A TIGHT PRESSURE GRADIENT IS CAUSING STRONG NORTHEAST WINDS ALONG WITH TIDAL FLOODING… HURRICANE JOAQUIN HEADS NORTHEASTWARD OUT INTO THE NORTH ATLANTIC… PLEASANT WEATHER IS EXPECTED BY MID-WEEK… ALSO, MY OPINION ON HURRICANE FORECASTING IN THE FUTURE
Winds have picked up again out of the northeast bringing tidal flooding problems that coastal residents have become accustomed to here in SE VA of late. High pressure to the north and low pressure developing in the vicinity of South Carolina are causing the strong winds. In addition, large swells from Hurricane Joaquin are adding to the problems along the coast. Before I talk about our future weather, I wanted to comment on the heavy rainfall that we saw late last week. You may have heard meteorologists say that the rain was not from the hurricane. Well, I have found out from a very reliable source that had it not been for Hurricane Joaquin, we would most likely not have had the heavy rain totals that we received. (I picked up 4.80 inches in my backyard from this weather event). The hurricane acted as a pump of tropical moisture that fed into the frontal system that stalled off our coast. If you looked at a satellite photograph on Friday, you would have seen the connection between the stream of tropical moisture heading up from the south and the hurricane. Due to an upper-level low pressure system that developed to our southwest, the stream of moisture pivoted south and west towards South Carolina. They’ve been getting slammed with very heavy rain this weekend… As far as rainfall today, forecasters don’t expect too much here in Hampton Roads. There’ll just be scattered showers moving from east to west off the Atlantic. Some areas may see a heavy downpour but it will not be like this past Friday… Now I wanted to comment on the forecast model performance. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, most models did poorly with Joaquin. The only model that predicted a turn out to sea was the European model, but since it was the only one, forecasters did not trust it despite it being the only model that predicted Hurricane Sandy’s making a left turn to the west causing it to make landfall in NJ back in 2012…. My suggestion is this and I know it may be controversial. I think from now on, the NHC should hold off with a forecast track when they are truly uncertain where a storm is going due to computer model disagreement. I think that the situation that occurred with Joaquin is going to cause people to ignore the warnings the next time we are threatened with a serious hurricane. I realize that folks need to have time to prepare, but showing a forecast track of a hurricane that most likely will not come true is not serving the best interests of the public. The NHC just needs to be let people know that they should be prepared, but as of now, they cannot determine where the storm will eventually go due to model disagreement. Once the storm begins moving and models come into better agreement, there should be plenty of time for evacuation plans to be executed, if needed. Back to our current weather… The winds should finally begin to subside on Monday or Monday night and improving weather is expected by mid-week. That’s something to look forward to! Thanks for reading and have a great day!