Bodie Yates-Patterson looks around the driveway of his home in Lewiston on Thursday afternoon while picking up sticks and branches to help his parents between rain showers. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Her name is Elsa, and weather forecasters say by the time she arrives in Maine early Friday, she will have transformed into an “extra tropical cyclone.”

Where Elsa goes, chaos follows. The tropical storm has been working its way up the East Coast, and forecasters say her wrath in Maine will be mainly in the form of rain.

Lots and lots of rain.

“Heavy rainfall and potential flash flooding remains the greatest threat,” according to the National Weather Service in Gray.

A hard, soaking rain is expected to develop Thursday night and continue into Saturday morning, according to the weather service.

At Pine Tree Weather, owner and forecaster Mike Haggett was warning Thursday of a variety of issues likely to arise as result of those torrential rains.

Bodie Yates-Patterson rides around the driveway of his home in Lewiston on Thursday afternoon between picking up sticks with his parents between rain showers. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“For those who live with basements that typically flood in the spring,” he wrote Thursday, “this is your heads-up that it is likely to happen with this storm.”

Haggett said between 3 and 5 inches of rain per hour are possible at times as Elsa moves through.

“With that type of velocity, ditches, brooks, streams and urban streets could turn into small rivers,” he wrote. “Rainwater will be looking for a place to go. If you have a flood-prone basement, the time to prepare is now.”

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning early Thursday for central and western Maine.

Haggett said driving could be dangerous when the rain begins to fall in earnest.

“Travel will be exceedingly difficult at times due to torrential rainfall, which will reduce visibility, ponding on roadways which turns into a hydroplaning issue, and potential for washed out roads,” he wrote Thursday afternoon. “My humble advice: If you must travel a distance beyond 100 miles, get on the road this afternoon and beat the deluge that is likely to come.”

Elsa is not rain alone. Weather forecasters said heavy winds could create other problems, including power outages.

“It would be a good idea to tidy up the yard,” Haggett wrote. “Secure any loose objects which could go airborne in case vertical wind gusts bring downdraft winds. While horizontal winds are a low-end concern, the low-level jet at 40-60 knots could come to the surface in torrential rain and cause wind damage.”

Tropical Storm Elsa made landfall Wednesday on north Florida’s Gulf Coast, and since then has been working its way northeast. Rain from the storm was expected to begin in Maine at about 5 p.m. Thursday and continue through Friday into Saturday morning.

The heavy rain is expected to provide welcome relief for those suffering through drought conditions. Most of Maine is enduring what weather officials describe as a moderate drought, although in the western portion of the state, dry conditions are classified as severe.

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