The Northeast U.S. hasn’t had much of a fall season. Weekends have featured record-breaking high temperatures in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit, and major storms have been almost entirely absent from D.C. to Maine. In fact, even the most ardent leaf peepers have been disappointed by the foliage, since the trees seem to be confused as to what season it is.
The string of mild, quiet weather weeks will change this weekend in a big way, as a deep dip, or trough, in the jet stream will help trigger the development of a rapidly intensifying storm along the East Coast.
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This storm will slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast with heavy rains, damaging winds, and battering waves. This will be one of the first big coastal storms of the season for many, but it will be moving quickly, sparing the region from prolonged inland and coastal flooding concerns.
Though they differ on the details, computer model projections are virtually unanimous that upper level winds and other factors will cause the storm to intensify at a rapid rate, fast enough for the low pressure area to qualify as a weather “bomb.” This refers to the phenomena of bombogenesis, which involves a low pressure area that deepens (meaning the air pressure drops) by at least 24 millibars in 24 hours. In general, the lower the air pressure, the stronger the storm.
One of the most notable features about this storm will be the tropical downpours it will bring to the Northeast, particularly from New Jersey to Maine. The low pressure area will be connected to a plume of tropical moisture dipping far to the south and southwest, all the way to Cuba, near where a tropical weather disturbance may be located this weekend.
This means that heavy rainfall will likely be associated with this storm system, and the National Weather Service is predicting up to 5-plus inches of rainfall in parts of New York state.
As the storm intensifies, it will also produce strong winds, on the order of 40 to 60 miles per hour, and potentially even higher in some areas, particularly on Sunday into Monday. Such winds will be capable of knocking down trees, power lines, and causing flight delays.
Unfortunately, those winds may bring down any remaining disappointing fall foliage.