Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Phailin Rapidly Intensifying, Headed Towards India

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:22 PM GMT on October 10, 2013

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Very dangerous Tropical Cyclone Phailin, in the North Indian Ocean's Bay of Bengal, has put on an impressive burst of rapid intensification, going from a tropical storm with 65 mph winds to a formidable Category 3 storm with 115 mph winds in just twelve hours. Satellite estimates of Phailin's strength at 8 am EDT ranged as high as 135 mph. Satellite images show that Phailin, whose name means "a sapphire" in Thai, continues to intensify. The cloud tops of the very intense thunderstorms in the eyewall are expanding and cooling, showing that their updrafts are growing stronger and pushing the clouds higher into the atmosphere. Water temperatures are warm, 28 - 29°C, and the ocean heat content is very high, 80 - 100 kJ/cm^2--a level often associated with rapid intensification. With wind shear low, Phailin should be able to continue to intensify until an eyewall replacement cycle begins. It is very difficult for a tropical cyclone to maintain an eye diameter less than ten miles across before the inner core grows unstable and the eyewall collapses, with a new, larger-diameter eyewall forming from an outer spiral band. This process typically weakens the top winds of a tropical cyclone by 5 - 15 mph, but spreads hurricane-force winds over a larger area of ocean, resulting a larger storm surge, but less wind damage. With Phailin's eye diameter already down to a tiny 9 miles, an eyewall replacement cycle is likely to occur by Friday morning.


Figure 1. MODIS satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Phailin, taken at approximately 07:30 UTC on October 10, 2013. At the time, Phailin had top winds of 75 mph. Image credit: NASA.

Forecast for Phailin
The models are in tight agreement that Phailin will track northwest into the northeast coast of India, with landfall expected to occur between 06 - 12 UTC on Saturday. The 11 am EDT Thursday forecast from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center predicts that Phailin will peak as a top-end Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds 12 hours before landfall. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is predicting that Phailin will be a borderline Category 2/Category 3 storm at landfall. The 06Z Thursday run of the HWRF model predicted that Phailin would be a strong Category 3 storm with 130 mph winds at landfall on Saturday.


Figure 2. Storm surge forecast for Tropical Cyclone Phailin, made on October 10, 2013. The peak surge was predicted to be 87 cm (2.9'). This forecast is likely to be a considerable underestimate of the surge, given Phailin's recent rapid intensification. Image credit: IMD.

The Bay of Bengal is notorious for deadly tropical cyclones
There is good reason to be concerned when a major tropical cyclone forms in the Bay of Bengal. Twenty-six of the thirty-five deadliest tropical cyclones in world history have been Bay of Bengal storms. During the past two centuries, 42% of Earth's tropical cyclone-associated deaths have occurred in Bangladesh, and 27% have occurred in India (Nicholls et al., 1995.) Phailin is likely to be the strongest tropical cyclone to affect India in fourteen years, since the great 1999 Odisha Cyclone. That terrible storm hit Northeast India in the Indian state of Odisha (formerly called Orissa) near the city of Bhubaneswar, as a Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds on October 29, 1999. The mighty cyclone, which peaked at Category 5 strength with 160 mph winds and a 912 mb central pressure shortly before landfall, drove a storm surge of 26 feet (8 meters) onto the coast. The storm stalled just inland, dumping torrential rains on portions of India already saturated from the landfall of Category 4 Tropical Cyclone 04B just twelve days before. The catastrophe killed 9,658 people and left $2.5 billion in damage (1999 dollars), India's most expensive and fourth deadliest tropical cyclone in the past 100 years. Although Phailin is expected to hit the same province of India that the great 1999 Odisha Cyclone hit, Phailin's landfall location is predicted to fall about 100 miles farther to the south, in a region where the coast is not as low-lying. This should keep the death toll due to storm surge much lower compared to the 1999 Odisha Cyclone, where more than 70% of the deaths occurred due to the storm surge. The latest storm surge forecast from IMD (Figure 2) predicts a peak surge under 3', but this is much too low, considering Phailin's recent round of rapid intensification. Phailin's heavy rains will be capable of causing great destruction, as did the rains from the 1999 Odisha cyclone. More than 2,000 of the deaths from that storm occurred due to fresh water flooding in the town of Padmapur, located more than 150 miles from the coast. Deforestation was cited as a contributing cause to these destructive floods that killed 36% of the town's population.

Wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt has a detailed post on India's tropical cyclone history.

