Another Short-Lived Tropical Storm Develops

The 2020 Hurricane Season has had two themes so far: 1. Tropical Storms that aren’t really tropical. 2. Storms that fall into the “Blink and you’ll miss it” category. We’ve got another one out there, and this is squarely in category #2.

Fay looks like a typical tropical system impacting the Northeast, with the bulk of the clouds and precipitation north and west of the center. Loop provided by NOAA.

A disturbance that moved from the Gulf of Mexico and into the Southeast last week moved off the South Carolina coast on Wednesday. After sitting over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, thunderstorm activity began to increase, and a new center of circulation developed Thursday afternoon. Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters investigating the system determined that it had a closed circulation (barely), and the system was designated as Tropical Storm Fay.

Forecast track for Tropical Storm Fay. Image provided by the National Hurricane Center.

Fay is the 6th named storm of the season (Whether all 6 deserved to be named is highly debatable), and is the earliest we’ve ever had an “F” storm in the Atlantic. The previous record was held by Tropical Storm Franklin during the 2005 season, which developed on July 22. Despite the record start in terms of named storms, most of the storms have been short-lived and of little impact. Meteorologists use a metric called ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) to determine the severity of a hurricane season. It takes into account how strong storms are, how long they remain strong, and how long they last. Despite having 6 named storms so far, the Atlantic has an ACE of 7.4 this season. While this is more than double the normal through July 10 of 3.1, it is exactly the same as the Western Pacific Ocean, where only 2 storms have formed so far this year.

Tropical Cyclone Activity is below normal across the Northern Hemispehere thus far, despite the “active” Atlantic. Image provided by Colorado State University.

While there are still a few minor details that need to be determined, Fay’s future is fairly clear. With a ridge of high pressure in the western Atlantic, and a trough of low pressure moving into the Great Lakes, Fay should head northward for the next 24 hours, hugging the Mid-Atlantic coastline. The official forecast from the Hurricane Center has Fay make landfall near Atlantic City later today, but a slight jog to the east will keep the center offshore longer, with landfall farther to the north. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from Fenwick Island, Delaware to Watch Hill, Rhode Island, including Long Island Sound. This includes southern Delaware Bay as well all of Long Island and southern Connecticut, and also New York City.

Most of the rainbands assoc

Fay currently has maximum sustained winds near 60 mph (Edit: Yeah, right), and little additional strengthening is expected before landfall. The storm is moving northward at 12 mph, and should pick up a little speed today. This track will keep most of the strongest winds offshore, but right along the coast winds will remain brisk. Sustained winds near 40 mph were reported along the Delaware coast earlier this morning.

Fay will help put a dent in the developing drought across the Northeast. Image provided by the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Fay’s biggest threat will be heavy rainfall that could lead to flash flooding, especially from the Mid-Atlantic states into eastern New York and western New England. Much of this region has been dry for a few months, and drought conditions are beginning to develop. Some of this rainfall will help alleviate that, but too much rainfall too quickly will just run off and not help much at all. By the time Fay pulls away early Saturday, rainfall totals of 2-5 inches are expected from the Delmarva Peninsula into western New England and eastern New York, mainly along and just west of the expected track of Fay. Some isolated totals in excess of 6 inches are possible. Amounts will taper off the farther east or west you head away from this area.

The heaviest rain is expected from the Mid-Atlantic states into the Hudson Valley. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

Once Fay dissipates, there don’t appear to be any other areas that may develop in the next week or two. It’s still early in the season, and easterly waves will begin rolling off of western Africa soon, with the climatological peak of hurricane season still more than a month away.

Weekend Outlook: July 10-13, 2020

Despite the gloom and doom you may have heard or read about elsewhere, this weekend is not going to be a washout.

The heat index is already in the mid-90s across much of the region early this afternoon. Image provided by WeatherBell.

High pressure remains in control for the rest of your Thursday afternoon, with warm to hot and humid conditions. A pop-up shower or thunderstorm is possible, but if any do form, they’ll be few and far between, and most of us will remain dry. Another warm and muggy night is expected tonight before we turn our attention to Friday.

Ensemble forecasts keep the track of the system close to the coast, and well to our west. Image provided by the University at Albany.

An area of low pressure is trying to develop off the North Carolina coastline this afternoon. Whether this system develops or not, it will head northward over the next 24-48 hours. This will send a surge of tropical moisture northward, resulting in some heavy rain and thunderstorms. Obviously where the heavy rain ends up being focused will be dependent on the eventual development and track of the system, but right now, it looks like the heaviest rain should stay well to our west. Sure, we’ll have some heavy showers and thunderstorms, mainly from late Friday afternoon into early Saturday morning, but this should not be a big deal. Some of the thunderstorms could be quite strong, with gusty winds, downpours, and an isolated tornado is possible, but aside from the slim chance for a tornado, we’ve been dealing with similar conditions for the past couple of weeks on a regular basis.

The heaviest rain should stay well to our west with this system. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

The showers should end Saturday morning, with partial sunshine developing for the afternoon. However, a warm and humid airmass will remain in place, so we could pop a few showers and thunderstorms again during the afternoon hours. Beyond that, it’ll be more of the same. We’ll have an upper-level trough of low pressure moving into the Northeast, which will help to trigger some afternoon showers and thunderstorms both Sunday and Monday afternoons, but otherwise, it’ll just be partly to mostly sunny, very warm, and humid.

We usually don’t forecast more than a week out, and this outlook is focusing mainly on this weekend, but we think it’s worth mentioning that some of the long-range guidance is showing the potential for a significant heat wave late next week into the following week. While the core of the heat will likely be focused on the Midwest and parts of the Plains states, it could still get hot around here as well. We’ll have a better look at this in our Weekly Outlook that will be issued early Monday morning.

