Roanoke VA (WDBJ7) The National Hurricane Center is nearly certain a tropical wave northeast of the Bahamas will eventually strengthen into a tropical storm this weekend.
If so, it will become the second named storm in the Atlantic in 2016 prior to the hurricane season's official June 1 start. "Alex" was the first storm that formed back in January. It became the first hurricane to form in the Atlantic that early since 1938.
While it's certain the coasts will feel the biggest impacts from this system, it's less uncertain just how much rain will arrive here, and whether Sunday or Monday will be the wettest, and just how long the system will spin along the coast. Here's what we know.
The coastal areas will have the greatest risk from this tropical system. If Bonnie forms, aside from the soaking rain, there's a higher probability for rip currents, gusty winds and heavy surf along Atlantic coast beaches this weekend and into next week.
If you're headed to the beaches, it won't be the best beach weather, but no evacuations are expected with this developing system.
Hurricane Hunter aircraft will fly into the system today to gather data on any strengthening.
As the system approaches the coast over the weekend, moisture in the form of scattered showers and storms will slowly increase across the region. Models differ in how it handles the system. The American Model keeps it around for several days off the coast, while others move it quickly back out to sea early next week.
While this will change daily, here are the conditions for the weekend for now:
SATURDAY will feature hazy sunshine. Any storms that form will likely be across the Alleghany Highlands and mountain communities and will be driven by the heat and humidity, not the tropics.
SUNDAY: Most models agree this will be an active and potentially showery day with more numerous showers expected. Increased tropical moisture will make it feel very humid. This also means, when it rains it pours. The best coverage of rain will be from the Blue Ridge Parkway, east toward Central Virginia (Lynchburg) and Southside (Danville). There could be some enhanced rainfall along the Blue Ridge. Lower rain chances the more west you go.
MONDAY (Memorial Day): Several reliable models suggest Monday may actually be a bit less wet than Sunday as the tropical low begins to shift off the coast. However, you'll need to plan for hit/miss showers and storms for any cookouts or boating and fishing. We just shouldn't see as many as Sunday.
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