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Tropical Storm Fay heads for landfall in the Northeast

July 10, 2020, satellite image of the tropics.
July 10, 2020, satellite image of the tropics. (CIRA/RAMMB)

Bizarre Hurricane Season 2020 continues. Tropical Storm Fay sets the record for being the earliest-developing “F” storm in the record book – by a long way as hurricane records go. But once again, the storm evolved from a non-tropical system, a process we see every year, but never so many and so early as this season.

The good news is that this early-season hyper activity says nothing about how August, September and October are going to turn out. Most of the storms during the heart of hurricane season will form from disturbances coming off of Africa, a completely different process than the way storms have developed so far this year. 

So even though we’ve had six named storms already, it says nothing about what will happen a month from now in the tropical Atlantic.

The tropical development zone has been shut off by the continuous Saharan Dust outbreak we’ve seen from Africa all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. That dust is forecast to keep the tropics quiet into the middle of next week, at least.

Late next week, a robust tropical disturbance that’s now between Africa and the Caribbean islands is forecast to pass over South Florida. About that time, the atmospheric conditions over the Gulf might become more conducive for development than they have been, so we’ll have to keep an eye on that.

It is not uncommon for dust to cover much of the tropical Atlantic in July, but normally it fades by the middle of August. That allows the “real” hurricane season to crank up.

Tropical Storm Fay is forecast to move north today along or near the Jersey Shore, with the center crossing near New York City tonight. The tropical moisture will spread west into across Delaware, Eastern Pennsylvania and east across Long Island, New York with the potential to cause local flooding. The heaviest rain will likely occur on the west side of the track, over the mainland areas.

Winds gusting over 40 mph will affect parts of the Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut coastlines through the day. 

Fay looks like a big comma – not much like a tropical system. What this means is that the rain on the top and left of the comma is well removed from the center of the storm. The rain in New York City should begin midday today, for example, but the center of the storm won’t arrive until the overnight hours. 

The tropical rain and gusty squalls will spread into New York State and New England later today and into the weekend.

The National Hurricane Center has issued the following Key Messages related to Tropical Storm Fay:

Key messages for Tropical Storm Fay.
Key messages for Tropical Storm Fay. (NOAA/National Weather Service)
Tropical Storm Fay 8 a.m. advisory.
Tropical Storm Fay 8 a.m. advisory. (www.HurricaneIntel.com)

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