By Kate Bilo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Let’s start with the good news, which is that Hurricane Joaquin is not only weakening and moving away from the Bahamas, but also all information now agrees that this dangerous storm will stay out to sea and will not be a direct threat to the U.S. mainland. Joaquin will, however, assist in throwing moisture back towards the coast this weekend and this could result in catastrophic flooding for portions of the Carolinas.
Despite Joaquin’s out to sea track, the entire Delaware Valley has been enduring heavy rain and gusty winds associated with a stalled front off the Mid-Atlantic Coast. Rounds of rain will continue to push in now through the early morning hours Saturday. Many spots have seen over 1-2″ of rain already, and we could add to those amounts.
The worst of the conditions are down the shore and through the Delaware beaches. Strong onshore winds with this frontal system will create moderate coastal flooding along the shore and beaches. Coastal areas will also experience rough surf, dangerous rip currents and minor to moderate beach erosion. Keep in mind, this event is not associated with Joaquin but rather a result of a tight pressure gradient between high pressure to our north and an area of low pressure near the Gulf coast states.
The persistent northeast winds will continue into Sunday, with the worst of the flooding occurring around high tide time. Coastal Flood Warnings are in place for all coastal areas, and also the low-lying areas surrounding the Delaware Bay and Delaware River – these will be most prone to flooding late Saturday and Sunday afternoon around high tide, so expect to see road closures even near the city. The high winds down the shore will cause spotty power outages and could cause minor wind damage.
Sunday will be a transitional day with plenty of clouds, a few showers and breezy conditions with highs in the upper 60s. We expect sunshine to return as early as Monday along with warmer temperatures which will extend through Thursday!