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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 06/11/2008

Remembering Agnes

By Capital Weather Gang

By Charlie Wilson, Guest Writer

Satellite image of Agnes hitting the Florida panhandle in 1972. Courtesy NOAA.

So far, June has offered more than its share of extreme weather - mainly in the form of heat and severe thunderstorms. But we haven't experienced any tropical storm or hurricane activity. Could it happen??

While it's unusual for June tropical storms or their remnants to affect the Mid-Atlantic, it certainly can happen. The most memorable June storm to affect the Mid-Atlantic region was Agnes in 1972 which caused heavy rainfall and extensive flooding across the Mid-Atlantic.

Keep reading to learn more about Agnes and its effects on our region. See Dan's full forecast to find out if any more extreme weather is headed this way.

Agnes over the Northeast. Courtesy NOAA.

Hurricane Agnes struck the Florida Panhandle on June 19 with sustained winds of 85 mph accompanied by a 6-10 foot storm surge. Rapidly weakening to a tropical depression, the center moved northeast across south-central Georgia and the Carolinas. It then intensified back to a tropical storm on June 22 as the center moved off the North Carolina coast. The rejuvenated tropical storm gained momentum and continued intensifying off the Mid-Atlantic coast. Later that day, the unexpected occurred as Agnes made a turn to the northwest making landfall over western Long Island and New York City with sustained winds of 65 mph.

Already a strong storm, Agnes merged with a non-tropical storm system on June 23 and moved southwest across northeastern Pennsylvania eventually stalling and dissipating.

Agnes' track and rainfall totals. Courtesy NOAA.

High winds buffeted the Mid-Atlantic region on June 22 with gusts ranging from 40-55 mph. The highest gust of 67 mph was reported at Dover, De. Rainfall amounts varied throughout the region and in some cases was record breaking. Generally 6-10 inches was common, with as much as 19 inches reported in parts of central and eastern Pennsylvania. Record floods occurring once every 100 years were reported along the Schuylkill River Basin in Pennsylvania and the James River Basin in Virginia. Agnes still remains the greatest flooding event for the Susquehanna River Basin from central Pennsylvania southward. Some higher local amounts included: Dulles Airport: 13.65", Reagan National Airport: 8.16", Baltimore/Washington International: 6.41" and Andrews Air Force Base: 5.56".

agnes4.gifGovernor's Mansion, Harrisburg, PA June 22, 1972. By Paul Vathis, AP file photo.

Damage from the remnants of Agnes was extensive. Agnes remains the worst natural disaster to hit the state of Pennsylvania with $2.1 billion in damage and 48 deaths. Other reports include New York with over $702 million in damage and 24 deaths, Virginia with over $125 million in damage and 13 deaths and Maryland with over $110 million in damage and 19 deaths.

While June storms are rare across the Mid-Atlantic, they can occur. Are you prepared for hurricane season?

Charlie Wilson co-hosts programs "Weather Talk" with meteorologist Tony Pann and "Center of Circulation" with Michael Moss on Internet Partnership Radio.

By Capital Weather Gang  | June 11, 2008; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
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