BOSTON (CBS) — While Tropical Storm Harvey continues to batter Texas and Louisiana, it is hard to believe, but the atmosphere has the energy to develop another tropical system just a few hundred miles away.
Right now, a disturbance swirling off the South Carolina Coast is organizing and will likely become Tropical Storm Irma by Tuesday morning. Irma will pale in comparison to Harvey in size and effects on the U.S.–however, it does bear watching as it strengthens and begins to accelerate off to the north and east in the next few days.
The current projected track brings the center of Irma just a few hundred miles southeast of Cape Cod and the Islands Wednesday morning. While there is some room for slight track adjustment, rest assured Irma will not make any dramatic left-hand turns and head for Southern New England. Therefore, effects from Irma will be more of a “glancing blow” or “fringe” and mainly be focused over Southeastern Massachusetts, especially Cape Cod and the Islands.
Tuesday: High clouds stream in from the south, well in advance of Irma’s closest pass. Clouds thicken during the day and temps remain cooler than normal due to the lack of sunshine. Winds remain light and seas relatively calm.
Wednesday: Irma makes its closest pass Wednesday morning, likely about 200 miles southeast of Nantucket. Most of Southern New England is well within the cloud shield. Some of the outermost rain bands may reach as far back as the Outer Cape and Nantucket, however rain totals should remain fairly low. East-northeast winds will peak in the morning, then shift to north-northwest by evening on Wednesday. Seas will be very rough and the rip current risk will be very high. Wednesday will be a cool day with highs only in the 60s.
Thursday: Irma is long gone, zipping east of Nova Scotia. Seas will slowly calm down and winds will be light. The sunshine returns and temperatures actually spike into the 80s!
Nantucket and the Outer Cape have the greatest potential for significant wind gusts from Irma. Easterly winds 35-45mph are possible in those locations in far Southeastern Massachusetts on Wednesday.
Gusts of 25-35 mph are possible farther west near the Canal and along the South Coast and South Shore.
Little if any wind damage is expected.
Waters southeast of Nantucket will build quickly Wednesday with 10-15 foot swells. Closer to the Coastline, along the beaches of Nantucket and the Outer Cape, 5-10-foot waves are possible. Significant rip current risk Wednesday. Tides are not astronomically high, so no coastal flooding expected.
As always, stay tuned to CBSBoston.com and WBZ-TV for updated forecasts on Irma.
You can follow Terry on Twitter at @TerryWBZ