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Hermine storm surge to impact East Coast: Areas to watch


Saturday, September 3, 2016, 9:03 - As tropical storm conditions unfolded Friday, Hermine clearly proved that storm surge is one of the greatest threats to life and property when a tropical storm or hurricane travels near or over a given coastal area.

As the dangerous system begins to push up the Atlantic Seaboard this weekend, the National Weather Service (NWS) has expanded warnings as far northeast as New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, warning of tropical storm conditions including damaging winds, torrential rains, and storm surge.


TRACKING HERMINE: We will begin live streaming our coverage of Hermine beginning Sunday, Sept. 4 at 6 a.m. EDT.


The NWS highlights an elevated threat to life and property through the area under watch, with storm force gusting up to 55 mph expected in parts of New York.

With significant potential impacts expected, the agency pinpoints inundation with storm surge flooding to be a serious threat -- swelling of more than 3 ft. above the ground can be expected.


KEEP ON TOP OF ACTIVE WEATHER: Visit the Alerts section of the website


The many low lying areas of the Florida peninsula are normally prone to flooding when a major storm surge episode takes place, we've seen it with Hermine and it will happen again during the next few days as the storm travels just off the southeast coast. 


STORM TOOL KIT: Be prepared for severe weather with The Weather Network's online essentials: ALERTS | LIVERADAR | UPLOAD PHOTOS/VIDEOS | LATEST NEWS | FOLLOW ON TWITTER | HIGHWAY FORECAST | AIRPORT FORECAST


How intense the surge becomes depends on several factors, like storm intensity, landfall location, forward speed of the storm, angle of approach of the storm, shape of the coastline and the width and slope of the ocean bottom together with the presence of other local geographical features such as rivers, bays or barrier islands



Today, computer models can simulate quite accurately storm surge by taking into account storm prediction data such as atmospheric pressure, sustained winds, track, storm dimension and forward speed. This, together with detailed information of the coast configuration including bridges, roads and levees can help assess the impact the surge will have on a given area depending on timing-related tide conditions.

Uncertain Impact of Hermine's Storm Surge

Despite all the detail put into the model, storm track and intensity forecasts are constantly changing, especially with a storm like Hermine. 

The exact track with respect to the nearby coast, how strong it becomes, and the timing of its movement, will have a lot to do with the impact of the surge it produces.

While the storm is over land, storm surge is generally smaller compared to being located offshore. This is due to increase onshore winds. 


STORM TOOL KIT: Be prepared for severe weather with The Weather Network's online essentials: ALERTS | LIVE RADAR | UPLOAD PHOTOS/VIDEOS | LATEST NEWS | FOLLOW ON TWITTER | HIGHWAY FORECAST | AIRPORT FORECAST


NOAAs ETSS Storm Surge Predictions for FRIDAY all US coastal areas.

Current predictions by NOAAs ETSS model for coastal areas of Georgia and the Carolinas show that the surge should not exceed 2 to 4 feet, however a change in track towards the ocean or a stronger than expected storm could bump-up those numbers. 

Perhaps the good news for this sector of the southeast US coast is that the storm will be on the move and the increase in storm surge will not extend over a long period of time.

Model predictions become more uncertain when handling Hermine beyond Saturday as the storm moves past Cape Hatteras, however there is a good chance it could intensify as it returns to warm Atlantic Ocean waters and it could even stall for 3 or 4 days producing large amounts of precipitation over coastal areas of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and even further north.


KEEP ON TOP OF ACTIVE WEATHER: Visit the Alerts section of the website


NOAAs ETSS Storm Surge Predictions for MONDAY (product made Friday, check for any updates, here).

With the storm rotating over ocean waters a few hundreds of miles away from the coast, predicted storm surge values could now be larger reaching 3 to 6 feet and lasting 3 to 4 days.

Such a scenario would most likely cause flooding in low lying coastal areas of Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and New York mainly due to the continuous and intense rains but especially as a result of the prolonged storm surge episode.

Watch below: Top 5 flood safety tips

Heavy Rainfall

Post-tropical cyclone Hermine is expected to move east-northeast with a decrease in forward speed Sunday. On the forecast track, the center of Hermine will meander slowly offshore of the mid-Atlantic coast for the next couple of days.

Portions of the Mid-Atlantic will get ample rain from the wrap around bands associated with the low pressure center. Four to 7 inches are possible over far southeastern Virginia and the Atlantic coastal portion of Maryland through Monday morning, with 1 to 4 inches over southern Delaware, southern and eastern New Jersey and Long Island through Monday morning.

Additional Source: NOAA | NWS

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