A powerful coastal storm with strong winds and heavy rain will impact the East Coast beginning later this weekend, likely resulting in tree damage, power outages and flooding. A significant wind event is possible Sunday or Monday.
It is possible that this low pressure system could undergo a process called “Bombogenesis” according to the National Weather Service. This process is a rapid deepening of pressures across the area, which rapidly increases winds near the center of the storm.
One of the ingredients for this coastal storm is a powerful jet stream disturbance sweeping through the eastern states this weekend that will help induce the formation of a strong low-pressure system near or off the mid-Atlantic and Northeast coastline. This storm system will also receive an injection of moisture and energy from Tropical Storm Philippe, currently located south of Florida.
The National Weather Service office in Boston noted in its Saturday morning discussion that this is an unusual and truly strong, potentially dangerous storm system for late October.
Here’s an overview of the timing and possible impacts for this storm. But keep in mind, given the complicated setup, forecast details still remain uncertain.
Overall, this East Coast storm will be a quick-mover as it races northward this weekend into Monday.
- Saturday Evening: Tropical moisture from Tropical Storm Philippe will fuel heavy rain in South Florida before being pulled into the developing East Coast storm. Rain will also begin to push into the interior Northeast and Appalachians.
- Sunday: Heavy rain and increasing winds will begin to affect locations from the Outer Banks of North Carolina into the Northeast by Sunday morning.
- Sunday night: Peak impacts from the storm begin to ramp up in the Northeast during this time, including the potential for damaging winds and heavy rainfall.
- Monday: Potentially damaging winds and heavy rain may continue over parts of New England and upstate New York, at least during the first half of the day.
Wind Damage Threat
High winds are likely in the Northeast starting Sunday, with damaging winds expected along the coast by late Sunday into Monday.
We expect to see wind gusts up to 65 mph in some areas, and they could be higher depending on the intensity and track of the storm. The potential for higher-end wind gusts will be greatest along the immediate coast and in higher-terrain locations, particularly in New England.
High wind warnings have gone up for the eastern end of Long Island and portions of coastal New England including Boston for Sunday night and Monday morning. Gusts up to 65 mph are expected.
High wind watches have been issued by the National Weather Service for portions of New England, the New York City metro area, Upstate New York and Long Island where these wind gusts have the potential to cause damage.
There will be three main impacts from the winds starting later Sunday in portions of the Northeast region:
- Tree damage and power outages will be possible across the Northeast, and likely along the coast.
- The strong winds will likely cause delays at major airports.
- Onshore southeast winds ahead of the storm could result in some coastal flooding, along with high surf.
Uncertainty exists in the strength of the wind due to lower confidence exactly how low pressures will drop as this system transits the Northeast. A lower pressure would mean higher winds.
Heavy Rain Potential
Given the tropical moisture tap, a large portion of the Northeast could see more than 3 inches of rainfall. Heavier totals topping 5 inches are possible, but exactly where those higher-end amounts line up will once again depend on the track of the storm. At this time, the heaviest rainfall is expected in the higher terrain of eastern New York, but as details come into view, we will be able to pinpoint these bullseyes.
The heavy rain could contribute to flooding not only in urban and poor-drainage areas, but also on streams and rivers. This concern has prompted flash flood watches to be issued by the National Weather Service for much of New England, New York, northern New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania.
After a very dry start to October, the Northeast saw heavy rain this week from another storm system. Now that the ground has become more saturated, particularly in parts of New England, that will make those areas more prone to flooding starting Sunday.