Impressive Rain Storm 3/29 – 3/31

An impressive storm system is going to effect the Tri-State area this weekend into early Monday morning. The set-up in the upper atmosphere (500 mb) supports a long duration rain storm with frequent moderate to heavy rains which increases the flood threat, especially in areas where there is still snow / ice and if you live in a flood prone zone.


Start: 12pm-1pm Saturday

End: 5am-7am Monday

This equates to 40+ hours of rain falling which when all is said and done could add up to 4+ inches of rain in some spots of the Northeast. Obviously the rain is not going to be heavy for 40+ hours. In fact, there may even be a brief break in the action before it starts up again. Nonetheless, we are still looking at a washout weekend with a potent coastal storm developing.

The 00z GFS 500 mb map by 2pm tomorrow is beginning to show a phase with the northern and southern stream energies in the atmosphere which will result in a strong surface low developing. By this time, rain is streaming up the coast into the northeast ahead of the surface low with the heaviest falling over Long Island.
Fast forward into early Sunday morning, and now those energies have completely phased with the H5 trough now closed off. At this time, very heavy rain is falling throughout NY state, the northern tier of PA, NNJ, and NYC into LI.
By Sunday night, the closed off low deepens with the H5 trough now going negative, prompting the coastal low to slow down and bring training moderate to heavy rainfall over parts of the coast from PA into NJ into NYC.
What is happening here is we are seeing the effects of Atlantic blocking and what it could do to east coast storms. Throughout this winter, we have been in a relatively zonal flow due to a constant +NAO with only a north-Atlantic ridge trying to help slow the flow down.
This time, the combination of positive heights into Greenland and eastern Canada have forced this storm to CUT-OFF from the jet stream and almost come to a stall off the coast of NJ. The good news is this will not be some 950 mb bomb of a storm that is bringing hurricane force winds to the area. It is expected to remain on the weak side with the worst of the winds along the immediate coast, where 30-40+ mph gusts can be expected.
Region wide, we are looking at 1.50-2.50 inches of rain for the most part. In further assessment, I can see how red-shaded areas receive possibly more than 3 inches of rain due to the positioning of the stalling low pressure storm off the coast of NJ. Some pieces of guidance support this notion of sending bands of rain over this area which would enhance rainfall totals. Obviously flooding in NNJ near the rivers could be a concern, but I do not believe rivers are in danger of flooding since it has been pretty dry of late. However, that does not mean roads that flood easily will not flood. So please keep that in mind.
Enjoy this miserable weekend,