Storm Clobbers East With Prolonged Wind-Swept Rain, Coastal Flooding

By By Alex Sosnowski, senior meteorologist.
September 27, 2015, 2:51:12 AM EDT

A slowly moving and evolving Atlantic storm will affect a 600-mile stretch of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States with areas of rain, gusty winds and prolonged rough surf through this weekend.

Enough rain will fall to cause poor visibility for motorists in parts of the Interstate 85 and 95 corridors. Both wind and rain in some cities could cause airline delays. Onshore winds along the coast will contribute to coastal flooding and beach erosion.

How significant and widespread these impacts become will depend on the strength of a storm from the Atlantic and its track along the coast.

The storm was attempting to take on some tropical characteristics off the Georgia coast on Thursday. However, the storm will not have enough time to become a significant tropical system before moving onshore.

Rain will first expand inland over the area from Georgia and the Carolinas, then northward into southern Virginia through Saturday as one part of the storm system drifts westward.


The rain is likely to reach as far west as the southern Appalachians from Alabama to Virginia and West Virginia and could sneak into part of Ohio. Locally drenching showers and thunderstorms indirectly associated with the storm will extend as far south as Florida.

Within this swath, there is the potential for a thorough soaking. The greatest potential for torrential rainfall and flash flooding is along the coast from the Carolinas to southeastern Virginia. Rainfall amounts near the coast will generally average 1-3 inches with locally 5 inches into the weekend.

Between 2 and 3 inches of rain has fallen on Columbia, South Carolina, and has resulted in flash flooding on Thursday.

A second part of the storm will attempt to consolidate and cause rain to expand northward along the mid-Atlantic coast this weekend and into early next week.

In the Northeast, this part of the system will have to compete with a wedge of dry air and high pressure over New England.

According to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "Sometimes we see this setup cause a storm to strengthen and run northward along the coast and in other times we see the high being too strong, which forces the storm out to sea."

Wet Weather Soaks Southeast


"As a result, the prospect of drenching rain reaching the swath from Washington, D.C., to New York City and Boston later this weekend is not set in stone," Abrams said.

During Saturday and Sunday, clouds will tend to thicken and rain will advance slowly northward over Virginia, the Delmarva Peninsula and southern New Jersey.

The dry air in place will cause some of the rain to fizzle out, but pockets of steady rain may survive, especially along the coast and perhaps over the central Appalachians.

The storm could impact outdoor activities related to the pope's visit in Philadelphia on Sunday.

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AccuWeather will continue to provide updates on the storm through this weekend.

Bathers, boaters and property owners beware. The most certain aspect of the storm will be stiff winds along the coast with building surf, strong rip currents, coastal flooding and beach erosion.


The flow of air around the high pressure to the north and the storm itself will direct winds and ocean water toward the middle part of the East coast through this weekend.

Winds along the coast can gust to near 40 mph.

The effects will occur around the supermoon this weekend.

Water will tend to pile up in the bays and sounds, due to the persistent northeast winds.

Charleston, South Carolina, will experience minor coastal flooding at times of high tide, while emergency crews work to repair the damage from the tornado that developed just southwest of the city early Friday morning.


According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, "Tides are likely to average 2-3 feet above published levels from eastern North Carolina to southeastern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula with coastal flooding, especially at times of high tide."

The cities of Norfolk, Newport News and Hampton, Virginia, could experience significant high water with the worst conditions this weekend.

Breakers of 6-10 feet are likely at times on top of the raised water levels along the coast from Georgia to New Jersey.

Seas in nearby offshore waters will fluctuate between 8 and 16 feet.

Minor coastal flooding will occur in New Jersey and perhaps as far north as New York City. Similarly, minor coastal flooding is in store from South Carolina to Georgia. Tides will run 1-2 feet above published levels in these areas.

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