Flood watch and drought watch, weather’s odd couple in rare joint appearance

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Although this has been a particularly wet decade, the region has been blessedly free of major riverine flooding.

Ray Kruzdlo, the National Weather Service hydrologist in Mount Holly, tells us that the Delaware River at Trenton hasn’t sloshed over in more than three years.

And that was the result of an ice jam. The last rain even that sent the river above flood stage would have been Tropical Storm Lee, back in 2011.

The Schuylkill has been jumpier, as the folks who use Kelly Drive or live along the banks in West Norriton Township, Montgomery County, well know.

The weather service has posted a flood watch for the entire region for late Wednesday night and Thursday, and we haven’t seen many of those recently.

Actually the entire region remains under a drought watch declared by both the New Jersey and Pennsylvania environmental departments.

We will have to do some digging on this, but we can’t recall the last time this odd couple got together.

The current forecasts have the axis of heavy rains just west of the city, along the Fall Line, that slightly elevated area that tends to enhance rainfall.

The axis extends into the headwaters of the Schuylkill and Delaware, which is a cause for concern.

The Storm Prediction Center also has the region in the slight-risk zone for severe winds, meaning gusts approaching 60 mph.

Saturated ground and strong winds constitute a recipe for downed trees and power outages.

But hold off on the panic. It is still not clear precisely where the heaviest rain will fall or the storm will target its ferocity.

Just assume that the morning peak commuting period will be a mess, and that the drought watch will be washed away.

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