How will Hurricane Ian's remnants impact York County?

Anthony Maenza
York Dispatch

Longtime Yorkers are understandably leery of hurricanes given the legacy of Agnes, which dumped 13 inches of rain across central Pennsylvania 50 years ago despite arriving as a tropical storm.

But the remnants of Hurricane Ian — now itself a tropical storm — do not appear to pose a similar threat, according to forecasters.

“By the time it gets here, it’s going to be more or less like a normal fall rainstorm," National Weather Service meteorologist Barry Lambert said Thursday.

Hurricane Ian dumped more than 20 inches of rain in some areas of the Florida peninsula when it made landfall Wednesday, according to the weather service. By the time it arrives in central Pennsylvania, Lambert says, Yorkers can expect about a half inch to 2 inches of rain over the coming weekend.

Lambert said there are some differences in the computer models showing where the rain is going to be and when it might arrive in south-central Pennsylvania. For the Lancaster and York area, one model shows rain starting around midnight Friday night and continuing through Saturday evening with a half inch of rain. Another has rain beginning late Friday night and coming intermittently into Sunday with a total accumulation of 1.3 inches, he said. 

“As the system moves north into the central and southern Appalachians it’s going to kind of slow and fragment,” he said. “We’re going to have one piece of it streaming up on the I-95 corridor and then the mid-Atlantic coast. That will bring the initial batch of rain. Then it will spin and meander southwest Virginia and West Virginia for a day or so this weekend and maybe move slowly northeast.” 

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Agnes, another Gulf storm, first made landfall near Panama City, Florida, in June 1972. It curved up the East Coast before turning inland. It looped over Pennsylvania nearly a week after initially impacting the United States, causing devastating flooding despite its weakened state.

People walk where water is receding out of Tampa Bay due to a negative surge ahead of Hurricane Ian, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Lambert said Ian, which has already been downgraded to a tropical storm, will continue northward. The meteorologist said there will be an easterly flow off the western Atlantic that will bring thick clouds and bring a chill to the air — as well as sporadic rain this weekend. 

“As far as (Ian’s remnants) being something that’s going to be highly impactful, it shouldn’t be,” Lambert said.

Thursday is on track to be a beautiful fall day with a high of 66 degrees and a low of 45, with a light northeast breeze blowing.

Here is the outlook for the rest of the weekend, according to the National Weather Service: 

Thursday night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 45. North wind around 5 mph, becoming calm in the evening.

Friday: Partly sunny, with a high near 66. Calm wind becoming northeast around 6 mph in the morning.

Friday night: A chance of rain, mainly after 2 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 51. Northeast wind around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

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Saturday: Rain likely, then rain and possibly a thunderstorm after 2 p.m. High near 60. Northeast wind 6 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a half and three-quarters of an inch possible.

Saturday night: Rain, mainly before 8 p.m. Low around 52. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Sunday: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 63. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Sunday night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 47. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

Monday: A chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 60. Chance of precipitation is 30%.