The Atlantic Basin hurricane season is approaching its annual peak, with Hurricane Dorian now threatening to make landfall as a major, potentially catastrophic hurricane as it approaches Florida.
But around here, it appears that the weather during the long Labor Day weekend should be borderline splendid, at least until Monday.
“We should go pretty unscathed,” said Trent Davis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly.
Actually, better than unscathed. “Phenomenal” is the way the weather service describes today in the morning discussion.
The weather service forecasts call for plentiful sun, with no chance of showers until Sunday night or Monday on the mainland, and no mention of rain at the Shore until Monday night.
Afternoon temperatures will be 80 or better. The ocean temperature was 72 near Atlantic City, and 73 off Cape May.
So what could possibly go wrong?
Unrelated to Dorian, the new moon might induce some minor tidal flooding during the weekend.
And though the hurricane will remain better than a thousand miles to the south, but it could have indirect effects at the beaches by stirring up the ocean and generating rip currents during the weekend.
The weather service says the rip-current risk could become moderate Saturday afternoon.
Hurricanes can create a plunging effect in the ocean, stirring up eroding waves that can be dangerous for swimmers.
And Dorian evidently is about to become a monster.
On its journey across the Atlantic, Dorian had been battling ultra-dry masses of airborne sand and dust particles blown off the Sahara Desert, said Jason Dunion, a scientist with the government’s Hurricane Research Division.
“There’s a pretty large patch of dry air,” agreed Paul Walker, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc., but Dorian evidently has been able to negotiate the gauntlet.
It is now forecast to become a major hurricane, with winds of 140 mph, and retain its major status when it makes landfall early next week.
It was at midafternoon Wednesday that the National Hurricane Center decreed that Dorian’s peak winds had reached 75 mph near the Virgin Islands and knighted it as the second hurricane of the season. That’s right on the climatological schedule.
On average, two hurricanes have formed in the basin, which includes the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, by Aug. 28.
The hurricane center predicted that Dorian had the potential to grow into a major hurricane, one with winds of 111 mph, before approaching the Florida coastline Monday morning.
It could be quite a frightful weekend for Floridians; however, any such rendezvous would be days away, and multiple tweaks and changes in the forecast path are likely.
If Dorian ultimately has any effects on the Philadelphia region — likely from remnant rain — they would not be evident until the middle of next week, Walker said.