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September 30, 2004

Space Station (again) and an "Iridium flare"

OK, so the clouds didn't part as expected last night, and we all missed the International Space Station flyover. Don't fret. The forecast looks pretty good for tomorrow (FRIDAY) evening, and the ISS will be making another pass.

Find a spot with a broad view of the sky. Look to the west-northwest at 7:34 p.m. EDT. The station will look like a fairly bright and steady white "star," zipping along toward the south southeast. At 7:37 p.m. it should be one third of the way up the sky above the southeast horizon. It will disappear in the south-southeast at 7:40 p.m. We can see the station because of sunlight reflected off its surface and solar panels. It vanishes from view as the ISS moves from sunlight into the Earth's shadow. There are two men aboard, one American, one Russian. Don't forget to wave.

And, since the clouds have cleared this afternoon, tonight (THURS) offers a good chance to see an Iridium flare. That's a flash of sunlight reflected off the antennas of one in a constellation of Iridium telephone satellites. Look halfway up the sky above the southeast horizon at about 8:33 p.m. EDT. Be alert. The flare will brighten to one of the brightest objects in the sky, then fade away in just a few seconds. You're looking at Iridium 16, launched from Kazakhstan in June 1997. It always amazes me that we can predict these things. (Apologies for an incorrect date for this flare in an earlier version of this post.)

For more predictions of future Space Station passes for your location, or Iridium flares, go to Heavens Above.

Posted by Admin at 10:26 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Sky Watching

September 29, 2004

Flooding at Beaverdam Run, Cockeysville

Why is it that people who buy 4-wheel drive SUVs think their cars are amphibious? Jeanne's rains flooded York Road yesterday afternoon at Beaverdam Run in Cockeysville, and Sun photog Gene Sweeney snapped a front-page picture of this knucklehead driving through the bumper-deep water in a silver Jeep. After driving past barriers, I should add. Driving through flooded streets is the most common way of killing yourself in hurricanes and their aftermath. It takes an astonishingly small amount of water to float a car and wash it - and you- into oblivion. Find another route and live to complain about it. Speaking of Beaverdam Run, the USGS techies were out there on the York Road bridge this morning checking their stream gauges. The instruments reported that the creek rose 8 feet in yesterday's rains. The flow meters in the water jumped from 23 cubic feet per second at 1 p.m. to a 5 p.m. peak of 1,640 cf/s. That's still far short of the record of 3,360 cf/s set on July 1, 1984. Wonder whether our knucklehead would have driven through that.
Posted by Admin at 10:40 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Flooding

September 28, 2004

Report flash flooding in your area

Pretty heavy rain underway across the region from the remains of Hurricane Jeanne. Flash flood warnings posted west of I-95 out to the mountains. Tornado watches, too. If you spot floods or twisters, let us know. Leave a comment here describing who, what, when and where.

Posted by Admin at 5:15 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Observer reports

See the Space Station fly over

If skies clear as expected by tomorrow (Wednesday) night, everyone in the Baltimore area should get a good opportunity to watch the International Space Station fly over. Beginning just after 8:10 p.m., look to the west northwest for a steady dot of white light, moving smartly toward the southeast. It looks like a high-altitude jet aircraft, except that it won't have any colored wing lights or flashing strobes. At 8:13 p.m. it should be 51 degrees above the southwest horizon (a bit more than halfway between the horizon and directly overhead). It will fade to black a minute later above the southeastern horizon as it moves out of the direct sunlight into the Earth's shadow. Hard to believe there are two people aboard that thing - one American and one Russian. Who ever gives them a thought these days? For predictions for future flyovers at your location, go to Heavens Above, follow the instructions to program the site for your location, and click on ISS.

Posted by Admin at 10:32 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Sky Watching

September 27, 2004

A "hellacious" winter?

Lindsay wrote:

"I've heard rumors that we're supposed to have a hellacious winter. Is that true? And if so, why?"

Who knows, Lindsay? I'm in favor of all the snow and cold we can get. Makes for a lot more fun in the newsroom.
The NOAA Climate Prediction Center is forecasting cooler-than-normal weather in our region and much of the Southeast for the December through February period. But they see no clear trend for precipitation one way or the other. For their official winter forecast, Click here
If you listen to the people who predict El Ninos, we seem to be slipping into an El Nino pattern in the central tropical Pacific. That usually means more coastal nor'easters for us, which can bring either rain or snow. (It also suppresses hurricanes, which would be a relief for next season.) But it has to be cold, too, to snow.
Then there's the Hagerstown Town & Country Almanack, just out. They're predicting 19 storms and 42 inches of snow out their way. About what they got last winter. "We believe the season will be long, but not particularly deep or intense," the almanac's "Conjecturer" says. First winter storm: Nov. 18-19. The week before Thanksgiving.
Last TV reporter to the salt domes is a rotten egg!

