In Focus: A Wind-Swept Soaking Tomorrow
Coastal storm could become tropical system
*High Wind Watch in effect Thurs. for higher terrain to the W and NW*
*Gale Warning for Tidal Potomac, Chesapeake Bay Thurs. into Fri.*
*Coastal Flood Watch in effect Thurs. along Bay, Eastern Shore.*
A major early fall storm, which could become tropical in nature later today or tonight, will buffet the entire region with heavy rains and strong winds tomorrow with lingering rains lasting into early Saturday. The National Weather Service in Sterling does a nice job summarizing the overall scenario:
LOW PRESSURE IS BEGINNING TO ORGANIZE ABOUT 200 NAUTICAL MILES OFF THE NORTH CAROLINA COAST. THIS STORM SYSTEM IS FORECAST TO RETROGRADE AND MOVE INLAND INTO THE CAROLINAS THURSDAY NIGHT. TIGHTENING PRESSURE GRADIENT BETWEEN THE HIGH OVER
NEW ENGLAND AND THIS LOW WILL CREATE WINDY CONDITIONS ESPECIALLY
EAST OF I-95 CORRIDOR. STRONG ONSHORE FLOW WILL ALSO DRAW IN PLENTY OF ATLANTIC MOISTURE. GLOBAL FORECAST SYSTEM MODEL SHOWS WIDESPREAD 1.0+ INCH TOTALS WITH UP TO 2.5 INCHES CLOSER TO THE PA BORDER. HEAVIEST RAINS EXPECTED THURSDAY AFTERNOON-EVENING.
Keep reading for more storm details, including wind estimates and posted watches and warnings. Also, see our full forecast through the weekend, and NatCast for tonight's second-to-last home game of the season.
By Thursday afternoon, winds may be sustained at 20-25 mph in the metro area with gusts over 40 mph, and up to 50 mph or so east of I-95. Even stronger winds are possible in the higher-terrain areas to the west and northwest -- sustained speeds up to around 40 mph with brief gusts to 60 mph, according to the National Weather Service -- where a High Wind Watch is in effect for tomorrow.
Gale warnings are in effect for the tidal Potomac and Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay Thursday afternoon and evening. Coastal flood watches are out for the west side of the Bay, including Anne Arundel, St. Mary's and Calvert County where waters may run two to three feet above normal. For the Maryland beaches, in addition to a coastal flood watch, a high surf advisory is in effect where waves upwards of 8 feet are possible.
This coastal storm is not related to the tropical disturbance in the northern Caribbean (over Hispaniola), which still has the potential to become a tropical depression and even develop into tropical storm Kyle, that is if the coastal storm doesn't take the name first.
As this tropical disturbance moves northward, there's a chance of some interaction between these two systems, but probably too far north and east of our region to affect the weather here. Eastern New England stands the best chance of being impacted by the possible merging of these two systems.
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