NEW YORK, July 10 (Reuters) - Freshly formed Tropical Storm Fay was expected to sweep across the heavily populated northeastern United States on Friday, bringing moderate to heavy rains and the potential for some flooding, the National Weather Service said.
The weather system, which reached tropical storm strength on Thursday afternoon with sustained winds of 40 mph (64 kph), was already drenching several Mid-Atlantic states even before making landfall, the service said.
“The main impact is not going to be the wind,” meteorologist Laura Pagano said by phone from the service’s Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. “It’s actually going to be associated with the rainfall.”
Two to four inches (5 to 10 cm) of rain were expected through most coastal areas of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania before the storm is forecast to hit the New York City area later on Friday, Pagano said.
Winds are expected to diminish as the storm comes ashore, especially when it reaches New York’s Hudson River Valley, Connecticut and Western Massachusetts on Saturday, but there will be a risk of localized flash flooding, she said.
“This is going to be ongoing... through the daytime today and into the overnight hours as it continues to progress north,” she said. “The overall extent of damage should not be exceptionally widespread.”
Whatever flooding the storm brings will be from its rains and not from wind-driven coastal surges, Pagano added.
Tropical Storm Fay, which developed just north of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, was about 55 miles (89 km) south- southeast of Ocean City, Maryland, on Friday morning, and moving north at 10 mph (16 kph), the service said.
It was expected to move over southern New Jersey later on Friday.
Reporting by Peter Szekely; Editing by Dan Grebler