There is a moderate risk for excessive heat in our area next weekend into the following week. Image provided by the Climate Prediction Center.

Thursday night: Clear to partly cloudy. Low 65-72.

Friday: Becoming cloudy with showers and thunderstorms developing in the afternoon. High 81-88.

Friday night: Cloudy with showers and thunderstorms likely, some of them may produce heavy rain. Low 65-72.

Saturday: Showers end early, then becoming partly sunny, but another round of showers and thunderstorms is possible in the afternoon. High 79-86.

Saturday night: Clear to partly cloudy. Low 66-73.

Sunday: Sunshine and some afternoon clouds, chance for a few late-day showers or thunderstorms. High 82-89.

Sunday night: Clear to partly cloudy. Low 64-71.

Monday: A mix of sun and clouds with a few afternoon showers and thunderstorms possible. High 82-89.

Weekly Outlook: July 6-12, 2020

We’ve got some typical summertime weather coming up for most of the week, with heat, humidity, and thunderstorms all expected.

The week starts off with high pressure building in from the north, which will bring in sunshine, lower humidity, and slightly cooler temperatures, especially along the coast. By Tuesday, however, that high will move off to the south, allowing more humid air into the region, along the the chance for a few showers and thunderstorms.

You’ll start to hear the “Triple-H” talk for Wednesday through Friday, but it may not quite qualify. It’ll be quite warm to hot, with temperatures will into the 80s and lower 90s in many locations. It’ll also be quite humid, as dewpoints will get well into the 60s, and possibly even lower 70s. Will it be hazy? Probably not. Even without the haze, it’ll still be quite comfortable for a lot of people.

Dewpoints could be in the 70s across the region by Friday afternoon. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

The end of the week and into the weekend is a bit of a question mark right now. Low pressure currently over the Southeast will move off the Carolina coastline by midweek, and then head northeastward up the coastline. The National Hurricane Center has already given it a 40% chance of development before the end of the week. Given their recent track record, we’re assuming that assuming it moves off the coast, as long as it’s spinning and has a thunderstorm nearby, it’ll be called Tropical Depression Six, or maybe they’ll go right to Tropical Storm Fay. Either way, it may very well have some impact here by Friday or Saturday. The most likely impact is for some heavy rainfall. We’ll already have a very soupy airmass in place, and adding tropical air to that will help wring out even more moisture. While this will help put a dent in the developing drought for some areas, it may also lead to flooding in others. We could also see some impacts from wind, depending on the development of the system, and rough surf along the coast. Unsettled weather may hang around through the weekend, as the system may be slow to depart.

Low pressure over the Southeast could become a tropical system and track up the coast later this week. Image provided by the National Center for Atmospheric Research,

Monday: Partly to mostly sunny. High 77-84, cooler along the coast.

Monday night: Partly cloudy. Low 57-64.

Tuesday: A mix of sun and clouds, just a slight chance for an afternoon shower or thunderstorm. High 76-83.

Tuesday night: Partly cloudy. Low 61-68.

Wednesday: Partly sunny with showers and thunderstorms likely in the afternoon. High 81-88.

Thursday: Sunshine and a few afternoon clouds, a shower or thunderstorm may pop up. High 86-93.

Friday: Early sun, then clouds move in, some showers and thunderstorms develop, possibly become a steady rain late in the day and at night. High 84-91.

Saturday: Rain ends early, then becoming partly sunny, a few showers and thunderstorms are possible in the afternoon and evening. High 80-87.

Sunday: Intervals of clouds and sun, more showers and thunderstorms are possible. High 82-89.

Weekend Outlook: July 3-6, 2020

We’ve passed the midpoint of the year, and arrived at the Fourth of July weekend, so everything will be great for a barbecue, right? For the most part.

High pressure remains in control for the rest of the day, though a few showers and thunderstorms are possible, mainly well north and west of Boston trough the evening. Friday will be a different story. We’ve got a backdoor cold front dropping down (what month is this?) and it will bring in plenty of clouds, some showers, and maybe even a thunderstorm. We’ll likely reach our highs for the day during the morning, with steady or falling temperatures in the afternoon.

Temperatures on Friday will not be typical for early July. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

High pressure drops southward on Saturday, resulting in more sunshine for the Fourth of July. However, with easterly winds, it will be on the cool side, especially if you’re closer to the coast. Temperatures will be 5-10 degrees below normal, with most places staying in the 70s, but a few coastal locations may stay in the 60s.

The high slides offshore Saturday night, allowing milder air to move back in, but another cold front will be approaching on Sunday. This front will probably produce a few showers and thunderstorms, but the day likely won’t be a washout. Another disturbance may bring in some additional showers on Monday.

The thunderstorms over the last week helped a little, but we still need more rain to help alleviate the developing drought. Image provided by the National Drought Mitigation Center

Thursday night: Partly cloudy, slight chance for an evening shower. Low 63-70.

Friday: Becoming mostly cloudy with some showers and possibly a thunderstorm. High 70-77 in the morning, temperatures drop a bit in the afternoon.

Friday night: Mostly cloudy with areas of fog. Low 57-64.

Independence Day: Becoming partly to mostly sunny. High 73-80, coolest along the coast.

Saturday night: Clear to partly cloudy, some fog may redevelop, especially across southeastern Massachusetts. Low 58-65.

Sunday: A mix of sun and clouds, chance for some afternoon showers or thunderstorms. High 80-87, cooler along the coast.

Sunday night: Partly cloudy. Low 60-67.

Monday: Intervals of clouds and sunshine with showers and thunderstorms possible. High 80-87.