An area of showers and thunderstorms near the Bahamas has the potential to develop into a tropical system and impact part of the East Coast of the United States during Memorial Day weekend.
Beach, fishing and cruise interests along the mid-Atlantic and southern Atlantic Seaboard may want to monitor the track and strength of the system.
"We expect the system to track slowly toward the northwest through the weekend and end up near the South Carolina or North Carolina coast by Memorial Day," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
Winds aloft have strengthened near the disturbed area. The strong upper-level winds and marginally warm water would allow only slow to no development in the short term, Kottlowski said.
"As the system moves away from the strong winds aloft and toward warmer waters of the Gulf Stream, strengthening and organization into a tropical or sub-tropical (hybrid) system could occur," Kottlowski said.
Regardless of a tropical, hybrid or non-tropical system and the movement thereof, the setup will have an effect on coastal areas, especially from northeastern Florida to North Carolina beginning this weekend. This will be the case even if the system remains offshore.
At this time, the biggest threats will be to bathers and boaters in the region.
The latter part of this week and first part of the holiday weekend will bring the best weather for bathing, sunning and boating along the southeastern U.S. Atlantic beaches.
As the weekend progresses, a breeze will develop and waves will build. The increasing wave action will cause the number and strength of rip currents to increase.
"How rough conditions get will depend on how strong the system becomes and how close to the coast it gets," Kottlowski said.
In addition, showers and thunderstorms will develop over the southeastern U.S. as the holiday weekend progresses and into next week.
The extent of heavy rainfall and track of the system are uncertain during next week.
It is possible locally heavy rain develops within a few dozen miles of the coast, even if the system remains weak and/or stays just offshore.
Should the system strengthen then move onshore, there is the possibility of heavy rain spreading well inland.
On the other hand, heavy rain and increasing winds, surf and seas would spread into the Northeast if the system approaches the coast then turns northward.
If the system stalls near or just offshore, an extended period of rough surf, downpours and beach erosion could occur.
The system would be named Bonnie if it strengthens into a tropical storm, since Alex was the first official tropical storm and hurricane of 2016. Alex formed over the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on Jan. 13, became a hurricane on Jan. 14 and dissipated on Jan. 15. Alex was the first January hurricane to occur in the Atlantic since 1955.
AccuWeather is projecting an above-average number of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic basin this season.