Coastal Flood Threat in the East Through Tuesday

By Brian Edwards, Meteorologist
November 19, 2012; 7:10 AM
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People play at the beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in Avon, N.C., Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011. As Hurricane Irene strengthened to a major Category 3 storm over the Bahamas Wednesday, it continues to threaten much of the east coast as it is expected to get stronger over warm ocean waters and could become a Category 4 storm with winds of at least 131 mph (211 kph) by Thursday.(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Persistent, gusty, north to northeast winds will lead to some coastal flooding along parts of the East Coast through at least Tuesday.

A large zone of high pressure responsible for the stretch of dry weather over the mid-Atlantic and Northeast will remain in place through early this week.

Meanwhile, a developing storm off the Southeast coast will spread clouds and rain into the eastern Carolinas through Monday with just lingering shower or two along the coast by Tuesday.

However, the difference in surface pressure between these two features is leading to a gusty wind out of the north-northeast from Jacksonville, Fla.; through Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Winds will continue to increase in intensity across the East Coast as the aforementioned storm continues to develop. Visitors and residents from parts of the Delmarva Peninsula through northern Florida can expect wind gusts up to 35 mph through at least Tuesday.

This sustained period of onshore flow will lead to times of moderate coastal flooding, especially during high tide.

While a wide swath of coast will be at risk between Daytona Beach, Fla. and Rehoboth Beach, Del., the northern Outer Banks of North Carolina will be at the highest risk given the curvature of the coast.

Keep in mind that a lot of the beaches from Cape Hatteras on north were heavily damaged and eroded over the last month between Hurricane Sandy and the nor'easter.

At any rate, according to AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, water levels are likely to run up to a couple of feet above normal early this week across this region.

Farther to the north, Sosnowski mentions that significant beach erosion and coastal flooding along the coast of New Jersey, Long Island and New England are not expected.

Higher than average astronomical tides are also contributing to this round of coastal flooding, though the moon phase does change to the "first quarter" on Tuesday. This means that the astronomical effects will be slightly less than what is currently going on.

In addition to the coastal flood threat, dangerous rip currents will be in place across many of the Atlantic Beaches. Beach-goers heading to the Carolinas or northern Florida for the holiday week will need to stay cautious if they venture out into the waters.

Wave heights offshore of the mid-Atlantic coast can reach 15 feet or greater early next week as the aforementioned coastal storm strengthens over the western Atlantic.

The storm will spread rain into the eastern Carolinas through Monday before tapering off to a lingering shower or two along the coast by Tuesday.

Stay tuned to AccuWeather.com over the next few days as we continue to watch the coastal flood threat for the East. Also, check out our National Thanksgiving Travel Weather feature story.

Content contributed by Andy Mussoline and Matt Alto, Meteorologists

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