Southern Soaker to Become Wet, Windy Northeast Coastal Storm

Chris Dolce and Linda Lam
Published: October 15, 2019

Drought-helping rains are headed for the South, and the Northeast will see a wet, windy coastal storm, from an active weather pattern setting up in the East through the week ahead.

A front has stalled out over the South, and it will linger over the region through early this week. The front, in combination with tropical moisture from the Eastern Pacific and Gulf of Mexico, will bring much-needed rainfall to many areas.

By Wednesday, an incoming southward plunge of the jet stream will help develop low pressure along the front, which will turn into a blustery coastal storm near the Eastern Seaboard.

Southern Soaking Early This Week

On Tuesday, moisture will increase across the South ahead of an incoming jet stream disturbance; widespread, moderate to locally heavy rainfall is anticipated. The chance for rain will linger into Wednesday from southern Texas into the Southeast.

Current Radar, Watches and Warnings

Many locations can expect rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches from southern Arkansas and Louisiana to the southern halves of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, with locally higher amounts.

Although the rain is beneficial, there could be a few localized areas of flash flooding if too much rain falls in a short amount of time.

Rainfall Forecast

Northeast Coastal Storm Midweek

The previously mentioned jet stream disturbance will help develop low pressure on the front, which will intensify and track near the Northeast coast midweek. At the same time, another area of low pressure will approach from the Great Lakes and eastern Canada.

What all of this means is that the Northeast will likely see wet and windy conditions from Wednesday through Thursday.

This will not be a long-lasting system, but the combination of rain and wind could contribute to travel headaches.

Rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches are forecast from the eastern mid-Atlantic to much of New England. Localized flooding is possible in urban and poor drainage locations.

Rainfall Forecast

Winds could gust 30 to 40 mph at times Wednesday night through Thursday, particularly in New England. Those winds could break some tree limbs and caused isolated power outages.

The rain and wind could also strip away some fall foliage in parts of New England. Portions of New England are currently experiencing peak fall color.

Thursday Morning Wind Forecast

Recent Dry Southeast Pattern

This wet pattern is a significant change from recent weather conditions and good news for drought-stricken areas.

September was the driest on record for several Southern cities, including Nashville, Tennessee; Montgomery, Alabama; Tupelo, Mississippi; Tallahassee, Florida; and New Orleans, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center.

(MORE: A Flash Drought Is Developing in the Southeast

Atlanta had no measurable rain through the first 12 days of October and saw less than an inch in September, resulting in a rainfall deficit of more than 5 inches as of Oct. 12.

Charlotte, North Carolina, reported only 0.22 inches of rain between Sept. 1 and Oct. 12, which is more than 4 inches below average.

Only 0.03 inches of precipitation has occurred in Tallahassee, Florida, since Sept. 1, which is almost 6 inches below average.

It's not just the Southeast. Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas, all have rainfall deficits of around 3 to 3.5 inches since Sept. 1.

U.S. Drought Monitor
(Data: National Drought Mitigation Center)

The lack of precipitation has caused drought conditions to grow from Texas to the Southeast.

As of Oct. 8, 60% of the Southeast was experiencing drought conditions. This was quite a jump from the prior week, when 44% of the region was in drought.

In addition, almost 5% of the Southeast was in extreme drought, the second-highest category from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Extended Outlook

The wet pattern may persist into late October, which would help to alleviate the dry conditions in the southern United States.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center's latest precipitation outlook indicates the Southeast and northern Gulf Coast have at least a 33% chance of above average precipitation over the next two weeks, with parts of the region having as much as a 50% chance of above average rainfall.

Precipitation Outlook

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.