Tropical Storm Hermine – Tallahassee Alert –
THIS IS A VERY “TIME-SENSITIVE” REPORT
After viewing the graphic below my concerns for the residents of Tallahassee have increased; of course it goes without saying that my concerns are for everyone who might have to deal with this storm – no matter where they might be located. Mainly, there are three factors involved in my concern for the 7th most highly populated city in Florida and its capital city. One is that there is a strong chance that Hermine will become a hurricane before reaching the Florida coast.
Another: The minimum distance from Gulf of Mexico waters to Tallahassee is about 25 miles. One might consider 25 miles to be an adequate “buffer” to provide friction and thus slow down the winds approaching the city. I think that assumption would be a mistake. Furthermore, when surface or near-surface winds leave the water for land the slight slowing that might occur would tend to cause more air to rise. A similar rising is what causes lake effect snows in certain Great Lakes coastal or near-coastal downwind locations. In the case of humid winds from Hermine possibly decelerating due to friction over the land when approaching Tallahassee, the net effect could very well be more vertical cloud development (due to a greater amount of rising air) than would have occurred otherwise. This phenomenon can intensify thunderstorms, the gusts that spill out from them, and the chaos that can generate tornadoes. The increase in rainfall amounts can be dramatic. So – be careful what you wish for. Flooding is typically a bigger issue than the wind velocities in these cases.
Here is the third cause for my concern: The graphic below from the National Weather Service showing the “cone of uncertainty” (8 PM EST, 8-31-2016) causes me to consider that Tallahassee might very well be under the right-hand leading quadrant of the storm when it makes landfall. The right-hand leading quadrants of tropical cyclonic systems are usually the quadrants with the highest wind velocities, greatest probability for tornadoes, heaviest rains, and in coastal areas the greatest storm surge height. The fact that currently the whole storm is beginning to move faster can increase the danger of the right-hand leading quadrant.
I urge residents of the Tallahassee area to be alert during the approach, passage, and departure of what is now Tropical Storm Hermine. Do not take it lightly just because it is on the low side of the tropical storm wind velocity range at this time (evening of 8-31-2016).