Leslie to Approach Bermuda This Weekend

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
September 3, 2012; 6:52 AM ET
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The effect of wind shear has forced most thunderstorms to the south and east of the center of Leslie in this NOAA satellite taken Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012.

Leslie is forecast to drift slowly in the general direction of Bermuda through this week with deteriorating conditions by late Saturday or Saturday night.

There is a significant chance that Leslie passes within 100 miles of the island nation this coming weekend.

Well ahead of Leslie, seas and surf will build in Bermuda this week and northward over much of the East Coast of the United States and Atlantic Canada.

Rough seas and surf will also continue along the north-facing beaches from Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, to the northeastern-facing beaches of the Bahamas.

As suspected earlier, Leslie was stationary early Tuesday morning and remain stalled for a couple of days between its position north of the Leeward Islands and Bermuda, before resuming a northward path.

Conditions favor slow strengthening of the system this week. Leslie is forecast to become a hurricane by AccuWeather.com meteorologists, before reaching Bermuda's latitude Sunday morning.

Whether or not Leslie passes to the east, west or right over the islands of Bermuda is uncertain at this time, the people and interests in the area should be prepared for at least tropical storm conditions and strong squalls this weekend with the possibility of a direct encounter with a Category 1 or 2 hurricane.

Such a close encounter with Leslie would bring pounding waves, flooding problems and power disruptions. Boaters may want to take preventive measures of their vessels in advance of the storm.

Folks in Bermuda would welcome any non-destructive rain from Leslie or any tropical system as rainfall is captured and stored for drinking water purposes.

Beyond Bermuda: Atlantic Canada

A direct hit from Leslie over the Southeastern or mid-Atlantic of the U.S. is unlikely, due to steering winds with storms originating in this part of the Atlantic.

However, the possibility of Leslie passing close to land increases farther north, especially in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Canada, early to the middle of next week.

According to AccuWeather.com Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, "There is a chance that a trough of low pressure, currently near Florida phases in with another feature arriving from the Plains this weekend. If this occurs, there is room for Leslie to be captured and pulled northward into Atlantic Canada."

Kottlowski added that if the two features over the U.S. remain separate, then Leslie is much more likely to escape out to the Northeast after nearing Bermuda.

While waters from New England to Newfoundland are chilly relative to near Bermuda, they are much warmer than average and may tend to keep an approaching hurricane stronger longer than what we typically see.

This map from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) shows sea surface temperature departures, not actual sea surface temperatures for Sept. 1, 2012.

While the bulk of tropical cyclones originating from this area during September have indeed rolled out to the northeast, a few in recent years have found their way "in." These include Ophelia in 2011, Juan in 2003, Erin in 2001 and Edouard in 1996. Damage from Juan in Atlantic Canada reached hundreds of millions of dollars. A more distant Carol in 1953 slammed into the Bay of Fundy.

Rain is needed in much of Atlantic Canada, following a warm, dry summer in the region.

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