Nothing much changed overnight other than Potential Tropical Cyclone (PTC) 16 has continued to organize and now looks likely to receive the coveted title of tropical storm and the name Ophelia, much to the joy of insurance actuaries nationwide. Here are links to NHC’s latest Key Messages regarding Potential Tropical Cyclone Sixteen (en Español: Mensajes Claves), and my TAOS/TC impact estimate based on that forecast looks like this:
Tropical storm force winds should start reaching the coast of North Carolina later today, with landfall Saturday. Although PTC16 does look to become a warm core. tropical system, for the most part this should be more like a nor’easter than a tropical storm – in other words, broad wind field, strong tropical storm winds. It does look like there will be storm surges along the coast of North Carolina and Virginia on the order of 3-4 feet, so hazardous in places, but not the kinds of catastrophic 10-20 ft surges we’ve seen with recent Florida landfalls.
For coastal Georgia and South Carolina south of Charleston, this should be a non-event. No more rain, a bit breezy on the coast the next day or so. Tides shouldn’t be a problem, today’s afternoon’s high tide is forecast at Fort Pulaski 8.7 feet, well below the point where there are problems. I It looks really nice this weekend, if you plan on going to the beach this weekend beware of rip currents.
From Charleston north to South of the Border (North Carolina) and Myrtle Beach, conditions should worsen but still be below hazardous levels. There is potential for rain and gusty winds this afternoon in to evening. Once in to North Carolina up to Maryland is where things get dicey, the outer banks should expect tropical storm conditions no matter if the thing is technically a tropical storm or not. The only difference the name will make is to your insurance deductible, since in America’s utterly screwed up natural hazard insurance system, your deductible often depends on if the National Hurricane Center gives that 50mph wind a name or not.
On the NC/VA coast, tides will run probably on the order of 3-4 feet above normal so if you’re close to the water that’s what to expect. Flash flooding inland is also possible in NC and Virginia. Water levels in Chesapeake Bay will also likely be 3-4 feet above normal, depending on the exact track. Most of the wind impacts should stay east of I-95. Washington DC will be a swampy mess – in other words, business as usual 😛 …