A system has developed over the warm waters of the northwestern Caribbean with favorable conditions allowing an area of low pressure to become better organized, and stands a good change at becoming the next storm to affect the area, according to AccuWeather.com
The system is first expected to impact Cuba then to take aim at Florida and the U.S. East Coast this week. The system could continue to strengthen while over warm water in an environment with little wind shear.
While impacting Cuba with four to eight inches of rain, the higher terrain of Cuba could cause the system to lose strength before it moves back over the open water of the Straits of Florida today.
After high winds slam the east coast of Florida, potentially causing flooding, the system could impact much of the East Coast later this week with potentially flooding rainfall, high winds, rough surf and dangerous rip currents.
The strength and the exact track of the storm as it skirts the Eastern Seaboard are still far from set in stone. The system will be battling strong wind shear by the time it reaches the East Coast, and this could prevent it from strengthening or even maintaining tropical storm strength.
Even if the system is just a remnant low by the time it reaches the East Coast, heavy rainfall and flooding will be the major concern. However, gusty wind and erosion could become serious problems as well, coastal officials said.
Agricultural Cooperative Extension Agent Paige Burns said lots of rain could be good or bad. She said many lakes, streams and ponds are in dire need of recharging, while too much rain could lead to erosion and the leaching of nutrients.
According to Burns, the Sandhills absorb a lot of moisture which keeps the area from flooding; however, the lack of rain may have made it difficult for the rain to penetrate the soil. Having had one solid day of rain may have made the soil more receptive to the coming rains, and therefore we may be able to avoid the flooding, according to Burns.
Burns said the rain won’t impact farmers with crops as much right now, since most produce farmers are winding down. The rain may be beneficial to those starting to plant strawberries, but the rain could also set farmers up for disease.
“It’s a good opportunity for moisture. It’s hard to hydrate, the soil’s so dry,” Burns said.
Staff Writer Dawn Kurry can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.