References
Nicholls, R.J.N., N. Mimura, J.C. Topping, 1995, "Climate change in south and south-east Asia: some implications for coastal areas," J Glob Environ Eng 1995;1:137–54.



98L in the Eastern Atlantic more organized
A tropical wave (Invest 98L) located about 400 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands is headed west to west-northwest at about 10 mph. Satellite loops show that 98L has a modest area of heavy thunderstorms with a substantial amount of spin. The disturbance is under a moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear today, but the shear is expected to rise to the high range, 20 - 30 knots, Friday - Monday, making Thursday the most likely day for development. The UKMET model develops the disturbance into a tropical depression this week, but the European and GFS models do not. In their 8 am EDT Thursday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave the disturbance 2-day development odds of 50%, and 5-day odds of 50%. 98L's projected west-northwest track is expected take it several hundred miles northeast of the Northern Lesser Antilles Islands by the middle of next week, according to the 00Z Thursday morning runs of the GFS and European models.

Typhoon Nari headed towards the Philippines
In the Western Pacific, Category 1 Typhoon Nari is expected to intensify into a Category 2 storm with 100 mph winds and make landfall on Luzon Island in the Philippines near 12 UTC Friday. Nari will then make a second landfall in Vietnam around 00 UTC on Tuesday.

Jeff Masters

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Another beautiful day from S.W. Florida. Rainy season is over.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38474
TWC did a short segment on phailin earlier today, and this satellite image was used.

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Quoting 33. LargoFl:
ships brings it up to cat-1..we'll see in a few days..nhc has it at 50/50 to develop......


That is not SHIPS but Statistical Hurricane Intensity Forecast (SHIFOR5).

SHIFOR5 is a simple statistical intensity model that uses climatology and persistence as predictors. In recent years it has been supplemented by the Decay-SHIFOR.


Link
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11163
Quoting 46. VR46L:


Is that rain I see ??????



Yes nice shower, but now I'm really bored with what the GFS is showing :((
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Quoting 65. skycycle:
Agreed with some of posts here, Phailin looks like a STRONG cat4 cyclone, and one that is still intensifying... Curious to see the new storm surge estimates when they catch up with its intensification, if anyone has more graphics on the storm - PLEASE SHARE


PHAILIN Current Status

Current Wind Speed 100 knots / 115 MPH

Max Predicted Wind Speed 135 knots / 155 MPH at October 11, 2013 8:00pm




Check out that eye.



REMARKS:
101500Z POSITION NEAR 15.6N 90.0E.
TROPICAL CYCLONE 02B (PHAILIN), LOCATED APPROXIMATELY 445 NM
SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF KOLKATA, INDIA, HAS TRACKED NORTHWESTWARD
AT 08 KNOTS OVER THE PAST SIX HOURS. ANIMATED ENHANCED INFRARED
(EIR) SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOWS TC 02B HAS UNDERGONE EXTREME RAPID
INTENSIFICATION (RI) OVER THE PAST TWELVE HOURS. PGTW DVORAK CURRENT
INTENSITY ESTIMATES HAVE INCREASED FROM 4.0 AT 10/00Z TO 6.0 AT
10/12Z. THE EIR INDICATES A WARM SYMMETRIC EYE FEATURE WITH
SURROUNDING CLOUD TOP TEMPERATURES RANGING FROM COLD-MEDIUM-GREY TO
COLD-DARK-GREY. ADDITIONALLY, CONVECTIVE BANDING HAS TIGHTENED AS
EVIDENT IN A 101323Z SSMIS MICROWAVE IMAGE. THE INITIAL POSITION IS
BASED ON THE EYE FEATURE IN THE EIR ANIMATION WITH HIGH CONFIDENCE.
THE INITIAL INTENSITY IS ASSESSED AT 100 KNOTS WHICH IS SLIGHTLY
LOWER THAN THE PGTW AND KNES DVORAK ESTIMATES OF 115 KNOTS. THE
INTENSITY FORECAST HAS INCREASED ACCORDINGLY DUE TO THE RI EVENT.
UPPER LEVEL ANALYSIS INDICATES THE SYSTEM IS 05 DEGREES SOUTH OF THE
RIDGE AXIS IN AN AREA OF LOW (05-10 KNOT) VERTICAL WIND SHEAR AND
EXCELLENT RADIAL OUTFLOW. THE CYCLONE IS TRACKING ALONG THE OUTER
PERIPHERY OF THE MID-LAYERED SUBTROPICAL RIDGE TO THE NORTHEAST. TC
02B IS EXPECTED TO STAY ON THIS TRACK THROUGHOUT ITS LIFESPAN AS IT
DRIFTS ACROSS THE BAY OF BENGAL AND MAKES LANDFALL NORTHEAST OF
VISAKHAPATNAM, INDIA. THE SYSTEM WILL CONTINUE TO INTENSIFY DUE TO
THE FAVORABLE CONDITIONS DISCUSSED ABOVE IN ADDITION TO WARM SEA-
SURFACE TEMPERATURES, PEAKING AT 135 KNOTS. AFTER LANDFALL, TC
PHAILIN WILL RAPIDLY ERODE AS IT DRAGS ACROSS THE RUGGED INDIAN
TERRAIN, DISSIPATING BY TAU 96. THE AVAILABLE NUMERIC TRACK GUIDANCE
IS IN TIGHT AGREEMENT, LENDING HIGH CONFIDENCE TO THE JTWC TRACK
FORECAST THAT IS LAID CLOSE TO MULTI-MODEL CONSENSUS. MAXIMUM
SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT AT 101200Z IS 23 FEET. NEXT WARNINGS AT
102100Z, 110300Z, 110900Z AND 111500Z.//
NNNN
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
2013OCT10 160000 5.1 951.4 +0.0 92.4 5.1 5.8 7.5 1.7T/6hr OFF OFF 1.64 -80.44 EYE 17 IR N/A 15.58 -89.68

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Agreed with some of posts here, Phailin looks like a STRONG cat4 cyclone, and one that is still intensifying... Curious to see the new storm surge estimates when they catch up with its intensification, if anyone has more graphics on the storm - PLEASE SHARE
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Satellite imagery suggests Phailin is near a category five intensity right now, as cold cloud tops of near -80C indicate a highly developed inner core, with a small warming eye, or center. Indicative of an intense super cyclone.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38474
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53827
61. bio4
Here is a link taken from an airliner passing by a super cell in the US. Very spectacular lightning. Top of cell is higher than normal cruising altitude of plane.

http://actualite.lachainemeteo.com/actualite-mete o/2013-10-10-00h35/incroyable-supercellule-electri que-filmee-d-un-avion-22795.php
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Quoting 53. sar2401:

The SHIPS model is a combination of tropical storm history back to 1982, and a large component in the intensity forecast are sea surface temperatures. When there is no COC, the SHIPS model puts even more weight on SST's as intensity predictors. Thia is why the SHIPS model this year has always shown a hurricane even when no other model followed. It's too biased by SST's and, as we've see this year, you need a lot more that warm water to get a hurricane going. At this stage of cyclone development, the SHIPS intensity model should be taken with a large dose of salt.



Actually the SHIPS model is using GFS atmospheric data, so that is not entirely true. It has dynamical support by the GFS a highly regarded global model. While it uses more dynamic elements of the atmosphere within that model's domain, it also incorporates oceanic sea surface temperatures and oceanic heat content, just as a dynamical specialized model uses, like the HWRF and GFDL.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38474
Quoting sebastianflorida:

98L kind of has that LOOK to it; I'm thinking, nothing scientific, 98L will be the ONE this year to at least threaten big problems. Not wishcasting, just got that feeling.

I had that same feeling several times this year. Turned out to be allergies. :-) Given the storm development this season, I will be surprised to see anything get beyond TS state and, if it does, it will be because it's headed out to sea.
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Phailin looks like a category five tropical cyclone, though they do 3 minute sustained winds, instead of the 1 minute sustained the JTWC and NHC use, so that could put constraints on the overall intensity measured.
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Sorry! had to post this as I don't think we saw it much this year.
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Quoting 10. Ameister12:
Thanks Dr. Masters

I said last blog that I think the intensity of Phailin is much higher than a category 3.

A tropical cyclone with -80c could tops surrounding a small, well defined eye is a typical apperance of a category 4, or even a category 5 tropical cyclone.


Looks like a cat 5 based on that image.
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Quoting LargoFl:
ships brings it up to cat-1..we'll see in a few days..nhc has it at 50/50 to develop......

The SHIPS model is a combination of tropical storm history back to 1982, and a large component in the intensity forecast are sea surface temperatures. When there is no COC, the SHIPS model puts even more weight on SST's as intensity predictors. Thia is why the SHIPS model this year has always shown a hurricane even when no other model followed. It's too biased by SST's and, as we've see this year, you need a lot more that warm water to get a hurricane going. At this stage of cyclone development, the SHIPS intensity model should be taken with a large dose of salt.
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02B/MH/P/C4
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Quoting 12. LargoFl:

98L kind of has that LOOK to it; I'm thinking, nothing scientific, 98L will be the ONE this year to at least threaten big problems. Not wishcasting, just got that feeling.
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Another beautiful day in Redbird land, though southerly winds have raised the dew point substantially. 76 w/ 64 dew point, 30.07" w/ light S winds.

