So far this year the Atlantic tropical storm season has been minimal with storms remaining out to sea and posing no serious threat to the east coast. This all may change this weekend as a tropical depression likely to become Tropical Storm Joaquin heads northward from the Bahamas region. True to form, the various models that predict where the storm will go are all over the place. The Hampton Roads region has not had a serious brush with tropical weather since Hurricane Sandy three years ago which just brushed by on its way to slam New Jersey and New York. Historically, it has been the "I" named storms - Isabel, Ida and Irene - that have flooded our home. Since then, we have installed a whole house generator and three large pumps in the house. Most of Hampton Roads still has no real plan to deal with climate change/rising sea levels. Here are highlights from the Washington Post on what may be ahead:
A tropical depression that formed northeast of the Bahamas has a chance to significantly impact the East Coast later this week.
Depending on its exact track, which is highly uncertain, heavy rain could impact coastal areas anywhere from the Mid-Atlantic to southern New England and even expand inland west of the I-95 corridor. In addition to the rain, coastal areas could also face gusty winds, high surf, beach erosion and flooding — depending on how the system evolves.
Conditions could become more favorable for intensification in 24-48 hours when the depression could attain tropical storm status, earning the name Joaquin.
Model track forecasts for this system are widely divergent – ranging from landfall along the North Carolina coast to Long Island. “[C]onfidence in the track forecast is rather low,” the National Hurricane Center stresses.
The European model presents an ominous scenario in which a tropical storm makes landfall near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay Saturday night spreading gusty winds and heavy rain across the Mid-Atlantic. Such a scenario could result in storm surge flooding for the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware beaches and up the Chesapeake Bay.
The latest GFS model, however, targets the region from central New Jersey to New York City (and points north) with a direct hit Friday night. Under this scenario, the Mid-Atlantic is more or less missed with perhaps just a brief period of rain.
Not only is the track uncertain, but so too is the type of weather system that will affect the coast, whether it’s a tropical depression, a tropical storm, hurricane (as predicted by some high resolution models), or a post (non-) tropical storm.