Watching a Thanksgiving Week Nor'easter for Trouble

By , Senior Meteorologist
November 15, 2012; 6:08 AM ET
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Another nor'easter will form and hover along the East coast during the week of Thanksgiving (Nov. 18 to 23). How close to the coast the storm tracks will determine the degree of coastal flooding and any travel problems.

How close to the coast the storm tracks will determine how unsettled the weather gets in the I-95 corridor to the Appalachians.

Major cities that could be within the storm's reach include New York City, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, D.C.

The early indications are the storm will not be as cold as the storm that brought last week's fiasco. For most locations, it looks like a "rain or no" situation. The rain may have trouble backing westward onshore.

This is one scenario for next week. Another lingers the storm just offshore for a few days, then escape out to sea.

Some snow would be possible, if the storm were to spin on land into colder air farther north over part of New England.

A system delivering rain to the Carolinas and part of Georgia Thursday will drift off the coast by the end of the week, where it will linger. Rain, winds and building surf will buffet the coast from North Carolina to perhaps part of Florida this weekend.

After spending a few days off the southern Atlantic Seaboard one of two things will happen: The storm will then spin slowly out to sea next week, or it will curve northward, perhaps reaching New England.

If the storm manages to stay out to sea, there would still be stiff breezes and rough surf, especially from North Carolina to Florida.

We will know more on the track and extent of the storm as this week progresses.

With the heavy load of travelers on the roads and at the airports, any inclement weather can put some extra stress on the situation, potentially leading to delays. A northward track near the coast would raise issues for aircraft due to low cloud ceilings and crosswinds. The issue for highway travelers would be the volume of traffic, poor visibility and wet roadways in the northward, near-coast track. ( image)

Coastal Flooding, Beach Erosion Concerns

Even though the storm will be far less intense than Sandy and last week's nor'easter for that matter, the extra time spent over the ocean will raise seas and surf.

Such a storm would bring the risk of beach erosion and minor coastal flooding, especially during times of high tide. The lower part of the Delmarva Peninsula, Southeastern Virginia, the Outer Banks and much of the Atlantic Coast of Florida could be the trouble spots. Only if the storm turns northward would there be significant problems farther north in the mid-Atlantic and over eastern New England.

Depending on how strong the storm becomes, how close to the coast it tracks and the angle of the wind relative to the shoreline, there is the potential for water levels to rise to between 1 and 3 feet above normal tides.

Fortunately next week, the first quarter phase of the moon should not have a significant impact on water levels. Tides are generally the highest a day or two after the full and new moon phases.


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