Sub Tropical Storm Olga, a rare December cyclone with sustained 40 mph winds, killed at least four people in mudslides and flooding in the Dominican Republic, and is now approaching Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
It could bring life-threatening flash floods and mudslides to Haiti, as well as drenching rain to parts of the southeastern Bahamas and eastern Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Forecasters in the United States, however, say the storm could combine with the low pressure system developing over the Southern part of the country to produce the first powerful noreaster of the season.
But first, the deadly ice storms that paralyzed parts of the Midwest are continuing east, where one related storm will produce a wintry mix over a band stretching across the Mid-Atlantic and southern New England Thursday, according to AccuWeather.com, with heavy snow to the north and rain to the south. As much as six to 10 inches of snow are expected in a wide band between the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania and the Berkshires in Massachusetts, according to Tom Kines, an AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist.
A second storm will move in Saturday and Sunday, with the potential for much more snow more than a foot across a large swath of the Mid Atlantic and Northeast. It is this storm that will feed off of the warm moist air created by Sub Tropical Storm Olga.
Olga is already an unusual storm, coming in December. While not unprecedented, it's not usual for a tropical storm to form so late in the year, and then feed into a noreaster that socks the Northeastern United States with snow. Some have suggested that the unusual length of the hurricane season, from May to December, rather than June to November, raises questions about the influence of global warming on the length of the Atlantic hurricane season.
"This storm is a stronger storm than the first one, and it's going to be able to pull some of the moisture from Olga, which will be down probably in western end of Cuba near Yucatan... It's feeding into the storm. The storm's going to pull it northward," Kines said.
"Even without Olga there would be a storm this weekend," he added. "Yes, Olga is going to help with the moisture of the storm, especially across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Farther north, it's a question mark. Farther north you don't need Olga's moisture to get a snow event."
Olga's moisture will not influence snow totals in the Northeast, but it will contribute to heavy rains and thunderstorms across parts of the Southeast. That will be welcome rain if it materializes, given the record drought plaguing the region.
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