Flooding possibility for New England

March 15, 2013

Accuweather is saying flooding is a possibility.

Severe Weather, Flooding, Coastal Concerns Next Week

 State College, Pa. — 15 March 2013AccuWeather.com reports a complex storm heading eastward next week will bring the potential for severe thunderstorms, flooding from heavy rain and coastal erosion.

The same storm forecast to bring heavy snow and strong wind from parts of the Midwest to the East into next week will have other potential disruptive and damaging characteristics.

The concerns go beyond slow travel on the highways and delays at airports from poor visibility and wind.

Severe Weather

On the list of concerns is the potential for severe thunderstorms over part of the Ohio and Tennessee valleys, perhaps extending toward the Gulf Coast and the southern Atlantic Seaboard Monday into Tuesday.

There is a chance that thus far relatively quiet severe weather springs to life early next week.

The storms could become strong enough to bring damaging wind gusts, hail and perhaps a few tornadoes, beginning near the Mississippi River in Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi on Monday. From here, the storms may continue to fire farther east reaching the southern Appalachians and onto part of the Coastal Plain by Tuesday. More information will become available this weekend on AccuWeather.com.

Flooding Rainfall, Melting Snow

Frequent storms during the second half of the winter, some bringing snow, rain or a combination thereof, have loaded the potential for quick runoff in some Central, Eastern and Southern states.

The storm coming along early next week could exploit this potential.

The area at greatest risk for flooding from heavy rainfall is central and southeastern New England, due to the magnitude of the storms to date. In many cases, there is still snow on the ground and/or the ground is saturated and streams and rivers are already running high.

The rain could fall fast and heavy, causing some small streams to flood rapidly with debris flows in the hilly areas. Larger rivers could rise to near bank full, raising concerns for unprotected, low-lying areas.

The potential for minor flooding problems due to rain extends farther southwest into the mid-Atlantic and parts of the Midwest and the South.

Coastal Erosion

While strong winds are a concern on the back side of the storm by the middle of the week, they will be blowing offshore, pushing water away from the coast.

However, there is the potential for a period of strong onshore wind that can raise sea and surf along the New England coast Monday night into Tuesday.

The wind direction will be different than the storm that hit earlier in March. Winds during that storm were primarily from the northeast. The onshore winds will be from the east and southeast this time and could reach 60 mph in some coastal locations.

There is potential for erosion not only along the recently slammed east coast of Massachusetts, but also part of the South Coast of New England in general, portions of Long Island and areas farther north in Maine.

AccuWeather meteorologists believe the period of onshore flow and above-normal tides will be much more brief from New Jersey to Delmarva Peninsula with this storm and expect few problems.

The storm would have to strengthen very quickly to push a great deal of water toward the western end of Long Island Sound, around New York City and Raritan Bay. This appears to be a long shot at this point.

From eastern Long Island and the South Coast of New England through Maine, water levels may peak between 2 and 3 feet above published values.

The greatest potential for coastal flooding would be around the time of scheduled high tide. The onshore wind could occur during one high tide cycle along the South Coast of New England but may span two high tide cycles farther north.

As we have stated earlier and like the last major storm, the period of above-normal water levels will not be made worse by astronomical forces. The moon will be near the first quarter phase during the first part of next week.

By Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com