Posted by Admin at 2:10 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Winter weather

Rain and rip currents

Good morning. And welcome to The Sun's new weather blog.
Looks for now like the remnants of Jeanne will scoot out to sea well to our south. NWS is warning of heavy rain on the Lower Eastern Shore, 3-4-foot waves from Fenwick south, with rip currents at the Maryland beaches. One Maryland man drowned last week in rip currents in North Carolina. The rips will be aggravated this week by exceptionally low tides. That's because the full moon is tomorrow evening. (See "Fruit Moon")
In the Baltimore-Washington metro area, forecast shows "periods of rain" beginning after 1 a.m. Tuesday and extending through the day. But no flood watches here. Yet. Folks at the Sterling forecast office are predicting 1-2 inches in Maryland between the Blue Ridge and I-95. But that could increase if Jeanne's remains don't turn as expected and track further north before going out to sea.
Once that mess is gone, looks like a fine week, with sun and highs in the 70s through the weekend. And me stuck here at work.
For this morning's hazardous weather postings, click here.

Posted by Admin at 10:48 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Hurricanes

September 24, 2004

Ivan departs. At last.

The National Hurricane Center this morning issued its final advisory on Ivan. The storm was born Sept. 2 as a tropical depression with 30 mph winds, 555 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. It was announced by the NHC in a public advisory at 5 p.m. that afternoon. It became a hurricane Sept. 5 and a Category 4 storm later the same day. After crashing through the Caribbean and the U.S. Gulf Coast, the storm weakened again to TD status. The NHC stopped issuing advisories for five days. But after Ivan circled back and reformed in the Gulf Sept. 22, new advisories were issued. In all, the NHC issued 116 Ivan advisories over 21.5 days. The last came out today at 4 a.m. That's more than three weeks on the weather radar. Don't know if that's a record, but it was sure way too much of Ivan for all concerned. To see the Ivan archive, click here.

Posted by Admin at 10:33 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hurricanes

September 23, 2004

Ivan's tornadoes

Who says this isn't "tornado country"? The Sterling Forecast Office (National Weather Service) has posted its initial survey of the tornado damage Sept. 17 in Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia. The storms were spawned by the remnants of Hurricane Ivan. They chewed up trees, homes and businesses in 11 Virginia counties, three in Maryland (Frederick, Montgomery and Washington) and one in West Virginia. The strongest, which struck western Fauquier County, Va., was rated at F3 (158-206 mph) on the Fujita scale. It tracked 22 miles across the county and tossed a pickup truck 75 yards, over trees and power lines and dropped it in a field. To see the report,click here.

Posted by Admin at 4:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hurricanes, Tornadoes

September 22, 2004

The Fruit Moon

The moon is full Tuesday (the 28th) at 9:08 p.m. EDT. Sometimes called the Fruit Moon, it's also this year's Harvest Moon, defined as the one nearest in time to the Autumnal Equinox (on the 22nd). Next month's full moon (the Hunter's Moon) will be eclipsed as it drifts through the Earth's shadow. This total lunar eclipse, on Oct. 27, is the second of two in 2004. The event starts at 9:14 p.m. EDT and the period of totality lasts from 10:23 p.m. until 11:45 p.m. But then, whenever I write about these things, it seems to cloud up. Sorry. For more on the eclipse, click here.

Posted by Admin at 6:50 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Sky Watching

September 17, 2004

Charley, Frances, Ivan may be retired

Look for the names Charley, Frances and Ivan to be retired from the Atlantic hurricane name list when the World Meteorological Organization meets this winter. Normally, the names are recycled every six years. But storms that cause many deaths or extraordinary property destruction are usually nominated for retirement by the countries affected. With more than 70 US deaths and combined losses near $20 billion, hurricane forecasters in Miami are betting the this year's C, F and I names are history. Isabel, whose record storm surge last year destroyed hundreds of homes in Maryland, on top of losses and fatalities elsewhere, has been replaced by Ida on the 2009 names list. To see the Atlantic lists through 2009, go to NOAA's Web site.

Posted by Admin at 6:43 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hurricanes

September 14, 2004

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

We've all been reading about the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. For a complete description, go to this link.

Posted by Admin at 5:57 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hurricane background

September 11, 2004

Ivan turns west

Hurricane Ivan has turned to the west and now looks like it's headed for the Gulf of Mexico.

Posted by Admin at 11:25 AM | | Comments (0)

September 10, 2004

Current track of Ivan

Hurricane Ivan is now tracking directly toward the Florida Keys. It is predicted to make landfall Monday morning.

Posted by Admin at 6:54 PM | | Comments (0)
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This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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