Although Hurricane Bill is still a few days away from the closest point of approach to the U.S. mid-Atlantic and New England coasts, it is not too soon to think about possible U.S. impacts. Even if the core of the hurricane remains offshore the U.S. coast as the National Hurricane Center is currently forecasting, it appears likely that significant long period swells will impact portions of the U.S. east coast late this week into the weekend.
Hurricane Edouard in 1996 was the strongest hurricane of the 1996 Atlantic hurricane season. Like Bill, Edouard was a Cape Verde hurricane. Edouard was a major hurricane for nearly eight days, passed between Bermuda and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and then continued toward Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Bill is forecast to have a similar track although Bill will be moving much faster when it gets to the higher latitudes.
When hurricanes move just offshore the U.S. east coast, we often see some loss of life. Associated with Edouard in 1996, for example, one man died when his boat capsized in heavy surf south of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Another man drowned while surfing off the New Jersey coast.
Close attention should be paid to local forecasts for coastal areas as we get closer to the weekend. This is especially true for those in the mid-Atlantic and New England coastal areas.