On Tuesday morning, 39 million people across the Northeast and New England were under flood alerts, while 9 million people remained under wind alerts.
Torrential rain, falling at 1 to 2 inches per hour at times, was drenching the tri-state area and southern New England causing dangerous commuting conditions for those on the roads and prompting water rescues from flash flooding in parts of Monmouth County, New Jersey.
Rounds of heavy rain were forecast into Tuesday night from New York City to Boston.
And as the rain winds down, the winds were expected to wind up. Wind gusts of 30-40 mph were forecast for New York City, while Boston can expect winds to gust upward of 55-60 mph.
Coastal areas, like Cape Cod, are forecast to experience the fiercest winds of all, with wind gusts of 70 mph or stronger.
The strong winds combined with top-heavy trees that still have leaves on them will likely cause numerous power outages, especially across southern New England, where the winds were forecast to be the highest.
Additional rainfall amounts region-wide were forecast to be 2 to 5 inches, with locally higher amounts expected through Tuesday. The greatest risk for flash flooding will be in urban areas, especially where storm drains could be clogged with leaves.
For New York City, the storm total rainfall was expected to be close to 4 inches. Should that come to fruition, it will be nearly a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours for the Big Apple. The average rainfall for the month of October is 4.68 inches.
This event will also produce the most rainfall in a day since Ida dropped more than 7 inches of rain over the city last month. More than 40 people were killed in the area due to that storm.
The nor’easter does have the potential to become a bomb cyclone, similar to the record-setting storm that slammed the West Coast on Sunday. This storm off the East Coast will not be as strong as the western storm, but if it drops 24 millibars in 24 hours it will fit the definition of bomb cyclone. For perspective, the western storm dropped 46 millibars in 24 hours.
Bomb cyclones are expected to become more common due to climate change. Bomb cyclones are caused by the extreme temperature differences between warm water and cold air masses. With warming waters due to climate change, research reveals bomb cyclones will be become more common, more intense, and occur farther north in the Pacific Ocean, specifically. The relationship is not as strong for the Atlantic Ocean where the same research suggests bomb cyclones may become less frequent overall. However, when they do occur they will be more intense compared to past cyclones.
After the nor’easter affects the East Coast, it could move out over the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream and acquire tropical or subtropical characteristics.
On Tuesday morning, the National Hurricane Center designated the area of low pressure as Invest 94-L and gave it a 20 percent chance of development in two days and 50 percent in five days. Should it be named, the next and final name on this year’s official Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Name list is Wanda.
The Northeast won’t have much time to dry out, as there’s more rain in the forecast for the region on Friday.
That rain will come from a storm system that will produce severe thunderstorms in the Plains on Tuesday afternoon and evening.
About 12 million people are under risk for severe storms Tuesday across the central and southern Plains. Wind gusts in excess of 70 mph and large hail up to softball-size will be the main risks, as well as a few tornadoes. Cities at risk included Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Wichita, Kansas; and Dallas.
On Wednesday, the severe threat shifts east to include portions of the Gulf Coast and Houston, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama.
This storm system will eventually move east and bring another round of rain and wind to the Midwest and Southeast, the Great Lakes on Thursday and eventually the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast by Friday.