Coastal storm has many in Northeast on edge

Latest GFS run showing strong coastal storm off Mid-Atlantic coast

Latest GFS run showing strong coastal storm off Mid-Atlantic coast

The good news is that the storm that is forecast by the major global computer models for the week ahead is not likely to be nearly as intense, or as large, as Sandy was.

The obvious bad news is that people along the Northeast coast, beginning with North Carolina first, are going to have to deal with another coastal storm.

Right now, the two main models, the GFS and the ECMWF, which were talked about extensively during Sandy’s approach, both show a similar set up. Each model deepens or strengthens the low pressure area considerably while over the fairly warm waters of the western Atlantic. This will result in rain, wind and tidal flooding from the Carolinas to points north in to New England. The precise impacts are not known just yet as the storm system is still far enough away in time that forecasting definitive impacts is really tough to do.

The other issue here is cold air. People dealing with post-Sandy life will have quite a bit of cold air to add to their list of miserable conditions. Relief efforts for the region should concentrate on providing blankets and gloves for people, especially the very young and the very old in the population. There is a chance for snow all the way to the coast though I do not see any evidence of a major snow event except for the usual inland locations that normally see this during a Nor’easter.

For areas right along the coast, the risk of more damage from large waves and a possible tidal surge is there. How much so I cannot say for sure right now. The NWS will likely issue a coastal flood watch and then a warning if conditions warrant. During that time period, assuming it comes, we will get specific tidal flooding info which will include predicted departures from normal and timing. This will help with local planning efforts to make sure people are away from the immediate coast. I assure you, the water rescue personnel are quite happy NOT having a repeat of Sandy anytime soon. Stay away from the coast, it is quite vulnerable now due to the severe erosion and, in some cases, complete loss of the dune systems.

Strong winds, blowing out of the east and northeast at first, could cause more power outages, especially considering the weakened infrastructure. Be ready. If you can access batteries from relief agencies, do so now. Do NOT use candles. I would rather see it dark than have people use candles. I saw first hand in Belmar, NJ how candles can be so dangerous in the aftermath of a storm. Get batteries now if they are available.

It is likely to be an unpleasant week ahead for folks along the coast from North Carolina to New England. It’s part of living in an otherwise fantastic part of the country. Hang in there. Positive mental attitude can go a long way. It’s tough, I am sure, but millions of Americans and indeed people from around the world are thinking about you.

I’ll post another blog update here this evening.

Salt in the wounds of those affected by Sandy

GFS and other global models indicating the development of a coastal storm next week for the Mid-Atlantic

GFS and other global models indicating the development of a coastal storm next week for the Mid-Atlantic

It looks like people who are struggling to recover from Sandy will have to deal with an obstacle: a Nor’easter. the global models are forecasting the development of a coastal storm within the next 4 to 5 days off the coast of North Carolina. While not particularly intense in any other year, this storm will be a problem due to the extremely vulnerable, and battered, coastline.

Dunes are eroded, beaches are flattened and the people who live in the region are not in any mood for more weather nonsense. Unfortunately, it looks like there will be no choice but to deal with what’s coming.

From the looks of things now, the storm will organize off of North Carolina and bring heavy rain and strong winds to the immediate coastal area. A persistent northeast wind is likely for areas north of the circulation center. This means that coastal New York and New Jersey may see another flooding event, especially considering the current conditions there.

I highly recommend that people from North Carolina up through New England stay on top of the National Weather Service local information. We may see watches and warnings for high winds, coastal flooding and rainfall go up. This is not what the region needs but there is no avoiding it. Knowing that it is coming several days in advance may help to mitigate issues that could otherwise slow down recovery efforts.

I’ll post a special video blog about the coastal storm to our app and our YouTube channel later this afternoon with a link posted here in a separate blog.

Elsewhere, the tropics are not an issue.

Significant non-tropical storm to affect Florida and East Coast over the weekend

It appears that quite a potent storm is going to take shape over the eastern Gulf of Mexico this weekend as upper level energy digs in from the Great Plains. A surface low is forecast to form over the eastern Gulf and bring the potential for very heavy rain and severe weather to portions of Florida (figure 1).

Figure 1: Coastal Storm - 48 Hour Forecast from GFS

Figure 1: Coastal Storm - 48 Hour Forecast from GFS

From there, the low is forecast to move up the East Coast, bringing with it wind and rain all the way to New England. For coastal areas, this will be basically a warm (relatively speaking) Nor’easter. If this were January, we would probably be looking at an epic snowstorm for a good deal of the East Coast. As it stand now, a decent rain event looks to be in store for a wide swath of the Florida peninsula all the way up to Maine with coastal areas experiencing rough seas and a stiff onshore flow (figure 2).

The storm is non-tropical in nature but will tap warm Gulf of Mexico water that is itself running well above normal for this time of year. This warm water will add energy and moisture to the storm system and provide the fuel for it to strengthen and dump copious amounts of rain along its track. If you have outdoor plans this weekend in Florida all the way to New England, keep up to date on the latest weather forecast for your area.

Figure 2: Coastal Storm - 60 Hour Forecast from GFS

Figure 2: Coastal Storm - 60 Hour Forecast from GFS

One excellent tool to understand the impacts better of any storm event is to read the local forecast discussion from your National Weather Service office. You can find this by going to and typing in your ZIP Code. Then scroll down on the landing page to find “Forecast Discussion”. It will have detailed meteorological information with timing, impacts and projected watch/warning info for any storm event forecast for your area. It’s a great tool, use it.