While the risk of flash flooding remains the greatest risk to lives and property, gusty thunderstorms will bring the potential for falling trees and power outages to the northeastern United States to end the week.

While the risk of flash flooding remains the greatest risk to lives and property, gusty thunderstorms will bring the potential for falling trees and power outages to the northeastern United States to end the week.

The ground is soggy and soft following relentless rounds of rain this summer over a large part of the central Appalachians and portions of the mid-Atlantic and New England.

Trees have been drawing a great deal of moisture up their trunk and limb systems due to above-normal rainfall that has been pummeling the area during July and August. Many trees may be top-heavy as a result.

Even an isolated, non-severe thunderstorm has the potential to bring down large tree limbs and even topple trees in this situation.

There is a chance the thunderstorms will be more robust than the garden variety summer storm and may occur on a more regional basis during Friday afternoon and evening.

In this setup, solid lines of storms may form.

Some of the stronger storms may bring localized gusts in the neighborhood of 30-50 mph. While the thunderstorm winds are below the official severe criteria of 58 mph, the anticipated gusts are strong enough to topple weakly rooted trees and break diseased or stressed tree limbs.

As the storms approach, people should avoid standing, camping or parking beneath large trees due to the risk.

Fallen tree limbs may block city streets and secondary roads in some neighborhoods and rural areas. Where utility lines run through wooded areas, localized power outages can occur.

If a solid line of gusty thunderstorms develops, power outages on a more regional basis are possible.

Flash flooding remains a serious threat

Beyond the risk of damaging wind gusts and lightning strikes from the storms, enough rain can fall to cause another round or two of urban and small stream flooding into this weekend.

In large portions of New York state, Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, northern Maryland, northwestern Virginia and West Virginia, a mere 0.50 to 1 inch of rain in three hours can trigger flash flooding, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) mid-Atlantic River Forecast Center.

Motorists are reminded never to drive through flooded roadways, even if the road surface is visible. The foundation beneath the road surface may have been weakened and could crumble without notice.

Each year in the U.S., more fatalities (more than 140) occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm-related hazard, according to a NWS bulletin.

The risk of flooding downpours will focus from the Appalachians to the Midwest into Thursday night, extend across much of the Northeast region on Friday and then settle southward over the Tennessee Valley, mid-Atlantic and central Appalachians this weekend.

For the latest weather forecast and bulletins on severe thunderstorms and flash flooding, download the free AccuWeather app.

Yet another round of flooding downpours may affect the region during the middle of next week.

Because of the record rainfall in some areas of the Northeast this summer, the risk of major flooding is possible this autumn as hurricane season peaks in the Atlantic basin.