Odette bringing rough surf and rip currents to East Coast

·5 min read

After Hurricane Nicholas impacted the Gulf Coast, Tropical Storm Odette formed in the Atlantic Ocean, just off the mid-Atlantic coast. Fortunately, its impacts will be minimal, however, dangerous rip currents and rough surf are a concern across much of the East Coast, and high winds can be a threat for Atlantic Canada.

On Friday afternoon, an area AccuWeather forecasters had been diligently monitoring for tropical development as the entity strengthened into a tropical storm, the 15th of the season, named Odette.

As of 4 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Odette was about 295 miles east-southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, packing sustained winds of 45 mph and moving to the east-northeast at 18 mph. Odette will continue to move quickly through Sunday as is moves east near the coast of Atlantic Canada into early week.

"Tropical Storm Odette is expected to live a short and relatively inconsequential life off the East coast of the United States this weekend," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham.

Forecasters anticipate Odette will lose tropical characteristics on Saturday night, becoming a rainstorm as it passes to the southeast of Atlantic Canada. It could even be absorbed into a larger storm early this upcoming week.

"Odette remains displaced from the strong storms associated with it," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Thomas Geiger, explaining that the low-level center is completely exposed while west-southwesterly winds have pushed the rain and thunder over 100 miles to the east.

It will likely remain far enough offshore to keep high winds and heavy rain from impacting the United States, but it can influence the seas instead.

"Although the impacts will be minor overall, one potentially dangerous threat from the storm will come in the form of rough surf and rip currents along the mid-Atlantic and Northeast coastline," said Buckingham.

Swells generated by Odette are affecting portions of the United States mid-Atlantic coast and are expected to spread northward to portions of the U.S. Northeast and Atlantic Canada coasts during the weekend, according to the NHC.

Swells like these can be dangerous, causing life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Beachgoers are recommended to use caution and listen to all local officials on the conditions of the ocean.

"With a dry and mild forecast in store for places like Atlantic City, New Jersey, and across Long Island, many may be considering one last trip to the beach before the end of the mild weather," Buckingham said. Unfortunately, some National Weather Service (NWS) offices are even discouraging entering the surf at all. It is important to check any posted flags at the beaches warning swimmers of water conditions, and if possible, to swim near a lifeguard tower.

Rip current statements and small craft advisories stretched from coastal Massachusetts, to the Outer Banks, North Carolina, as of Saturday night, generally in effect through Sunday evening. Rip currents can sweep even the best swimmers away from shore into deeper waters, according the rip current statement issued by the NWS office of Mount Holly, New Jersey.

If caught in a rip current, experts recommend relaxing, floating and not swimming against the current. Swimmers caught in rip currents are instructed to swim parallel to the shoreline and call for help.

Farther north, Odette has the potential to bring rain and wind to an area that has already had enough lately.

"Impacts in the form of rain and gusty winds will likely brush by Atlantic Canada during the day on Sunday, which may bring disruptions to any cleanup efforts in the wake of Hurricane Larry," said Buckingham. Odette's effects are forecast to be short-lived there as well, and conditions will quickly improve by Monday.

Rainfall from Odette is expected across areas of eastern Newfoundland Sunday and Monday as the storm moves swiftly to the northeast. Generally, 1 to 2 inches (25 to 50 mm) of rainfall is expected, but areas closest to the coast, including St. Johns, Newfoundland, could see 2 to 4 inches (50 to 100 mm) of rain with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 6 inches (150mm).

As Odette brushes close to the eastern coast of Newfoundland Sunday and Monday, wind gusts of 40-60 mph (60-100 km/h) with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 70 mph (115 km/h) is possible along the immediate coast.

Overall, Odette will bring some impacts to eastern Newfoundland putting a damper on cleanup efforts from Hurricane Larry. Heavy downpours could bring areas of flash flooding. Gusty winds could become locally damaging with power outages and coastal flooding also possible. The AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes will be less than one for the region.

With Odette being the 15th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, this year is running at a pace well above average, though this time last year the 2020 season was already reaching the Greek letters.

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"As of Sept. 18 last year the NHC had already broken into the Greek alphabet naming Beta on that day making it the 23rd named storm that year," said Geiger.

Already there's more potential development on the horizon. A tropical wave in the Atlantic to the east of the Lesser Antilles has been designated as Tropical Depression 16 by the NHC, and there's another area of interest near the Cabo Verde Islands after a tropical wave pushed offshore of Africa.

AccuWeather forecasters predict there can be 20-25 named tropical storms total with as many as 10 hurricanes and five to seven major hurricanes in 2021. Should the season run out of the designated 21 names for 2021, a secondary list of names has been prepared by the World Meteorological Organization and will replace the Greek alphabet for use as supplemental names.

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