Saw that BOB eye this a.m. on a vis WC showed, but they didn't mention how much RI occurred. Let's hope the EWR cycle drags on and weakens it more than anticipated.

Happy today Blue? Bet there's a lot of headaches in StL this a.m., Blues beat Hawks right b4 Cards win, heard it was quite a party (& traffic jam) downtown.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38474
Thanks Jeff...
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38474
Quoting 39. CaribBoy:






Is that rain I see ??????

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Quoting 42. VR46L:


Yep

Except


LOL
yes gfs doesnt develop it later on in its runs..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38474
Wind shear ahead of 98L looks to be severe around 40 knots so strengthening is probably not on the cards but survival may be. Remains to be seen.
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G'morning from Central OK,

Hey folks, looks as if I have missed quite a bit the last couple of days.

Here, the weather remains wonderful - lows in the 50's-60's, highs in the 80's.

Later tonight through Saturday, rain chances increase as a front pushes into the state. The chance for severe weather (hail/winds primarily) is there, but low - most of the nastiness will be concentrated to the north of us. All in all, this should help alleviate some ongoing issues of drought, although the deficit seen in the SW corner of the state remains to be alleviated. Post front, highs will be in the 60's - fall returns again.

In the tropics, prayers and thoughts for folks in India, as for anything else - I have no idea what is going on (did I ever?). :)

On the home front, computer issues predominate - as a recent WinUpdate has induced instability in my OS. The ongoing clash between computer programs has led to sporadic, but consistent outages. :(

As for malware, none has been detected using a variety of programs, so put those rumors to rest.

Just a quick drive-by, until the ongoing issues have been resolved.

You all have a fantastic day, and weekend - as I am confident that my issues are not completely resolved as of yet. Then again, many of "my issues" will never be resolved. :P

Cheers!
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Quoting 28. LargoFl:
yes if this continues towards the islands.


Yep

Except


LOL
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Quoting 32. LargoFl:
LOl he's been dying for a storm lately


I'm gonna write a letter to 98L saying to pay him a visit.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Good morning all

98L is looking close to being classisifed as a TD later today. The 850 vorticity is very strong and consolidating nicely.

The convection could be a bit more impressive but if it does not deteriorate any further is probably sufficient to warrant classification IMO.
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Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6168
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38474
Quoting 35. Dakster:


I think we should all pitch in $5 and fly him to Phailin.
oh yes what a storm that is over there wow...
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38474
Quoting LargoFl:
unlike yesterday models arent so sure anymore......

The models were more sure about 98L yesterday? This looks like a more colorful version of the same plate of spaghetti I saw yesterday. :-)
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Quoting 32. LargoFl:
LOl he's been dying for a storm lately


I think we should all pitch in $5 and fly him to Phailin.
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Quoting 29. LargoFl:
unlike yesterday models arent so sure anymore......


For some reason, I just don't trust any of the models right now. Oh wait, that could be because they have been so off (Or seemingly so) this season.

So, I wait and watch.
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ships brings it up to cat-1..we'll see in a few days..nhc has it at 50/50 to develop......
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38474
Quoting 30. FunnelVortex:


Don't get cariboy too excited.
LOl he's been dying for a storm lately
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Quoting PonderosaPete:
Any projections for the Kathmandu and Himalayas from Phailin?

I have nothing official but the history of Bay of Bengal cyclones is that they don't have much effect in Kathmandu because the main storm tends to move west in India and not NW toward Kathmandu. The Terai and Kathmandu get affected by storms from the Arabian Sea, making landfall near Mumbai.

As for the Himalayas, this wouldn't be the best time to be trekking but almost any storm hitting Indian Subcontinent causes heavy rains and mudslides in the Himalayas. The worst effects should be east of Nepal, in Bhutan and Tibet. Nepal will undoubtedly have usual flooding and landslides die to the extensive deforestation. There really is no such thing as "mild" storm as we Westerners understand it, but the most likely outcome for Nepal is several hundred killed in flooding a landslides and a few small villages damaged or destroyed, which will be viewed in Napal as being "not too bad". I don't want to soound uncaring, but almost every day is some kind of disaster in Nepal, and the people there are very stoic and accepting of the fact that some Hindu god wanted it this way. They pick themselves up and start over. Most people in Nepal have so little that they make the poorest of our poor look wealthy, yet they are generally happy and spiritually peaceful, something I don't see in the West.
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Quoting 28. LargoFl:
yes if this continues towards the islands.


