Tornado watch issued as Ida brings heavy rain to CT

Photo of Tara O'Neill

Remnants of Ida, once a powerful hurricane, brought heavy rain to Connecticut Wednesday that was expected to continue into Thursday, raising concerns over flooding statewide.

A tornado watch was issued Wednesday night for Fairfield, Middlesex, New Haven, and New London counties, while a flash flood watch remains in effect until 2 p.m. Thursday.

Ida first made landfall near the Louisiana coast on Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane. The storm slammed into the Louisiana region, and began moving northeast.

Even as the storm was still near Pennsylvania and Maryland late Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center, heavy rain fell at times throughout the day in Connecticut.

Gov. Ned Lamont said Wednesday in a brief statement on Twitter that the state continues to track the storm as it moves northeast. Lamont said the state can expect to see heavy rain Wednesday evening into Thursday morning.

Forecasters and officials said Connecticut has seen an above average amount of rain in July and August, leaving the ground saturated, compounding the threat for flooding.

“Because the ground is already saturated, expect flooding in certain areas,” Lamont warned.

By the time Ida passes through the area, forecasters expect as much 3 to 6 inches of rainfall, coming down at a rate of 1 to 2 inches an hour at times.

The highest rainfall amounts are expected to hit northeast New Jersey, the lower Hudson Valley in New York and ]southern Connecticut, according to the weather service.

There was also a low risk for isolated tornadoes Wednesday night, the weather service said.

With the heavy rain, meteorologists with the weather service were anticipating major flooding on the Yantic River near Norwich and moderate flooding on the Farmington River near Simsbury.

Sacred Heart University recommended that its students not travel Wednesday night unless they “absolutely have to.”

On Thursday morning, the rainfall should begin to taper off until ending around noon, bringing up to a quarter of an inch.

The cloudy skies will gradually clear up, the temperature will reach a high near 70 degrees, and winds up to about 30 mph. It’ll be mostly clear Thursday night, with a low around 58 degrees.

Friday should be filled with sunny skies and a high near 73 degrees. It’ll be mostly clear at night, dropping to low around 58 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Ida is one of four named storms that have dropped heavy amounts of rain on Connecticut this summer. In the past two weeks, the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred dropped inches of rain on the state, followed by Tropical Storm Henri, which also brought strong winds to southeastern Connecticut.

Staff writer Liz Hardaway contributed to this report.