Hurricane Ida: Heavy rain, flooding a possibility in Catskills, Southern Tier
Update: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency early Thursday as the remnants of Hurricane Ida dropped massive rainfall on much of the Northeast, leading to flooding across wide swaths of New York City and the Hudson Valley. Here's the latest.
More than 1 million homes and businesses were without power Monday across a swath of Louisiana and Mississippi as Ida, now a tropical storm, still pounded the region with heavy rains and storm surge.
Ida, which roared onto the Gulf Coast near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, on Sunday with 150-mph winds, knocked out power to the entire city of New Orleans. On Monday morning the storm was centered over southwestern Mississippi.
The storm was inching north at 8 mph, the slow roll driving up rainfall totals along Ida's path.
Meanwhile, Ida's impact on Pennsylvania and New York is coming more into focus as the hours tick by.
Ida to hit Pennsylvania; may hit NY
According to the National Weather Service's office in Binghamton, the National Hurricane Center is forecasting that remnants of Ida will combine with a stalled front and potentially produce heavy rain Wednesday and Wednesday night somewhere in the mid-Atlantic states.
Where that somewhere will be is still up in the air.
In a Monday morning hurricane briefing out of the Binghamton office, forecasters said current projections have the highest amounts of rain tracking south of northeast Pennsylvania/Catskills.
But If Ida tracks farther north than expected, the flooding threat grows in New York.
The Southern Tier and northeast Pennsylvania are more vulnerable to flooding right now because soils are saturated and rivers and streams are running above normal from remnants of Fred and Henri, the weather service warns.
As little as 1.5 inches of rain over three hours could cause flooding in some areas, the weather service warned.
Possibility of flooding in NY
Brian Tentinger, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Binghamton, said the focus Monday was south of the New York border.
Two possible scenarios from the NWS:
- Possibly 2-3 inches of rain in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Pike and Southern Wayne counties in Pennsylvania.
- Or, the heaviest rain stretching into southeast New York, with 4-6 inches across northeast Pennsylvania and into the Catskills. Lesser, but still significant amounts of rain father north across the Twin Tiers. In this scenario, more serious flash flooding would occur, and potentially significant river flooding, with more emphasis on the Delaware River than the Susquehanna.
“It could end up being a pretty sharp cutoff between areas that see heavy rain and areas that might not see much rain at all,” he said. “The area between Hornell, Corning, Elmira and Binghamton may be close to where the transition happens.”
Flash flood watches have been issued in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Southern Wayne and Wyoming counties in Pennsylvania, and Tentinger noted Bradford, Tioga and Potter counties are in the "uncertain area."
Rest of New York
The remnants of Ida are not expected to impact the Finger Lakes or other areas of upstate New York.
USA TODAY Network reporter John Bacon contributed to this story.