Tropical Storm Arthur formed east of Florida on Tuesday morning with further strengthening likely as the system turns northward this week while hugging the East Coast.
The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center projects the system could also become the season’s first hurricane during the week of Independence Day as millions of people head to the beach for vacation.
Arthur is forecast to strengthen and drift northward into Thursday, then curve northeastward along the East Coast on Friday into the weekend.
According to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, “As the dry air and wind shear diminish this week, there will be room for Arthur to strengthen.”
How nasty the weather gets on the Atlantic coast will depend on its proximity to the coast and strength of Arthur as it passes by. There is a possibility of a period of heavy rain, gusty thunderstorms and coastal flooding. Building surf and increasing rip currents are likely.
People heading to the beaches on the Atlantic coast from Florida to southern New England can expect a couple of days of rough surf, on average but not a spoiler to the entire week.
“This is a situation where the surf and strong rip current risk builds as Arthur strengthens and begins to track northward,” Kottlowski said.
For people heading to Daytona Beach and Jacksonville Beach, Florida, northward to South Carolina’s Grand Strand, expect building surf with a couple of rounds of drenching, gusty thunderstorms on Wednesday into Thursday.
“In the United States, Arthur will have the greatest impact from eastern North Carolina to Long island and Cape Cod, Massachusetts,” Kottlowski said.
“The strongest winds are likely to stay to the east and northeast of the center.”
Along North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the worst weather and surf conditions will be on Thursday into Friday. Impacts in eastern North Carolina will range from locally drenching thunderstorms to the effects of a Category 1 hurricane.
The worst conditions from Arthur are likely to be on Thursday night into Friday around the Delmarva Peninsula and New Jersey, then on Friday into early Saturday over Long Island and Cape Cod. Episodes of drenching rain, thunderstorms and a period of stiff winds are likely.
From parts of eastern North Carolina to southeastern Virginia, the Delmarva Peninsula, New Jersey, Long Island and Cape Cod, there is the potential for coastal flooding at times of high tide within 12 hours of the center of Arthur passing by, even if the center was to stay offshore. As Arthur is passing this part of the coastline, it could be a hurricane.
People in low-lying areas of the coast from North Carolina to Massachusetts will want to check the tide schedule prior to the storm’s arrival. Within an hour of so of high tide on the day Arthur is forecast to pass by is when coastal flooding is most likely. This may include some access roads and streets right along the beach.
To make the matter more complex, a front drifting in from the Midwest may stall for a while along the Atlantic Seaboard.
According to AccuWeather Long-Range Expert Paul Pastelok, “As tropical moisture interacts with the front, very heavy downpours may erupt along the I-95 corridor late in the week.”
While the setup is likely to produce a zone of heavy rain and flash flooding, it is not likely to produce tornadoes along the I-95 corridor.
Dry air is likely to be drawn in soon after Arthur passes by. Odds favor sunshine late this week over much of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
“If Arthur takes a northeastward turn late in the week, as we suspect, rain and thunderstorms will begin to shift eastward and out to sea Friday afternoon and evening so that the weather improves for fireworks Friday night from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia and New York City,” Pastelok said.
There is a threat of windswept rain on Friday night for Boston and in parts of southeastern New England.
Arthur will be passing by Nova Scotia and Newfoundland this weekend with rough seas, gusty winds and locally heavy rain.
Interests along the Atlantic coast and fishing and shipping interests offshore will need to monitor the track and intensity of Arthur this week. AccuWeather.com will continue to provide updates.
Meanwhile, in the Eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Douglas and the remnants of Elida were spinning to the southeast of Mexico.
Content above, contributed by Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist.
More at AccuWeather: Arthur May Bear Down on North Carolina as a Hurricane