As Hermine continues her rampage through the Southeast, we're anxiously awaiting the details of what she'll unleash here in New England this weekend.
Let me allay your fears a bit.
- We're not expecting landfall in New England
- We're not expecting widespread power outages or intense flooding
- We are expecting gusty coastal winds, raging surf and some rainbands from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday.
That last point is the big takeaway from this storm. The "old salts" on the Cape and Islands will tell you that unless you're in 50+ mph territory, this type of storm is a walk in the park.
But let's be careful here. Gusts to 50 are possible on the Outer Cape and Islands as the storm makes its closest pass late Monday and Tuesday. Moreover, the waters in the Atlantic are very warm - 70s to near 80 - and capable of maintaining a powerful tropical cyclone (storm) for days on end. Weakening may be slight, and the storm may reconstitute itself and strengthen. (Biggest worry.)
Now the details:
- Showers could reach us as early as Sunday afternoon, and continue off and on through Tuesday. The storm should pull away by Wednesday and quite possibly pass off Nantucket in weakened form.
- Gusts could be up to 30mph along the Cape/Islands and Rhode Island/Connecticut coasts as early as Saturday night. During the storm's peak on Labor Day, we could see gusts to 40-50 mph.
- Rain is the hardest part of the forecast. I've seen situations where the rain pinwheels deep into Northern New England - hundreds of miles from the center of the storm. I've also seen times when the rain completely dissolves as it travels away from the storm. I'm leaning toward this outcome based solely on the fact that the environment is so incredibly dry here, and showers will sacrifice themselves as they move into the area. This is perhaps the saddest and most disappointing part of the forecast.
There are still some finer details to work out in the coming days and some things that will arise as the forecast unfolds. Bottom line: keep your guard up and keep checking back.