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July 04. 2014 4:00PM

NH braces for a soaker, flash floods as Arthur moves up coast

Most of New Hampshire is in for a Fourth of July soaking with threats of flash flooding and occasional thunderstorms — all part of Hurricane Arthur's calling card as it moves up the Atlantic Coast and is expected to slide just east of Cape Cod early Saturday.

Heavy rains should begin early afternoon across most of southern and central New Hampshire and last through the early Saturday morning. The hurricane could drop up to 1 to 2 inches of sometimes drenching rains before it moves north where it will make a direct hit on Nova Scotia Saturday morning, meteorologist Michael Kistner of the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine said Friday.

Coastal regions likely will be hit hardest by the rains, though most of the Granite State is under a flash flood watch from 8 a.m. today to 6 a.m. Saturday.

Rockingham, Belknap, Merrimack, Strafford, Carroll, Cheshire and Hillsborough counties are under the flash flood watch, which means conditions are ripe for rapidly rising waters that could pond and flood roadways and overflow streams.

A flash flood warning is issued when flash flooding is imminent.

While this storm is not expected to bring strong winds, small craft advisories were in effect today for New Hampshire coastal waters. Maine is under a gale warning.

Beachgoers should expect strong seas Saturday and Sunday with high surf and strong rip currents, meteorologist Kistner said.

Some communities attempted to squeeze in morning Fourth of July parades and other activities. They include Amherst, where hundreds began lining the Village Green for the annual parade despite threatening skies.

The rest of the July Fourth weekend will bring sunny skies and less humid weather, meteorologist Kistner said.

“Tomorrow is looking great,” he said.

This is welcome news to many Granite State communities that postponed fireworks displays to Saturday night, he said.

Saturday should see temperatures in the mid- to upper-70s with humidity much lower than earlier this week, Kistner said. Sunday will be more of the same with temperatures likely to nudge 80.

Rains and strong thunderstorms that barreled through the state Thursday were the prelude to Hurricane Arthur's arrival, which is expected to pass about 50 miles east of Nantucket about midnight tomorrow, Kistner said.



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