Coastal storm to wash out Memorial Day plans in Carolinas, mid-Atlantic

A storm along the Atlantic coast pressing into the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic states into Memorial Day will threaten to spoil outdoor activities for millions as it unleashes heavy rain, gusty winds and a slew of coastal hazards. The storm still has a chance of becoming a tropical system before it moves over land, AccuWeather forecasters caution.

Everything from a day at the beach to barbecues, Memorial Day parades and auto races could be adversely affected by the storm's drenching rain and gusty winds.

Rain spread northwestward across the Carolinas and parts of Georgia and Virginia during the first part of the holiday weekend. The heaviest rain and strongest winds have occurred along the coast, but nasty conditions extended hundreds of miles inland to the southern Appalachians.

Gusts of 30-40 mph were fairly common across parts of the Carolinas this weekend, with the highest gust clocked at 53 miles per hour at Piney Island, North Carolina on Saturday. Even though winds will ease into early week, any additional strong wind gusts could still blow around any lightweight unsecured objects.


Because winds have blown from the ocean toward the coast for a long period of time, water has piled up in low-lying areas of the barrier islands and along the shorelines of the back bays. This has lead to minor coastal flooding during times of high tide. Wind gusts will ease into Memorial Day, which will bring an end to coastal flooding concerns.

The window for tropical development has now come to a close as the center of the storm has moved inland.

AccuWeather's RealVue™ Satellite image shows the coastal storm swirling off the Southeast coast on Saturday, May 27, 2023. (AccuWeather)

The Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway was postponed to Monday due to rain.

"However, showers might still lead to delays on Memorial Day," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski.

Weather conditions are likely to improve from south to north across the Southeast into Memorial Day.

Even as the heaviest rain and strongest winds ease into Monday, clouds and showers will linger in the Carolinas, and rain will continue to creep northward to portions of northern Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, southern New Jersey, the southern tier of Pennsylvania and southern Ohio.

June 1 marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, and there may be a broad area where tropical development could occur during early June from the Caribbean to the Bahamas.

A dip in the jet stream and a front will linger off the southeast coast of the U.S. later this week. This will lead to areas of downpours and thunderstorms. It is in this area where some tropical activity could develop in the long range.

The area from along the southeastern coast of the U.S. to the Caribbean has been highlighted by AccuWeather's long-range meteorologists as a zone to watch for both preseason and early-season development since the late winter and early spring.

The first named storm of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season will be called Arlene.

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