WEATHER ALERT: Wind, surf and flood advisories issued for Delaware coast
A stormy 12- to 18-hour period is being forecast at the Delaware shore, with the National Weather Service having issued wind, high-surf and coastal flood advisories for the area through Thursday morning, Dec. 3.
NWS forecasters predicted on Wednesday, Dec. 2, that once high pressure moves offshore, a quick moving and intensifying storm would reach the Tennessee Valley on Wednesday afternoon and New York State on Wednesday night. Although not technically a nor’easter, NWS officials said, the storm was expected to interact with the high pressure offshore to cause gale-force winds.
As a result, a wind advisory is in effect from 8 p.m. Wednesday evening to 6 a.m. Thursday, across southern Delaware and southern New Jersey. A coastal flood advisory is in effect from 1 to 10 a.m. Thursday. A high-surf advisory is also in effect from 1 to 10 a.m. Thursday.
Rain, possibly heavy at times on Wednesday night, could produce some street and poor-drainage-area flooding, especially when combined with the astronomical high tide, NWS officials warned.
Gale force winds will drive the surf toward the coast and will break on the beaches prior to and during the times of high tide, they said. The heavy wave action is likely to cause beach erosion and could make conditions worse in areas that sustained serious beach Erosion from the Veteran’s Day storm.
The direction of the incoming waves, winds and tide will occur in the early morning hours Thursday, leading up to the high tide, which occurs on the oceanfront between 7 and 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning.
The flood advisory has been issued primarily for those areas that sustained flooding and beach erosion from the Veteran’s Day storm. The tidal departures will only reach about a foot above normal.
NWS officials said this would normally be minor tidal flooding. However, the high winds will drive waves up onto the beach at the time of high tide and there may be very heavy rain falling to add to any street flooding.
A high-surf advisory means that high surf will affect beaches in the advisory area, producing rip currents and localized beach erosion.
A coastal flood advisory indicates that onshore winds and tides will combine to generate flooding of low areas – especially those areas impacted by the Veteran’s Day storm.
Strong winds are expected Wednesday night, as a strengthening low-pressure system is forecast to track to the area’s west at night. As this occurs, a strong wind field just above the surface will be moving over the area as a warm front lifts northward. This will result in a strong south to southeasterly wind along the coast.
South to southeast sustained winds will increase Wednesday night and average 20 to 30 mph. Wind gusts to around 45 mph area expected.
A wind advisory is issued when sustained wind speeds of at least 30 mph and/or wind gusts over 45 mph are expected. Winds of this magnitude could cause minor damage to trees, power lines and weaker structures. Persons in the advisory area should secure all loose objects.
If you are traveling through the advisory area, officials advised, keep a firm grip on the steering wheel, especially for those driving high-profile vehicles and traveling across elevated surfaces such as bridges.
County emergency officials warn of flooding and second impending storm
Sussex County emergency officials are urging coastal residents and property owners to be alert to weather conditions for the next several days.
Joseph L. Thomas, director of the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center, warned Sussex County Council members and the public on Tuesday, Dec. 1, that the coastal storm was projected to bring 1 to 2 inches of rain into the area from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning, Dec. 2-3.
“They don’t think there will be the back-bay flooding of the Veteran’s Day storm,” Thomas said. “But it will be an astronomical high tide, so there could be minor tidal flooding.
“Under normal circumstances, this would be a minor storm, but with the condition of our beaches, it could be an issue,” he emphasized of the fast-moving storm.
Thomas also reported on Dec. 1 that the National Weather Service had advised emergency officials and coastal residents to keep an eye on Saturday’s weather as well, as another storm could come through the area on Dec. 5.
That storm is predicted to bring more wind and rain, and possibly snow showers late on Saturday.