Hours of rain add to low seasonal total

With downpours and a flash flood warning issued for a few hours Wednesday, and with scattered showers expected today through Sunday, it’s good the region has been about 2.6 inches below normal for the year in terms of precipitation.

Even with drier than normal conditions, the region can anticipate a couple more inches of rain by the end of the weekend, although a forecaster with the National Weather Service in State College said it should not pose a high flood risk.

“We’re in an unsettled weather pattern,” said meteorologist Elyse Colbert.

Nevertheless, it only took a little less than 1 inch of rainfall Wednesday afternoon for the service to issue a flashflood warning for the region. The warning expired at 2:30 p.m. with no flooding reported. As of 5 p.m., 0.86 inches of rain was recorded at the Williamsport Regional Airport.

It basically could rain on and off from now until Sunday, Colbert said, adding she didn’t see any risk of flooding from the West Branch of the Susquehanna River or its main tributaries. There is a chance of scattered thunderstorms today in the afternoon and Friday should be a day of scattered showers and a possible isolated thunderstorm.

Conditions should be similar Saturday and Sunday, she said.

Since the start of the year, before Wednesday, the region had received 9.35 inches of precipitation.

“That’s a 2.68 inches of departure from normal and is below normal,” she said.

The rivers are running low and were expected to see 1- to 2-foot rises, but nothing near flooding at this point, she said.

That eased the mind of William C. Wright, general manager of Williamsport’s Streets and Parks Department.

He and the crews were out in the showers clearing debris that had built up on catch basins to prevent pooling on the streets.

Wright said he was monitoring rainfall to determine whether he needs to clean the racks at Freedom Road and Highland Terrace north of the city that collect debris and trash from water drainage.

At Montgomery, which frequently floods whenever there are hard rains, Black Hole Creek is the main concern. Dennis Gruver, the emergency management coordinator, said the dry ground and far less than an inch of rain Wednesday did not present a concern.

When the creek floods it presents a problem for the lower end of the borough, but it usually requires a steady, fast downpour, as with a burst from a thunderstorm or hours of continual rain.

“It’s subject to change,” Gruver said.

The river at the borough isn’t a problem until it reaches 17 feet or higher and then it typically floods a Little League Baseball complex, he said.