Tropical Storm Philippe to threaten Bermuda before striking near Maine
By the time Philippe aims for northern New England and Atlantic Canada, the weather setup will be complex. Philippe’s rain may become intermingled with two other systems over parts of the Northeast.
AccuWeather forecasters say Philippe could skirt Bermuda before making landfall in Maine, threatening heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge early next week.
Tropical Storm Philippe continues to fight adverse atmospheric conditions as it begins to trek north of the Caribbean. AccuWeather meteorologists, who have been tracking Philippe since mid-September - days before an organized system developed - say the storm will travel nearly 2,000 miles to the north, where it could strike Maine with heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge this weekend.
Localized flash flooding occurred on some of the islands of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean as Philippe's downpours hit this week.
"Into Tuesday, Philippe crawled enough to the west to bring torrential downpours to the Leeward and northern Windward islands, where a general 2-4 inches of rain has fallen with locally much higher amounts," AccuWeather Tropical Meteorologist Alex DaSilva said.
This image of Tropical Storm Philippe (center) was captured on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023, and shows torrential downpours and gusty thunderstorms over the Leeward Islands of the northeastern Caribbean. (AccuWeather Enhanced RealVue™ Satellite)
Hewanorra International Airport in St. Lucia picked up 3.54 inches of rain as of daybreak Tuesday, and 6.14 inches fell at Bird International Airport in Antigua and Barbuda. From Tuesday to Wednesday, between 8-9 inches of rain fell on portions of the British Virgin Islands.
As Philippe moves northward and away from the Caribbean, impacts will soon be felt in Bermuda. As Philippe churns forward, impacts will be felt in Atlantic Canada and New England as a complex weather pattern unfolds this weekend.
The AccuWeather Eye Path® takes Philippe inland near the Maine and New Brunswick border late Saturday night to Sunday morning. That track, which could jog even farther to the west, will depend on multiple factors. A surge of cool air across the Northeast and the formation of a second storm between Philippe and the East Coast of the United States will both come into play.
Stiff breezes at the mid-levels of the atmosphere, called wind shear, caused most of the thunderstorm activity to be skewed to the storm's southeastern flank since late last week. As wind shear eases up ever so slightly, some of the thunderstorms may be able to circle around the center. More uniform thunderstorm activity may lead to some temporary strengthening as Philippe departs the Caribbean and approaches Bermuda.
Philippe to eye Bermuda by week's end
The proximity of Philippe's track to Bermuda and the storm's intensity will determine the scope of impacts on the small group of islands in the west-central Atlantic, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty explained.
Stringent building codes in Bermuda should allow Philippe's passage to be manageable. However, the system, as a tropical storm or perhaps a Category 1 hurricane, will bring a period of building seas, overwash, flooding downpours and strong winds from later Thursday night to Friday.
Due to the anticipated impacts of heavy rainfall and gusty winds, Philippe has been rated "less than one" on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes in Bermuda.
Philippe to approach North America late this weekend
AccuWeather meteorologists have been studying various scenarios for Philippe's long-term track.
Much of the data suggests that Philippe is most likely to head near the Maine and New Brunswick border late Saturday night to Sunday morning, perhaps passing near the southwestern tip of Nova Scotia.
AccuWeather forecasters say there is a chance that steering winds could direct Philippe directly over eastern New England, allowing the system to merge with a non-tropical system and a cold front. If that were to occur, drenching rain could soak more New England.
Rain will still fall on the mid-Atlantic and western New England from the cold front itself.
As is often the case with tropical systems that venture into the cold waters near Canada, Philippe may transition to a non-tropical storm or tropical wind and rainstorm before landfall.
Regardless, interests in Maine, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island should expect a period of heavy rain, strong winds and building seas to occur from Saturday night to Monday as Philippe moves up from the south.
There will be the likelihood of sporadic power outages, flash flooding, road washouts and mudslides, including in some of the same areas hammered by Lee back in mid-September.
AccuWeather meteorologists have been raising concerns about another episode of heavy rain for part of the Northeast a little over a week after torrential rain deluged the New York City area and led to widespread flash flooding.
No weather setup is exactly the same, and there are some differences with the setup in the Northeast from Friday night to Sunday compared to a week ago. However, there does appear to be room for a plume of tropical moisture to feed into the Northeast, likely farther to the east of New York City, which may lead to flash flooding and major travel disruptions.
This time, part of the zone from Providence, Rhode Island, to Boston or Portland, Maine, could end up with torrential downpours.
A narrow corridor from Long Island to New England, including portions of Connecticut, western Massachusetts and the higher elevations of Vermont and New Hampshire, will pick up rainfall totals on the order of 2-4 inches with more widespread amounts of 1-2 inches of rain from late this weekend into early next week, AccuWeather forecasters say.
The AccuWeather Local StormMax™ is 10 inches in southeastern Canada and the Northeast, with the greatest risk for amounts above 8 inches across Quebec.
"The risk for serious flooding will be increased for locations that have already had heavy rainfall in recent weeks and where the ground is already saturated, especially if downpours persist over these same areas," AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter said. "While we expect the best chance for flooding this time will be north and east of New York City, should extreme rainfall rates above 1 inch per hour occur in urban areas, such as New York City area, flash flooding with rapidly rising water can quickly escalate into a life-threatening situation in a matter of minutes, as urban environments have many impervious surfaces such as sidewalks and streets which promotes greater runoff.”
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