And This Is A Weak Nor’easter…October 10th, 2013 at 9:16 am by Jeremy Wheeler under Weather
The current weather system that is impacting our region is pretty weak by a Nor’easter’s standards. In fact some would argue that it isn’t a Nor’easter. Here is the official definition from the American Meteorological Society:
A cyclonic storm of the east coast of North America, so called because the winds over the coastal area are from the northeast. They may occur at any time of year but are most frequent and most violent between September and April. Northeast storms usually develop in lower–middle latitudes (30°–40°N) within 100 miles east or west of the coastline. They progress generally northward to northeastward and typically attain maximum intensity near New England and the Maritime Provinces. They nearly always bring precipitation, winds of gale force, rough seas, and, occasionally, coastal flooding to the affected regions.
So with that said…I still am calling this a Nor’easter, but a weak one. The area of low pressure has moved north, and now sits just off the coast of the Outer Banks. It has moved along a stationary front.
The pressure was only about 1007 mb (millibars). That is not very impressive, and it is not expected to strengthen at this point. However, it sure had a lot of moisture with it.
We have already seen a lot of heavy rain. Our Future Trak model does a good job overall, but yesterday it undercut the rain forecast. I unfortunately followed suit, but did mention that some cities could see 3 or more inches. Well…that happened and then some:
My weather watcher, Greg in Currituck, had over 6 inches of rain. Chris in Hampton had 4.2″. Don in Toano only had 1.9″. The rain continued this morning. We saw some areas of heavy rain, but there were also some breaks in the action.
As we go through the day we should see more breaks in the rain. I’m hoping our latest model run of Future Trak is right for this afternoon. It shows a large gap in the rain between 3 and 5 pm.
The other hi-resolution models agree that the rain will be more scattered into tomorrow. We could see another 1-2 inches of rain on top of what we’ve already had. However, the higher amounts will be in fewer areas today.
Unfortunately, the area of low pressure is going to stick around through the weekend. So we are expecting these scattered showers to continue. To put it in perspective…Today’s rain chance is 80% dropping to 50% (maybe even 40%) this afternoon. Tomorrow the rain chance is also 50%. Then it will be 40% Saturday. 30% on Sunday. Stay tuned for updates on that. I know there are a lot of events coming up like the Suffolk Peanut Festival and the Poquoson Seafood Festival to name a couple.
Let’s talk about some positives. Since the low pressure area is so close to our region, we are actually forecasting for the winds to lessen up compared to yesterday. That has already happened since earlier this morning. This morning we had gusts to 35mph near the shore. Now the gusts are closer to 25mph. We will still see gusts to 25mph near the shore this afternoon, and we’ll see gusts to 20mph inland. Remember stronger winds occur when you have a strong pressure gradient (difference in value over a distance). Since the low is so near us, there is no longer a strong gradient. This will change though as the high tries to build back in over the weekend. So we aren’t done with the wind by any means.
Since the winds are diminishing, the tide will also diminish. the high tide at Sewell’s Point is forecast to get up to about 5.1ft this afternoon by 2pm. Last night it was 5.43′. After that the tide will drop to below the minor tidal flooding threshold:
Yorktown will see a high tide around 4.7 ft at the same time. Minor tidal flooding there is 4.5ft. The Outer Banks of North Carolina will see some minor to moderate tidal flooding around midday. Look at the forecast for Duck, NC:
There will also be some minor to moderate tidal flooding between the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck. This is due to the tide as well as the heavy river discharge up there. Here is the link to check out the latest tide forecast from the National Weather Service: NWS Tides.
So there is some good news out of this. While we are still expecting rain, the gaps should be enough to let the rain start to soak into the ground. The tide will improve a bit today, and much more tonight into tomorrow. We are getting some very beneficial rain. Too bad we had to have some flooding with it.
Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler