Thursday, September 4, 2008


NHC Hanna 5


NWS Advisory Map 9-4-08

The media continues to do the same disservice to you as they did in Hurricane Isabel. I have not seen an adequate explanation yet on what a Tropical Storm Watch/Warning means, other than the official NWS statements. Television meteorologists in the Washington/Baltimore area need to make clear that this is not "just a tropical storm." The public needs to understand that sustained winds of 40 to 50 mph are not something to be brushed off. The last time the Baltimore Metro area was in a tropical storm advisory, many schools were closed 3 days or more. Some people were without power for over a week. Are you ready for that again?

Now that the NHC track and intensity forecast is matching what I've been saying all week, on Saturday the entire Chesapeake Bay region including Baltimore and Washington will experience sustained winds up to tropical storm force (40 mph) for at least six hours, with occasional storm force gusts (near 60 mph). Tornado watches and warnings will be widespread. Plan now to make Saturday a day to remain indoors, and do not let your children wander outside. This will be a fast moving and deceivingly dangerous storm not to be underestimated. Follow this link to view the NHC's current projected path for Hanna this weekend.

WIND IMPACTS: By midnight Friday into Saturday, tropical storm force winds will extend out from the center at 300 miles or more. That means by sunrise winds reaching 40mph will reach Washington, Baltimore, and the entire DelMarVa peninsula. Southeastern Pennsylvania and central/southern New Jersey will see those winds by Saturday mid-morning. Surface winds combined with the storm's accelerating forward speed of 25 mph or greater could produce gale to storm force wind gusts (39 to 63 mph) along the I-95 corridor from Richmond to Boston on Saturday. Numerous tornadoes will occur within embedded rain bands that spiral in from the ocean, and total storm rainfall may exceed 4" but just over a 6 hour period. Divorce yourself right now from the thought that, "Oh, she's going to miss us to the east."

BASICS ON IMPACTS AND PREPARATION.. check back for additions later today.
1. A hurricane watch has been hoisted for portions of the Carolinas. As I suspected, Tropical Storm watches have been extended this evening to include the entire Chesapeake Bay. NWS Baltimore is calling for a 2-4 foot storm surge along the western shore.
2. Sustained winds to 40 mph and occasional gusts above 60 mph for at least 4 hours will down many trees and create hundreds of thousands of power outages throughout the coastal Mid-Atlantic. That includes the Washington and Baltimore metro areas along and east of U.S. Route 1.
3. If you live in an area prone to power outages or small stream flooding, start your preparations now. Though the ground is dry and will soak much of the 3-6" of rain, heavy downpours will create flash flooding along easily flooded areas. Overall, the farther south or east in MD or VA you are, the more direct effects you will experience, and the greater wind/rain damage is possible.
4. Where will your car be parked this weekend? Not under lots of trees, branches or neighborhood power lines I hope. Move it into an open area if possible. Your insurance company will thank you.
5. Teachers, administrators, coaches: If this storm resembles Isabel's impacts, then it becomes more likely that disruptions to the school calendar occur for the early part of next week. For example, in Isabel, Hereford High School in northern Baltimore County was out of commission longer than the county system itself due to an overwhelming number of downed trees. That was well over 100 miles from the actual center of the storm. If Hanna intensifies suddenly prior to landfall, the "weakening trend" will be masked by her fast forward motion, hence a greater potential for wind damage, even though landfall wind speeds will be weaker than Isabel. If you are inside the "cone of uncertainty" on this map, I would plan on taking extra work home this weekend. Interscholastic sports on Saturday is a washout, and expect many community events to be canceled or rescheduled.

