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Flood warnings issued as 3 to 5 inches of rainfall forecast across Baltimore region

The storm system that brought tornadoes to parts of the Southeast United States arrived in Baltimore Tuesday, prompting the National Weather Service to call a flash-flood watch for the region through Wednesday night.

The downpour, which had dropped a half-inch of rainfall in the city and surrounding counties by Tuesday night, is expected to continue for much of the day and night Wednesday, bringing as much as 3 to 5 inches to the region — and up to 7 in some areas.

The weather service reported that conditions would be "capable of producing torrential rainfall … damaging wind gusts and even the threat for a few tornadoes."

A projected inch of rain Tuesday night and Wednesday morning is expected to give way to heavier storms that could pack wind gusts of up to 25 mph as a warm front over the region moves northward around 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Radar indicated that severe weather could hit anywhere across Baltimore, Harford, Howard, Carroll and Anne Arundel counties, with the potential for heavy rain that could drop half an inch in as little as a half hour, National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Witt said.

State and local emergency management officials in Harford County asked residents along Little Deer Creek to consider leaving their homes due to concerns about an earthen dam that they didn't think could hold another 3 to 5 inches of rainfall.

Witt, of the National Weather Service's Sterling, Va., office, said such storms aren't out of the ordinary for the area this time of year.

"We're coming up on peak season," he said. "It's not uncommon we get these systems in April."

Still, he said, the system is expected to be more intense than the area normally experiences.

Witt stressed careful driving in flooding conditions, especially when motorists find secondary or even main roads underwater.

"Turn around; do not try to cross those," he said. "Even if you've driven that road before, you don't know how fast that water's moving. You don't know how deep it is."

In the event of a tornado, he said, people should seek shelter, particularly in basements or closets in sturdily built structures. Anyone in a vehicle or a mobile home should move to the nearest building, he said.

And leave storm chasing to the pros — "It's best not to try and outrun tornadoes," Witt said.

The Baltimore Sun Media Group contributed to this article.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

twitter.com/cmcampbell6

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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