Nate to ease budding drought, raise urban flooding concerns in eastern US early next week

While Nate will raise the risk of isolated flooding over the interior eastern United States, the storm is likely to ease building drought conditions in some areas early next week.

Nate is forecast by AccuWeather meteorologists to make landfall as a hurricane along the upper Gulf of Mexico coast of the U.S. on Sunday. Significant impact is likely along the coast in this area.

Beyond Sunday, Nate will gradually weaken as it moves inland over the Tennessee Valley, Ohio Valley, Appalachians and eventually the Northeast.

However, Nate will unleash a significant amount of rainfall in the region. For some areas, Nate will bring the biggest rainfall in six to eight weeks or longer.

"A general 2-4 inches of rain is likely with local amounts of 6 inches north of Interstate 20 over the interior South to near I-80 across the Ohio Valley and upper mid-Atlantic region," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio.

"The heaviest rain is likely to develop to the immediate north and northeast of the storm center as it moves along."

Southeast of the storm track, there will be the potential for locally heavy, gusty and severe thunderstorms continuing early next week.

Where the rain falls at a fast pace along the path, there is the likelihood of isolated urban and flash flooding.

"One concern of ours is where leaves have begun to drop and are blocking storm drains," according to AccuWeather Expert Meteorologist and Chief Operating Officer Evan Myers. "Urban flooding may be exacerbated in those cases."

For much of this area, however, the rainfall will be beneficial due to abnormally dry to drought conditions that have evolved since late August and early September.

The rainfall deficit in many areas is roughly equal to that which Nate may deliver.

Rainfall directly associated with Nate is likely to stay southeast of Chicago but could graze Detroit. Rain from Nate is likely to drench Nashville, Atlanta, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and may survive long enough to soak Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.

A repeat of the catastrophic flooding that Harvey produced in Texas is highly unlikely.

As long as the bulk of the rain dose not occur in a couple of hours and Nate does not stall or strengthen beyond a Category 2 hurricane, the ground should be able to soak up the water with few problems.

Nate is likely to maintain a swift pace upon moving inland.

As rainfall from Nate spreads northeastward across the eastern U.S., travel delays typical of most rainstorms will result. However, fallen leaves and oil buildup may cause some issues.

Motorists should use caution for extra slick conditions.

"Roads will become slick, especially where the prior dryness has caused leaves to drop," Myers said.

"Gusty winds associated with Nate may knock a significant amount of leaves off the trees."

Many road surfaces have also accumulated oil and other contaminants in recent weeks.

Motorists should reduce their speed and allow extra between vehicles and stopping distance at intersections.