Shaun Tanner has been a meteorologist at Weather Underground since 2004.
By: Shaun Tanner , 5:09 PM GMT on April 20, 2012
As we have been reporting all week, a soaking rain event is expected for the East Coast of the United States this weekend. We have been using three models to watch the progression of a storm that will initially dive into the Gulf of Mexico before moving into Florida late Saturday. All three models are in agreement of the driving rain likely pretty much along the eastern seaboard through Monday.
As the storm moves through the Gulf of Mexico, it will grab a tremendous amount of moisture from the warm gulf. This usually translates to a rain event for Florida, and this storm is no different as it makes its way across the Sunshine State Saturday evening through Sunday morning. The most recent HPC precipitation forecast for the period valid Saturday morning through Sunday morning (image below) calls for much of the state to receive over an inch of rain, with the wettest areas north of Tampa Bay receiving nearly 2 inches of rain.
After moving across Florida, the storm will take a hard left turn, traversing just off the East Coast Sunday and Monday. The storm will actually be quite broad with two centers. The models have consistently kept both storm centers off the coast until the consolidate into one storm center while moving inland Monday morning over the Mid-Atlantic/New England states. What this will mean is the heaviest rain will fall along the coast from the Outer Banks of North Carolina through Maine. Because the storm will move inland around New Jersey, expect the heaviest rain in the country in the period from Sunday morning to Monday morning to be the heavily populated area from northern New Jersey through Connecticut and Massachusetts. This area can expect over betwen 2-3 inches of rain (image below).
Of course, there is a chance the eventual storm track could be slightly more inland. This would lead to substantially more rain farther inland. A track farther off the coast will lead to drier conditions.
Watching the Drought
Florida and the Southeast have lived through an extended dry streak with very little rain the past few weeks. This has produced drought conditions (see image below) in the Southeast with much of the area current under "Extreme" or "Exceptional" drought conditions. Thus, it would be obvious to say that any sort of driving, soaking rain will be beneficial to the region. Florida looks to be the biggest potential benefactor from this storm, however, with only minimal amounts expect in adjacent areas of the Southeast.
Dry conditions along the entire eastern seaboard will also benefit from this strong storm.
How to Monitor the Storm
Since this storm will be a rainfall event, the best product to monitor the storm will be the WunderMap. This will give you a good indication of where it is raining, and where it will rain in the near future. While a couple inches of rain is not torrential, it could cause some flooding, especially in flood prone areas. Thus, also keep an eye on Weather Underground's Severe Weather map for the most up-to-date severe weather warnings in your neighborhood. We will also be updating our Twitter feed with periodic updates.
Stay dry everyone, and enjoy the rain if you so desire
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Light Rain Mist