hours. We will likely exceed this overnight and have several washouts to contend with by early morning.

Please plan accordingly for the weather this afternoon. If a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning is issued, move to a sturdy structure. Interior rooms on the lowest floor of the building are generally the safest place to be.

As we move into the flash flooding threat later in the evening, be aware that it is harder to see running water over the road at night. Never attempt to estimate the depth of water over the road. It is often underestimated and the integrity of the road underneath may be questionable. Consider multiple ways to evacuate your property if you live in a flood-prone area.

Monitor multiple sources for further weather updates.

Tyler is our weather reporter and a community journalist. He works as a nurse and EMT, volunteers with Hardwick Rescue and helps to train new EMTs.

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