Friday, September 24, 2004

ROUND FOUR (five) IN FLORIDA THIS WEEKEND MAY DELIVER K.O. PUNCH

JEANNE PLANNING AN I-95 SPECIAL FOR EARLY NEXT WEEK

SCHOOL IN BALTIMORE-DC, DELMARVA, SOUTH VA IS IFFY FOR TUESDAY



I am working on a post later this evening to explain the headlines. But here is a preview:

SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN JEANNE AND FRANCES

1. This storm is similar in that she will rake the Florida East Coast with hurricane force winds, 20-30' waves and a 5-10' surge for 12-24 hours. In fact, one of the sad parts of this endless tale is that Big J will make landfall in the same area Frances did... between Fort Pierce and Cape Canaveral.

2. This storm will be different from Frances in that she turns north and hugs the coast, hitting all the major tourist attractions on her way up... from Kennedy Space Center, to St. Augustine, to Jacksonsville, Savannah, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Wilmington and on and on. This is due to her track that will travel around the edge of a big high as it edges southeastward.

3. This storm will be worse because she is not projected to slow down and weaken, but speed up and strengthen, possibly reaching the cusp of Category 3 right before landfall. And obviously everything else will be much worse because the same areas are getting pummeled again. Emergency services are strained, hotels have not recovered, the beaches are eroded, many schools just opened on Monday the 20th after cleaning up from Frances. You get the idea, it will be real, real bad.

WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL AND THIS I-95 SPECIAL?

Many computer models, like the graphic you see above, indicate that Jeanne will probably hug the coast all the way to New Jersey and perhaps beyond. Reading the wind chart reveals 35-45 mph sustained winds over the DC-Baltimore metro area daytime on Tuesday. That warrants a tropical storm warning, which if issued Monday night for the Chesapeake Bay, means:

No school on Tuesday for ALL counties bordering the Chesapeake from Norfolk to Richmond...all of the Del-Mar-Va...up to DC, Baltimore and to the PA border.

If Jeanne tracks any closer to the coast that forecasted, school on Tuesday is all but gone. A track farther east obviously eliminates the threat to the Richmond-DC-Baltimore metro areas.

The reason school is at risk is due to sustained inland winds near tropical storm force (30-40 mph) pose a hazard to buses, as well as children waiting for buses because wind gusts can down trees and power lines. That is a risk county school officials will not take, unless they underestimate the storm.

No comments: