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Tropical downpours to drench eastern New England and Atlantic Canada this weekend

By By Brett Rathbun, Meteorologist
October 24, 2016, 5:06:56 AM EDT

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Tropical moisture from a system moving up the United States' East Coast could help to enhance rainfall and bring gusty winds to New England and Atlantic Canada this weekend.

The system, dubbed 99L by the National Hurricane Center, is located to the east of the Bahamas. While it appears unlikely, it will be given the name Otto should it strengthen into a named storm.

“Satellite imagery shows this feature has a low-level circulation, one of the necessities for a tropical depression to form,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Michael Doll said.


In order for a system to become a tropical depression, a low-level circulation needs to be present along with an area of showers and thunderstorms wrapping around the center. So far with 99L, shower and thunderstorm activity remains disorganized.

“Strong wind shear is preventing showers and thunderstorms from getting organized,” Doll said.

Wind shear is the changing of wind speed or direction with height, and it disrupts tropical systems from forming and strengthening.

The system has a short window to develop into a tropical depression or storm as conditions will become less favorable later Friday and into the weekend. Even if it does develop, 99L will not become a very strong storm.

Push of cold air across US East Coast to keep the system offshore

A strong push of cold air will keep 99L from making a direct landfall along the east coast of the United States.


Instead, the system will make a northward turn up the western Atlantic.

Any cruise and shipping interests in the western Atlantic should be on the lookout for enhanced shower activity as well as gusty winds and rough surf into the weekend.

Shower and thunderstorm activity will increase across Bermuda into Friday, impacting any cleanup efforts from Hurricane Nicole, before conditions improve this weekend.

Tropical feature to stir up surf across Southeast coast, enhance rainfall across New England

Regardless of development, this feature will bring some impacts to much of the East Coast of the U.S.

Rough surf and dangerous rip currents are expected from Florida to North Carolina to end the week.

Those heading to the beaches late this week should know the safety steps one should take if they get caught in a rip current.

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Meanwhile, a clockwise flow of air around a high pressure system across the North Atlantic will help in transporting moisture from the Atlantic system toward New England.

"The storm along the East Coast combined with moisture from 99L will lead to some significant rainfall over portions of New England, especially across Maine," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde said.

"Rain amounts will average 1 to 2 inches with local amounts up to 3 inches," Rinde added.

Should this additional moisture reach New England, it will put an even bigger dent in the severe drought plaguing the region.

Tropical rain, wind to blast Atlantic Canada

Should a tropical or a hybrid (subtropical) storm Otto come about flooding, dangerous seas and perhaps damaging winds will occur in part of Atlantic Canada.

Regardless of the system becoming a tropical storm, hybrid or not, tropical moisture will be thrown northward across portions of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland spanning Saturday to Saturday night.


"Enough rain, 25 to 75 mm (1-3 inches) will fall to ease some of the drought conditions in the region," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

Only if a strong tropical or subtropical storm develops would conditions become more severe.

"The storm will be a fast mover so that rain and wind occur roughly for a day or less," Anderson said.

Areas farther northwest, over Quebec and Labrador are likely to remain unsettled through the weekend with areas of rain and snow. This will be due to influence from colder air and a non-tropical storm system.

Following 99L, no additional tropical systems are expected to develop in the Atlantic over the next several days. Nov. 30 marks the end of the hurricane season.

Story content contributed by Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist.

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