Winds rise ahead of Atlantic storm
Winds down at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station are huffing along at between 17 and 21 mph, with gusts to nearly 30 mph this morning, as that Atlantic storm moves closer to landfall later today in the Carolinas. It's even stormier at Ocean City, where the airport is reporting light rain and winds between 20 and 24 mph, gusting to 35 mph.
Our NWS forecasters, operating this week from facilities in State College, Pa. (their offices at Sterling, Va., are being moved this week to make way for runway expansion at Dulles International Airport), say we can expect rain to develop during the afternoon. We can use the moisture. BWI has recorded no rain at all for two weeks - since Sept. 12.
Winds will rise to between 18 and 24 mph, with gusting to 40.
Most of our rain is expected to fall tonight - up to three-quarters of an inch at BWI. But we should be ready for at least occasional rain right through the day Friday and Saturday before this storm finally moves off to the northeast. Sunday and Monday will bring our next best shot at some sunshine.
The storm is not a hurricane, and for the moment not yet a tropical depression. But it is being tracked by the National Hurricane Center. Forecasters there say it is centered about 180 miles southeast of the South Caroliona/North Carolina border, moving slowly westward. Here's the satellite loop.
While it has "not yet acquired tropical characteristics," they said, it could still become a tropical or subtropical cyclone later today.
But that probably won't matter much. It is still a strong low-pressure system, and it is already bringing strong winds, high surf, dangerous rip currents, coastal flooding and heavy rains to the Atlantic coast from South Carolina to Maryland.
In Maryland, a Coastal Flood Advisory remains in effect through the end of the week for the Chesapeake Bay's western shore, from Harford County to St. Mary's County. People along the bay shore can expect high tides 1 to 2 feet above normal predictions and minor flooding. Here are the high tide times for today and tonight:
HAVRE DE GRACE... 7:19 PM...
BOWLEY BAR... 4:57 PM...
FORT MCHENRY BALTIMORE... 4:06 PM AND 4:59 AM...
ANNAPOLIS U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY...2:36 PM AND 3:29 AM...
SOLOMONS ISLAND...11:28 AM AND 12:21 AM...
POINT LOOKOUT...10:38 AM AND 11:31 PM...
The NWS has also posted a Wind Advisory for Central and Southern Maryland and the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay, with gusts to 45 mph today and tonight. Forecasters said:
"WINDS THIS STRONG MAY DOWN SOME TREES AND POWER LINES. WINDS THIS
STRONG CAN ALSO MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT...ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH
PROFILE VEHICLES. USE EXTRA CAUTION"
When the time comes, you can track any BGE outages here. So far, it's quiet for the linemen.
There's also a Gale Warning for the tidal Potomac and the Chesapeake through tonight.
You can track the wind and barometric readings on the bay off Calvert Cliffs at the Cove Point Data Bouy, here. For conditions in downtown Baltimore, try The Sun's weather station at Calvert & Centre streets.