After Leslie passes across Bermuda this weekend, the system will move quickly into Atlantic Canada waters early next week.
Residents, travelers and fishing interests from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Newfoundland should keep a close eye on Leslie and be prepared for tropical storm or hurricane conditions early next week. Conditions could rapidly deteriorate Monday evening.
Deep sea fishing interests in New England should also monitor Leslie and expect significant building seas in the vicinity of Georges Bank Sunday night and Monday.
Leslie will generate rough surf and increase the number and strength of rip currents along much of the eastern coast of the United States through the weekend.
Leslie has been moving very slowly, was located about 400 miles south-southeast of Bermuda Friday morning, but that will soon change.
According to Dan Kottlowski, head of the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center, "We are confident Leslie will pick up forward speed moving between 20 and 30 mph at the latitude of New England to Newfoundland."
Leslie strengthened to a hurricane Wednesday afternoon, but continued to battle wind shear Thursday into Friday. Upwelling due to the stalled state of the storm has temporarily shut off the warm supply of moisture to the system, causing it to weaken to a tropical storm Friday midday.
While Leslie is forecast to pass east of Bermuda Sunday, it will do so as a hurricane, by moving over warmer water and may still not clear the coast of Atlantic Canada.
The exact path of Leslie is dependent on how a developing trough of low pressure over the eastern United States interacts with the system.
The majority of tropical cyclones are swept to the northeast after passing Bermuda's latitude. However, a small number of systems do not curve enough to avoid a collision with Nova Scotia and/or Newfoundland. In 2003, Juan rolled in from the south across Nova Scotia and caused significant damage.
"There is a possibility that the developing feature over the United States captures Leslie and flings the storm more to the north early next week," Kottlowski said, "People in Newfoundland especially should keep a close eye on Leslie."
Waters are warmer than usual south of Atlantic Canada. The combination of this and quickening steering winds may result in slower weakening of a hurricane either moving by at sea or plowing toward the coast.
Any non-destructive rain would be welcomed over much of Atlantic Canada, due to a warm, dry summer in the region. Unfortunately, in order for significant rain to occur, the system would have to push well inland with damaging wind and flooding rain, rather than brush the coast with a few gusts and brief showers.
This week, rounds of snow, rain and ice pummeled areas from Oklahoma City to Boston, creating treacherous travel conditions and causing widespread power outages in the tens of thousands across the country.
After nearly 9 feet of snow this winter for the Boston area, many residents are trying to make the best of the snow-clogged conditions.
Heavy rain will soak the Gulf Coast and expand into the Southeast early this week, perhaps bringing isolated flooding but also helping to battle the drought.
As arctic air is held at bay next week, warmth will build from the West to the Central states, while the temperatures rebound to seasonable levels in the Northeast.
Interstate 64 was closed between Reidland and Cadiz, Kentucky, due to heavy snowfall. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear activated the Kentucky National Guard to assist stranded motorists.
An upcoming thaw will raise concerns for flooding and ice jams in parts of the Midwest and East through the middle of March.
Milton Exp. Station, FL (1954)
4" of snow, greatest 24 hour snowfall in state history, also greatest single storm total.
Pensacola, FL (1954)
2.1" of snow, greatest 24 hour snowfall in city's history, also greatest single storm total.
East Coast (1962)
Great Atlantic Coast Storm caused over $200 million damage from New England to Florida. Major shoreline erosion from Long Island to North Carolina from 40 foot waves, 70 mph winds. Deep snow piled up in Virginia Mountains. Big Meadows/Blue Ridge Mts. (6th-7th) had 42.0" of snow, greatest 24 hour snowfall.