Tropical-storm warnings are up for the Jersey Shore, and a flash-flood watch has been posted for the entire region as the newly born Fay is forecast to parallel the Mid-Atlantic Coast and wring out heavy rains on Friday.
Widespread rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches are possible with even higher amounts in some areas, the National Weather Service said. Fay could spawn isolated, although probably weak, tornadoes, said Patrick O’Hara, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Mount Holly office.
Gusts to 40 mph or better are possible right along the Shore, he said.
Fay late Thursday afternoon became the sixth named storm of an Atlantic Basin hurricane season that is two months ahead of its time. It’s a record: In the satellite-tracking era, which began in 1966, the previous record for an “F” storm was July 22, in 2005, said hurricane center spokesperson Dennis Feltgen. That was the year of Katrina.
But as Philip Klotzbach, a hurricane specialist with Colorado State University, points out, none this year have grown into hurricanes, and this one probably won’t either after it reaches the naming threshold — peak winds of 39 mph. Saharan dust has suppressed storm development in the hurricane-spawning grounds of the tropical Atlantic.
Fay’s primary threat to our area would be pouring rains as the atmosphere is forecast to be well-juiced around here as the storm turns to the north and forced to track near the coast by high pressure over the Atlantic.
The government’s Weather Prediction Center has the region under a marginal risk for “excessive rains.”
The weather service says dangerous rip currents are likely at the beaches.
Not surprisingly, it advises that small changes in the storm’s track could make huge differences.
The storm is likely to wring out heavy rains in the Mid-Atlantic even if it never gets a name.
On average, the sixth named storm of the season, which begins on June 1, does not occur until Sept. 8, but Klotzbach said that is no cause for panic.