Tropical Storm Fay has formed off the North Carolina coast this evening, and will impact our area tomorrow and Saturday. Below I will attempt to quickly summarize Fay’s impacts followed by a brief discussion of the track of the system and potential factors that could change the forecast. (Knowing myself, I’ll ramble on too long. Feel free to criticize in the comments!)
Hazards: The main hazard is minor flooding, with flash flooding also possible, due to heavy rainfall. Wind is much less of a concern with Fay for northeast Massachusetts. Gusty winds can’t be ruled out, but this impact is very minor. There is a very slight chance of an isolated strong to severe thunderstorm overnight Friday night and Saturday morning, but this is mainly a potential problem to our south and west – and even there this potential problem will likely be very limited in scope or even non-existent.
Timing: Showers and thunderstorms begin in the afternoon tomorrow. The heaviest rain is likely to fall overnight Friday night as the center of Fay passes through New England. Rain gradually ends late Saturday morning with a few residual showers possible in the afternoon and evening.
Impacts: The main impact locally will be from potential flooding in urban and poor-drainage areas. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect from noon tomorrow to noon Saturday. In our neck of the woods, I don’t expect wind damage to be a problem. As you travel further south and west, gusty to strong winds will pose more of a threat, but around here, the most notable impact is that it may get a little breezy – but I’m not expecting anything out of the ordinary. Again, a strong storm can’t be completely ruled out, but this is very unlikely in our area. If the severe thunderstorm threat increases even a little for Friday night and Saturday I’ll make note of it in a post tomorrow.
Specifics: 1 to 2 inches of rain is likely for our area, and for much of eastern and central New England. A few spots may see over 2 inches of rain, mainly in western New England. Winds will be 5-15 mph locally; generally speaking, expect peak gusts in the 15-30 mph range; I’m leaning toward the lower numbers on the wind forecast. A rogue stronger wind gust isn’t completely out of the question as noted, with the severe thunderstorm wild card. Again, the wind impact will be similar, if perhaps even less notable, than many clear, sunny days we see in this region.
Discussion: The center of Fay will pass over western New England, after making landfall in the New York metro area. Tropical storms tend to have their heaviest rainfall on the west side of the center and the strongest wind gusts on the east side of the center. This is where the isolated tornado and wind damage threat comes in with any stronger storms; however, Fay is a fairly weak and unimpressive system, so that hazard is very limited in nature even near the south coast, and Fay should weaken into a tropical depression once it starts crossing over Connecticut, which is why the best chance for a severe storm is south of the Mass Pike. It’s not like a hurricane or a stronger tropical storm where the wind impacts extend out generally much further by comparison. As for the rain, Fay’s rain will peak right near the center, which is why western New England and eastern New York are favored for the heaviest rain. In the event of a track shift to the east, all the above impacts would shift slightly to the east, but I wouldn’t be expecting any major changes.
See below, the 11 PM forecast from the National Hurricane Center for Fay’s track.
I’ll have more info tomorrow; have a great night!