Strong winds and heavy rain expected Tuesday, meteorologists warn of possible flooding in Philadelphia

“We've already seen a lot of rain with the three previous storms … our soils can't take much more rainfall,” said one NWS meteorologist.

Clogged gutters at Delaware Ave. and Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia cause road closures after a storm brought heavy rain to the region and the Delaware River overflowed onto the road on December 18, 2023. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Clogged gutters at Delaware Ave. and Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia cause road closures after a storm brought heavy rain to the region and the Delaware River overflowed onto the road on December 18, 2023. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

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Meteorologists say they are “very concerned about the potential for flooding” Tuesday, as several inches of rain is possible for parts of the Delaware Valley.

Current models predict two to three inches of rain, according to Sarah Johnson, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Mount Holly.

“We’re now well ahead of what is normal for this time within the winter months,” Johnson said.

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Winter is typically a dryer season for the Philadelphia metro area. But precipitation from Saturday’s winter storm, which mainly brought rain and just a dusting of snow, paired with wetter-than-average conditions for most of December, has brought higher precipitation totals for the region.

“December and January, cumulative, we have had a total of 8.96 inches of total precipitation,” Johnson said. “On average for the whole December/January/February time period for Philadelphia, we average about 9.85 … We’re already pretty close to [the] average even though we’re only about halfway through that three-month time period.”

More rain could lead to significant flooding, Johnson warned.

“Two to three inches may not sound like a lot of rain at this point, and it’s similar to what we got with the mid-December storm. [But] we’ve already seen a lot of rain with the three previous storms, so our soils can’t take much more rainfall for it to become runoff.” she said.

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A flood watch has been issued for Tuesday, Jan. 9 at 1 p.m. until Wednesday, Jan. 10 at 6 p.m. for parts of Delaware, Bucks, and Philadelphia counties.

Rain isn’t the only concern with thisTuesday’s system. Winds up to 50 mph are possible, according to meteorologists at 6abc. The combination of heavy rain and winds brings the threat of downed power lines and trees.

After the rain moves out Wednesday, temperatures are expected to peak between the low 40s and mid-50s, Fahrenheit, with lows between the high 20s and upper 40s.

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