- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Washington area is looking at a week’s worth of dark skies and wet weather that could threaten already saturated ground, according to forecasts.

The D.C. area can expect between 3 and 5 inches of rain by the time it ends Friday, National Weather Service meteorologist Carrie Suffern said. That precipitation comes a week after Hurricane Irene dumped nearly 4 inches of rain on the area.

“It’s definitely going to be a mess,” Ms. Suffern said of Wednesday’s weather “We’re expecting a lot of rain through [Tuesday and Wednesday] with the possibility of thunderstorms.”

Those thunderstorms have prompted a flash flood watch for the Washington area through Wednesday afternoon, Ms. Suffern said, which means “there’s a possibility for … rushing water on roadways.”

Irene, which pummeled the East Coast from the Carolinas to New England is long gone, but the hurricane left soft soil and weakened trees in her wake, a problem that could spell more trouble, warned Bernett Givensel, owner of D.C.-based Givens Tree Services.

“The more water there is, the more soggy the ground becomes and trees have nothing to hold on to,” Mr. Givensel said. “Too much rain is detrimental to the area.”

The bad weather was caused by a moving boundary between warm air in the south and cooler air in the north interacting with the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, which battered the Gulf Coast and flooded Louisiana and Alabama.

Jack Connolly, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager for the D.C. levee, which helps to protect the city from a flooded Potomac River, said he expected the week’s rain “not to be too cumulative.”

However, he said, “We never assume, we’re always watching, always vigilant during these types of events where there’s potentially an excessive amount of rain.”

Ms. Suffern said the area would remain humid through the week, thanks to “the stagnant weather pattern.”

“It’s not looking good for evening sports,” she said, adding that a break in the damp weather probably will not come until Sunday.