LET THERE BE NO DECEPTION ABOUT THE PHRASE "MINIMAL HURRICANE." Ask the residents of South Florida how they felt about minimal Hurricane Katrina when she made her first landfall there before becoming the Louisiana Lasher. I personally have been in two "minimal hurricanes" over the past 25 years, regarding wind speeds at my location. Gloria in September 1985 followed a similar path as is projected for Hanna though farther offshore and produced sustained 70 mph northwest winds in the northern Bay for hours. Gloria was not minimal in any way, making landfall in Long Island with winds of 110 mph. In September 1999, residents from North Carolina to New Jersey will never forget Hurricane Floyd. I can recall like it was yesterday the mad scramble some Pennsylvania school districts went through when students were sent home at the height of the storm. All this from a minimal hurricane that tracked across the DelMarVa, a good 180 miles from Philly. In suburban Philly, we had sustained 50mph winds with gusts to 70 mph for at least six hours and stinging rain blown sideways all day long. In North Carolina is was one of the most destructive storms on record there in terms of catastrophic flooding. In less than 2 weeks, we will be marking the 5th anniversary of the Potomac Prowler.. Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isabel. Memories of that horrible experience alone should make any coastal resident take this storm seriously. Isabel will be the closest comparision to Hanna in terms of the inland wind field, but thankfully not in terms of the massive flooding along the Chesapeake Bay.

Wednesday evening's map from (uses same info as NHC)

StormPulse Hanna 1

NHC Projected path as of Wednesday evening

NHC Hanna 3


Anonymous said...

Here we go!! Sounds like an exciting weekend, better start up that generator to make sure it is working.

Foot's Forecast said...

Hey all,

Forgot to mention that if you post using the anonymous feature, it helps to include your town and city. Then I know where to monitor for storm impacts and can answer questions more efficiently.

For old time posters.. I KNOW where YOU live!

Dundalk, MD

Anonymous said...

well this is really shaping up. Could be an interesting weekend. No soccer opening day.....could schools really be affected next week? Should be clear by Sunday for the Ravens game unless power is out. Bring it on!

Hydes, MD

terpguy said...


"For my Baltimore County colleagues..."???

You mean that teachers in BC can finally get you site in a classroom???


Anonymous said...

Not a BC teacher, but private school in BC. I'm betting on Monday closures due to power outages across BC, HC and AAC

Foot's Forecast said...

Let me rephrase that Dr. Terp:

"for my Baltimore County public and private school colleagues, as well as those enjoying extended sabbaticals..."

Yes the site was changed to and as for the reasons why...we'll just leave it at that.

I see that Hurr watches have extended up the coastline. Based on that track I expect by the 5PM advisory that TS watches will go up the bay to Cecil County due to the large wind field

Mr. Brisko said...

Mr. Foot what do you expect up my way. I am seeing heavy rain 2-5" and breezy winds on the back side.

Anonymous said...

"For old time posters.. I KNOW where YOU live!"

YIKES!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Hello. Do you expect schools to be possibly cancelled/delayed in Anne Arundel County?

Matt. Pasadena, MD.

Foot's Forecast said...

Mr. B, honestly both of us might see the same amount of rain, due to orographics. If those bands get up your way, lifting is going to squeeze every last drop out. And with influence from the frontal boundary, I can see you getting a healthy dump of rain.

Matt in Pasadena. It seems that every time there is a thunderstorm, AA is closed for power outages! But seriously, your county being so much closer to the storm will risk much higher winds and heavier rain.

Knock down a couple thousand trees all in the space of 4 hours and yeah there are going to be huge problems to cleanup on Sunday.

Can crews get it all done in 24 hours even by working around the clock. Doubtful.

I see many schools closed or delayed Monday, and that might seem an outlandish call.. but this tech storm is going to hit like a ton of bricks, so tomorrow is the day to prepare.

A word to school tech folk.. I would DEFINITELY unplug the computers when leaving Friday!! Power surges.. you know how that goes.

Anonymous said...

with hanna coming and ike right behind this could be some week ahead. what are the chances ike follows close to the same track but hits as a cat 4. that would be a hurricane in maryland. yeah no school. is their any channce that rain cancels my soccer game tomorow at 5

mr foot are you going to do your formal school predictions like for winter storms

Foot's Forecast said...

Soccer dude in reisterstown:

Your game is on tomorrow no problem. But no practice Saturday.

See latest post regarding school.
Good luck and stay safe.