Carolina Coastal Storm Set To Ruin Holiday Weekend Plans

Oak Hill, WV (WOAY-TV): While the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season is now a week and a day away, Mother Nature has other plans.

Although the low pressure moving east of the Florida Panhandle towards the Gulf Stream is innocent right now, it will likely become the season’s second subtropical storm. Recall the first storm was named from reanalysis by the Hurricane Center and occurred several hundred miles off the Northeast coast in January.

Tropical and subtropical systems usually take the path of least resistance, which in this case bring it north and west between a Tennessee Valley low pressure and high pressure over the Canadian Maritimes. The storm will coincide with the Memorial Day weekend and bring rain to the Carolina and Mid-Atlantic beaches.

Tropical systems that develop prior to June 1 don’t do much wind damage, but instead bring localized heavy rain and flooding. This storm will be no exception; heavy rain will be the only threat. Winds won’t be strong enough to do any harm to the Carolina to Mid-Atlantic beaches, but beach-goers will see an increase in choppy waves.

Early season tropical storms in April and May have become more common lately. Tropical Storm Ana was a late April system in 2003 that developed several hundred miles off the East Coast and dissipated as it pushed deeper into the Atlantic.

Subtropical Andrea was an early May storm in 2007 that flirted with Florida’s Atlantic coast. The next year later, Tropical Storm Arthur developed on May 31 near Belize and dissipated as it tracked into Central America. The next year, 2009, the first tropical depression of the season developed on May 28 off the East Coast and dissipated as it pushed deeper into the Atlantic.

2012’s Tropical Storm Alberto developed off the Carolina coast. Instead of coming onshore like the late week system will do, Alberto stayed east of the Carolina coast before dissipating.

The name Ana returned on the list 6 years later and became another pre-June 1 tropical system in 2015. This storm is the closest analog to the upcoming late week system near the Carolina coast. Note Ana made landfall in northern South Carolina and brushed the I-95 corridor before scooting off the Mid-Atlantic coast and dissipating.

Ana produced 0.30” of rain in Beckley and less rainfall in Bluefield.

Other early season storms include Arlene in late April 2017, Alberto in late May 2018, Andrea in 2019, Arthur again in 2020, Ana again in 2021.

Note the common hotspot for development with many of these early season storms….the warm western Atlantic between the Bahamas and Carolina coast. The late week system will be no exception.

Senior Hurricane Specialist with the National Hurricane Center Robbie Berg says statistics show the season is getting off to an earlier start, but that doesn’t always signify an active six months ahead.

We keep referencing tropical and subtropical systems. Let’s clear the air on what these systems are… a subtropical storm is basically a low pressure that acts similar to a tropical storm, but garners energy from a nearby front or low pressure that develops due to temperature differences. Tropical storms are their own entity and totally feed off warm ocean water to get stronger. They always develop far removed from cold fronts.

Locally, a few showers could develop east of Route 219 Saturday evening. A handful of showers will green everyone from Route 19 to I-64 on Sunday, but the dry breaks of 30 to 60 minutes are expected in between showers. Steady rain appears likely east of Route 219. Off and on showers are likely on Monday…this from a separate low pressure that will stall out over the Tennessee Valley.

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