Don't get cariboy too excited.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
unlike yesterday models arent so sure anymore......
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38474
Quoting 27. islander101010:
bay of bengal our carib. could be next
yes if this continues towards the islands.
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bay of bengal our carib. could be next
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4587
ZCZC MIATWOAT ALL
TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT THU OCT 10 2013

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

1. CLOUDINESS AND SHOWERS ASSOCIATED WITH A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE
IN THE FAR EASTERN ATLANTIC...ABOUT SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES SOUTHWEST
OF THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS...HAVE BECOME A LITTLE BETTER ORGANIZED
THIS MORNING. THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR A TROPICAL DEPRESSION TO
FORM LATER TODAY OR TOMORROW BEFORE UNFAVORABLE UPPER-LEVEL LEVEL
WINDS BECOME ESTABLISHED NEAR THE DISTURBANCE. THIS SYSTEM HAS A
MEDIUM CHANCE...50 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING
THE NEXT 48 HOURS...AND A MEDIUM CHANCE...50 PERCENT...OF BECOMING
A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 5 DAYS WHILE IT MOVES WESTWARD
TO WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT AROUND 10 MPH.

FIVE-DAY FORMATION PROBABILITIES ARE EXPERIMENTAL IN 2013. COMMENTS
ON THE EXPERIMENTAL FORECASTS CAN BE PROVIDED AT...

HTTP://WWW.NWS.NOAA.GOV/SURVEY/NWS-SURVEY.PHP?COD E=ETWO

FORECASTER AVILA

Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38474
I doubt this is Cat 5, but I also believe that this is high end Category 4 right now as well. It'll be interesting to see how this storm do with lot of energy in that body of water...
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bad day along the midlantic and northeast coastal communities today and tomorrow...
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38474
Coastal Flood Warning

------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------
COASTAL HAZARD MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WAKEFIELD VA
942 AM EDT THU OCT 10 2013

VAZ078-084>086-091-102145-
/O.CON.KAKQ.CF.W.0002.000000T0000Z-131010T2200Z/
LANCASTER-GLOUCESTER-MIDDLESEX-MATHEWS-YORK-
942 AM EDT THU OCT 10 2013

...COASTAL FLOOD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM EDT THIS
EVENING...

* LOCATION...ALONG AND NEAR THE CHESAPEAKE BAY...INCLUDING
WINDMILL POINT AND GLOUCESTER POINT.

* TIMING...WITHIN ONE TO TWO HOURS ON EITHER SIDE OF HIGH TIDE.

* TIDES...TIDAL DEPARTURES WILL AVERAGE AROUND 1.5 FT ABOVE
NORMAL. AT YORKTOWN...HIGH TIDE OCCURS AT 158 PM EDT...WITH A
FORECAST WATER LEVEL AROUND 4.5 FT MLLW. MINOR FLOODING AT
YORKTOWN BEGINS AT 4.5 FT MLLW...WHILE MODERATE FLOODING
BEGINS AT 5.0 FT MLLW. AT WINDMILL POINT...HIGH TIDE OCCURS AT
331 PM EDT WITH A FORECAST WATER LEVEL AROUND 3.6 FT MLLW.
MINOR FLOODING AT WINDMILL POINT BEGINS AT 3.0 FT MLLW...WHILE
MODERATE FLOODING AT WINDMILL POINT BEGINS AT 3.5 FT MLLW.

* IMPACTS...THE COMBINATION OF THE TIDAL SURGE AND RAINFALL WILL
RESULT IN WIDESPREAD MINOR TO POSSIBLY LOW END MODERATE
COASTAL FLOODING...INCLUDING VULNERABLE AREAS NEAR TIDAL
RIVERS AND CREEKS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A COASTAL FLOOD WARNING MEANS THAT FLOODING IS OCCURRING OR
IMMINENT. COASTAL RESIDENTS IN THE WARNED AREA SHOULD BE ALERT
FOR RISING WATER...AND TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION TO PROTECT LIFE
AND PROPERTY. IN ADDITION...THE COMBINATION OF HIGH WATER AND
HIGH WAVES WILL RESULT IN BEACH EROSION...AND DAMAGE TO DOCKS AND
PIERS IN LOCATIONS EXPOSED TO HIGH WATER AND WAVE ACTION.

&&

$$
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.