07 May 2015

Low pressure system drifting toward North Carolina

Since yesterday, the low pressure system I've been discussing this week off the southeast US coast has gotten slightly better organized, but still is not much more than a nuisance rain-maker. There is quite a bit of dry air wrapping into the circulation, but an area of heavier rain is developing to the west and northwest of the center.

Visible satellite image from 8:30am EDT... the center of the surface circulation is marked with a blue X.  The heaviest rain and thunderstorms are displaced to the west and northwest. (NASA)
As of 8am EDT today, the center is located about 240 miles south of Wilmington, NC and is crawling toward the north. An aircraft is en route to reconnoiter the system to accurately determine the central pressure and wind field. As of now, it appears subtropical in nature (meaning it has some traits of a tropical system and some of an extratropical system), but even subtropical depressions/storms get numbered/named. If the aircraft fins sufficient organization, it could be upgraded to STD1 or STS Ana (if tropical, it would be TD1 or TS Ana).

As mentioned in previous posts, the primary threat from this will be heavy rain for eastern SC and NC. The radar composite from 8:30am EDT today shows heavy rain already affecting northeastern SC and parts of coastal NC (a current loop is available here).  Rainfall totals of 2-6" are possible over the eastern Carolinas through Saturday. Some gusty winds in the 35-50 mph range could be observed along the coast as well.

Radar composite from 8:30am EDT... only the rain within range of the various radar sites can be shown. (NOAA)

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