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Coastal storm lingers, improving weekend

As meteorologists, you sometimes just have to toss your hands up and admit defeat. And with this weeks Nor’Easter, we’re doing just that. The storm came in much more intense, much more organized, and much more impactful than we forecasted or anticipated it to be. And while our area saw periods of heavy rain and wind from the storm, the system itself was quite dynamic.  Similar to winter Nor’Easters both aloft and at the surface, the storm featured a deepening surface low and a dynamically impressive mid level trough.

Enhanced lift from the developing surface low, which actually retrograded westward from the Atlantic toward Long Island last night, moved over New England and New York City overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning. The result was heavy rain, and more noticeably, strong gusty winds mixing down to the surface. The dynamic system featured strong winds just above the surface — and so heavy rain brought these down. Gusts over 50 miles per hour were common throughout New England and Long Island.

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Coastal storm update: More heavy rain, wind tonight

A coastal storm, developing as a result of a powerful mid and upper level system, developed today from the Delaware Coast to a position off the coast of the Mid-Atlantic states. Heavy rain moved through much of the area as a result of an inverted trough, and shifted from north to south throughout the day as the surface low moved more seaward. Since then, precipitation has become much more showery in nature — absent are the areas of heavy rain and thunderstorms. Northeasterly winds have increased in intensity along the coast.

Through the evening, the surface low off the coast is expected to strengthen slightly as the mid and upper level systems move south of Long Island. In a form more typical to winter-time systems, the surface low may actually hook back westward later tonight. While the storm itself isn’t necessarily strong in regards to its central pressure, the gradient between the developing surface low and the higher pressures around it will aid in the development of strengthening surface winds, especially along the coast.

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The cost of a decades-worth of hurricanes

It isn’t very often than something as immense as 10 years worth of hurricane’s damages can be visualized. But our friends at the Univeristy of North Carolina have done just that with their latest infographic. More than $310 Billion in damages have been caused by landfalling hurricanes in the United States during the past decade, with notable names such as Katrina, Wilma, and in our area — Sandy. Despite all of those names, many major coastal cities have escaped major damage since the early 2000′s. Hurricane Arthur, which made landfall this summer, was the strongest to make landfall since Ike in 2008. We haven’t seen a Major Hurricane make landfall since Wilma in 2005.

Adam Levenson, Community Manager for the UNC School of Government’s online masters of public administration program, said the research and infographic was a team effort. “Both faculty and staff at the School of Government were involved with the ideation, research, and editing processes”, Adam said. “The graphic itself was designed by ObizMedia. Our MPA program trains many students each year, most of whom go on to serve in local government. We had examined disasters from the local level in the past but wanted to see what insight investigating disasters on the macro level would provide.”

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Huge X-Class solar flare erupts from the sun

A gigantic sunspot, first noted by astronomers several days ago, has unleashed another X-Class flare this morning. This one, classified at X1.6, has a much greater breadth than its predecessor. The flare may be Earth-directed, but we are still awaiting more information as it becomes available this afternoon. Luckily for us, space weather data allows us to pick up on this information rather quickly. Radio blackout information was detected within minutes of the flare. And sensors picked up on the X Class flare and its strength almost instantly.

Whether or not the X-Class flare is Earth-Directed, and whether it not it featured a CME (or Coronal Mass Ejections) will obviously have impacts on what we experience here. Luckily, our atmosphere protects us from most of the potentially harmful impacts of an Earth-directed major solar flare. But the magnetic field can still produce widespread aurora, radio and GPS blackouts and effects, and satellite interruptions. If the flare is not Earth-directed and/or doesn’t feature a CME, we will either experience fringe effects (nothing notable) or nothing at all

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Coastal storm to bring rain, wind through Thursday

A rather impressive mid and upper level trough is developing through the Mid Atlantic and Northeast States today, with a surface low pressure developing off the Mid-Atlantic coast. An inverted trough, extending northwestward from this surface low, is aiding in the development of very heavy rain along much of the area coasts including New Jersey and New York. Places to the northwest and interior have been able to escape the heaviest rain. But the low level jet will continue to support this heavy rain through the morning hours.

Later today, this rain will begin to swing southwest and wrap closer to the surface low. The low level winds which are currently moving in from the southeast (onshore) will shift to a more northeasterly direction and the inverted trough will swing southward, with the best lift for precipitation shifting away from the area. Still, showers and some thunderstorms will be possible throughout the day as the upper level low moves overhead and the surface low continues to develop.

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