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FIRST ALERT: Chilly Rain for Many, Coastal Concerns for Some

A gusty wind and coastal flooding is expected Friday

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For most of us, the ocean storm strengthening east of New England will mean a couple of chilly, rainy days. For those along the coast, the nearby strengthening storm means gusty wind with isolated wind damage and coastal flooding.

Thursday brings an interesting combination of a northwest wind at ground level while ocean rounds of rain pivot in from east to west – the interesting part of this setup is a northwest wind tends to dry much of the eastern half of New England, sloping down off the mountains and hills, while ocean moisture obviously tends to bring rain. 

The combination of drying and moistening effects in the atmosphere has resulted in a patchwork rain pattern for New England on Thursday, in and out of what will mostly be light rain through a lot of the day, but coupled with high temperatures in the 40s, the “feels like” temperature, or impact on the body, won’t exceed the 30s on Thursday. 

Eventually, ocean moisture wins out, the wind becomes more northerly and even blows from the north-northeast for a time Thursday night and Friday, and this means heavier rain fills in appreciably from late Thursday through Friday. During that period, when it’s not raining it’s drizzling, and temperatures – as well as feels like temperatures – won’t budge. 

Meanwhile, the wind field around the ocean storm will expand, and while for the vast majority of New England this will mean a gusty breeze adding to the chill as the rain falls, along the immediate coast and within about 15 miles of the ocean, winds will gust over 40 mph and up to 50 mph on Cape Cod, causing a few isolated power outages. 

Over the ocean waters, strong wind will mean big waves, building to 15 to 22 feet Friday and coupling with a northerly wind to drive sea levels up along the shoreline for minor coastal flooding at the time of high tide Friday morning, generally 7 to 8 a.m. for our eastern beaches. 

On the Island of Nantucket, moderate coastal flooding is expected and a Coastal Flood Warning is in effect for Friday morning’s tide. For places like Nantucket and other vulnerable coastal locales, at least some amount of coastal flooding may recur Friday evening and again Saturday morning, with waves still churned and sea levels elevated and the wind remains steady from the north. 

Saturday morning drizzle is possible with a moist air stubborn to let go, but as the ocean storm starts to slowly pull east, drier air will nudge in behind it – a slow process but one that should stop the drizzle by midday Saturday and yield some breaks of sun, especially inland, by the end of the day. 

Of course, with limited sun and a northerly wind flow, the air will still be cool, but some breaks of sun and a lighter wind Sunday means the chance to exceed 50 for some, and our First Alert Weather Team is expecting 60 for Monday. 

Next week doesn’t look perfect in our exclusive 10-day forecast: showers are possible Sunday night to Monday morning, then again off and on late Tuesday into Thursday, but with temperatures generally in the 50s, that’ll be a noticeable step up from the weather New England experienced this week.

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