Hurricane Hermine Accuweather Update

The following is weather post published by our Accuweather partner , Senior Meteorologist
September 3, 2016; 6:20 PM ET:

Despite tracking offshore, Hermine will remain close enough to the mid-Atlantic into and beyond Labor Day to blast coastal areas with pounding and inundating surf, strong winds and rain.

Hermine not only threatens to foil weekend getaways at the beach, but has the potential to cause damage in some communities and pose risk to the lives of those who venture in the surf or on the seas.

There is the risk of coastal flooding in some areas hit hard by Sandy, but also others that were missed by the superstorm due to the long-duration nature of this storm.

After departing the North Carolina coast, Hermine is expected to stall offshore of the Delmarva Peninsula and New Jersey on Sunday into at least Tuesday. The result will be adverse conditions for days regardless of its official classification of a tropical versus non-tropical storm.

While the storm has officially lost tropical characteristics, it will maintain tropical storm strength and act like a slow-moving, powerful nor’easter. Winds offshore are expected to reach hurricane force from Saturday evening to Monday.

How close to the coast Hermine tracks and where the storm stalls from Sunday onward will determine the severity and location of flooding and damaging winds. Even a small shift in the track can have a big difference on impacts.

Latest indications keep the strongest winds and heaviest rain of Hermine offshore on Saturday night and beyond. Coastal areas of the mid-Atlantic and southern New England should still brace for extremely rough surf, strong winds and locally heavy rain.

North of the Outer Banks of North Carolina and the southern Delmarva, the worst of the stormy onslaught will occur during Sunday and Labor Day. However, rough seas, above-normal tides and some wind may linger into the middle of next week.

Hermine to threaten mid-Atlantic, Long Island with dangerous surf, severe coastal flooding

Days of winds pushing Atlantic Ocean water toward the coast will cause extensive beach erosion, overwash in beachfront areas and significant flooding in low-lying locations on the back bays from Virginia to New York state.

This includes locations such as Virginia Beach, Virginia; Ocean City, Maryland; Atlantic City, New Jersey; and New York City.

It is possible that some low-lying roads to coastal areas may be blocked by high water. People may not be able to get to and from some of the barrier islands for a time.

Dune repairs and modifications following Sandy may be tested because of the long duration of this event.

The risk of coastal and back bay flooding will be greatest, but not limited to the times of high tide. Some locations will experience the highest storm surge around the same time as high tide.

“It is possible that the back sides of the barrier islands will have worse flooding than the ocean-facing sides,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist John Feerick said. “Water will pile into the back bays from the inlets and will not be able to escape, then you will have more water piling in during the next high tide.”

“Incidents of coastal flooding and beach erosion will only increase and become more severe with each passing day of the winds driving the ocean water onshore and surf pounding the beaches,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.

REPORTS: Hermine hammers mid-Atlantic with severe coastal flooding, destructive winds
Atlantic tropical storm uptick to pause briefly following Hermine’s US impact
Watch Hermine’s rain on the northeastern US interactive radar

Surf conditions will become dangerous with strong and frequent rip currents and large, pounding waves as the holiday weekend progresses.

In a press conference on Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said city beaches will be closed on Sunday. He said residents can still go on the beach, but will not be allowed into the water as Hermine is expected to bring rough surf and dangerous rip currents.

“Offshore, seas are likely to become too dangerous for small craft and large vessels should use caution due to a fully arisen sea,” AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams said.

Waves along the mid-Atlantic coast will build to 10-20 feet, while offshore seas can swell to 20-30 feet or higher this weekend.

To venture into the surf or on the ocean during these conditions may not only put yourself at extreme risk, but also your would-be rescuers. Bathers and boaters should heed all official restrictions as they are issued.

“Occasional rain and blowing sand should further deter people from venturing to the beaches,” Pydynowski said.

Hermine to deliver wind-swept rain; Power outages are possible

The strongest winds will gradually ease across the southern mid-Atlantic and Outer Banks of North Carolina into Saturday evening as Hermine departs. Rain and wind will continue to graze the Delmarva and southern New Jersey on Saturday night with the majority of Hermine’s adverse weather offshore.

However, rain and gusty winds will push back onto more of the mid-Atlantic coast and southern New England during Sunday and into Labor Day.

The New Jersey coast and beaches of southern Delaware are expected to endure the strongest winds of Hermine beyond Saturday, with gusts exceeding 60 mph.

“The strongest winds are likely to blast these areas later on Sunday into Monday morning,” Pydynowski said.

Power outages, tree damage and minor structural damage can occur. Winds may also force officials to close bridges, as was the case on the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Saturday.

Gusts of 40-60 mph could also lead to sporadic issues elsewhere across the eastern mid-Atlantic and southern New England. This includes in New York City; Dover, Delaware; Providence, Rhode Island, and Cape Cod.

Wind gusts on the lower end of the above range will graze Philadelphia.

On Sunday and beyond, flooding due to heavy rain will occur on a more localized level as parts of the coast from the Delmarva, New Jersey and Long Island could receive 2-3 inches of rain.

A track closer to the coast than currently expected would bring the heavier rain and stronger wind farther inland. If this scenario does not unfold, places from northern New England to west of the mid-Atlantic’s I-95 corridor will remain dry throughout the Labor Day weekend.