Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:34 PM GMT on April 12, 2007
A major spring Nor'easter with the capability of causing damage equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane may develop Sunday off the U.S. East Coast. A storm system currently crossing the Pacific coast near British Columbia is expected to dive southeastward across the U.S., possibly triggering a significant severe weather outbreak over Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas on Friday. The storm will emerge into the Atlantic on Sunday near the Virginia Coast and rapidly intensify. By Monday morning, the GFS model is forecasting a 975 mb low pressure system just off the New Jersey coast, with 50-60 mph easterly winds over Long Island Sound and the waters just south of Long Island. The 00Z UKMET model forecasts an even more intense system, similar in strength to a Category 1 hurricane. Other reliable models are less gung-ho. The European model has the storm bottoming out at a pressure of 985 mb, and the NOGAPS model, 982 mb. However, of great concern is the fact that most of the models forecast a very slow moving system that will weaken only gradually, battering the coast for at least three days. This will allow a long period of time for the tropical-storm force winds over the water to pile up high storm surges in Long Island Sound and along the entire Northeast coast from New Jersey to Maine. Combine this with the arrival of one of the highest tides of the year Monday night--the Spring Tide, which occurs at the time of the new moon--and we have the potential for a very serious flooding event. If the worst case scenarios of the models come true, the Tax Day Storm of 2007 could cause extensive moderate to severe coastal flooding, costing hundreds of millions of dollars. The areas at highest risk appear to be New Jersey, New York (especially New York City), Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Heavy snow is not expected along the coast, but heavy rains may cause flooding problems. As usual, there is considerable uncertainty about the exact track and intensity of the storm, and we'll have a better idea Friday what might be in store for New England. However, I believe there is a greater than 50% chance that this Nor'easter will be strong enough to cause significant storm surge flooding along the New England coast. Damages of at least $100 million are likely.
Figure 1. Forecast from the GFS model for 2am EDT Monday April 16, showing a major Nor'easter off the coast of New England.
My lecture in the Tampa Bay area--location change
I'll be giving a public lecture on Friday, April 13, at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. The title of the talk will be, "A Preview of the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season--and the Story of a Flight into Hurricane Hugo." The room for the lecture has been changed to Miller Hall (it was Fox Hall). The details:
Friday April 13, 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
4200 54th Avenue S
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
Event information: http://www.eckerd.edu/events
Here's a map of where Eckerd College is, and a map of campus. I hope to see some of you there! I'll have time after the talk to chat. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have comments about my appearance.
Tune into the East Coast Winter Weather blog Friday for an update on the 2007 Tax Day Storm. I won't be writing a blog on the storm Friday, but one of the other wunderground meteorologists will. I'll blog on the storm Saturday and/or Sunday if it appears to be a major threat.
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