Heavy Rain, Winds, and Coastal Flooding Expected As Maryland Braces For Tropical Storm
Patch Manager Mark Hand wrote this story. Reporter Van Fisher adapted it for Northern/ Central Maryland.
MARYLAND - The National Hurricane Center has expanded a tropical storm warning to six Maryland counties, along with the Chesapeake Bay, which means tropical storm force winds of greater than 39 mph will begin in North Carolina on Friday and then spread northward into Maryland and Virginia on Saturday.
The tropical storm warning was issued for Worcester, Somerset, Wicomico, Dorchester, Calvert, and St. Mary's counties from Friday morning until further notice.
Wind gusts of 50 mph are possible in central Maryland, where the National Weather Service warned of possible street flooding in the business district near the harbor. And in Ocean City, 55 mph winds are expected late Friday through Saturday, with up to 6 inches of rain, causing flooding in the downtown area.
Ocean City crews have begun closing the seawall and removing items from the beach. Residents are asked to secure outdoor furniture, grills and water vessels, and prepare for power outages before the storm, which could become Tropical Storm Ophelia, reaches the area.
Coastal flooding is forecast in some areas early Saturday morning. But it is the Saturday afternoon high tide that is of most concern for most of those areas, including Maryland coastal areas, according to The Weather Channel.
"We expect this storm's peak impacts to be Friday and Saturday, with some lingering impacts possible Sunday," The Weather Channel said.
The NWS has issued a coastal flood watch from Friday evening through Saturday evening. The storm, now known as Tropical Cyclone Sixteen, could produce one to two feet of inundation above ground level in low-lying areas near shorelines and tidal waterways.
"Numerous roads may be closed. Low-lying property, including homes, businesses, and some critical infrastructure may be inundated. Some shoreline erosion may occur," the NWS said.
A wind advisory is also in effect for parts of Maryland, including Anne Arundel County, from 10 a.m. on Saturday to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Northeast winds of 25 to 30 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph are expected.
"Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result," the NWS said.
These watches and warnings have been posted for the storm along the Atlantic coast from the Carolinas to Delaware:
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:
- Duck North Carolina to Chincoteague Virginia
- Chesapeake Bay south of Windmill Point
- Neuse and Pamlico Rivers
- Portions of Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
- Cape Fear North Carolina to Fenwick Island Delaware
- Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds
- Tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island
- Chesapeake Bay south of North Beach
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for:
- Surf City to Duck North Carolina
- Chesapeake Bay north of Windmill Point to Smith Point
- Tidal Potomac south of Colonial Beach
- Remainder of Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds
AccuWeather meteorologists believe the formation of a tropical or subtropical storm, which would warrant a name, could occur just prior to landfall in eastern North Carolina. "This system is likely to make landfall in eastern North Carolina on Saturday morning," AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.
"There is even a chance the storm could reach hurricane intensity, should it remain over warm waters along the immediate coast long enough on Saturday," AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said.
If the storm tracks right along the coast or just inland, a significant amount of water may be pushed into the Chesapeake and Delaware bays, "which could result in moderate coastal flooding at times of high tide, as opposed to minor coastal flooding," AccuWeather said.
A storm surge of 1 to 3 feet will occur from southeastern New York to South Carolina. However, a storm surge of 3 to 6 feet is likely from North Carolina to southeastern Virginia, with locally higher water levels.
Baltimore's WJZ First Alert weather team said it has declared an "alert day" for Saturday in anticipation of the severe weather from the potential tropical storm.
Rain will spread into southern Maryland late Friday night and into the Baltimore area by Saturday morning. "The rain may become locally heavy across southern Maryland," WJZ News said. "Gusty east winds will continue into Saturday with the potential for coastal flooding, especially during high tide cycles.
Water levels of 1 to 2 feet above normal are possible, and rainfall totals of up to 3 inches will be possible through Saturday night and early Sunday, with the heaviest totals focused across southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, according to WJZ.
The effects of the storm will start to diminish by Sunday, but there will still be rain across the region. Highs will reach the 70s for most areas of the Eastern Shore and Baltimore area, and winds will not be as gusty, WJZ said.
During the storm, a few flooding downpours may be accompanied by winds gusty enough Saturday and Saturday night to cause some damage and power outages, according to the Capital Weather Gang.
Here is a look at the National Weather Service forecast through early next week in central Maryland:
Friday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 72. East wind 7 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.
Friday night: Rain, mainly after 11pm. Low around 57. Northeast wind 11 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.
Saturday: Rain. High near 62. Breezy, with a northeast wind 22 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph.
Saturday night: Rain before 2 a.m., then showers after 2 a.m. Low around 58. Breezy, with a north wind 17 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 38 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.
Sunday: Showers, mainly before 8 a.m. High near 65. Northwest wind 10 to 13 mph.
Sunday night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 57.
Monday: A chance of showers after 2 p.m. Partly sunny, with a high near 70.
Monday night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 57.
Tuesday: A chance of showers after 2 p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 68.
Tuesday night: A chance of showers before 2 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 56.
Wednesday: A chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 67.