Tropical Storm Fay Forms Off the U.S. East Coast

Invest 98L has now strengthened into Tropical Storm Fay, off the east coast of the United States. It is now the earliest 6th Atlantic named storm formation on record. The previous earliest 6th named storm formation record in the Atlantic was Franklin on July 22 in 2005. On average, the Atlantic Basin sees the 6th named storm form by September 8th.

At 5:00 PM AST, the center of Tropical Storm Fay was located near latitude 35.5 North, longitude 74.9 West. Fay is moving toward the north near 7 MPH (11 KM/H). A northward to north-northeastward motion at a faster forward speed is expected over the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the center of Fay is forecast to move near the mid-Atlantic coast on Friday, and move inland over the northeast United States on Saturday.

Data from an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 45 MPH (75 KM/H) with higher gusts. Some slight strengthening is forecast tonight and Friday. Weakening should begin after the center moves inland on Saturday.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 KM) primarily to the east and southeast of the center.

The latest minimum central pressure reported by reconnaissance aircraft is 1005 millibars (29.68 inches).

Tropical Storm Fay Forecast Cone as of 5:00 PM AST Thursday 9th July 2020. Credit: National Hurricane Center
Tropical Storm Fay Forecast Cone as of 5:00 PM AST Thursday 9th July 2020. Credit: National Hurricane Center

Watches & Warnings

Tropical Storm Fay Watches and Warnings as of 5:00 PM AST Thursday 9th  July 2020. Credit: National Hurricane Center
Tropical Storm Fay Watches and Warnings as of 5:00 PM AST Thursday 9th July 2020. Credit: National Hurricane Center

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Cape May New Jersey to Watch Hill Rhode Island including Long Island and Long Island Sound

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

For storm information specific to your area, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.

Hazards Affecting Land

Tropical Storm Fay as of 5:00 PM Thursday 9th July 2020. (Weathernerds)

RAINFALL: Fay is expected to produce 3 to 5 inches of rain along and near the track of Fay across the mid-Atlantic states into southeast New York and southern New England. These rains may result in flash flooding where the heaviest amounts occur.

WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the coast within the warning area on Friday and spread northward through the warning area Friday night.

This system is of no threat to the Windward Islands, including Trinidad and Tobago.

Tropical Storm Fay Forecast Discussion

Satellite and radar imagery, along with surface observations, have shown that the area of the low pressure near the coast of North Carolina reformed closer to the deep convection east of the Outer Banks today. An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft investigating the disturbance this afternoon confirmed that the center is located near the edge of the primary convective mass, and that the system is producing an area of 35-40 kt winds to the east and southeast of the center. Based on these observations, the system is classified as a tropical storm with an initial intensity of 40 kt.

Fay is located over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and within an area of light to moderate westerly shear. These environmental conditions could allow for slight strengthening tonight and Friday. After that time, the circulation is forecast to interact with the mid-Atlantic coast and will be passing over cooler waters north of the Gulf Stream, likely limiting any further intensification. Fay should weakening quickly once it moves inland Friday night or Saturday.

Since a new center has recently formed, the initial motion is a highly uncertain 360/6 kt. Fay is expected to move generally northward between a high pressure ridge over the western Atlantic and an approaching mid-latitude trough. The 12Z dynamical model guidance has come into much better agreement on a track very close to the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast. With the recent center reformation to the northeast, the tracker guidance from the dynamical models shows a track farther offshore than the model fields imply. As a result, the NHC track lies along the left side of the guidance envelope but it is not as far west as what is indicated in the model fields.

The NHC track and intensity forecast has required the issuance of a Tropical Storm Warning for a portion of the U.S. coast from the Mid-Atlantic states to southern New England.

Key Messages:

  1. Fay is expected to produce 3 to 5 inches of rain with isolated totals of 8 inches along and near the track across the mid-Atlantic states into southeast New York and southern New England. These rains may result in flash flooding where the heaviest amounts occur. Widespread river flooding is not expected at this time.
  2. Tropical storm conditions are expected along portions of the mid-Atlantic and northeast coast Friday and Friday night, and a Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for the coasts of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, including Long Island.

Forecast Discussion by Forecaster Brown from the NHC.

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