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Storm lurking over Atlantic to pummel coastal Northeast with soaking rain, flooding and stiff winds

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 5 days ago Alex Sosnowski

An intense and long-duration storm will lash the mid-Atlantic and southern New England coasts with drenching rain, gusty winds, rough seas and flooding problems -- and AccuWeather meteorologists say it could be the heaviest rain event in a few years in parts of the region.

Multiple storms will consolidate into one storm, which will strengthen and stall just offshore of the Atlantic coast through late in the week.

a man riding a wave on a surfboard in the water © Provided by Accuweather, Inc
This image, taken on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, shows multiple swirls in the cloud cover along the United States Atlantic coast. The swirls are indicative of storms, which are forecast to come together to form a stronger system that stalls just offshore during the latter days of this week. (NOAA/GOES-East)

The stalled storm will focus Atlantic moisture along the mid-Atlantic and southern New England coasts, which will cause rain to drench some communities with several inches of rain.

"In southeastern New England, more general flash flooding can occur with 3-5 inches of rain forecast and an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 8 inches," Tiffany Fortier, AccuWeather meteorologist, said.

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On one hand, the rain may quench the dry to drought status in the coastal areas. On the other hand, the rain can interfere with outdoor plans, such as ballgames and sports practice, and can cause periodic urban flooding.

This may be the most substantial, multiple-day rain event in a few years for part of southeastern New England.

A long-duration wind event is in store on the New England and mid-Atlantic coasts.

The difference in barometric pressure between the storm and high pressure over eastern Canada will funnel strong winds into coastal areas, blustery conditions across interior central New England and a stiff breeze along and just northwest of Interstate 95 in the mid-Atlantic.

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"Gusts to 60 mph can occur on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and the islands while gusts between 40 and 50 mph are likely on Long Island, New York, and coastal New Jersey," Dan Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist, said.

Gusts between 30 and 40 mph are anticipated as far west as the Interstate 95 corridor from Delaware to Maine.

The winds can break small tree limbs and knock some of the changing leaves off the trees in New England, with sporadic power outages possible in southeastern New England.

The persistent winds will also aggravate seas along the coast and offshore.

Expect the long-duration storm to cause powerful surf and beach erosion from northeastern North Carolina to southern Maine. Because rip currents are forecast to be frequent and strong, people should stay out of the surf.

a man flying a kite on the beach © Provided by Accuweather, Inc
A man watches the surf as heavy seas come ashore during a nor'easter in Wintrhrop, Mass., Saturday, March 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Offshore seas may build to 30 feet or higher due to the strong, stalled storm. Crews and passengers of large vessels should be prepared for stormy conditions or avoid traveling through waters off the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts until the storm moves away and seas subside later this weekend.

With winds from the northeast along the New England and upper mid-Atlantic coasts, flooding at times of high tide is expected.

Since the storm will hover over sufficiently warm water, it may transition to a tropical or subtropical system later this week. Since astronomical tides will build into this weekend due to the approach of the full moon, coastal flooding can be significant, especially along the north- and east-facing shoreline at times of high tide into Saturday.

There are some similarities to the Halloween Storm, otherwise known as the 'Perfect Storm' from 1991, including the way the storm will take shape and its slow-moving nature. However, this week's system will be much smaller and less intense than the 1991 storm.

Tides in many cases are likely to be 2-3 feet above normal but could be locally higher. Areas prone to taking on water from Delaware to New Hampshire during moderate coastal flooding events, such as from nor'easters, are likely to flood due to this storm.

Following the storm making a loop offshore into Friday, the system is forecast to spin away during this weekend. Essentially, the big snowstorm over the central United States will help to kick the storm out to sea.

a close up of a map © Provided by Accuweather, Inc

Rain will end from west to east later Friday to Saturday across the mid-Atlantic and then southeastern New England. However, breezy conditions with rough surf may linger along the coast.

Rain and gusty winds will develop then race away across the Maritime Provinces, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, this weekend.

Meanwhile, areas from the central Appalachians to the eastern Great Lakes and northern New England can expect an extended spell of dry weather due to the developing atmospheric traffic jam associated with the slow-moving storm.

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