There have been positive developments over the last 24 hours with the expected track of Hermine (pronounced her-MEEN, not Hermione from Harry Potter). Hermine is currently a strengthening tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico, starting to pick up forward northerly speed. It’s expected to make a landfall in Apalachee Bay, Florida later this evening and may be a hurricane as it does so…the first land-falling hurricane in the State of Florida since Wilma back in 2005, 11 years ago.
Following land-fall, the storm should stay over land as it floods the Southeast US, then emerges out over water again somewhere off the Mid-Atlantic. Water temps off the East Coast are very warm, warm enough for the storm to maintain strength or even strengthen a little as it transitions to a powerful Nor’easter. This would be very concerning if the storm were to make a bee-line north into New England. However, the latest information has the storm slamming on the breaks, coming to a screeching halt south of Long Island where it will stall for, perhaps, several days. You might be asking how something so large, with so much momentum, can stop on a dime? The answer is in the mid-levels of the atmosphere. A piece of energy, associated with the scattered showers we’ll see this afternoon will dive south and essentially arm tackle the storm as it moves up the Eastern Seaboard. This will effectively “daze and confuse” Hermine (that was one of my favorite movies by the way). By the time it figures out what hit it, a large ridge will have built over top of her pushing steering winds well into Canada…Hermine will be a canoe without a paddle.
The location of the rest stop is important but it does appear that it will be safely south of Maine and New Hampshire to keep the significant wind core and tropical downpours from getting to us. Yes, a few rain bands may spiral north into coastal Maine on Monday but effects should be minor. There will also be a persistent onshore breeze through the weekend created by the difference in pressure from the large high to our north and the strong storm to our south and conditions may get a little gusty, but like the rain, effects should be minor.
There will be an extended stretch, Sunday to Wednesday, of large waves hitting the Maine coastline. Some of these breakers may top 10 feet. There’s a chance we see some beach erosion from the repeated pounding but my biggest concern is the threat it poses to people gawking or trying to swim. I urge people to stay far back and off the rocks if possible, be alert for rip currents which can quickly sweep you out to sea too…the ocean is powerful, don’t mess with it. Our fishing fleet is tough but even they should use caution with the expected swell.
That’s the latest, if things change we’ll let you know about it.
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