A massive storm system expected to cause “a wide range of hazardous weather” across the East Coast and into the Plains is having its worst local effects on the coast.
The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for the Delaware region, with a flood watch in effect from 4 p.m. today to noon on Christmas and a wind advisory in effect from 6 tonight to 6 a.m. on Christmas.
There’s a gale warning on the Delaware River and upper Delaware Bay and a storm warning on the lower Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
The weather service’s marine forecast for tonight and Christmas morning calls for “southerly winds 30 to 40 knots with storm force gusts up to 60 knots. Seas near 20 feet on the ocean.”
Minor flooding is expected during tonight high tide along the northern Chesapeake Bay. “Moderate flooding is possible.”
A high near 62 and an 80% chance of light rain is predicted today for the Wilmington area.
The forecast gets gloomier for tonight: “The rain could be heavy at times. Low around 44. Breezy, with a south wind 15 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 50 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.”
Another chart called for “gusts of 60+ mph, causing isolated wind damage” tonight in coastal Sussex County.
On Christmas Day, there’s a 60% chance of light rain. “Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a temperature falling to around 33 by 5 p.m. West wind 10 to 15 mph.” The low on Christmas night is expected to be 23, so there could be patches of ice.
Gusts could damage trees and cause power outages in the New York area, The New York Times reported, “while heavy rainfall could flood roadways on Christmas morning, making travel perilous.”
“Hold on to your tinsel and pull down your Santa hat, this is going to be a stormy day!” The Washington Post reported. “The heavier rains are likely from afternoon through the evening with localized flooding possible. We go from a possible thunderstorm tonight to a possible snow flurry Friday. Sunshine over the weekend struggles to tame the Arctic chill.”