Saturday, September 25, 2004

"FRANCES ZONE" IN THE BULLSEYE FOR GREATEST IMPACT

EXTENSIVE DEBRIS WILL CREATE A CATASTROPHIC MAELSTROM

LARGE AREA OF SOUTHEAST AND MID-ATLANTIC TO BE AFFECTED



See the previous post below for more details on the impact to schools and the Chesapeake Bay.

An explanation of the headlines above:

1. FRANCES ZONE: Jeanne is expected to become a major hurricane prior to landfall, as well as impact a wide swath of the eastern Florida coastline that encompasses all of the hard-hit areas from Charley and Frances. Areas in line for a prolonged period of tropical storm and hurricane force winds include the West Palm Beach to the Lake up to Orlando - over to Daytona - and south. Landfall is expected between, surprise... Fort Pierce and West Palm Beach.

Disneyworld will once again be severely impacted by this storm, with another round of considerable tree damage due to the heavy rains just days ago resulting from the remnants of Ivan that crossed the Peninsula. I expect the park to be closed later today, all day Sunday and Monday, re-opening Tuesday.

Aside from downed trees, the power grid problem will become almost unmanageable for a period. Crews trying to repair or rebuild power grids in neighborhoods will be hampered for several weeks not only by the downed lines, but the massive coverage of debris. It is hard to rebuild poles and lines when the area in which you need to work is blocked by a twisted,
mangled, dangerous pile of debris.

2. DANGEROUS, DEADLY DEBRIS. This is a situation probably no community has ever faced. There will be scores of towns coated with the debris of other towns. It becomes a real danger when you consider all the children who will be off school for another long period of time. Neither you nor I can imagine the overwhelming amount of storm debris still on the ground from Charley and Frances. The winds from both storms were not Category 3 when they reached this area, but this one probably will be. Now insert the children into this mess, who have a natural curiousity to want to wander into all of it. This will be an extremely tough time on all parents in Florida trying to keep their children safe from this nightmare.

For all the people who have worked to clean that mess, it is sad to say all that stuff will just get tossed around like toys, and combined with all the new massive debris resulting from this storm. This is going to forever alter the landscape and image of Florida in the public's mind. The state and the tourism will take years to recover.

3. INLAND AND UPLAND EFFECTS. Because Jeanne is moving faster than Frances, and going to turn north as the Accuweather graphic shows, the effects will be felt far up the coast and possibly into New England:

- Coastal Georgia and South Carolina will face 15-25' waves, strong onshore winds and tremendous beach erosion along with tornadoes, 4-6" of rain.

- North Carolina, hammered by the remnants of Ivan and Frances, and ripped by the tornadoes of Bonnie and Charley, will be another heavy dose of strong coastal winds, beach erosion and heavy surf. The rainfall threat will be present, as inland areas sometimes get more rain than the coast.

- Coastal Virginia and the Del-Mar-Va will get a near direct hit according to some computer models. Although Jeanne should be a depression by then, just ask the people of Richmond how deadly a seemingly harmless sounding tropical depression can be. Winds will start southeast on Monday, and then start backing east, then northeast on Tuesday. Tides will be aggravated by the backing winds. Western areas of the Bay will see tides 2-3 feet above normal.

- Delaware and New Jersey will be where the nor'easter aspect of the storm kicks in. Tropical storm force winds will rake those coasts for 12 hours or more as Jeanne approaches from the southwest.

- Coastal New York and New England will also see a strong easterly winds as the pressure gradient between the departing Low and the nearby high will enhance the wind.

THE UPWIND TORNADO THREAT CANNOT BE UNDERESTIMATED for all the areas mentioned above. Ivan spawned over 100 tornadoes in his wake, from eastern Florida to Connecticut. Even central and western Maryland were under persistent tornado watches and warnings for 6 hour period last week.

As of the 8AM advisory, max winds were still 105 mph but pressure has been steadily dropping. The eye is a large 40 nautical miles, which is more than 40 statute miles. If the eye begins to tighten, then the storm will intensify to Category 3 by late today. Landfall should be late tonight or early tomorrow morning.

Our deepest empathy and prayers go out to the families who face yet another test of their faith. It is said that God does not give you more than he knows you can handle, so it must be that the people of Florida have a faith stronger than ours!

To our family and friends in the Sunshine State... hang in there, this will all be over soon and the will shine on you once again.

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