09 July 2020

Fay becomes earliest 6th named storm on record

A low pressure system that tracked over the southeast U.S. the past few days emerged over the ocean on Wednesday, and finally gained enough organization to get upgraded to Tropical Storm Fay.  Fay is the 6th named storm of the 2020 season; it formed 12 days before the previous record-holder (Franklin on July 21, 2005) and 8 *weeks* ahead of the average 6th named storm formation.

Of course, having a bunch of named storms is one thing, but it's important to keep them in perspective. So, far, the six of them have been around for a total of 10 days, and the strongest one topped out at about 58 mph (mid-range tropical storm).  This is nothing like 2005 which already had a Category 4 hurricane and a Category 5 hurricane was in the making on this date! 

Fay is centered just 40 miles off the North Carolina coast, and has peak sustained winds of 45 mph, though those are found offshore to the east of the center.  It is moving toward the north at 7 mph and that motion is expected to continue. That will bring it to landfall near NJ/NY on Friday afternoon.  As such, tropical storm warnings have been issued for coastal NJ, NY, and CT.

In terms of timing and planning, the graphic below shows the most likely arrival time of tropical storm force winds (lines), and the probability of a location receiving those winds (shading). Coastal areas can expect elevated tides and some flooding.

The rainfall outlook for the next couple of days is shown below:

Elsewhere in the basin, no activity is expected in the foreseeable future, but the next name on this year's list is Gonzalo.

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