WED EVENING UDATE ON “ELSA” FOR NC VA MD DEL south NJ
ELSA now in the southeast GEORGIA and remains a tropical storms (barely). As the system transforms from a tropical systems to coastal Low, it will intensify to some degree. Wind forecast have increased in eastern NC VA the Delmarva and southern NJ.
According to the late afternoon update from the Hurricane Center ELSA is still technically a tropical storm although that might be a bit generous. The current late Wednesday afternoon radar shows a decent looking but decaying tropical cyclone for an inland system in southeast Georgia. But it is difficult to find winds gusting over 39 mph in the late Wednesday afternoon data. The satellite pictures shows a fairly well organized system
The last several discussions on the Hurricane Center have mentioned that more and more of the models are showing the remains of ELSA transforming into a non-tropical or Coastal LOW which is what WXRISK has been talking about for the past 48 hours.
Interestingly, the only model which is not showing this transformation is the GFS which continues to show a weak area of LOW pressure moving through c\entral North Carolina and southeast Virginia Thursday and Thursday night. Not surprisingly, the winds associated with the system are weaker than on the other models. Even so, The operational GFS still has winds gusting 40 to 45 mph in central in eastern North Carolina and Southeast of Virginia as well as the lower Delmarva and far southern coast of New Jersey. With respect to the rainfall, the GFS model is now shifting inland so the best rains fall from Raleigh and Greensboro and Charlotte into the southern Virginia Piedmont, the Richmond Metro Area, up into Ashland, the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula in northeast Virginia, then across into the central Delmarva and Coastal New Jersey. Much less rain falls on the GFS model in Southeast Virginia and eastern half of North Carolina with amounts under 1” n according to the GFS model. This idea of the rains shifting Inland away from the coast is supported by the other model data.
The Wednesday afternoon (12z) European model continues to depict an intensifying system that moves through central North Carolina just to the west of Raleigh, then into south central Virginia, close to Richmond, and across northeast Virginia into the Delmarva southern New Jersey and central Long Island by Friday morning. Like GFS, the heaviest rains are clearly centered in NW portions of South Carolina into Charlotte and central North Carolina (including Raleigh and Greensboro) then up into the southern Virginia Piedmont areas into Richmond Metro region, and across into portions of the Delmarva and coastal New Jersey.
It is not a surprise that with this sort of intensifying system, the wind field is going to be substantially stronger but again the operational European model continues to show hurricane-force wind gusts in interior southeast Virginia, in Newport News, in the lower Virginia Eastern Shore and across eastern Long Island and SE New England. The Euro model also has 50+ mph wind gusts over most of central North Carolina, including Raleigh, Roanoke Rapids and Emporia, close to Richmond Virginia and the rest of Hampton Roads, into the central Delmarva and the coastal areas of New Jersey and central Long Island. WxRisk believes these winds are too strong and the European ensemble is much more reasonable
Here are the Euro ensemble model wind field max gusts. WxRisk thinks this is reasonable
Below is the operational Wednesday afternoon British model and it is in strong agreement with the European model from the last several days. It shows a relatively weak LOW pressure in South Carolina that undergoes significant intensification as tracks through eastern Virginia. across the Delmarva, passes just offshore of New Jersey and then hits eastern New England as a fairly well organized and fairly strong LOW pressure area. Unfortunately we do not have access to the surface Winfield from the British model.
Finally here is the high-resolution 18z 3km NAM model forecast depiction of what the radar is going to look like on Thursday in the Middle Atlantic region. The image is pretty much peaks for itself You can time the arrival of these significant rain and wind events by the leading edge of the precipitation as it pushes across North Carolina and into Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania during the day on Thursday
By early Friday morning the coastal LOW will be off the Delmarva Coast. There are is some hints that the LOW pressure area will continue to intensify and impact coastal New England as a coastal storm. Whether or not NHC or Accu-Weather or the Weather Channel continues to call this system ELSA is really irrelevant. Once it gets up into eastern Virginia, the Delmarva and eastern New England it will not be a tropical system anymore.