Tuesday, September 28, 2004

JEANNE STILL KEEN ON THE MID-ATLANTIC DESPITE COMPUTER MODELS

WEST VA, WESTERN MD, PA TO GET HAMMERED AS WILL THE BAY

RUMBLINGS OF WINTER PATTERN SWIRLING IN THE PACIFIC

First let me say this: Do not be fooled by the seemingly weak sounding label of "tropical depression." Moral of the story: Ask Richmond what one of those is like. Hence the photo I posted for today.

DESPITE THE WINDS AND HEAVY RAIN, YES FOR SCHOOL WEDNESDAY...
I doubt any Maryland schools will close or delay from this storm. However we may have some power and traffic problems Wednesday morning as stiff north winds blast the area behind Jeanne to the tune of 20-30 mph with gusts to 40 mph.

The remnants of Jeanne are supposed to speed up she heads northeast into the westerlies. However this has not happened yet. The radar clearly shows a decaying circulation center in far western North Carolina heading basically northeast. That track will take it to the west of Richmond but very close to DC and skirting south of Baltimore, possibly over Annapolis.

On Tuesday, the presence of a large high to the north will provide a strong pressure gradient, and moist onshore flow will result in 2-3 inches of rain for the I-95 corridor to Philly. Strong lines of thunderstorms will curl up the bay from south to north, along with southeast winds pushing tides 1-3 feet above normal. Coastal MD, VA, DE and NJ will get heavy surf from onshore gusts near tropical storm force. If Jeanne gets to the Atlantic intact, she may regain tropical storm status, but too late to affect the coast anymore than what is described above.

As for rain, the NWS rainfall projections have lessened somewhat for VA and MD, which is good news for Richmond. Western parts of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania (the "Ivan Zone") will probably get hammered again. In fact, I have a sneaky suspicion that due to the more inland track, areas from Pittsburgh over to Williamsport, like in Ivan, will get substantially more rain than is forecast. The reason is a stationary front ahead of Jeanne that will work in tandem with the high to pump in moisture. The enhancing upslope effect of the mountains exacerbates the rainfall. Bottom line: Tuesday will be a messy windy day for much of the Mid-Atlantic.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
I am pleased to say that once Jeanne is out of the picture, we may get some time off to recoup and allow Floridians an uninterrupted chance to put their lives back together. Lisa in the central Atlantic is moving away, and from here the hurricane season shifts to the Gulf of Mexico and southern Caribbean. And there are signs that show the Gulf coast states do not have the all clear yet.

There are rumblings in the Pacific that portend an interesting winter. Some El Nino patterns that began to appear in October 2002 (leading to the record-breaking snowy 2003 winter) are beginning to sparkle. I have been getting many inquiries about what the winter holds. So here is my early estimate for the Northeast I-95 corridor (Richmond to New YorK) which I will explain in more detail once I get some time later to do so:

OCTOBER: Warm to unseasonably warm the first 15 days. Northeast U.S. cities like DC-Baltimore-Philly might see a stretch of nice days in the 70's or 80's. Second 15 days will be a snapback, with much cooler weather. Finally, one of my rules of thumb: The weather on Halloween night determines what happens until Christmas. In 2003, it was near 70 on 10/31, and MD schools saw a snowday the first week of December.

NOVEMBER: If the late October cold snapback is not cold enough or long enough, November will mimic October, but in reverse. Cold to start, warm on Thanksgiving. Which takes us to...

DECEMBER: Based on the pattern, I think we will see a snowday before the 15th. If Golden October trys to hang on past the 15th, then we might see snow as early as Thanksgiving. This happened in 1989.. it was a cool, wet summer in the East, with a very warm fall to follow, followed by a massive arctic blast that sent the period 11/25 to 12/25 into one of the coldest early winter periods in record-keeping. I think the trend will be similar, with a cold start to the month, a brief warmup, then heading for the deep freeze by end of the month.

SNOWDAY FORECAST: For Baltimore, I am going to predict 5 snow days this year, with one of those before Christmas. As to whether we see another blizzard or major storm, that I can tell you around October 15 when we check the El Nino signals again in the Pacific.


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