December 16, 2023

Weekend deja vu as second powerful East Coast storm hits Sunday and Monday

Didn't we go through this last weekend?

A(nother) powerful storm developing near Florida will roll up the length of the East Coast beginning Saturday night and lasting into Monday, producing a large swath of heavy rains and very strong winds.

The worst conditions will occur at the coast where communities—especially the N.C. Outer Banks—may experience significant storm surge flooding.

Our storm is developing today in the eastern Gulf of Mexico as a steep trough digs over the eastern U.S. This low will strengthen in a hurry as it taps into strong upper-level winds and parallels the southeastern coast.

We'll see the storm move from Florida through Georgia and into the Carolinas on Sunday, bringing widespread heavy rains and very strong winds. Gusts of 50+ mph are likely at the coast, with gusts of 30-40+ mph reaching inland all the way to the mountains.

The low-pressure system will quickly track into the Northeast by Sunday night, heading into Atlantic Canada by Monday.

A deep plume of tropical moisture sourced from the Caribbean will draw into the system as it revs up, allowing for torrential downpours along its path. Widespread rainfall totals of 2-3 inches are likely from Florida to Maine, with locally higher totals possible. This could easily lead to flash flooding in some areas.

In addition to the potential for bad coastal flooding, the combination of strong, persistent winds and heavy rainfall will lead to a risk for power outages along the storm's track. There's also a high chance that we'll deal with flying Santas over the next couple of days. Secure or bring inside all of your outdoor Christmas decorations. Inflatables are notorious for getting loose in high winds. Any decorations or furniture that tumbles down the road could cause injuries, damage, or even car crashes.

This is an...unusual...storm in that we're not really expecting any snow—at least not initially. Temperatures are too warm for anyone on the East Coast to see frozen precipitation as the storm swings through the region. It is the middle of December. That isn't normal. (But nothing really is anymore.)

Cold air wrapping in behind the system will allow for lake-effect snow to develop across the Great Lakes, so a dose of snow in the usual areas is likely to begin the week. This cold air will reach all the way to the coast in northwest flow behind the storm, making for a pretty chilly Tuesday before temperatures turn mild again as the week wears on.

[Top image via Tropical Tidbits, showing modeled surface winds on Sunday evening.]

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I graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2014 with a degree in political science and a minor in meteorology. I contribute to The Weather Network as a digital writer, and I've written for Forbes, the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, Popular Science, Mental Floss, and Gawker's The Vane. My latest book, The Skies Above, is now available. My first book, The Extreme Weather Survival Manual, arrived in October 2015.