Atlantic Storm to Make Closest Approach to Carolinas Wednesday
May 26, 2010, 4:47:40 AM EDT
A storm spinning just off the Carolina coast will make its closest run on Wednesday before being turned to the northeast and away from the Atlantic Seaboard beginning on Friday.
The storm, which is still considered to be a cold region storm, could take on part tropical characteristics.
The system will continue to kick up gusty winds, rough seas and bursts of heavy rain and thunderstorms.
Winds can gust to 40 mph in coastal North Carolina and the Virginia Capes at times through midweek. Winds blowing onshore will create above-normal tides, coastal flooding and beach erosion.
Stronger and more numerous rip currents than usual will pose a serious threat to surfers and bathers from the New Jersey beaches to the east coast of Florida.
Small craft operators could be caught by surprise, if the storm were to pulse suddenly or kick up a squall.
The approach of the full moon (Thursday) will add to the height of tides.
High astronomical tides alone cause minor flooding problems in places like Charleston, S.C. Winds in Charleston will be slightly offshore with this event, driving some of the water out to sea.
Keep in mind published tide levels incorporate the moon phase, but not the effect of storms and winds.
Onshore winds drive water toward the coast, causing higher tide levels. Offshore winds drive water away from the coast, lowering tide levels. Intense storms pull upward on the water, raising its height, due to the vacuum effect of low pressure. Weak storms, such as the one nearby, have very little upward pull on the water.
Water may pile up to some degree in Pamlico and Albemarle sounds in North Carolina with the northeast (onshore) winds.
The storm is helping to throw moisture well inland over the Southeast and the southern mid-Atlantic states.
Tropical downpours and thunderstorms can hit some communities suddenly and hard with flash flooding, gusty winds, slow travel and foiled outdoor plans through Thursday.
A shift in the jet stream will drive the Atlantic system away late in the week but will also allow one or more clusters of heavy showers and thunderstorms to drop southward from eastern Ontario into the mid-Atlantic. Rainfall from this setup will not be part of the brewing system in the Atlantic.
If the storm were to take on some tropical characteristics, it could be given a name.
Some similar "hybrid" storms in the past have been dubbed "subtropical" storms by the National Hurricane Center and have been given a corresponding name from the list of hurricanes for that season. The first name on the list this year is "Alex."
Regardless of the classification, this storm will not become very strong.
AccuWeather.com hurricane expert Joe Bastardi is expecting a top ten hurricane season in terms of number of storms in the Atlantic Basin.
By Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist AccuWeather.com
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