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Friday, September 25, 2015

ALERT-Wild Weather- East Coast-Flooding, High Surf, Rip Current, Flash Flood Threat

Coastal Flooding, High Surf, Rip Current, Flash Flood Threat From the Carolinas to New Jersey (FORECAST)

System to Impact Coast For Days

It could be a stormy weekend for parts of the East Coast through the weekend. 

A tornado touched down west of Charleston, South Carolina early Friday morning. 

Coastal and Inland Impacts

High surf with large breaking waves and rip currents can be expected through the weekend from the New Jersey shore southward to at least the northern Outer Banks of North Carolina.

High surf at the Rodanthe, North Carolina, fishing pier on September 23, 2015.  (Jeri Gauthier Theriault)
    Wind/Wave Model Forecast
    Wind/Wave Model Forecast
    Potential open-ocean wave heights in feet are showing in the contours. Darker color streamlines indicate stronger surface winds
      Rainfall Outlook
      Rainfall Outlook
      Locally heavier totals may occur where areas of rain persist for an hour or so. This is meant as a general outlook indicating areas with the highest threat for heavy rain.
        Even experienced swimmers should stay out of the water due to the rip current threat. Look for surf hazard warning flags and heed the advice of lifeguards. 
        Over 30,000 rip current rescues are performed each year in the U.S., often occurring in waves of just 2-3 feet.
        Breaking waves at the coast in the areas mentioned above will be higher, at least in the 6-9 foot range. Even the ocean beaches of Long Island are expected to see breakers in the 3-5 foot range. Farther south, the threat of rip currents is also in play from the South Carolina coast to Florida's First Coast.
        This long fetch, or distance, these onshore winds travel over the ocean plus the duration of these winds lasting through the weekend is setting the stage for not simply high surf or rip currents, but also coastal flooding and beach erosion. 
        These persistent onshore winds peaking Saturday into early Sunday, before slowly diminishing, will continue to buildup water at the coast with greater areal coverage and magnitude of coastal flooding, particularly during each high tide cycle.
        If that isn't enough, astronomical high tides will rise as well this weekend with the full moon (a blood red "supermoon", no less).
        The risk of moderate coastal flooding is greatest into the weekend in the northern Outer Banks, the Virginia Tidewater and Delmarva Peninsula.
        However, coastal flooding may also increase farther north to parts of the Jersey shore.
        Some shallow tidal flooding is also possible as far south as Charleston, South Carolina, as occurred around high tide Thursday, as well as along parts of Chesapeake and Delaware Bays.
        (INTERACTIVE MAPS: Marine Alerts | Flood Alerts)
        Waves riding atop the higher water levels will lead to beach erosion in some areas, including highly vulnerable Highway 12 in the Outer Banks. Some coastal overwash was noted Wednesday in Buxton, North Carolina. 
        Here are the astronomical high tide times this weekend at Cape Henry in Virginia Beach, Virginia. 
        Saturday: 6:42 a.m., 7:08 p.m.
        Sunday: 7:35 a.m., 7:59 p.m.
        Then there's the threat of pockets of locally heavy rain occasionally wrapping onshore. Bands of heavy rain will pinwheel through portions of the Carolinas into parts of Virginia. On Thursday, flash flooding impacted the Columbia, South Carolina area.

        Tornado hits South Carolina 
        By Eric Zerkel and Sean Breslin
        Published Sep 25 2015 01:21 PM EDT

        A confirmed tornado hit an area just west of Charleston, South Carolina, overnight, damaging houses and downing trees. No injuries were reported in the twister that was confirmed Friday afternoon by a survey team from the National Weather Service.
        "One of the low-pressure systems associated with the ongoing coastal event spawned storms that developed a reported tornado," said meteorologist Ari Sarsalari.
        The hardest hit areas were Johns Island and West Ashley, according to the Associated Press. The tornado damaged homes and downed traffic lights in the area. More than 3,400 homes and businesses were without power early Friday morning, NBC News reported.
        Before image: Google Maps; After image: Twitter/Jason Tighe
        WCSC‑TV Chief Meteorologist Bill Walsh said that one of the main roads off Johns Island was shut down due to downed trees.The South Carolina Red Cross was assisting 10 families impacted by the overnight storm.

        Contributing Sources:

        Coastal Flooding, High Surf, Rip Current, Flash Flood Threat From the Carolinas to New Jersey (FORECAST) - "Coastal Flooding, High Surf, Rip Current, Flash Flood Threat From the Carolinas to New Jersey (FORECAST)"

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