Severe thunderstorms swept through the Lehigh Valley late Monday afternoon and into the evening, downing numerous trees and power lines and bringing heavy downpours to an area with little rain.
A flash flood warning for northern parts of Lehigh County was lifted just before 8 p.m. when forecasters said the heaviest rain had ended. Between 2 and 3 inches of rain had fallen by then, according to the National Weather Service, with additional rain amounts of 1 to 2 inches still possible.
The storm also delivered hail up to a quarter-inch in size and wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour, according to an earlier severe thunderstorm warning for much of the region.
PPL reported nearly 4,000 customers without power in Lehigh and Northampton counties at the peak of the outages around 5:40pm. As of 8:50 p.m., fewer than 140 customers in Lehigh and Northampton counties were left without power.
Otherwise, Monday’s rain was a welcome sight in a dry summer for much of the Lehigh Valley.
Before Monday’s rains, the Lehigh Valley was about 2 inches behind the monthly average for August.
Above-average rainfall earlier in the year was enough to make up the recent deficit and saved the area from a drought. Still, part of the region is considered “unusually dry,” a precursor to the drought, according to the US Drought Monitor.
The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center’s August drought forecast places much of eastern Pennsylvania in an area where “drought development is likely.”
The chance for more rain continues on Tuesday. As a cold front sweeping through the region tonight continues to advance offshore, a weak surface trough on the backside, weather permitting, may help induce some showers and thunderstorms into the afternoon, primarily along and north of the I-78 corridor Service Forecast Discussion.
Dry weather returns on Wednesday and Thursday before another cold front approaches on Friday, bringing the chance of more showers and thunderstorms.
Here is the extended forecast for the Lehigh Valley:
Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly before 1am. Wafts of fog after 2 a.m. Otherwise mostly cloudy, with a low around 67. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm. The chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts range from a tenth to a quarter of an inch, except for thunderstorms, higher amounts are possible.
Chance of showers and thunderstorms, then chance of showers and possible thunderstorms after 5pm. Light fog before 8 am. Otherwise partly sunny with a maximum near 85. Light westerly winds increasing to 5-10 mph in the afternoon. The chance of precipitation is 60%.
Showers likely before 8 p.m. Mostly clear with a low around 66. West winds around 5 mph, calming down in the evening. The chance of precipitation is 60%.
Sunny, peaking near 88. Calm winds from the west at about 5 mph in the afternoon.
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Mostly clear with a low around 66.
Sunny, with a high near 90.
Partly cloudy with a low around 67.
Showers possible after 2 p.m. Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. Chance of precipitation is 30%.