The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for the region for this afternoon through Sunday evening. The original watch started on Friday evening and extended through Saturday.
Steve Zubrick, a meteorologist with the Weather Service in Sterling, said Shenandoah County may see 1 to 2 inches of rain, and some higher elevations could receive up to 3 inches in the 24-hour-period.
“We’ve been a little dry over the last 10 days or so,” Zubrick said on Friday afternoon. “Overall, when you go back and look at this fall, it’s been fairly wet. The ground still has moisture in it. If you get a six-hour period of moderate to heavy rainfall, you could get some creeks and streams to rise above their banks.”
That heavy to moderate rainfall is forecast to stick around through the weekend into Sunday afternoon.
While concentrated rain is coming, Zubrick said wintry weather isn’t expected. No sleet, freezing rain or snow is forecast with the exception of possible flakes on Sunday evening, Zubrick said.
The slow and steady accumulation over the 24-hour-period means there isn’t a risk of a flash flood, but residents should be cautious on wet roads and near bodies of water.
“You should never drive through flooded areas because you don’t know what’s underneath the road,” Zubrick said. “Even if it looks innocent, the road could be potentially washed out.
Zubrick said the Weather Service has a saying: “turn around, don’t drown.”
Besides poor visibility and wet roads, Zubrick suggested caution around creeks and streams that could overflow their banks.
“You don’t want t to let your kids play near the water,” he said. “Some of these creeks and streams will be pretty high, even if they’re within their banks.”
Due to the relatively dry period leading up to the incoming wet weather, snow melt will only be a minor factor throughout the area, although residents living in higher elevations should be cautious.
The rain is expected to taper off Sunday evening before mostly sunny conditions on Monday. Temperatures all weekend are forecast to remain above freezing, dipping down to 36 degrees on Sunday night.
Following this weekend’s wet weather, the region will dry out again early next week, Brian Lasorsa, another Weather Service meteorologist said.
According to Lasorsa, next week has dry weather with above-freezing temperatures during the day, but any leftover standing water could freeze overnight. Some wind, Lasorsa said, is expected as well, reaching speeds of up to 20 mph.