Sunday, October 31, 2004

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I'M DREAMING OF A WARM HALLOWEEN... BECAUSE
WHAT HAPPENS IN DECEMBER, WINTER WILL REMEMBER.



80 DEGREES AMONG THE PUMPKINS OF MY BACKYARD IN DUNDALK THIS AFTERNOON. That is a wonderfully good sign for all you powderhounds out there. Don't get spooked by the nice weather, because it means winter will creep up on us ever so slowly. And then one fine morning in early December, you will open your window to a frightfully white sight of snow, snow, snow.

It means that the pattern will get throw out of whack for November, leading to a Thanksgiving repeat of the Halloween warmth, which in turn produces below normal temperatures for early December. Throw in some Gulf and Pacific moisture courtesy of our weak El Nino, and presto! Instant snow day the first week of December.

So enjoy the sunshine and blue skies, it's a sign that good days are ahead, that is if you like snow.

Monday, October 18, 2004

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PACIFIC WATERS SIGNAL A SNOWY WINTER AHEAD FOR THE NORTHEAST

With the tropics quiet for a moment, it is time to release the official Foot's Forecast for Winter 2004-05. (Drum roll please....)

The map below is the basis of this forecast. What you are looking at is the departure from normal sea surface temperatures (SST) across the world. This is available on a daily basis from the link to the left, and it is one of the best indicators of what is to come for the winter, based on past trends. This map is produced by the U.S. Navy.



While it might seem to a casual observer a bit of a stretch to base an entire winter forecast on the ocean water temperature map of one particular day, let me give you some reasons why it is possible:

1. It takes a long time for the ocean to change temperature patterns, thus SST signals are like the performance of the stock market. Both are strong indicators of what is likely to happen down the road 4 to 6 months from now. I am confident with this forecast because the SST signals this October are much warmer than they were in October 2002, which led to the record-breaking snowy winter of 02-03, culminating with the February 2003 Blizzard on the East Coast.

2. Historical trends show that when the United States observed a cooler than normal summer with above normal hurricane activity, the result was the East Coast recorded a cooler than normal winter with above normal snowfall. The other strong predictor was the state of SST's off the West Mexican Coast and into the central Pacfic in mid-October. In more than 30 years of record-keeping, those signals led to a snowier winter for the East coast.

THE CURRENT WINTER TEMPERATURE AND SNOW FORECAST FOR NOV-MAR
(Snow days refers to a snowfall of 5" or greater that closes Baltimore Metro region schools.)

Overall predictions: 6 snow days, accumulation total at BWI airport: 35" for the season.
60% or greater likelihood of a major snowfall exceeding 12" at least once during the season
80% or greater likelihood of a medium snowfall exceeding 6" at least twice during the season.

Rest of October: Overall normal to above normal temperatures

November: Cold to start, then warmer toward the end.
First hint of snow or flurries around the 15th.

December: Very cold early, then a stretch of mild weather from mid-month until early Jan.
Snow days: 1 within the first 10 days of the month.

January: Mild early, then a snapback to cold from mid-month to the end.
Snow days: 2 during the second half of the month.

February: Cold to start, then mild in the middle, then cold towards the end.
Snow days: 1 early in the month, 2 late in the month

March: The last occurence of accumulating snowfall no later than the 10th.

So now the fun begins as we get to tick off the days as winter approaches, and see how close the forecast will verify. I'm sure more than a few of you will keep me honest in this process.


Wednesday, October 13, 2004

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SLOPPY AND STORMY END OF THE WEEK FOR THE NORTHEAST

Coming almost 50 years to the day of Hazel's arrival on Oct 17, 1954 will be two impressive semi-tropical systems riding first over the Mid-Atlantic and then up the Eastern seaboard for most of the weekend, starting Wednesday evening. Those teachers planning to attend the State Teacher's Convention in Ocean City will find themselves in an ocean of rain. Everyone else will have to postpone that hayride or pumpkin patch trip.

The purples and blues indicate 1/2 to 1 inch of rain just for the 6 hour time period of this map from Friday night to Saturday morning.




The Mid-Atlantic is also going to get hammered Wednesday night into Thursday night by the development of thunderstorm lines downwind from the main storm out in the Ohio Valley. This system is the remnants of Matthew, which like many downgraded tropical depressions this year, has held together surprisingly well and continues to drench the Missouri-Indiana area with heavy rain.

A line of strong thunderstorms is developing in the Shenandoah Valley, and should roll towards the I-95 corridor by this evening, moving southwest to northeast. The interaction of the very moist air and very dry air will create some terrific storms, which will seemingly pop out of nowhere. The resulting southwest flow will pump moist air into the Alex and Gaston Zone, allowing our hybrid Hazel system to develop Thursday into Friday and then steer north toward the Mid-Atlantic. Overall, it may appear that the rain began Wednesday, and didn't stop until Saturday night, but it will be two distinct storms over that period.

So take heart in this... Were the storm occuring in winter, and just a few more miles offshore, we all would have had two or three feet of snow when it was all done. Perhaps that an indication of what's in store this winter?

Sunday, October 10, 2004

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BEWARE THE OCTOBER SURPRISE



As the satellite photo above indicates, the tropics remain busy. This is a month of contrasts across the country weather-wise, as we have snow, tropical systems, and hot conditions all at the same time in different parts of North America.

This is also the month for the October Surprise. Not the sudden capture of Osama shortly before election day, although that would be a welcome relief, but rather those pesky little systems that blow up out of nowhere and catch even the seasoned NHC off guard. Cases in point include "subtropical storm Nicole" whatever that is, and Tropical Storm Matthew. That storm should not have been a surprise to any forecaster who has internet access and looks at satellite imagery. Anyone with eyes could have seen the building system in the SW Gulf.

So we have to remain suspect of any disturbed looking weather because unless a recon aircraft gets in there, you could have a tropical storm hiding in the clouds, and we wouldn't know it until official observations came back to verify, as was the case with Matthew.

Subtropical Storm Nicole is looking to slam Newfoundland with perhaps 50-60 mph gales and a storm surge of several feet. As you can see from the satellite, a lot of tropical moisture is waiting out there to go somewhere, and north is the place it is headed.

The area of disturbed weather at the bottom of a frontal boundary across Florida is looking to lurch into the "Alex and Gaston Zone." This is that region off the GA/SC coast where these two storms were turned into overnight disasters by the Gulf Stream. In both cases, the actual strength of the storm far surpassed that which was officially forecasted.

October 17 is the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Hazel, which ought to bring back a few memories for some. I will do an analysis piece later this week on why I am concerned about another surprise later this week as this new disturbance mentioned above reaches the "AG Zone." Upper air patterns are eerily similar to that of October 1954, which I will show you in a graphic later this week. This is the time of year that tropical systems can more readily morph into hybrid nor-easters due to the larger differences between cold and warm present in the atmosphere as we head toward winter. That's why Hazel could do so much inland damage late in the season back then.

So we cannot write off Florida as being in the clear from another strike (from the west), nor can we say the East Coast is going to escape without major impact. I think October still has a number of surprises left to show us.



Friday, October 8, 2004

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LIGHTNING MAY NOT STRIKE THE SAME PLACE TWICE...
BUT APPARENTLY HURRICANES DO.

Tropical Storm / Depression Matthew is not going to become a hurricane, but it portends trouble down the road as the Gulf is becoming active and the waters remain warm.

Rainfall from this system surpassed 6 inches in many parts of Louisiana, and the Florida panhandle also got heavy rain and thunderstorms, which does not help much for those trying to clean up.

Here's a perspective... Escambia County Schools of the Pensacola area are scheduled to reopen on Monday, October 11 after almost a month of being closed due to Ivan. That means no Fall Break, little or no Christmas or Easter Break, and possibly extended school days. It's a good thing they don't have to deal with snowstorms, or they would never be able to finish the school year.


Monday, October 4, 2004

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TROUBLE BREWING IN THE GULF...TEXAS/LA COAST TO GET FLOODING RAIN

The satellite image shown below is a growing tropical wave that is showing signs of developing.
It may not get named before it reaches the northern Gulf coast, and drench the area from eastern Texas to central Louisiana with several inches of rain and 25-35 mph winds.

That would seem to qualify as a tropical depression, but the NHC does not see evidence of a circulation or a deep enough pressure to classify it yet.

Beware the ghost of Opal, which in 1995 started out in the same area as a weak storm, and literally overnight did a Charley....in this case going from a weak Category 1 to a strong 3 in the space of 6 hours, catching many in the Appalachiacola area by total surprise. October is the time of year for rapid development in the Gulf since water temperatures are now at their warmest of the entire season.

Otherwise the tropical Atlantic is quiet, only a few minor waves floating here and there.

May see the first frost of the season in PA and northern MD Tuesday or Wednesday morning. Overall, October is expected to remain above normal in temperatures, which portends good things for the powderhounds.


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

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AT LAST... IT IS QUIET IN THE WESTERN ATLANTIC FOR NOW



The only area of concern the next 7 days will be that tropical wave at the bottom of the map, as it moves northwest in the Caribbean toward the Yucatan. The swirl in the top right corner is Lisa, moving north and no threat to land. Jeanne is extratropical and spiraling off the New England coast... NOT where the computer models had her going originally.

So it will be nice and quiet for most of the nation over the next week, which is small consolation to the people in Florida who've had their lives smashed apart, but at least no storms.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

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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.


Monday, September 27, 2004

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TROPICAL DEPRESSIONS CAN BRING A HEAVY DOSE OF SURPRISES

One of many photos from T.D. Gaston that drenched Richmond with 11 inches of rain in 5 hours on August 30. We are not likely to see this repeat performance, but it is a reminder that tropical systems can do unbelieveable things even when far inland.


Saturday, September 25, 2004

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JEANNE MAKES FOR A NIGHTMARISH NIGHT ALONG FLORIDA EAST COAST
AND A DAYMARE IS WAITING AT SUNRISE

MID-ATLANTIC IS WARNED NOT TO UNDERESTIMATE STORM IMPACTS

IVAN HAS NOT DIED EVEN THOUGH THE NWS WANTS YOU TO THINK HE HAS.



As I write this, the outer bands of damaging winds and heavy rain have come onshore in the Frances zone. Thank you to the reader in Polk County, FL for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us just before the storm. I can sense your frayed nerves through the writing, and I am eager for this to be over for you, as I'm sure you are too.

Let me do a quick roundup of the storm situation as it stands for the next 4-5 days. Please read the posts below outlining more details about impacts up the East Coast. If you are a reader in Florida or a storm affected area, in no way do I attempt to use what I write here as a way of hyping the weather. I try to be realistic and pragmatic in what I provide to readers based on my life experience tracking storms.

IMPACTS FOR FLORIDA

1. Catastrophic damage will be observed along the Space Coast and inland to Orlando. Due to Jeanne's faster forward motion than Frances, sustained hurricane force winds will reach Orange County. The NHC expects winds in excess of 75 mph to spread as much as 100 miles inland. As the Polk County reader said in the comments, all the debris from the previous storms have become missiles by the time you read this.

2. Due to the reduced evacuation response from residents, there is potential for a higher loss of life during the storm, and even more following due to the unprecedented amount of debris.

3. Homes that lost their roofs or parts of them in Frances will be partially to mostly destroyed from this storm. This is because the wind does not have to extert as much of a force to rip off a roof, because it is already gone. The result is that the wind can more readily blow down walls that no longer have the roof support. This is why we will see countless more homes destroyed that what was previously anticipated by the residents.

IMPACTS FOR SOUTHEAST AREA... GA, SC, NC

4. Widespread tornadoes very far from the storm center will cause tremendous localized damage. Ivan unleashed 110 tornadoes... perhaps a record for a hurricane in the U.S.

5. Inland flooding will be extensive, but limited to Georgia and South Carolina due mostly to the already strained condition of many streams and rivers from Ivan's recent rains, and not from a 12 inch + rainstorm. The forward speed will increase beyond Monday as the storm gets pulled into the westerlies.

IMPACTS FOR THE MID-ATLANTIC.... VA, MD, DE, NJ, PA

6. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT BELIEVE your local TV weather forecaster if they try to make the remnants of Jeanne sound harmless. This is something we just simply do not know yet. Who would have thought that Gaston could have dropped 11 inches of rain in 3 hours as a tropical depression. I say this because many computer models have shifted their inland track to the west, and show Jeanne holding together a circulation center well into Pennsylvania. A depression tracking directly over the MD bay will prompt tropical storm warnings. Norm Lewis of ABC 2 News in Baltimore commented on the Saturday evening news that the remnants of Jeanne would be nothing more than showers for the Balto metro area.

THAT'S WHAT WAS PREDICTED FOR RICHMOND BEFORE GASTON. Those of you in PA who got hammered by the "remnants" of Ivan should keep your guard up for this one.

7. As the storm comes up the coast, the eventual track has been shifting to the west, not to the east. This means the Chesapeake Bay will experience south and southeast winds for 12-24 hours prior to the center crossing the bay. Tides will run 1-2 feet above normal on Monday, and 2-3 above normal on Tuesday, until the center passes and winds back to the north.

8. Later in the season, there is more cold air available to the north. Accuweather indicates that Jeanne will be able tap that colder air to maintain her strength as she becomes extratropical, and turn into a nor'easter. They project the new hybrid storm will be the same or worse than what we saw with Ivan, which was apparently not even a depression at the time, although it really was. The end result is onshore winds in the Chesapeake/Delaware Bays and along the Jersey shore near tropical storm force, in the 35-45 mph range for a period of 6-8 hours. Proof of this is the NHC's projection that Jeanne will become a tropical storm once again off the Canadian maritimes, as you can plainly see in the map above. (unless it is a typo).

The end game of this storm is a long duration, widespread swath of impact all the way to New England.

TROPICAL STORM LISA does not appear to pose a threat to the U.S. at this point.

TROPICAL DEPRESSION IVAN is moving south along the Texas coast and will re-enter the southern Gulf at the mouth of the Rio Grande by Monday. It is not inconceivable that he regenerates into a tropical system. Accuweather has alluded to this several times. If that happens, will it be Matt? Or still Ivan? If this low regenerates over the 87-89 F waters, it will likely become a hurricane and head northeast toward...

Ah, let's not talk about that part right now.

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"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.

Friday, September 24, 2004

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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.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

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OH GOD NO, NOT AGAIN.

It is looking more and more likely this will be a southern I-95 special, as Jeanne looks to follow Frances but head north instead of west after landfall. I just can't believe I am writing this.

Unless something drastic changes, we expect the following from Jeanne:
1. She may reach Category 3 in the next 24 hours
2. Hurricane watches for the East Coast of Florida, again.
3. A landfall very close to where Frances came ashore.
4. A prolonged period of rain and damaging winds that will extend UP the coastline toward GA.
5. A track that will take Jeanne on a tour along I-95, battering the coast as she goes.

I wish we could get a break here, I just can't imagine what the people of Florida are feeling about now. A more detailed update later this evening.


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

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BREAKING NEWS: (that is sure to break the heart of Floridians)

IVAN IS REBORN IN THE GULF OF MEXICO

TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS UP FROM MOUTH OF MISS TO TEXAS

I am not making this up. Here is the latest satellite imagery.



Read the 7:00 PM discussion from the National Hurricane Center:
(Please excuse the caps, that's how the gov't forecasters write)

AFTER CONSIDERABLE AND SOMETIMES ANIMATED IN-HOUSE DISCUSSION OF THE DEMISE OF IVAN...IN THE MIDST OF A LOW-PRESSURE AND SURFACE FRONTAL SYSTEM OVER THE EASTERN UNITED STATES...THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER HAS DECIDED TO CALL THE TROPICAL CYCLONE NOW OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO TROPICAL DEPRESSION IVAN.

WHILE DEBATE WILL SURELY CONTINUE HERE AND ELSEWHERE...THIS DECISION WAS BASED PRIMARILY ON THE REASONABLE CONTINUITY OBSERVED IN THE ANALYSIS OF THE SURFACE AND LOW-LEVEL CIRCULATION. ONCE THE LOW PRESSURE AREA REACHED THE GULF OF MEXICO IT BEGAN TO GRADUALLY DEVELOP CONVECTION AND A SURFACE CIRCULATION. SATELLITE IMAGES...RECON DATA AND BUOYS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO INDICATE THAT THE SYSTEM IS ORGANIZED ENOUGH TO BE CLASSIFIED AS A TROPICAL DEPRESSION.

THE CURRENT SOUTHERLY SHEAR OVER THE DEPRESSION IS FORECAST TO RELAX A LITTLE...ENOUGH TO ALLOW THE SYSTEM TO REGAIN TROPICAL STORM STATUS BEFORE LANDFALL. THE BEST ESTIMATE OF THE INITIAL MOTION IS 295/12 KNOTS. THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE AROUND THE SUBTROPICAL HIGHCENTERED OVER THE UNITED STATES. THE INTENSITY AND TRACK FORECASTS AS WELL AS THE WIND RADII REQUIRE THE ISSUANCE OF A TROPICAL STORM WARNING FROM THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER TO SARGENT TEXAS.

Unfreakinbelieveable.
You just never know what Mother Nature has in store for us next.

So let me make what will seem right now to be a crazy call... but after Ivan gets over the warmer waters of the western Gulf near Houston, this may not seem so crazy in retrospect.

IVAN BECOMES A HURRICANE AGAIN BEFORE LANDFALL. Is that wild or what?

I just have this weird feeling that it will intensify much more rapidly than anyone expects. The Weather Channel reports this is already a tropical storm. I expect winds by morning of perhaps 50 mph, and by Friday morning, the NHC will realize this thing just will not let go, is intensifying, and they will be caught with their pants down having to change the Tropical Storm Warnings to Hurricane Warnings for the Texas Coast. We're only talking Cat 1 here, but still it is history in the making that a storm would die, be written off, then get reborn with the same name and be returned to hurricane status. Now that is a drama.

After landfall on Friday night, Ivan is forecasted to reach the Houston area, then stall for 2 days. That means flooding rains and that part of Texas is infamous for terrible flooding. O god, here we go again.

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COULD THIS MEAN THAT JEANNE IS KEEN ON HITTING THE MID-ATLANTIC ?

9/22 update:

Most computer models are now leaning towards Jeanne to turn west after completing her southern loop-de-loop. By the weekend, she starts churning toward the Southeast, and probably grazes the Carolinas on Sunday or Monday. After that, another big Canadian high pressure system wants to stick it's nose in things. This high is expected to nudge southeast, and build a ridge that will extend out into the Northern Atlantic... possibly TRAPPING Jeanne,

What that means is Jeanne could very well live up to her infamous name as the Mean Wind and Rain Machine. The fear that some forecasters at Accuweather have is that Jeanne does not exactly make a traditional landfall, but rather rakes the Mid-Atlantic coast for two or three days. The resulting northeast winds push Chesapeake Bay water west-ward into the upland inlets and rivers.

The other problem is a very heavy soaking rain for several days. If the rain gets far enough north, we could be looking at another flooding situation for southern PA, NJ, the Del-Mar-Va and nearby areas.

If the map below comes true, the time frame for all this is Sunday night into Wednesday. Expect the weather to deteriorate by Monday morning, with northeast winds, and more clouds as the day progresses. By Tuesday morning, the Mid-Atlantic should have persistent northeast winds and increasing rain. The track will dictate what risk there is to schools being closed before, during or after this event. If Jeanne hugs the coast as a hurricane, there is potential for a day or two off school in eastern Maryland and southern Virginia.




YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST...Matthew tomorrow, Nicole on Thursday.

Not every system that comes across Africa develops, but this season has been an exception.
Lisa will become a Category 1 hurricane by Wednesday, and a fairly extensive system behind her will become at least a tropical depression on the same day. If that system shows continued signs of strengthening, it will become Matthew. So perhaps by tomorrow night or Thursday morning, we will have FIVE... count 'em FIVE named storms on the charts.

Nicole will be the daugther of Ivan, as the low-level circulation reaches warm waters in the western Gulf, and gets under an upper-level anticyclone which provides the ventilation needed for development. By Thursday night this may be a new tropical depression, and once it reaches maximum winds of 40 mph... Nicole will be it's name. It's target? The Texas/Louisiana Coast. The arrival time? Friday into Saturday.


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

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WE MAY HAVE PASSED THE PEAK OF HURRICANE SEASON, BUT IT SURE DOES'NT FEEL LIKE WE HAVE... (Graphic from Accuweather.com)


Monday, September 20, 2004

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THE FEARSOME FOURSOME WREAK HAVOC WITH TROPICAL FORECASTERS

There is a lot going on in your life, in my life, and the lives of tropical cyclones. So let's get right to it, shall we?

MID-ATLANTIC: Blue skies, nothin' but blue skies.
Great weather all week long, maybe some showers by the weekend, temps popping again near 80 to give all the flooded-out folks in PA, NJ, NY and northern MD a chance to dry out.

FLORIDA and TEXAS: Ivan is strivin' for a revivin'
The upper level remnants of Ivan are, believe it or not, slamming into the northeast Florida coast. Winds of 25 mph and widespread rain accompanied this brief onslaught. Why? The big high parked over the Mid-Atlantic simply shoved what was left of Ivan southwestward. And the influence of the big ridge over the middle of the country will push that piece of energy into the southern and western Gulf. Accuweather believes that by Wednesday or Thursday, this Ivan remnant will, believe it or not, redevelop and become a new named system. If that forecast holds true, the Texas coast may be dealing with a landfalling tropical storm by Friday morning.
Waters in the western gulf have remained undisturbed all summer... so you heard it here first. It is not entirely improbable that son of Ivan becomes a hurricane shortly before landfall

SOUTHEAST: Mean Jeanne the dancing wind and rain machine
The same high that pushed Ivan's leftovers into Florida is blocking Jeanne from going much of anywhere. And Karl is to her east, blocking movement that way. So what ends up happening is a loop dance around the Bahamas and Bermuda. Bad forecast for the cruise industry. By Friday or Saturday, Jeanne should have completed her loop, and be staring the Carolinas in the face again. It is a tough call, but the logical progression of these systems would favor the high moving offshore, and the return flow nudging Jeanne TOWARD the Carolinas by late in the weekend.

So yes, I think it is possible we will see TWO landfalling systems within a day of each other in the United States. Son of Ivan reaching the Texas coast by Friday, and Jeanne chasing after Charleston by Saturday or Sunday. It is also possible that Jeanne could head for Category 3 status, but shear will probably keep her at Cat 2. Folks from Savannah to Hatteras should keep a close eye on this, as they had their share of surprise hurricanes already this season.

ACTION IN THE ATLANTIC: King Karl curving north, Little Lisa lingers.
Karl has taken an awfully long time to do this northwest to northerly turn. The NHC has been predicting this curve to begin since Friday, and only today has it finally begun. The longer this system moves any bit westward, the greater a risk that this storm ends up impacting Nova Scotia or even Newfoundland with strong winds and heavy rain. Karl is the dominant feature in the Altantic, but there is apparently enough tropical moisture and undisturbed warm water to allow Little Lisa to get her act together.

Let me allay fears on the Mid-Atlantic coast of Little Lisa imitating Isabel. All the major weather players in North America over the next 5-10 days are going to prevent Lisa from getting anywhere near the East Coast. First, Karl and Jeanne are in the way. Second, the big eastern high is in the way, and they don't leave easily. Third, all these storms will have stirred up the waters so much that Lisa does not stand a chance to become a major hurricane...

Unless she follows Ivan's path... into the southern Caribbean. Then, we would have a major problem. As we head into October, that part of the Atlantic basin becomes the hot spot for tropical development. For example, deadly Hurricane Mitch in October 1998, that washed Nicaragua and Costa Rica back to the medieval era. Or Hazel in 1954, that started in the southern Carib, and then charged north, slamming into South Carolina as a Cat 3.

So yes, there is some reason to be concerned about Lisa, but that is days and days away. You can expect that your own personal team of experienced meteorologists here at Foot's Forecast will keep a close eye on all the fearsome foursome the next many days.

By Wednesday, we will have THREE HURRICANES going at once, and one tropical storm. By Friday, we may very well have FOUR.

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for winter storm season. That's easy stuff... just snow, ice and rain.

If the baby sleeps through the night and I can get up early enough, I'll attempt a morning update on the fearsome foursome. If not, expect a full roundup by Tuesday night.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

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ISABEL MAKING LANDFALL IN NORTH CAROLINA AT 1:00 PM ON 9-18-03



It was one year ago this weekend that many of us in the Mid-Atlantic dealt with this devious monster as she kept us guessing on her final destination. Some thought right up the Chesapeake, others thought out to sea. In Maryland, residents of eastern Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County and others along the Bay, this was the first significant tropical system to directly affect this region since the 1933 hurricane. We all learned many lessons, about the dangers of storm surge, the risks of not evacuating, or leaving too late, and the importance of flood insurance.

For those of us who were impacted by this storm, (and those who were not), our hearts and prayers go out to all the suffering people of Florida who have had their faith challenged this summer. Many who read this site know what it is like to be faced with starting over after a storm.

As time moves forward, it helps to process our recollections of these community-wide events. You are encouraged to share a story or recollection if you wish in the comments. It can be a memory of Isabel's wrath, or if you are in or know someone in storm-ravaged Florida, your experiences give our readers a perspective on what it is like to survive Mother Nature's worst.

There are signs the 2004 hurricane season may begin to calm down after Jeanne.. let' s hope so, as many Americans need time and peace to put their lives back together.


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JEANNE JUMPS AROUND...TAUNTING THE SOUTHEAST AND FLORIDA



Once Jeanne regains hurricane status, I see two possibilities:

1. I still think we'll see this pesky storm curve under Florida or graze the southern tip, and end up in the Gulf well after water temperatures have recovered from Ivan. Under this scenario, the eastern High remains strong and easterlies drive the storm into the Gulf. Once there, she can easily strengthen into an Ivan-esque storm and possibly impact an area between, um, uhh I hestitate to say...New Orleans and the Florida panhandle.

2. Or, once completing this dipsy-doodle, will start to head north again and impact the Carolinas, between Mrytle Beach and Wilmington but not until late NEXT weekend. This scenario would occur because the strong high providing beautiful weather to the Northeast this week will likely lift out and allow a channel to the coast. So it is not unreasonable to say that the Mid-Atlantic from the Chesapeake Bay northward to New York City is also at risk for impact from this storm.

SO FOR NOW, THE MID-ATLANTIC GETS A BREAK

Wonderful, refreshing, classic early Fall Football weather will grace the northeast until at least Wednesday and probably to Friday with sunshine and highs in the 70's, lows in the 50's.

THE SOUTHEAST...DIFFERENT STORY

The same high will create easterly winds coming off the Atlantic, and give the Carolina coast into Georgia some fresh to strong breezes, carrying some rain showers and cooler weather. It is not entirely impossible that some remnants of Ivan get re-directed back toward the North Carolina coast.

KARL JUST SPINS OUT HIS LIFE HARMLESSLY IN THE CENTRAL ATLANTIC

That's probably the best news of the week. Next update Monday morning.


Saturday, September 18, 2004