UPDATE 5PM WEDNESDAY: The National Hurricane Center has named the system Tropical Storm Andrea. All other forecast thinking / impacts remain the same.
It might seem a little early to be talking tropics, but hey - it is June! The storm we've been mentioning for several days is trying to get organized (as of Wednesday morning). It will be heading our way regardless of whether it is tropical or not, so let's talk about what kind of impacts we can expect in the Wilmington area.
|NOAA IR/Visible Satellite Loop of storm (Current Image)|
Andrea, or just a storm?
What we have right now is an area of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico that is producing an impressive amount of thunderstorms. As of Wednesday morning, a weak circulation was beginning to show up on satellite near 90W and 25N. This is well to the west of where the thunderstorms are, showing that the storm is very weak and disorganized.
The hurricane hunters will head into the system to investigate and see if they find enough evidence to classify it as a Tropical Depression or even name it Tropical Storm Andrea. (Remember, storms are classified Tropical Depressions once they show a clear low-level circulation at the surface and a recognizable storm structure. A Tropical Storm forms when winds reach 39 mph.)
At this point it looks like it will be difficult for the system to organize into Andrea, but I wouldn't rule it out. The National Hurricane Center gives it a 50% chance at this point.
For us, whether the storm is named or not won't make much of a difference.
Where is it going, and when?
All along, the consensus from our computer models has been to take this storm and ride it up the East Coast. The main question is just how far inland will the storm center be when it makes it trip.
The following images are runs from our in-house computer model tracking the storm:
|Thursday @ 4pm|
|Friday @ 6am|
|Friday @ 5pm|
As you can see. The thinking right now is that the storm passes us to the west, not to the East as a regular area of low pressure, not a full-fledged tropical storm.
This track & timing would mean that we see a good deal of the moisture, but also have a better chance at seeing thunderstorms within the showers. [The right hand side of systems is typically the warmer, more unstable side]
The exact track & anticipated strength of the storm may change over the next few days! But, this gives us a starting point.
What impacts does it bring?
- Heavy Rain - The system WILL bring heavy rain to Southeastern North Carolina beginning as early as Thursday afternoon and lasting as long as Friday night. Exactly how much rain remains to be seen, but it does look like it will significant. Anywhere from 1-3" looks reasonable right now.
- Potential Flooding - Given that we had a large rain event on Monday, this could create some minor flooding in spots across the area. We'll need to watch for ponding of water in the usual spots.
- Tornado threat - Presuming that the storm passes to our west, there will be a chance for thunderstorms to roll through our area Friday. These thunderstorms could have an easy time rotating, enough that a brief, isolated tornado can't be ruled out. [This is typical in tropical systems. Any tornadoes they generate are usually short-lived and relatively weak.] If the storm center were to shift offshore, the threat for tornadoes would go away.
- Not much wind - Unless this systems really blows up in intensity, wind will not be much of a factor in SE North Carolina. While it will be a breezy day Friday, with gusts up to 30 mph possible, damaging winds do not look like much of a concern as the storm moves through.
Questions, comments, concerns?
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Thanks for reading!
By: Tim Buckley