Update: East Coast may be on the lookout for possible tropical storm, hurricane

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Though no official hurricane forecasts are in place, a low pressure system in the Caribbean Sea could come close enough to prompt East Coast residents to review their hurricane preparedness plans./NHC Though no official hurricane forecasts are in place, a low pressure system in the Caribbean Sea could come close enough to prompt East Coast residents to review their hurricane preparedness plans./NHC A small area of lower pressure entering the Caribbean Sea might need watching.

Although no official long-term forecasts have been issued, long-range models indicate a brewing storm in the Caribbean might deliver a weather storyline that could finish with a mix of mid-week outcomes. They range from good and safe to bad.  Worst yet, outlooks are changing constantly so it may a few days yet before the models agree on an outcome.

So now might be the best time to evaluate, go over and think out your hurricane preparedness plans just in case. Remember, it is better to be sorry for the wasted effort if nothing happens than to remain unprepared and sorry that your put your family in danger.

Here is the latest on possible paths that an eventual Hurricane Cristobal could take:

Near miss along the East Coast

As of Friday, Aug. 22, long-range outlooks varied from a coastal near miss to a direct hit during the middle of next week for Tropical Storm or Hurricane Cristobal. The area to watch would be from the Gulf of Mexico through the Northeast.

In the result of a near miss, the storm would take path that parallels the East Coast, churning rip currents along with headaches for Labor Day Weekend vacationers.

The worst effects would be the plight of worrisome lifeguards enduring a busy weekend by pulling disappointed swimmers out of an angry surf.

The National Weather Service’s GFS model favors this solution as does the bulk of long-range outlooks.

Gulf of Mexico hurricane for Cristobal?

Some models, such as the Canadian forecast model, are indicating the storm could develop into a category I hurricane and make a direct hit along southern Florida early next week. That would be followed up by a second landfall near New Orleans as a category 2 or 3 hurricane during the middle of the week.

From there, the storm would weaken as it moves inland. However, it could then climb the spine of the Appalachian Mountains and deliver possible flooding rains along the interior East Coast. The Southeast, Middle Atlantic and Northeast states could be affected.

Possible Middle Atlantic strike?

Other models seem to indicate the storm would travel north up the eastern seaboard before turning west and making landfall during the middle of the week somewhere in the Middle Atlantic region.

No official forecast model yet

Because none of these model outcomes have been endorsed as an official forecast, so there is no need to worry, drop everything or make instant plans. Whatever happens is several days away and forecasts do change. They will change.

However, the outlooks should provoke people to begin becoming mindful of the steps they would need to make if a hurricane watch or warning is put in place.

Remember, only the National Hurricane Center issues watches and warnings. The center will begin to issue tropical storm watches and warnings once a tropical depression forms and it begins to issue official forecast tracks.

As of Friday, Aug. 22, a tropical depression was not likely to form until Sunday, Aug. 24, according to the National Hurricane Center.

But with a possible mid-week landfall looming, now would be the time to check and double-check your hurricane preparedness plans just in case.

Being safe and sorry is better than being in danger and sorry for doing nothing ahead of time.

National Hurricane Center watches, warnings timelines

A tropical storm warning is usually issued by the National Hurricane Center when a storm with sustained winds greater than 39 mph is expected to hit and area within 48 hours. The watch becomes a warning at 36 hours.

A hurricane watch is for a storm of greater than 74 mph and is issued 48 hours in advance. The watch also becomes a warning at 36 hours.

Be prepared, read Shore News Today’s Storm Ready Magazine

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2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season update

There is plenty of good news for coastal residents according the ClimatePredictionCenter’s new hurricane forecast.

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