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Environment & Science

Flood watch, snow squalls and damaging winds: The weekend forecast has it all for the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas

Flood watch
Mount Holly
The Lehigh Valley is under a flood watch Saturday afternoon through Sunday evening.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – A potent storm system has triggered a flood watch for the Lehigh Valley on Saturday, with 1 to 2 inches of rainfall possible.

The flood watch remains in effect from 1 p.m. Saturday through Sunday evening for a large swath of the region, including Lehigh and Northampton counties.

The National Weather Service says the system should “strengthen notably” as it moves through the area. Rainfall totals are expected to approach 2 inches in Allentown.

“A pretty good slug of moderate to heavy rain will develop as it passes, with some embedded thunder possible,” the latest forecast discussion said.

The storm will arrive as temperatures briefly surge back into the 50s on strong and gusty southeasterly winds.

The weather service says excessive runoff from the heavy rain may result in the flooding of rivers, creeks, streams and other low-lying and flood-prone locations.

Creeks and streams are running high after repeated rounds of rain this week and may rise out of their banks. Flooding may also occur in poor drainage and urban areas.

“Urban flooding will be a threat around the Philadelphia and Allentown metro areas as the heaviest rain moves through,” the flood watch said.

Total Rainfall
Mount Holly
This graphic shows the weekend rainfall forecast. The Lehigh Valley is under a flood watch.

Sunday could bring snow, then gusting winds to parts of the region

A low pressure system is forecast to slide across the northeast on Sunday, pivoting across our area Sunday afternoon and evening.

The weather service said the setup will result in strong winds, and given the cold air aloft, will bring a chance for snow/rain showers mostly to the north and west of I-95 in the afternoon and early evening.

“There is even the potential for a heavier snow shower or squall, especially in the Pocono region. Any snow accumulations should be limited, however up to an inch of snow is possible mainly in parts of the Poconos,” the forecast discussion said.

Beyond that, winds could gust Sunday and Monday close to advisory criteria (46 mph), and overall peak gusts both days look to be about 40 to 50 mph.

Power outages are possible, especially Sunday night and Monday when the core of the colder air swings through.