Erin, our incoming tropical system, temporarily strengthened into a tropical storm overnight but has been downgraded to a tropical depression strength today due to a strong wind shear.
No matter whether it’s a tropical storm or depression, Erin will track into the Maritimes on Thursday with heavy rain and gusty winds as a post-tropical storm.
The track of this storm is obviously the key to the forecast and there are plenty of factors, including the timing of Erin and the timing of an incoming cold front from the west.
That cold front will bring its own round of rain into the Maritimes on Thursday, before helping to draw in some tropical moisture ahead of Erin and then we’ll see the storm itself arrive on Thursday night.
With this storm we’ll be seeing the heaviest rainfall to the left of Erin’s track and the strongest winds to the right of the track.
Some uncertainty remains, however based on the current projections it’s looking more like western Nova Scotia, southeastern New Brunswick and PEI will see heaviest rainfall, while eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton will see the strongest winds.
This storm forecast remains a tough call for Halifax and central regions of Nova Scotia. Just a slight shift to the west or east, would lead to significant changes in the forecast. As of now, it appears Halifax is at risk to see the heaviest rainfall, however stay tuned for updates over the next 24 hours.
To the left of Erin’s track, we’ll likely see a widespread area with rainfall amounts in the 40-80 mm range, with more than 100 mm not out of the question in some localized areas. The heaviest rain will be tracking through on Thursday night, which is when we could see localized pockets of 50 mm in just a 12-hour period. Obviously, this amount of rain over such a short period of time will certainly bring the risk for localized flash flooding.
The strongest winds with these types of storms are found near and to the right of the track. Based on the current track, the strongest winds with gusts 70-90 km/h, are looking set for the Eastern Shore, eastern mainland Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. We could certainly see some power outages and minor tree damage.
With the current track and expected strength of the system, storm surge doesn’t appear to be a big threat at this point. However, we’ll see some high surf and pounding waves along the Eastern Shore and Cape Breton, overnight Thursday and into Friday morning.
With localized flooding and power outages certainly possible, now is a good time to make sure you have your at home emergency kits ready to go. If not for this storm, then perhaps you might need it for the next one. We are now entering the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, which continues through the month of September.
Again, with this storm evolving quickly, the forecasts will be changing as well. The latest updated information can be found in my live blog below and I’ll of course have another update this evening at 6 p.m. on the television newscast.
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