By Alex Sosnowski,
Senior Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com
AccuWeather-(ENEWSPF)- AccuWeather reports after slamming Florida, Hermine will blast coastal areas of the mid-Atlantic with rough surf, heavy rain and gusty winds during Labor Day weekend.
Hermine not only threatens to foil weekend getaways at the beach, but has the potential to cause damage in some communities and pose risk to the lives of those who venture in the surf or on the seas.
There is the risk of coastal flooding in some areas hit hard and missed by Sandy, due to the long-duration nature of this storm.
A large mass of dry air will give way enough to allow Hermine to push up the Eastern Seaboard, beyond the southern United States this weekend.
Hermine may trigger flooding rain, cause power outages
A swath of heavy rain and gusty winds will advance northeastward over parts of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York as well as much of Delaware and New Jersey during Saturday and Saturday night. A push of rain and wind into southern New England may follow later in the weekend.
“Gusts between 60 and 75 mph are possible from the central New Jersey coast to the southern tip of Delmarva,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek.
Enough rain and wind can occur along this swath to cause flash flooding, downed tree limbs and sporadic power outages.
“With a storm of this nature, flooding rainfall can occur, regardless of prior dryness,” according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.
The heaviest rain, averaging 3-6 inches will fall in southeastern Virginia to southeastern New Jersey. Local rainfall in this swath may top 8 inches. Rainfall will decrease substantially farther north and west.
Hermine is likely to stall near the mid-Atlantic and southern New England coasts causing adverse conditions for days regardless of its official classification of a tropical versus non-tropical storm.
While the storm is likely to lose tropical characteristics in mid-Atlantic waters, it could maintain tropical storm strength and act like a slow-moving, powerful nor’easter.
The worst of the stormy onslaught will occur during Sunday and Labor Day. However, rough seas, above-normal tides and some wind may linger into the middle of next week.
How close to the coast Hermine tracks and where the storm stalls stalls from Sundayonward will determine the severity and location of flooding and damaging winds. Even a small shift in the track can have a big difference on impacts.
“A track over land or right along the coast could translate to more of a heavy rain event, while a track just offshore could mean more of a wind hazard for the mid-Atlantic,” Abrams said.
It is likely the threat from heavy rain will precede the worst conditions in terms of coastal flooding by a day or more.
Hermine to produce dangerous surf, threaten mid-Atlantic with coastal flooding
In addition to the risk of flooding from heavy rainfall, days of winds pushing Atlantic Ocean water toward the coast will cause extensive beach erosion, overwash in beachfront areas and flooding in low-lying locations on the back bays from Virginia to New York state.
This includes locations such as Virginia Beach, Virginia; Ocean City, Maryland; Atlantic City, New Jersey; and New York City.
It is possible that some low-lying roads to coastal areas may be blocked by high water. People may not be able to get to and from some of the barrier islands for a time.
Dune repairs and modifications following Sandy may be tested because of the long duration of this event.
The risk of coastal and back bay flooding will be greatest, but not limited to the times of high tide.
Conditions are likely to become too rainy to spend time on the mid-Atlantic beaches beyond Saturday, and surf conditions will become dangerous with strong and frequent rip currents and large, pounding waves as the weekend progresses.
“Offshore, seas are likely to become too dangerous for small craft and large vessels should use caution due to a fully arisen sea,” Abrams said.
Waves along the mid-Atlantic coast can build to 8-15 feet, while offshore seas can swell to 15-30 feet or higher this weekend.
To venture into the surf or on the ocean during these conditions may not only put yourself at risk, but also your would-be rescuers. Bathers and boaters should heed all official restrictions as they are issued.
Seas and surf have been rough in some locations of the mid-Atlantic and New England throughout this week. These conditions are due to other storms over the Atlantic Ocean.
While Hermine is forecast to stall as it moves north, much of New England and interior areas of the mid-Atlantic are likely to escape the full wrath of the storm.
Only a track farther to the west and north than now expected would cause clouds and rain to totally spoil the weekend in these northern and western areas. In fact, locations from northern New England to locations in the central Appalachians may have partial sunshine during some or all three days of Labor Day weekend.
Some rain and wind may hug the southern coast of New England during Sunday and Labor Day.