The remnants of Tropical Storm Ophelia, which hit North Carolina over the weekend, are expected to bring flooding rains to parts of the Northeast. This comes as tropical storms Philippe and newly-formed Rina meander east of the Caribbean. Weather models predict a swath of 1 to 8 inches of rainfall in areas around New York City as showers and thunderstorms pass through between Thursday night and early Saturday. These downpours will tap into the moisture left by Ophelia. Meanwhile, forecasters are facing challenges in predicting the path of tropical storm Philippe, which may hover to the east as Rina moves around it.
As the calendar prepares to enter October, known for storm development near the United States, the Atlantic hurricane season remains active. It has been the most active period from August 20 to September 28 on record, with 18 named storms formed so far. Tropical storms and hurricanes have already consumed a full season’s worth of storm fuel. The Acela Corridor and southern New England, including cities like Philadelphia, New York City, and Hartford, are in for a tricky forecast with a small but intense corridor of downpours expected to establish on Friday and Friday night. There is uncertainty about the exact areas that will be affected, but some locations could see up to 6 inches of rainfall.
In addition, an inverted trough, a concentrated zone of lower pressures, is forming within the broad zone of low pressure left by Ophelia. These inverted troughs are difficult to forecast, making it challenging to pinpoint which areas will experience significant floods. Tropical storm Philippe, currently east of the Lesser Antilles, is disorganized but expected to head west before turning north. The storm may come close to the northern Leeward Islands early next week. Newly-formed tropical storm Rina, located east of Philippe, is forecast to follow a similar path but turn more to the north. There is a possibility of interaction between Philippe and Rina, known as the “Fujiwhara”, which could alter Rina’s path. However, confidence in this outcome remains low.