Northeast Drivers May Get Wet Roads for Early Christmas Present

(Bloomberg) -- New York, Washington and the rest of the East Coast will get soaked with heavy rain through Saturday, just as travelers hit the road for Christmas.

“It’s an impressive storm that’s developing today,” said Patrick Burke, a lead forecaster at the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. “It’s going to deliver a widespread 1 to 3 inches of rain across the entire Eastern Seaboard from Florida to Maine Thursday into Friday.”

Mild temperatures mean the storm will be all rain, not snow, for big cities along the Interstate 95 corridor, along with gusty winds that may delay flights during a peak travel period. As much as 3 inches (8 centimeters) will fall on ground already soaked from repeated storms, adding to potential flooding problems. Temperatures may get as high as 61 Fahrenheit (16 Celsius) in New York, 62 in Washington and 60 in Boston.

This has already been the rainiest year on record in Washington and Baltimore. Dulles International Airport in Virginia has already had more than 64 inches and may reach a new all-time high, Burke said.

The Passaic River at Pine Brook, New Jersey, is forecast to rise more than a foot through Saturday, almost reaching moderate flood stage, the National Weather Service said. The Potomac in Washington and the Hudson at Poughkeepsie may get minor flooding.

The storm will track up the Appalachian Mountains, with the potential for snow showers from the Great Lakes to the Ohio Valley, Burke said. Freezing rain could fall across northern Maine and into Quebec through Friday. Montreal may get almost an inch of ice, making travel difficult, according to Environment Canada.

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