By Alex Sosnowski
The first tropical depression of the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season formed off the east coast of Florida early on Monday night.
Not only is the system likely to become the first tropical storm of the season but the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center projects the system could also become the season’s first hurricane.
The first name on the list of tropical storms and hurricanes for the 2014 Atlantic season is Arthur.
This system is forecast to strengthen into a tropical storm and drift northward along the East Coast during the next couple of days, spreading rough surf, gusty thunderstorms and locally drenching downpours.
The storm battled dry air and wind shear (disruptive winds) on Monday east of Florida and north of the Bahamas but was beginning to overcome the obstacles to development.
According to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, “As the dry air and wind shear diminish this week, there will be room for the system to organize, strengthen and drift northward.”
How nasty the weather gets on the Atlantic coast will depend on the track and strength of the system as it passes by. There is a possibility of a period of heavy rain, gusty thunderstorms and building surf.
People heading to the beaches on the Atlantic coast from Florida to southern New England can expect a couple of days on average of rough weather and surf.
“This is a situation where the surf and strong rip current risk builds over a few days as the system 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 on Tuesday, Wednesday and into Thursday.
Farther north along North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the worst conditions will be on Thursday into Friday. The worst conditions are likely to be on Thursday night into Friday around Delmarva and New Jersey and during the day Friday into Friday night over Long Island and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
From parts of eastern North Carolina to southeastern Virginia, Delmarva, New Jersey, Long Island and on Cape Cod, there is the potential for coastal flooding at times of high tide within 12 hours of the center of the system passing by, even if the center was to stay offshore. As the system is passing this part of the coastline, it could be a hurricane.
“The system, which is forecast to attain tropical storm status and could become a hurricane, will hug the coast and could even make landfall in North Carolina before turning out to the Northeast late in the week,” Kottlowski said.
To make the matter more complex, a front drifting in from the Midwest may stall for a while along the Atlantic Seaboard. The front will produce severe weather and the risk of tornadoes in part of the Midwest into Tuesday.
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.”
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Dry air is likely to be drawn in soon after the system passes by. Odds favor sunshine late this week over much of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
“If the tropical system 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 rain on Friday night for Boston and in parts of southeastern New England.
There is a slight chance the system may stall along the Carolina coast late in the week, which would not only delay clearing, but could keep the threat of showers and thunderstorms beyond the daylight hours on Friday.
Interests along the Atlantic coast will need to monitor the track and intensity of the budding tropical system this week. AccuWeather.com will continue to provide updates.
Meanwhile, in the Eastern Pacific, Douglas and 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 Hurricane