THE START OF A BEAUTIFUL FRIENDSHIP?
It's Friday, it's September, and Ernesto comes ashore. The heavy rains to come for Virginia through Pennsylvania are going to be a welcome relief from a long dry August. In fact this will be just what the doctor ordered: a steady soaking rain that can be absorbed by the ground instead of a hard pounding rain that is more likely to run off and cause flooding. There will definitely be some areas that flood, as 4 or more inches of rain in the next 24 hours can overwhelm small creeks and inlets. Along and east of the I-95 corridor wind will hamper driving and possibly endanger elementary children getting off buses this afternoon. I am concerned about the conditions in Virginia, the WV panhandle, and Central/Eastern Maryland deteriorating as the day progresses. By 3:30-4:00 PM, when the little ones are disembarking at the bus stop, they are walking into 30 mph winds and squalls of heavy rain. For school officials it is another no-win scenario, because if they close early, parents may complain for lack of notice and having to leave work early. If schools do not close early and conditions are worse than expected, some parents may complain the school should have allowed more time to avoid the snarled traffic delays to come in this evenings wind-swept rush. You know us here in the Mid-Atlantic, we get upset if there's a thunderstorm. Unlike our colleagues in storm-hardened Florida, who only close schools in serious situations...like major big time storms. Except of course for Miami-Dade County. I heard they closed for Ernesto when he was only 40 mph. Maybe too many Mid-Atlantic transplants have moved down there and given them a yellow streak?
Other concerns surrounding Ernesto are the pressure-gradient enhanced winds, that will draw in lots of moisture from the Atlantic, as well as build tides in the Chesapeake and oceanfront areas to several feet above normal. What storm surge there is will be more in the form of these wind-driven higher tides as a southeasterly and easterly fetch will keep low tides higher, and you'll see the high tides much higher in the 6-12 hour period after the storm passes.
MEANWHILE...IN THE EASTERN ATLANTIC:
Several tropical waves are showing promise and it is now that ripe time of year for Cape Verde storms to start doing their thing. You can bet if anything develops out of these waves, the media hype will be as bad or worse, so here at Foot's Forecast I will strive to maintain a level head in keeping you informed about the tropics, and do a better job of making long range statements. Ernesto thankfully did not end up as the major hurricane I originally predicted, but the media hype sure did give the impression it was going to be.