Update: The National Weather Service says the heaviest rain should begin after 8 a.m. Today, and there's a chance of a thunderstorm tonight. It will be cool - a high of around 51 and a low of 49 - and windy. Wind gusts could range between 23 and 25 mph.

If the old adage holds true, May will be quite flowery after a massive amount of rain is expected to be dumped on York County as April draws to a close.

Reported earlier:

And local fire departments are gearing up for whatever that rain might cause, including flooding that could mean road closures.

Fred Smeltzer, fire chief of Hellam Township, said crews will start checking water levels of creeks in the township as heavy rain is expected to fall mid-week.

"We certainly will go out Wednesday morning to start monitoring things," he said.

Pooling resources: If needed, first responders in the eastern part of the county will pool resources as part of an emergency management plan that came about after heavy flooding in the area less than three years ago.

First responders from Wrightsville, Hallam, Yorkana and East Prospect as well as Hellam and Lower Windsor townships work under one umbrella during potential disasters, Smeltzer said. They are directed out of a central hub and take a proactive approach in finding hazardous situations instead of waiting to be dispatched.

The initiative is a result of Tropical Storm Lee, which took a toll on the area in October 2011.


The system proved a success during Hurricane Sandy a year later. During that storm, when a call for downed trees or wires came in, a fire official went to the scene instead of sending out a full crew to survey the problem and alert county officials.

The National Weather Service is also encouraging residents to prepare for flooding and has issued a flood watch that spans three days.

Forecast: The watch goes into effect at 6 p.m. Tuesday and runs through Thursday morning.

The weather service expects 3 to 5 inches of rain between when it started Monday night and Wednesday night, and says that will likely lead to flooding, even spread out over a three-day period.

There could also be some lingering rain on Thursday, said Alyson Hoegg, an AccuWeather meteorologist.

The storm is expected to get under way with light, on-again off-again rain through Tuesday but will intensify Wednesday with heavy rain and thunderstorms.

"Anywhere that's prone to flooding ... those are areas that have the best chance for flooding," she said.

The Susquehanna River is not expected to flood, but local minor flooding is almost certain, the weather service says.

Damage: The storm expected to bring the rain to York County is the same one that caused tornadoes in the South and Midwestern parts of the country, she said.

A rash of tornadoes killed at least 16 people in Arkansas and one in Oklahoma. One powerful tornado carved an 80-mile path of destruction through suburban Little Rock, the Associated Press reported.

A silver lining for York County is that the area is expected to be spared from that kind of damage because the brunt of the storm will stay to the south, Hoegg said.

"York is not going to see the severe weather," she said.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.