Monday 10:40 a.m.
Just before 11 a.m., The National Hurricane Center officially called a storm near Jamaica T.D. 18, the 18th tropical depression of this year's tropical storm/hurricane season. It is likely to strengthen, so naming it Sandy would be the next step.
There is a significant historical precedent for a storm to form around where this is located... and then turn into a real hurricane. In 1878, a storm formed near Jamaica (near where the new storm is) then became a Category 2 hurricane and moved right up the East coast. The center passed east of Florida, then came ashore in eastern North Carolina and stayed inland until it turned almost straight east over the southern parts of Vermont and New Hampshire. There was extensive damage from the Carolinas to New England, and more than 71 people were killed. This storm came to be known as the Gale of '78.
A history of the storm was prepared by David M. Roth and High D. Cobb III of the National Weather Service in 2000. They point out that aside from Hurricane Hazel in 1954, all hurricanes with somewhat similar tracks occurred in the 19th century. Here is the storm track, as shown in the article referenced:
Now, since the newest storm has not yet had much impact, it could be asked why the new development could be important. In this video, there is one map from last evening's ECMWF (European) Model. A storm like the one depicted would be disastrous in the Middle Atlantic states, threatening death and serious injury and causing billions of dollars in damage.
Here is one of the maps that looks so threatening:
If this were to actually happen and hurricane-force winds hit places like Philadelphia and New York City, there would be a major storm surge, massive power outages, flooding rain.... and then least a foot or two of heavy wet snow near and southwest of Somerset, Pa., in the Laurel Highlands and in Garrett County, Md.
But how likely is this event? At this point, it would be irresponsible to say it is likely at all. The model showing it has changed the track with successive runs, and other models, such as the GFS, have the storm tracking well east of the area targeted on the map. Here is the GFS model forecast for the same area at the exact same time. The difference is awesome.
In the meantime, the weather seems almost anything but threatening in the Middle Atlantic states. Temperatures will be above average all week, and no rain is forecast in the I-95 corridor from Philadelphia south past Washington, D.C., all week.
If the ridge was the only thing involved, it would just be sunny hot and humid day after day. As it is though, there are various minor disturbances rippling through the ridge. One such disturbance has allowed cooler air to spread down the coast.
This map shows where the storms were at 10:18 AM ET. That cluster of storms may hold together, but in response to daytime heating, new ones can pop up at other places this afternoon.
On this map, two such features (short waves) stand out today. The one in Ohio caused some thunderstorms in Michigan and Indiana yesterday. The other short wave is causing thunderstorms this morning from western Wisconsin to northern Missouri.
Scotty the Dog will be four-months-old in four days. On walks during hot weather, he is quick to seek out shady spots. He has yet to experience any cold weather, but he looks like he will be ready when it arrives (not any time soon!).
Erika's heavy rainfall separated into two areas yesterday. This is the Morehead City, North Carolina, radar, showing an area of heavy rain and thunderstorms that dumped more 4 inches of rain on parts of the coastal Carolinas this morning.
Tropical Storm Erika could eventually affect Florida and other sections of the Gulf Coast or Southeast, but for now it poses no threat for the Northeast. This map shows the storm as of early this morning.