Hello Leslie!

A tropical storm that’s forecasted to pass near Bermuda (as a hurricane) doesn’t really get a lot of attention. There’s good reason for that here in the New England because storms that pass near Bermuda rarely, if ever, impact us.

Leslie, however, will begin to get some attention in the weather hype circles as computer model silly season has begun. Here’s the 6z GFS which shows a stalled out Leslie (just southeast of Bermuda) rocketing northwest toward New England.

8/31 6Z GFS 192 hour forecast

While the synoptic pattern here is favorable for a New England hurricane hit (see here) the initial location of the storm makes this scenario exceedingly unlikely. Here is a plot of the 6 hurricanes that have brought hurricane conditions to Connecticut since 1938 (1938, 1944, Carol, Donna, Gloria, and Bob).

Tracks of 1938 hurricane, 1944 hurricane, Carol, Donna, Gloria, and Bob in white. NHC 5 day Leslie forecast in black.

I’ve also included the NHC’s 5 day Tropical Storm Leslie forecast as well. Notice the tight clustering of tracks for storms that have hit Connecticut? While Donna was the exception and a far southwest outlier the other storms follow a remarkably similar track northeast of the Bahamas, scraping the Outer Banks, and then straight into southern New England.

If the NHC’s 5 day forecast with Leslie is correct and the storm is as far north and east as it is by day 5 the odds of a direct hit are exceptionally low. It’s possible that Leslie is able to meander for long enough to make a close pass to the Cape and hit the Maritimes?

With tropical systems you can never say never. This is the track Hurricane Esther took in 1961.

Imagine the media circus and forecaster consternation that would surround Esther if it happened today? The thought makes me shiver.

While there’s a remote possibility of some Leslie impact down the road somewhere in the northeast or Canadian Maritimes this storm certainly isn’t going to keep me up at night. If I was a surfer, however, I’d think about a well timed vacation about 8 days from now.

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