Invest 99L was designated as Potential Tropical Cyclone Sixteen on Thursday morning. Follow our coverage of Potential Tropical Cyclone Sixteen here.
Forecasters will be keeping their eyes on Invest 99L to see if it develops into something tropical. However, regardless of whether this storm system gets named, impacts will be widely felt up and down the East Coast from Florida to Maine.
An "invest" is simply a naming convention used by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to identify areas that they are investigating for possible tropical development within the next week.
Invest 99L and the eventual coastal storm will initially be getting its energy from a stalled-out front that has been sparking numerous showers and thunderstorms across Florida all week. But when the low-pressure system starts to get its act together, it may be able to start to feed off the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
According to the FOX Forecast Center, because the system won’t be pulling all of its energy from the warm ocean water, it may not be upgraded to a tropical depression or tropical storm. Instead, the FOX Forecast Center says it may be declared a subtropical depression or storm.
If sustained winds reach at least 40 mph, it would become a subtropical storm and be named Ophelia.
Coastal storm to impact the Southeast with heavy rain, strong winds
"People need to not get hung up on the whole ‘does this get a name?’ thing," FOX Weather meteorologist Britta Merwin said. "Because the impact really does not change."
Power outages are also a concern due to the whipping winds that could bring down trees onto power lines.
Winds along the Southeast and mid-Atlantic coasts could gust to tropical storm force (39 mph or higher) as the system meanders northward.
The coastal storm has also prompted the National Weather Service to issue Gale Watches and Warnings up and down the East Coast.
Winds off the coast could gust to between 35 and 45 mph with waves that could reach between 8 and 14 feet.
"Mariners should alter plans to avoid these hazardous conditions," the NWS warned. "Remain in port, seek safe harbor, alter course and/or secure the vessel for severe conditions."
Several inches of rain could fall through the end of the weekend. Inland areas of the mid-Atlantic will likely see lesser amounts. However, as you get closer to the coast, totals will be much higher.
Between 3 and 5 inches of rain could fall from Wilmington, North Carolina, to the Delmarva Peninsula.
Northeast, New England braces for impact from weekend coastal storm
Anyone with outdoor plans this weekend in the Northeast and New England should consider bringing them indoors.
The coastal storm will slide up the East Coast starting Saturday, putting millions of people along the Interstate 95 corridor from the mid-Atlantic northward at risk of seeing the impacts from the system.
More heavy rain and strong winds are likely, raising the chances for coastal flooding, flash flooding and power outages.
Cities like Philadelphia, New York City, Providence in Rhode Island and Boston will likely see some heavy rain from the system.
And what New England doesn’t need is more rain. Places like Hartford, Connecticut, are seeing a surplus of nearly a foot of rain for what is average for this time of year.
So, with the already-saturated ground, there is a concern for flooding in those areas.
"Saturday looks to be probably the biggest impact day in terms of the strongest winds and probably the majority of the rain," Merwin said. "But, Sunday doesn’t look great either. I think Sunday we’re just kind of putting our foot off the gas pedal just a touch."
Coast areas of New England, like on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket in Massachusetts, could also see between 2 and 3 inches of rain.
"Saturday looks to be a big impact day, and we could see power outages," Merwin continued. "In the forecast, we have 40- to 50-mph winds. The soil is completely saturated, and we’re going to add a couple of inches on top of that."
The strong winds expected in the Northeast and New England could be strong enough to topple trees, so preparations should be made in case of power outages.