Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Wednesday Sept. 3, 08 -- Where fore art thou going, Hanna?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008: Waves: Slight drop to 3-4 feet but much choppier. Winds: (Strangely) Gusting out of the east to 16 mph; sustained are lower and it seems to be dropping. Water temps: Mid-70s.

The big chatter is not fishing but Hanna.

As an amateur meteorologist I have been heavily mulling over the computer projections. I like to do it without checking the Hurricane Center at first, just to see how close I come to its official forecast. Interestingly, as early as yesterday a.m., I had the track of the Hanna’s remnants coming right over South Jersey, while the hurricane folks had them going through middle Pennsylvania. This a.m., they have favored the over-South-Jersey track.

The big question is how quickly Hanna will lose its tropical characteristics, becoming extratropical (ET). Right now it would seem the storm will go ET in the Virginia area, arriving here as a series of powerful ET cells, meaning drenching rains to 5 inches in some area. It’s complicated trying to factor in how much moisture will be squeezed out to our south and whether or not a slight high pressure gradient over us acts to quickly raise the storm’s low pressure – another phenomena that could squeeze the moisture out to our south. Storms which have taken this path in the past have been very rained out, as it were.

Of course, the biggy for many folks is the wind speed forecast. That is actually more accurately predicted, based on historic precedents, i.e. past storms on the same track. Look for sustained 22 to 28 mph with gusts to 50.

The wind direction is where I begin to part ways with the Weather Service (who you should take to heart and use my guesses as just that, guesses.) The pros are talking southeast to south winds. Right now, I think winds are a tad more inclined to go northeast, with the storm coming up through eastern Delaware and hugging the coast thereafter.

Whichever the initial winds, the stronger gusts should occur after the famed swing-around, when the center point of the storm passes and winds go opposite. Those should be northwest in all instances – north or south initial winds.

On a yearly basis we handle storms of this size, almost always nor’easters. What’s more, this storm could decay faster than expected. The numbers above are actually fairly maximal.

Prime things to watch: The jog Hanna takes after landfall in South Carolina. Any quirkiness there could take her totally out of our weather window (if she beelines for the Ohio Valley) or (worst case scenario) if she deflects off the coastline, stays intense and hugs the Eastern Seaboard (low probability but still there).

Odd possibility: Storms taking the track now predicted for Hanna -- bringing the remnants through South Jersey -- have left very unstable weather in their wakes. I sure wouldn’t count on Sunday or Monday to be bright and shiny, at least not at this point. In a way, a storm this large can usher in what amounts to a huge bubble of tropical air, with clouds, t-storms and warm winds feeling identical to places like Florida. Again, this has happened after other similar weather events.

Impact on Holgate: Give me northeast winds any time. Holgate recovers much quicker after NE than southeast. Regardless, this should be a very quick moving storm.

Now there’s a conga line of hurricanes forming to worry about. What’s left of my roof shingles won’t make it through this fall.

As for here and now, we had some freaky easterly winds to nearly 20 mph this morning. I call them freaky because virtually every other reporting station had light offshore winds, Cape May reporting SW winds at only 4 mph. The skies have even clouded over. Though the winds have dropped a bit (by 9 a.m.) they are not conducive to small crafting out in the ocean – still holding hurricane swells.

Weekly column going into http://jaymanntoday.ning.com/ later today.

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