Intensifying nor’easter lashing Northeast with flooding rain and high winds

The storm may reach 'bomb cyclone' status, with states of emergency declared in New Jersey and New York.

10/26/2021 10:06:00 PM

The storm may reach “bomb cyclone” status, with states of emergency declared in New Jersey and New York.

The storm may reach 'bomb cyclone' status, with states of emergency declared in New Jersey and New York.

in northern New Jersey were over 4.5 inches.Heavy rain will deluge Connecticut and the Catskills through early afternoon before targeting areas south of the Massachusetts Turnpike in southern New England during the afternoon. Winds are also expected to markedly increase during the afternoon and evening through the Northeast.

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By Tuesday evening, the heaviest rain will lift over eastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the surrounding islands, as well as Rhode Island. Around that time, rain may expand back south over Long Island and New York City as the storm reverses course toward the coastline. Rain may also redevelop over parts of eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey for a time Tuesday night before retreating back out to sea toward dawn.

Rain could persist in eastern New England and coastal Maine well into Wednesday before the storm, making a bit of a loop, finally pulls away.A region primed for floodingThe Northeast is particularly vulnerable to additional heavy rainfall thanks to a waterlogged summer that featured top-tier rain events. The remnants of Hurricanes Ida, Henri and Elsa contributed to nearly 30 inches of rain falling in Boston since June 1, tying for the second-wettest summer on record at Logan International Airport.

AdvertisementStory continues below advertisementNew York City saw more than two feet of rain over the summer, followed by a flash flood disaster on Sept. 1, when 7 inches of rain came down in only a few hours’ time. Soil moisture is still running high, meaning parts of the region can’t handle much more water. Relatively dry weather in recent weeks, however, may lower the threat of more serious flooding

Additionally, rainfall rates from this nor’easter will be considerably lower than when Henri and Ida hit the region and more than three inches fell in an hour. Peak rainfall rates from this event should be about half that.Strong winds and coastal flooding concerns

Concern is also growing for strong winds near the coastline of New England that could locally top 60 or even 70 mph. While winds will be howling aloft, it’s unclear how much momentum will mix down to the surface. That said, there are reasons to believe this storm may overachieve.

AdvertisementStory continues below advertisement“Typically with these dynamic systems, they tend to overperform most of the statistical guidance,” wrote the National Weather Service in Boston.The strongest gusts could cause power outages and bring down some trees.

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The strong winds and tides running a half foot or more above normal could cause pockets of coastal flooding.Coastal flood advisoriesare up for much of coastal Massachusetts, Connecticut and Long Island. Relatively low astronomical tides, due to the phase of the moon, will somewhat limit the extent and magnitude of coastal flooding.

Offshore waves of 20 to 25 feet will nevertheless generate pounding surf all along the Northeast coastline, contributing to beach erosion.A ‘bomb cyclone’ that could evolve into a subtropical stormThe storm is intensifying at breakneck speed, its minimum central pressure likely

to drop 24 millibars in 24 hoursby late Tuesday. That would qualify it as a meteorological “bomb.” Simulations project its pressure to sink to around 975 millibars, which is typical of Category 2 hurricanes. The presence of anomalously warm Gulf Stream waters, close to 4 degrees milder than average for this time of year, is helping energize the system.

Additional nor’easters and perhaps bomb cyclones are likely in the coming weeks thanks to a strong “baroclinic zone,” or sharp change in air temperature over short distances, made more dramatic by the Gulf Stream. Read more: The Washington Post »

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Nor'easter spurs rescues in New Jersey as areas brace for hurricane-force wind gustsUp to 5 inches of rain and wind gusts over 70 mph will be possible for the Northeast and New England through Wednesday.