Weather Nerd

Fay inches north, then stalls again

Sorry for the lack of updates. I’m computerless for next couple of days, which makes blogging a bit tricky. As it happens, though, Tropical Storm Fay has barely moved since my last update, 16 hours ago. Nor has she significantly strengthened or weakened. So you haven’t missed much!

Fay did crawl a tiny bit northward yesterday afternoon, moving her broad center just offshore of Florida’s east coast and — more importantly — moving her heaviest rain bands away from Melbourne proper. But then she stalled out again. Now the storm is centered a few miles east of Daytona Beach, sitting and spinning, and Cape Canaveral is taking the pummelling from Fay’s rains that Melbourne was taking yesterday.

The National Weather Service in Melbourne writes at 4:05 AM EDT:

BANDS OF TORRENTIAL RAINS HAVE CONTINUED TO ROTATE ACROSS EASTERN ORANGE AND NORTHERN BREVARD COUNTIES DURING THE LAST SEVERAL HOURS. RADAR ESTIMATES INDICATE 2 TO 4 INCHES HAVE FALLEN SINCE 11 PM. AS FAY TRACKS SLOWLY INLAND TODAY…THE THREAT FOR ADDITIONAL FLOODING WILL BE HIGH TO EXTREME ACROSS MUCH OF CENTRAL FLORIDA AS ADDITIONAL RAINBANDS FORM NEAR AND SOUTH OF THE STORM CENTER.

As that NWS forecast indicates, Fay is expected to slowly track back inland. The National Hurricane Center’s 5am EDT discussion explains:

A MID-LEVEL RIDGE TO THE NORTH OF FAY…WHICH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CYCLONE’S CURRENT STALL…IS FORECAST BY THE GLOBAL MODELS TO STRENGTHEN AND BUILD WESTWARD AS A MID- TO UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH IN THE SOUTHERN PLAINS LIFTS OUT OVER THE NEXT TWO TO THREE DAYS. THIS PATTERN IS EXPECTED TO TURN FAY SLOWLY TO THE WEST-NORTHWEST ALONG THE SOUTHERN PERIPHERY OF THE BUILDING RIDGE.

The official forecast track shows Fay tracking slowly westward, over land, across the Florida panhandle, and eventually into extreme southern Alabama and Mississippi. A slight deviation to the left of the track could take Fay out over the northern Gulf of Mexico, where some re-strengthening would be possible. But probably not much. Fay is going to be remembered for two things: by meteorologists and weather buffs, for strengthening over land; and by Floridians, for dumping lots and lots and lots of rain.