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Fox News Weather Center

Coastal Storm May Threaten US East Coast; Ida Remains Over Open Atlantic

An area of low pressure off the Southeast coast continues to struggle to become a tropical or subtropical system, but may take a turn to the East Coast late this week.

JUMP TO: Tropical Storm Ida

"This system [identified as 96L by the National Hurricane Center] contains a copious amount of tropical moisture, some of which are the remnants of once Tropical Storm Grace," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

Rough surf and strong rip currents will be felt along the Atlantic Coast regardless as to whether this system develops into a tropical or subtropical cyclone.

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey, "An area of low pressure off the Southeast Coast has some disorganized convective activity associated with it and will be moving through an area of marginal development potential."

"Although this system does have a well-defined low-level circulation as of early Sunday morning, and ocean waters beneath are sufficient enough for tropical development, the wind shear and the development of thunderstorms will be the determining factor whether this system will develop into a depression or storm," stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Chyna Glenn.

There are two possible outcomes regarding the future track of this system.

One possibility is that the system will either stall across the Southeast coast or get drawn northeastward along a surface cold front moving through the eastern U.S.

The second possibility is that the system will split into two systems with one accelerating northeastward along the front and the other remaining stalled off the coast.

"If the system stalls, then seas could remain rough across the Southeast through much of the week," Sosnowski said.

A large dome of high pressure tracking across the Northeast through early next week could be the deciding factor as to where the system will track should a part of the system remain stalled off the coast.

If the high pressure system remains across the Northeast, the system would likely track off the U.S. coast. However, if the high builds over Atlantic Canada, it may steer the system westward or northwestward into or slightly closer to the U.S. coast by the end of the week.

"If that occurs, rain and stormy seas could reach the coastal areas anywhere from the Carolinas to the northeastern U.S. next week," Sosnowski said.

Conditions could also be favorable for tropical development. If it reaches a tropical storm, it would be given the name Joaquin.

A high pressure system over Atlantic Canada caused Superstorm Sandy to make a westward turn into the mid-Atlantic back in 2012.

"Low pressure systems riding boundaries off the East Coast can be very surprising; it only takes a good cluster of thunderstorm activity around the center of the low to allow a depression to form," Duffey added.

"Bathers and boaters enjoying the last few days of the official summer season will need to exercise caution and heed advisories as they are issued" Sosnowski added. "Many of the beaches will not have lifeguards on duty, since Labor Day has passed."

According to Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, "The combination of increasing winds and building seas will likely have an impact on cruise ships traveling from the East Coast ports to Bermuda and the Bahamas into midweek."

Anyone living along the East Coast should continue to monitor this system through the week.

Tropical Storm Ida

Ida, located about halfway between the Cape Verde Islands and the Lesser Antilles, continues to churn northwestward over the open waters.

"Ida is located well away from any strong steering features and should drift northwest over the next couple days, even looping back on itself at some point a few days out," Duffey said.

Ida will remain over the open waters of the Atlantic and fight moderate wind shear over the next several days. Ida is not expected to be a threat to any land.

As the first official day of autumn occurs this week, the Atlantic hurricane season continues through the end of November.

"The area from the western Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico to the western Atlantic will remain an area to watch for both tropical and non-tropical storm development, as well as potential impact to populated areas into October," Sosnowski said.

Stay tuned to AccuWeather for the latest updates on this coastal system, as well as all other tropical features in all basins.