Sunday, August 29, 2004


CHARLEY-ESQUE GASTON

FLOYD-LIKE FRANCES, MIMICKING ISABEL WITH A TOUCH OF HAZEL


How’s that for a meteorological poetic license?

The big concern with Gaston is that it will take a similar path as Charley, much a WHOLE LOT SLOWER. This means increased rain threat for southern Del-Mar-Va. I think the northern Bay is going to be fine with this, as you’ll be in the western quadrant of the storm’s remnants. Anywhere north of the 301 Bay Bridge..you’ll just see dark clouds moving along the horizon, and maybe a stray thunderstorm.

Southern Bay on down to Norfolk and beyond, you’ll see heavy tropical rains for a day or so, with amounts possibly up to 3 inches in some areas. The system will exit through Del-Mar-Va as a tropical depression.

If Gaston, Charley and Alex are any pattern indication, then what’s in store for us with Frances gives cause for concern. The now Category 4 Hurricane is projected to be in the central Bahamas by Friday morning. Which is where Floyd was before it’s dramatic curve to the north. I’m sure hurricane watches and possibly even warnings will be posted all along the Florida coast, but there are hints this may miss Florida (hopefully.) If the curve to the northwest begins by then, it will ride along the Florida coast, and take aim for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

See the NHC projected path as of Sunday morning:
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ftp/graphics/AT06/refresh/AL0604W5+GIF/291048W5.gif

The hurricane center is indicating that if the curve to the north starts sooner, say before it reaches the Bahamas, then I believe the likely landfall location is near Wilmington, NC. If the storm moves north from there...that path spells trouble for the Bay, for it would more closely resemble a Hazel-Isabel combination. Hazel was a Category 4, whereas Isabel was a weak Category 2, so combining them gives you an average Category 3.

Hurricane center forecasters see similarities to Isabel:

“FRANCES IS AN IMPRESSIVE LOOKING HURRICANE AND IF WE FAST-FORWARDED BACK TO LAST YEAR I WOULD THINK I WAS LOOKING AT ISABEL. INTENSITY ESTIMATES FOR FRANCES REMAIN NEAR 115 KT.” - NHC

Accuweather forecasters say:

“Frances is likely to hit the United States. The questions are becoming more where and when. Using pattern recognition, I think this should try to head for the Carolinas.” - Joe Bastardi

Starting Monday, if you live along or near the water anywhere from Myrtle Beach to Ocean City, MD including the entire Bay… you have 5-6 days to prepare. Let’s hope we are wrong about all this. The air force hurricane hunter aircraft will be investigating Frances today, so we'll have some live data to chew on by the 6 PM news.


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