Hermine to stir dangerous, inundating surf at northeastern US beaches into and beyond Labor Day

By By Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist
September 07, 2016, 4:22:09 AM EDT

In a moment, you will be re-directed to the latest information on Hermine impacts in the northeastern United States.

The risk of dangerously rough seas, coastal flooding and beach erosion will continue at the northeastern United States beaches during the next few days as Hermine churns offshore.

These significant beach hazards exist despite the northeastern U.S. escaping Hermine’s strongest winds and heaviest rain into Labor Day.

Sunshine and frequent breaks in the rain may prompt some residents and visitors to head to the beach. However, dangers still lurk.

“Going forward, the main impacts are still expected to be immediate coastal areas as a system of Hermine’s strength offshore will still bring significant swells and create dangerous conditions on exposed beaches,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey said.

“Since Hermine will be moving slowly during the next few days, these conditions will be allowed to persist for a long period of time and result in beach erosion, dangerous surf and coastal flooding through the holiday weekend," he said.


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Hermine has officially lost its tropical characteristics, but it will maintain tropical storm strength through most of this week.

Hermine is expected to stop well short of making a second landfall in the mid-Atlantic, but will come close enough to cause winds to increase and seas to further build along the Northeast beaches on Monday.

Seas will also remain rough at the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

While there will not be much in the way of rain, winds will still gust between 30-50 mph along the New Jersey coast, Long Island and southern New England coast through Monday night. This includes Boston and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The worst conditions through Monday night will be from southeastern New England to eastern Long Island. There can be isolated gusts to around 60 mph, mainly from Cape Cod to eastern Long Island, which will heighten the risk of power outages and tree damage.

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West of Interstate 95 in the mid-Atlantic and in northern New England, nothing more than some clouds from Hermine will filter overhead. A nice Labor Day will instead unfold.


Seas will build to 8-14 feet along the coast with strong and frequent rip currents. Offshore, Hermine will stir up peak wave heights of 20-25 feet.

“To venture into the surf or on the ocean during these conditions may not only put yourself at extreme risk, but also your would-be rescuers,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. “Bathers and boaters should heed all official restrictions as they are issued.”

This includes in Nags Head, North Carolina; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Ocean City, Maryland; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Jones Beach on Long Island; and Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.

"Offshore, seas are likely to become too dangerous for small craft and large vessels should use caution due to a fully arisen sea," AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams said.

The combination of the persistent pounding seas will result in additional coastal flooding and beach erosion into Tuesday.

“The risk of coastal and back bay flooding will be greatest, but not limited to the times of high tide,” Sosnowski said.

Incidents and severity of coastal flooding and beach erosion will increase with each passing high tide as the water continues to pile up and pound the coast.

Coastal flooding will be more severe where winds will blow nearly onshore for a prolonged period of time, which will be along the northeastern-facing beaches of southeastern New England.


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It is possible that some low-lying roads in coastal areas may be blocked by high water for a time. Where coastal flooding ensues, people may not be able to get to an from some of the barrier islands for a time.

Any evacuation orders that get issued should be heeded.

“Dune repairs and modifications following Sandy may be tested because of the long duration of this event,” Sosnowski said.

"While the flood threat isn't as great for the New Jersey coast as it once appeared, it is possible that the back sides of the barrier islands will have worse flooding than the ocean-facing sides," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist John Feerick said. "Water will pile into the back bays from the inlets and will not be able to escape, then you will have more water piling in during the next high tide."

Hermine will finally begin to depart the waters of the mid-Atlantic at midweek. If Hermine attempts to track farther to the north toward New England before departing, southeastern New England could be subject to another round of strong winds and heavier rain on Tuesday into Wednesday.

Otherwise, winds, seas and the risk of coastal flooding will gradually ease at midweek as Hermine leaves.


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