Heavy rains from tropical system expected to dampen Delaware

DOVER — While there is a chance for a tropical weather event to arrive in Delaware from Thursday until Friday, National Weather Service lead meteorologist Dean Iovino is not expecting any serious damage or catastrophic flooding from the system.

The weather disturbance approached the coast of South Carolina on Wednesday and was given a 60% chance of tropical development by the National Hurricane Center over the coming days.

The NWS has issued a hazardous-weather warning, mainly for Thursday and Friday, and is predicting a good chance of rain and storms from Thursday night through Saturday night.

“We are keeping an eye on the system,” said Mr. Iovino, a meteorologist out of the NWS office in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. “It’s going to slide off the Carolina coast and then move up the East Coast. Right now, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a particularly strong system, but it may bring some heavy rain to parts of Delaware. We’re kind of keeping an eye on that potential.

“I think that’s probably the biggest thing is to keep in mind, (that) there could be some locally heavy rain from the system in Delaware, but other than that, it doesn’t look like there will be too great of an impact. The winds don’t look like they’ll be particularly strong, and while there looks like there could be some tidal flooding, it looks like it will be minor at best. I think the thing we have to keep an eye on is the potential for some locally heavy rain.”

Mr. Iovino said the heavy rainfall looks like it will be an issue mainly Thursday into Friday, “depending on how things play out.” Parts of Delaware, including Dover, could receive up to 3 inches of rainfall during the event.

The Delaware Emergency Management Agency wrote on its Facebook page Wednesday, “Confidence is growing that this tropical disturbance will have an impact in the Mid-Atlantic region. Threats will likely include heavy rains and flooding. Now is the time to prepare!”

DEMA recommended that Delaware residents should have a plan for where they will go if they need to evacuate or if they lose power, warning that traditional emergency shelters and cooling stations will be different now due to COVID-19, so residents should make a plan if they have to leave their homes.

DEMA also suggested making an emergency kit with essential supplies to sustain each family member for up to a week, to monitor local weather and stay informed.

The approaching weather system will likely pass northeast by Delaware and then push up to New England. Computer models are predicting the system will either hug the Carolina coast or move just offshore, potentially emerging over the warm Gulf Stream waters that are currently near 80 degrees, where conditions are more conducive for tropical development during the end of the week.

If the developing tropical weather system does become a named system, it would be the sixth of 2020 and it would be called Fay.

The NHC in Miami said the “elongated” low-pressure system was producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms over the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday.

The NHC also said, as of 8 a.m. Wednesday, the system has a 60% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours, but could be far enough offshore to not have a serious impact on Delaware.

Researchers from Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project are calling for 20 named storms this season, including the five tropical storms that have already formed.

“One reason for (a) continued active Atlantic hurricane season forecast from CSU is warmer than normal ocean temperatures in tropical and most of subtropical Atlantic,” CSU hurricane research scientist Phil Klotzbach wrote on Twitter. “Warmer water provides more fuel for storms and (is) also associated with (a) more unstable atmosphere and lower pressure.”
Mr. Iovino doesn’t anticipate that Delaware will be impacted by a tropical storm, but left open the possibility.

“(A tropical storm) is a possible scenario, but it looks like the main winds with the system will be out over the ocean and won’t have too much of an impact on land,” he said. “Depending on the track, the heavy rain potential could affect the entire state, so that’s something to keep an eye on.
“It looks like it’s going to be an issue (for Delaware residents) mainly Thursday and Friday, depending on how things play out.”