National Weather Service expects rain to continue over weekend

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The National Weather Service predicts additional heavy rainfall for the Shepherdstown area if Hurricane Joaquin comes close to or makes landfall along the East Coast. The above map shows one projected track and areas that could be affected by tropical force winds.

(SHEPHERDSTOWN) – Residents in the Shepherdstown area can expect an additional one to two inches of rain over the weekend with the potential for that number to increase if Hurricane Joaquin comes close or makes landfall, according to The National Weather Service.

“This rain is well ahead and independent of Joaquin,” said Kevin Witt, meteorologist with The National Weather Service in Sterling, Virginia. “Upper level energy across the southeast U.S. will send a big area of low pressure and energy northward combined with energy from (the) Atlantic coast will cause moderate to heavy rain starting late morning (Friday).”

Witt said rain will pick up in intensity and may become moderate to heavy Friday morning to late afternoon. If the rain is heavy enough in the afternoon and evening hours, residents should expect small stream and creek flooding.

“Between now and Monday be prepared for several inches of rain and moderate flooding in some places,” Witt said.

“We always worry about flooding in low lying areas,” said Denise Pouget, director of Jefferson County Emergency Services Agency.

The weather service is predicting over the next 48 to 75 hours, one to two inches of rain with isolated higher amounts, especially east of Shepherdstown possible, Witt said.

“When streets are flooded, don’t run through the water,” Pouget said. “It is difficult to tell how high the water may be.”

Pouget said that they don’t want to residents become victims in their cars.

“If (Joaquin) makes landfall the area could pick up an additional three to six inches of rain,” Witt said.

Witt continued that the area could see significant rainfall even if the storm comes close to the coast.

“We always pay attention to extreme weather events, we have normal staffing but we always have on call (staff) to adjust,” Pouget said. “It looks like it is going to be a pretty significant (weather event) and we are prepared to ramp up.”

Pouget said that she believes between the volunteer and career responders working together, they will do the best they can.

“We are keeping a watchful eye on the rain,” Pouget said.

Witt said that predictions for Hurricane Joaquin are still changing and once the storm turns north, they will be able to provide a more definite prediction on the tract.

Todd Bowman is a staff writer for The Picket. He can be reached at tbowma04@rams.shephered.edu or on Twitter @todd_bowman87.