Warm Gulf Stream Temps Could Impact The Rest of the Winter! (credit: NWS Wilmington, North Carolina)
DISCUSSION: Earlier in the day on Monday, forecasters working at the National Weather Service office located in Wilmington, North Carolina created the graphic attached above. As you will note in the graphic above, there have been incredibly sea-surface temperatures paralleling along the East Coast of the United States. As the 2016-2017 Winter season continues, this could make for some potentially interesting forecast scenarios depending on how the rest of the Winter season evolves. To be more specific, as low pressure systems occasionally develop along or near the Gulf Coast or East Coast of the United States, they will occasionally move up the East Coast.
As these systems track along or close to the East Coast of the United States, under the right circumstances, they can sometimes deepen just offshore into what are referred to as Nor'easters. Moreover, the strongest Nor'easters often develop as a result of there being a stronger baroclinic zone (which is a straight-line distance over which there is a horizontal temperature gradient). Thus, with the warmer sea-surface temperatures associated with the Gulf Stream just offshore from the East Coast of the United States, this makes for a much more interesting situation as we move through the rest of this current Winter season. It is also worth noting that this is the warmest mid-February water temp since at least the year 2004 in Wrightsville Beach, NC. Frying Pan Shoals buoy water temp is in the top 10% of all mid-February observations. Sufficed to say that these are particularly warm sea-surface temperatures just offshore from the coastline of North Carolina and other surrounding states.
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz