Sunday, August 28, 2011

Home from Hampton

I drove up to Hampton Roads region to "enjoy" the storm. A good friend from college lives up there with his wife and daughter and they "sponsored" me by letting me sleep at their home. The storm was rather large with the impact felt far from the center-- our worst conditions were actually late AM Saturday vs late evening with the EYE was only 50 miles or so to our east.

Wide reach-- wide damage. I've never heard a good reason why they keep it as a hurricane as long as they do when NO surface obs show hurricane strength winds. (I'm sure there were some over SE VA, but that's about all) Not to downplay this storm, it dealt a huge blow to many, but not many observations outside show hurricane winds.

Here are a couple videos-- They are set to public, but I can embed them for some reason.

Friday, August 26, 2011

All systems go to "Rock you like a Hurricane"

Just heard this song on a lead in on a radio show-- haven't had something that "tacky" since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheer team did a dance to it while playing the New Orleans Saints 2 weeks after Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. Having said that-- being a weather fan, I do like this song. 

The storm track seems to be set in mud-- I don't think there is much to shift it WEST. Showers may reach Lynchburg, HIGH doubt anything reach Roanoke. You may notice a breeze, but nothing out the norm. 

Landfall will be someplace between Moorehead City and Cape Hatteras. It should be close to or just on the coastline heading towards NYC-- so for all those in points in between, it's going to a rough 24 hours. Regions closest the shore/water will have the worst winds. Rains will be 5-10 inches for those nearest to the track. It's been rather wet from the Philly region north, so even wind gusts of 50 MPH could cause some bad tree damage. 

Quick update later-- I'm possible heading to the Hampton Road area for some "Hurricane Chasing"

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Early AM Irene thoughts

I was tempted the last few days to start writing about Irene, but the model data became LESS ominous for region. While I am rather interested, my interest was NOT quite enough blog. There's been a slight jog west and it's going to be a HIGH impact event EAST of 95 in Virginia. 

Brief review-

It was rather clear Irene would form and have a good threat to make landfall on the USA. Most of the model data tried at one point or another to pull it into the Gulf of Mexico. Looking at the overall set up, it was clear this was not an option. Model data began to shift east and I really thought that the Myrtle Beach area would be in the landfall region. My personal error was assuming that the east shift on the model would stop. That is NEVER a safe or good assumption to have. The models had trended at one point just about was a total whiff for the NC region (Landfall wise, not impact)

For those who wonder WHY the models struggle with these fine details. Short waves, (energy aloft) approaching the US Pacific NW were hard to gauge along with their potential impact. It's hard to quantify an impact when you don't have a good gauge on the strength. Secondly, there is a ridge to east of the US. (I think most heard the term Bermuda Heat Ridge before) The model data was a tad to strong ( Strength= HEIGHT-- ridge was not as big as anticipated) For people who like to "blame" weather man for NOT being accurate-- this is like trying to be an accountant and neither given all the receipts or all the incoming payments. You simply can estimate, but won't be "accurate".

The NWS has added extra " information" into the computer models by way of extra drops into sky over the east coast and Montana to fill those gaps. This has lead to better sampling and a slight shift WEST.

Where is she going?

When the model data was making landfall near Charleston, SC-- that would have been a big ticket item for our region.(Lynchburg/Roanoke) We would have had near Tropical Storm force winds and rains of 3-6 inches region wide. As it moved to a landfall near Hattaras, we'd be breezy, maybe a shower east of the Blue Ridge. As the data has maybe shifted west, places east of the Blue Ridge MAY are getting close to a more substantial rainfall event (Maybe 1-3 inches and a tad more windy/breezy)

Landfall will be somewhere between Wilmington NC and Cape Hatteras as a Cat 3-- I expect it to peak as a cat 4 sometime today. Still a pretty wide spread on landfall but that should become more clear later today.  From there it heads N and depending on the interaction with a shortwave from the W it will move NE, N or maybe just west of N for a while. Any place east of Richmond along the 95 corridor will have SOME to MAJOR impact. Coastal regions will have the greatest impact-- for obvious reasons.

It should hold together hurricane strength winds for a LONG while after landfall-- especially in coastal regions where there is less friction from the land.

This is the ECMWF run-- it's the most left landfall and brings landfall near Moorehead City, NC.

The furthest west option currently on the table-- brings the rain VERY close to the Blue Ridge.  Any further west jog brings more substantial rain to our region. 

This is a 500mb (18000 ft or so) map in motion. It shows a short wave diving
in from the NW and pushing IRENE just west of due north. This is the furthest
west of ANY other guidance currently. Click on this image to see it in motion.

My current thoughts would say that landfall is just east of this depicted model and the worst of the conditions stay Richmond east. Lynchburg may see a half inch of rain from showers, Farmville maybe 1-2 inches and much worse conditions Richmond east. Hampton Roads/VAB gets Hurricane conditions.

 My friends and family up in Delaware/Philly region=
Expect a pretty nasty event- Flooding rains along the lines of 5-10 inches. Winds inland will be sustained at 50, gusts to hurricane force and coastal regions (Near my Mom's in Rehobeth Beach) winds will be sustained at hurricane force, gusting to maybe 100mph. 

Model data should continue to improve today as we get that extra information added- will update later this evening. 

Link to the National Hurricane Center's website-- has some cool maps estimating winds, etc.