The powerful Hurricane Teddy is forecast to hit Atlantic Canada later this week. Image courtesy of NOAA
Sept. 22 (UPI) -- After passing Bermuda a day prior, powerful Hurricane Teddy was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone as it was heading for Atlantic Canada on Tuesday.
The storm is still expected to produce potentially life-threatening surf and rip current conditions along the way, forecasters said.
As of 11 p.m. AST Tuesday, the storm was about 125 miles south of the Nova Scotian capital of Halifax, packing maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. It was traveling north at 18 mph.
Large swells generated by the system were affecting Bermuda, the Lesser Antilles, the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, the eastern coast of the United States and Atlantic Canada, the advisory said.
"These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions," it said.
Teddy first developed in the central Atlantic on Saturday, Sept. 12. On Friday night, Teddy strengthened into a Category 4 major hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Laura is the only other Atlantic storm to achieve major hurricane status so far this season.
According to Colorado State University Meteorologist Phil Klotzbach, the average date for the second major hurricane formation in the Atlantic is Oct. 3.
"Teddy will interact with an upper-level storm system moving across eastern Canada early in the week, and become an extratropical storm before making landfall in Nova Scotia Wednesday morning. However, this is really just a technicality, as the impacts will still match those of a hurricane," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty explained.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre has issued a tropical storm warning for the southern coast of Nova Scotia and a tropical storm watch for the province's northern coast. The watch also extends westward into Prince Edward Island. Tropical storm watches were also issued for portions of the southwestern coast of Newfoundland.
One of those impressive aspects of Teddy will be its expansive wind field. Wind gusts of 40-60 mph will stretch all the way from the eastern shores of Labrador and Newfoundland to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The strongest wind gusts, near where the center moves across Nova Scotia, are expected to reach 80-90 mph with an AccuWeather Local StormMax of 100 mph.
"Teddy is already a large hurricane. When it undergoes extratropical transition, the wind field will expand even further," Douty explained. "Even the New England coast will be quite gusty for a time, despite the storm being around 300 miles east of Boston at its closest approach."
Power outages and tree damage could be widespread across Atlantic Canada. While powerful winter storms that can reach hurricane strength are not particularly uncommon across this region, a storm of this strength striking this time of year, when all the leaves are still on the trees, can lead to more damage.
Winds of this magnitude are also capable of some structural damage, especially to any weaker buildings. Loose objects like yard furniture, toys, planters and trash cans can easily become projectiles in the wind.
Dorian tracked across Atlantic Canada in early September of 2019 and brought widespread wind damage to Atlantic Canada. Teddy has the potential to bring similar results should it remain on its current forecast track.
Residents should begin to make appropriate preparations as this appears to be the most likely scenario.
On this track, 2-4 inches of rain would be widespread across Nova Scotia, with 1-2 inches stretching from eastern New Brunswick to the southeast coast of Labrador. Locally heavier rainfall could fall where the center of the storm tracks, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax of 6 inches.
Heavy rain will also accompany the howling winds across Atlantic Canada. However, heavy rain will be in and out relatively quickly due to the fast-forward motion of the storm.
This can lead to some localized flooding, especially on streets and poor-drainage areas. Most leaves across the region are only just starting to change, but with such strong winds, it's also possible that enough leaves are blown down to clog some storm drains and cause more street flooding in urban areas.
Taking these impacts into consideration, Teddy is forecast to be a 1 on the AccuWeather RealImpact Scale for Hurricanes in Atlantic Canada.
In comparison to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which has been used by meteorologists for decades and classifies storms by wind speed only, the AccuWeather RealImpact Scale is based on a broad range of important factors. The scale covers not only wind speed but flooding rain, storm surge as well as economic damage and loss. This communicates a more comprehensive representation of the potential impact of a storm to lives and livelihoods.
Meanwhile, Teddy has been kicking up some significant waves as the storm mowed its way across the Atlantic Ocean. Wave heights near Teddy's center of circulation have been in excess of 20 feet and, up and down the shores of the East Coast, wave heights have been in the 5-foot to 7-foot range.
Even with Teddy several hundred miles off the coast, some coastal flooding and beach erosion was already being seen and will continue for the first part of the week along many portions of the East Coast, especially at times of high tide.
"During the weekend, an area of high pressure over the interior Northeast helped to increase northeasterly winds, which enraged seas along the immediate Atlantic coast, well away from Teddy," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
According to the NCDOT, portions of Route 12 along the Outer Banks in North Carolina are closed until at least Tuesday afternoon due to overwash. Residents of the Outer Banks have been urged not to travel unless absolutely necessary. Flooding along the Outer Banks could get worse over the next couple of days as surf continues to build and more and more of the protective dunes get worn down or washed away.
Because of the exceptionally rough seas churned up by Teddy, coastal impacts will also be quite expansive. Nova Scotia and the southern coast of Newfoundland will bear the brunt of massive surf and dangerous storm surge.
Wave heights are forecast to reach an incredible 50-75 feet Tuesday on the open sea off the coasts of New England and Nova Scotia. This will have a major impact on shipping, as any sea-going vessels that dare to enter this region will face extreme danger.
While the most fearsome seas will remain offshore, coastal areas will still have to be prepared for storm surge and significant wave action.
"The southern coast of Nova Scotia is no stranger to angry seas, and most of the towns sit in coves protected by rocky cliffs and barrier islands," explained AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and Lead Canada Forecaster Brett Anderson.
"However, with 30 foot seas even right to the coast and a large storm surge, any locations that are exposed and not sitting well above normal sea level could quickly become very dangerous to anyone caught there once Teddy arrives."
The entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States will also see rough surf and large swells propagating out from Teddy into midweek. Persistent, gusty onshore flow along much of the East Coast will also add to the angry seas and rising water levels.
"As the area of high pressure weakens, and Teddy moves toward Nova Scotia on Tuesday and Wednesday, wave action along the immediate coast south of the Carolinas will ease, but there can still be occasional large swells that catch bathers and boaters by surprise through the latter part of this week," Sosnowski said.
Teddy joins Beta currently spinning in the Atlantic, as well as Paulette, which regenerated into a tropical storm south of the Azores on Monday night.
With months still left in the Atlantic hurricane season, more Greek letters are likely to be used. Last week, AccuWeather meteorologists upped their 2020 season predictions for the number of total storms to 28, which would tie the record number of named storms in the basin set in the notorious 2005 season.