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September 19, 2008

Perfect. Again.

So what the heck do you write about when the weather is perfect day after day? Forecasters out at Sterling continue to predict sunny skies and highs in the 70s for as far as they can see (the middle of next week). Overnight lows will remain in the 50s, allowing us great sleeping weather, at no charge from BGE (Buffett Gas & Electric).

Here are some of the overnight low readings from around and about. Not quite as cold in the far west as forecasters had been predicting. Here's more:

BWI: 63 degrees

WeatherDeck, Cockeysville: 51 degrees

Calvert & Centre: 61 degrees

Westminster: 51 degrees

Cumberland: 50 degrees

Hancock: 51 degrees

And, from WeatherBug:

Accident, Garrett Co.: 47 degrees

Oakland, Garrett Co.:  48 degrees

Frostburg (not frosty): 43 degrees

Monkton:  52 degrees

Owings Mills:  54 degrees

Perry Hall: 56 degrees

There's nothing serious stirring in the tropics, although there is a stormy area in the Caribbean that's getting some attention. No worries there, though, apparently.

There's been no change at all on the Drought Monitor map, which still shows lingering dry conditions on the central Eastern Shore.

AP Photo/David PhillipSo what else? I came in this morning and found some interesting satellite images that show the flooding along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Texas where Ike ran ashore last weekend. There was also an aerial shot showing how the storm surge swept a Texas beach, clearing away most of the homes there. It's a pretty graphic argument for why people with homes near the beach need to evacuate when these storms threaten.

Why anyone builds there is another question entirely. It was interesting to read in The Sun this morning that Texas, using a law already on the books, is planning to seize beachfront property where the storm erased the dunes, the homes, and pushed back the waterline. What once were people's vacation properties will become state-owned beach. That much makes some sense. But the owners may not be compensated for the taking. Is that even constitutional? 

The former state senator who wrote the law in 1959 had little sympathy for those who built on shifting sands:

"We're talking about damn fools that have built houses on the edge of the sea for as long as man could remember and against every advice anyone has given," A.R. "Babe" Schwartz said."

I'd be interested to get readers' comments on Texas' plans.

And, from the Totally Unrelated News Dept.: Astronomers say they've snapped the first-ever direct image of a planet circling a sunlike star. The star is very young, and the planet is very big, very, very far from its star, and still very hot. So it's not going to be a place very friendly to life. But the search for habitable planets is making advances every day. I suspect that, within the lifetime of many of us, we will image an Earth-like planet and study the light bouncing off it for signs of life. 

Posted by Frank Roylance at 10:38 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Forecasts


I was wondering if Texas or anywhere would take up a stance on not building homes back on the beach. Try to reclaim the coast line as public lands. I would think it is a good idea, but they probably would face many lawsuits when property owners don't get compensation back for the beach front property.

I haven't read the law, so I can't comment on the authority it cites. However, if you're looking for context, you'll want to read up on the Public Trust Doctrine, which governs state ownership of lands lying within the reach of or under navigable waters. Historically, the PTD has held that water within the reach of high tidal waters is public in nature. In the last century, I think the Supreme Court has held that the PTD reaches to something like mean high water. I'm not sure about that point.

Nonetheless, one could see that in cases where the actual shore has changed and redefined tidal boundaries, land that was once privately owned would fall under the public domain. This seems to be what has happened in Texas. This seems rational to me and, in fact, is just another risk that beach-front homeowners should contend with when making purchase decisions.

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About Frank Roylance
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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