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Tuesday roundup: Gonzalo, severe weather, heavy rain

The week began with clouds and drizzle, signaling the arrival of a warmer airmass which has been pushing northward from the Southeast and Mid Atlantic states. But the dreary and drizzly weather won’t take over the forecast on Tuesday. Southerly winds will push some drier air northward, helping to lift the low clouds and fog in place throughout the area. Warmer air will settle in by Tuesday afternoon, with highs reaching the mid 70’s. This will feel noticeably warmer than the past several days, especially considering the cooler than normal air and then drizzle/foggy weather which was in place.

The warmer weather won’t last long. An approaching storm system, currently bringing severe weather to the Central and Southeast United States, will shift northeastward toward our area later this week. With it will come a major cold front, and a surge of moisture aiding in the development of heavy rain and thunderstorms. Although forecast models are still a bit inconsistent, the general idea is that a period of heavy rain will race through the area on Thursday. Rainfall totals of 1-2″ could be widespread, with an onshore flow providing not only hazardous marine conditions but also some coastal flooding.

Behemoth storm churns in North Atlantic

Eyes were peeled to the Tropical Carribean as Hurricane Gonzalo developed toward Major Hurricane status. But the monster of this hemisphere is actually thousands of miles farther north. There, a 951mb beast swirled in the North Atlantic. The storm was weakening a bit today. The rapid intensification actually occurred Sunday and Monday when the central pressure dropped from 1002mb to 956mb, bottoming out slightly below 950mb.

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Captured by many satellite images, the storm most notably featured a moisture connection with post-hurricane Fay which was in the Central Atlantic Ocean. This brought to light the true breath of the massive North Atlantic system. The storm is forecast to shift eastward and weaken slightly over the next day or so.

Gonzalo strengthens, will come precariously close to Bermuda

Hurricane Gonzalo, meanwhile, is developing to the north of Puerto Rico. While it may be small in comparison to the Northern Atlantic system, Gonzalo is strengthening into a Major Hurricane. Gonzalo passed over Antigua this past Monday as a Tropical Storm, with widespread structural damage reported. The system has since strengthened into a Category 2 Hurricane.

Hurricane Gonzalo north of Bermuda earlier today.

Now teetering on the edge of a Category 3 storm, Gonzalo is expected to turn northward over the next few days. The storm is floating on the periphery of a trough and lower heights to its northwest, and a Central Atlantic ridge. The steering flow will guide the storm to the northwest and eventually north, toward Bermuda.

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The National Hurricane Center anticipates that Gonzalo will come quite close to Bermuda, but forecast models remain somewhat inconsistent with the specifics of the track. While they agree on the general idea, with the system turning northward to a position very near Bermuda by Friday, the exact position is uncertain. Where the storm tracks, exactly, will have huge impacts on the sensible weather at the island. A storm track to the west of the island would bring mroe severe impacts — tropical cyclones typically have stronger winds pushed to the eastern side when they turn northward. The Hurricane Center anticipates that the storm will pass near Bermuda as a Category 3 storm, which could obviously produce significant damage.

 

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