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Coastal storm may bring heavy rain, wind on Saturday

Amazingly, we’re still talking about coastal storms during the middle weeks of May. A period long discussed as one that may favor a cutoff low or coastal storm seems to be coming to fruition, as forecast models have keyed in on a potential storm this weekend. Energy over the Ohio Valley will move eastward toward the Mid Atlantic, as additional shortwave energy drops southeastward from Canada toward the Mid Atlantic as well.

The resulting interaction will result in the development of a coastal storm, with a low pressure at the surface moving eastward towards the Mid Atlantic coast. But the exact track and intensity of the storm system will depend on the evolution in the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere. As the two pieces of energy interact and potentially phase, the surface low pressure will deepen — resulting in areas of heavy rain and strong winds developing to the north and northwest of the low pressure center.

NAM model showing a significant coastal storm impacting the area on Saturday with heavy rain.

NAM model showing a significant coastal storm impacting the area on Saturday with heavy rain.

Forecast models, not surprisingly, have struggled with the exact interactions and intricate details aloft, which will have a major impact on the storms evolution. Some newer forecast models have trended much farther north — and stronger — with the storm system, bringing significant rain into our area as well as strong winds along the shore. Other global models, most notably the ECMWF, remain farther south and weaker with the storm through the weekend.

As is typically the case in the winter season, when tracking Nor’Easters and coastal storms, forecasters will continue to monitor trends amongst ensemble guidance and operational models in regards to the storm over the next 24 hours. Additional information and data will help us to gain confidence on exactly where the storm will track, how strong it will be, and how it will impact our area on Saturday.

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