A Look Ahead to the Regatta and Bertha

By: BwalshNLWeather , 11:09 PM GMT on August 03, 2014

After the warmest month on record in much of Newfoundland during July, all eyes are now turned to the weather for Wednesday for the scheduled Regatta Day in St. John's and Tropical Storm Bertha, which is almost certain to affect Eastern Newfoundland on Thursday. Let's start with Regatta Day.

The Royal St. John's Regatta is the oldest continuing sporting event in North America and it's an old time tradition to see whether the holiday will go ahead for many residents, who'd like to know the day before whether to make plans for Tuesday night. The biggest concern for the Regatta is winds; obviously, downpours isn't good for drawing crowds to the event, but high winds/waves is not a good thing for the rowers and is typically the reason the Regatta gets delayed. Determining whether the Regatta should be a go is not a difficult prediction as long as you are confident in your forecast. For several days, it has been looking good for the Regatta to go ahead on Wednesday; fair skies, temps in the low 20's and winds out of the south/southeast about 15-30 km/h. It is still looking good as I type this Sunday evening, but the remnants of Tropical Storm Bertha is throwing a bit of uncertainty into the forecast as it will likely affect Eastern Newfoundland on Thursday and the timing of the system has been moving earlier over the past few days. Nonetheless, this is what I'm thinking for Regatta Day:

Wednesday (Regatta Day): A mix of sun and cloud in the morning and early afternoon. Clouds increase as we go through the afternoon and evening with a chance of showers late evening ahead of Bertha's remnants. Temps start the day in the mid teens and rise to near 20 at lakeside near noon. Winds start out at southeast 15-20 km/h in the morning and slowly increase through the afternoon, but should still be below the limits for the races to take place. Temps drop back into the mid teens early in the evening for the championship races, which coincide with an increase in winds out of the southeast at 25-35 km/h.

All in all, not a bad forecast and with what's to come on Thursday, I don't see much chance the Regatta doesn't go ahead on Wednesday.

Now for Bertha, the current track from the National Hurricane Center takes the tropical storm north for the next couple of days, then re-curves to northeast Tuesday night and should track between the Avalon Peninsula and the Grand Banks Thursday afternoon as an extra-tropical storm.

As mentioned above, all guidance a few days ago was showing a curve more to the east for Bertha as it passes Bermuda and wouldn't affect Newfoundland at all; now, all guidance is much further north and has sped up the storm to now affect Eastern Newfoundland on Thursday, instead of Friday or the weekend.

All that being said, I think the rain and wind from Bertha holds off until overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning, so it shouldn't affect the St. John's Regatta. Should it move any quicker than currently expected, the evening championship races could be affected with stronger winds, but I don't think that will happen.

The biggest impact from the remnants of Bertha looks to be significant rainfall over Eastern Newfoundland, particularly the Avalon Peninsula, on Thursday. Depending on the exact track of the system, some areas could see 40-60+ mm of rain over the Avalon Peninsula, particularly the eastern half including St. John's. The heaviest rain falls Thursday morning and should taper off in the afternoon. The strongest winds look to remain offshore, and could affect some of the oil platforms on the Grand Banks with gale to storm force winds. For the Avalon Peninsula, northeasterly winds of 40 gusting to 70 km/h are currently expected on Thursday.

I will continue to keep a close watch on both the Regatta Day forecast and the track of Bertha.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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About BwalshNLWeather

Operations Manager and Meteorologist with Ice & Environmental Services at Provincial Aerospace Ltd. I've been weather forecasting since 2000.

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