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Environment & Science

Sorry, Lehigh Valley. Our brief respite from the cool, dreary weather is over

Rainy weather
Micaela Hood
People visit Celtic Classic in Bethlehem during a stretch of rainy, dreary weather.

  • If you love rain and dreary weather, Ophelia is the gift that keeps on giving
  • The remnant low from the tropical system merged Thursday with a newly developing system off the Carolina coast
  • It's expected to bring rain to our area late Thursday and Friday

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Remember Ophelia?

The tropical system that recently brought days of dreary weather to the Lehigh Valley is back. Sort of.

Ophelia’s remnant low merged early Thursday with a newly developing system off the Carolina coast, and forecasters say it’s all part of a complicated setup that could bring heavy rain to part of our region late Thursday and Friday.

What we know

According to the National Weather Service, Thursday will see increasing cloud cover as a low over the Ohio Valley weakens and transfers its energy to the newly developing low near the Carolina coast.

Meanwhile, a strong trough will help that new low to strengthen further, with showers to our south and east as the day progresses.

Most of the day is expected to be dry for the entire region, but rain will move in late Thursday and continue overnight, with locally heavy rain possible for some areas.

“It’s going to bring precipitation to at least our eastern areas,” EPAWA meteorologist Bobby Martrich said in his latest video forecast.

What we don’t know

“Somebody’s getting absolutely smacked with this,” Martrich said, noting the best chance for heavy rain would likely be across northern New Jersey.

That lines up with the weather service forecast discussion, which said one model “paints a particularly scary picture with [a] widespread 2-4 inches of rain over New Jersey.”

Other guidance isn’t that aggressive locally, the discussion said, “but there is definitely a trend towards some area getting some pretty heavy rain by the time the system starts to depart Friday evening… the question being, where?”

The weather service said it’s a question that can’t be answered yet, but forecasters have collaborated with the Weather Prediction Center to warn of a slight risk of excessive rainfall across much of the region, particularly New Jersey, given the setup.

The long-term outlook

Showers and storms are expected to taper off Friday evening, and Saturday is expected to be dry for the Lehigh Valley. Cloud coverage likely will linger through much of the afternoon, forecasters say, but there could be peeks of sunshine before sunset.

Drier air finally will take control by Saturday night, and we’ll begin to see a much quieter period next week with a stretch of nice days and mostly sunny skies.

Sunday through Wednesday likely will bring a period of temperatures around 5 degrees or so above normal, the weather service said, with highs in the upper 70s expected for our area.