First and foremost, while I know the timing absolutely stinks, this will NOT be a major storm for our region. First first one always garners tons of attention and headlines, but let’s be real here – it’s a run of the mill coastal storm that we see a dozen times a year, period.
With that said though, there WILL be some impacts that we need to address. Rain, wind, beach erosion and tidal flooding are all absolutely on the table, but to what extent? Track will determine that. The closer the storm is to the mainland, the more rain and wind we will get. The impacts will be worse overall. The farther EAST the center is off-shore, the less. We won’t really know where it’s going until later tomorrow. But we DO know there WILL be an impact, so there’s that.
WHAT IS A NOR’EASTER?
There are a lot of flashy, hyped-up terms in weather…but nor’easter isn’t one of them. It’s simply an extra-tropical storm that derives its energy from the jet stream, pulls moisture in from the ocean and has winds predominantly out of the NORTHEAST. Nothing more, nothing less. Nor’easters can be weak or strong. This one coming this weekend will be a mid-grade.
These storms typically move faster than modeled. A couple days back models had rain getting to us by late Saturday morning. I don’t see that. Late Friday night? Yup. That’s what is likely to happen. I think there is a 5-7 hour period of the worst weather early Saturday morning before we see a bit of a lull develop for the afternoon. It’s still going to be windy, some showers could be around but the drenching widespread rain should shut off late morning before coming back at night.
Sunday looks ehhh. Morning will be unsettled with shower chances. Those chances will extend into the first part of the day. We should get better by the afternoon and evening.
Again, this has everything to do with track. The GFS has been very bullish with 3-6″ widespread through SNJ…not sure I buy that. Closer to the coast I could see a swath of 1-3″. That makes sense to me. Maybe 1/2″ to 1″ around the Philly metro area? IF this does come back farther west, then yes, some of those higher totals are on the table. I just believe the low passes far enough off-shore where we escape that. Still very wet for some however.
Most intense rain is Saturday morning with scattered showers still around through the day, then maybe more organized for the evening into Sunday morning.
Any way you slice it, we are looking at windy weather. East to Northeast. I’m thinking sustained, realistically through the event 20-25, gusts to 45-50 at the shore, 15-20, gusts 30-40 on the mainland. Obviously the farther WEST you go, the less wind you’ll encounter. Even when it’s not raining, it will be windy. This is because of a pressure gradient setting up thanks to high to the north and approaching low from the south. Position of the low doesn’t matter too much, may change winds around by 5-10mph, that’s about all.
Winds will be howling through the day, roughly 24 hours of wind in all.
There are a handful things that help us out.
- We are a week removed from the full moon, so we don’t have astronomically high tides
- The strongest wind likely occurs at LOW tide Saturday morning
- It’s a quick-mover so stacking isn’t a big concern
With that said, it does look like about 2′ of storm surge is possible (excess water on top of normal tide) which could lead to solid minor tidal flooding on Saturday afternoon. Not seeing moderate or major at this point, but will keep an eye on things.
Only way that happens is if the low passes to our WEST. If we end up in the northeast quadrant of the storm, sure, some natural rotation could bring a few tornado chances our way. Right now, it’s not on the top of my list.
Overall I think on a scale of 1-5, my concern level with this storm is a 2. Nothing we haven’t seen many, many times in the past. Make sure you’ve got some in-door plans on deck and enjoy some needed rain at the shore.
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