“A period of strong winds … associated with the core of the storm will occur primarily on its eastern side,” wrote meteorologists at Environment Canada. “This is where the track will be critical as to whether those highest winds will overspread land or remain offshore. Peak winds between [55 and 80 mph] are expected, with the strongest gusts over coastal communities.”
Larry will ultimately charge toward Greenland as it undergoes extratropical transition, meaning it will take on the characteristics of a nontropical system.
It’s just one of three systems that meteorologists are closely watching as the Atlantic hurricane season hits its historical peak, including one setting its sights on the western Gulf of Mexico. That one has a high likelihood of developing as it drifts toward the Bay of Campeche, soaking the western Gulf with heavy rain and potential flooding. The coastlines of Texas and Louisiana, as well as Veracruz and Tamaulipas, Mexico, could face significant rainfall.
A third system was centered over the eastern tropical Atlantic and is expected to gradually develop, but is likely to remain harmlessly out at sea.
Larry was a nail-biter in Bermuda, but the western edge of the storm’s precipitation shield wound up just a few miles east of the island. Most residents remained dry and, in fact, didn’t encounter tropical-storm-force winds. Rough surf was still sighted at beaches, but the storm’s overall impact on the British overseas territory was low.
The storm was moving quickly north at 29 mph. As of 11 a.m. Eastern time Friday, it was located about 595 miles southwest of Cape Race in Newfoundland. Maximum winds were 80 mph, making it a Category 1 storm, but its wind field is massive with tropical-storm-force winds extending 240 miles from its center.
Larry still appeared fully tropical Friday morning, but an approaching cold front and associated jet stream energy could begin the process of extratropical transition by nightfall.
At present, Larry is bringing “significant swells” that will “continue affecting Bermuda, the east coast of the United States, and Atlantic Canada through Saturday night,” the Weather Service notes. “These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”
Rip current statements and high surf advisories stretched along the Carolina beaches.
“Dangerous swimming and surfing conditions and localized beach erosion [are likely],” wrote the Weather Service in Morehead City, N.C. “Dangerous shore break can throw a swimmer or surfer head first into the bottom, causing neck and back injuries.”
Thereafter, Larry will rapidly pull into eastern Newfoundland on Friday night, bringing a dose of one to three inches of rain, strong winds and coastal erosion, as well as waves to 30 feet just offshore. Models are also indicating the risk of some snow far inland over remote parts of northern Newfoundland and Labrador.
Larry will become swallowed by the jet stream this weekend and bring snow to eastern Greenland on Sunday and Monday, where computer models indicate the potential for up to several feet.
Gulf of Mexico system
A tropical wave centered over eastern Honduras has been bringing heavy rainfall to the country. It will shift northwest in the coming days, crossing the Yucatán Peninsula before entering the Bay of Campeche on Sunday. There, it will have a limited window of development potential and could earn a name as a tropical storm. The National Hurricane Center pegs it with 70 percent odds of becoming a tropical depression or storm.
It will probably move inland on Monday or Tuesday, but where it comes ashore won’t matter much. This won’t be a big wind-maker or a system for huge surge; heavy rainfall will be the primary threat.
A broad two to four inches looks possible for most of the Texas and Louisiana coastlines, though some areas could see as much as a foot. That may seem like an enormous range and a lofty high-end scenario, but precipitation amounts can be very variable and dependent on “training,” or where repeated movement of downpours affect the same area.
The European Model paints a more concerning scenario that would unleash more than five inches of rain near Houston. The city has seen a dramatic uptick in the frequency of intense precipitation, linked in large part to human-induced climate change.
SpaceCityWeather.com, which provides forecasts for the Houston area, is calling for “totals of 2 to 6 inches on average for most of the area between Sunday and Wednesday, with the highest totals in smaller pockets south and east of Houston, perhaps up to 8 to 10 inches or even more.”
Third system to watch
A third brewing disturbance is located over the east tropical Atlantic as it moves westward from Senegal. Weather models and meteorologists are in agreement that the system will intensify and probably be named around the start of the workweek.
Initial projections suggest heavy rainfall over the Cabo Verde islands is possible as the tropical wave moves west-northwest. It’s unlikely that the system will continue westward and impact the United States.
Jason Samenow contributed to this report.