Thursday, September 26, 2013

Will an Atlantic Storm Lash the East Coast? NC May Be In Strike Zone

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / September 26, 2013

On the same day that a frontpage story in the Star-News announces that lack of hurricanes baffles forecasters, a biggie heads toward U.S. Atlantic seacoast -- possibly NC.

A severe storm could spin up the Atlantic coast over the weekend
Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013

Sunny versus stormy weather on the East coast starting this weekend is contingent upon the development and track of a future system over the western Atlantic Ocean.

Current indications are that a storm will spin up just off the Atlantic coast Sunday and Monday. One scenario swings that storm westward with heavy rain, gusty winds and rough seas.

Other scenarios parallel the storm along the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts, take the storm out to sea or bring the storm northward, brushing New England and into Atlantic Canada.

Even if the storm remains out to sea, large swells could be generated, especially north and west of the center from off the Outer Banks to Georges Bank.

Cruise, shipping and offshore fishing interests should monitor the progress of this storm, even if the weather for land lubbers remains clear.

There is the potential for building seas from North Carolina to New England later this weekend into early next week. This could produce not only rough surf and strong rip currents, but also beach erosion in some communities.

Forecasts from eastern North Carolina to the I-95 Northeast and Nova Scotia and Newfoundland Sunday into next week are contingent on the track and strength of the storm expected to form offshore.

How strong the storm becomes and the track it takes will determine sunny versus stormy conditions at Cape Hatteras, N.C., Atlantic City, N.J., New York City, Boston, Portland, Maine, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and St. John's, Newfoundland.

Two features may come together off the East coast this weekend: a storm in the upper atmosphere and a weak tropical system currently drifting across Florida with heavy rain.

Such a storm will have access to plenty of tropical moisture, while high pressure to the north and west gives extra velocity to winds well away from the storm center.

Because the system is likely to have both tropical and non-tropical characteristics, it may be considered to be a hybrid (sub-tropical) storm, rather than a pure nor'easter or tropical storm/hurricane.

According to Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, "The possibilities range from the storm becoming very strong and backing toward the Northeast coast to escaping harmlessly out to sea."

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Meanwhile, a potent storm is likely to affect part of the West Coast this weekend.

According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, "One scenario brings heavy rain, strong winds and rough seas to areas from British Columbia to parts of Washington and western Oregon."

The details on the track and severity of the Atlantic and Pacific coast storms will unfold as the week progresses.

"Meanwhile, the balance of the Atlantic Ocean is likely to remain free of organized tropical systems into early week," Kottlowski said.

There is a possibility of a system slowly developing in the Eastern Pacific over the next week.