So Local Pasco Podcast, June 6th, 2016. Tropical Storm Colin Edition

Twenty four hours.  Twenty four hours is not a very long time.  Twenty four hours ago, Tropical Storm Colin had not yet been named.  Hopefully, twenty four hours from now, Colin will be well past us, and moving away rapidly.

But for THIS twenty four hours, we need to make sure we understand the situation, the risks, the questions, and the answers.  I know, nobody wants to work this hard on a Monday, but here we are!

I wanted to use the blog post to show you a few things, tonight…

First, take a look at these two images.  The first is the track of Tropical Storm Debby, from 2012.  The second is the projected track of Tropical Storm Colin.

The slow, meandering track of TS Debby from 2012.
The slow, meandering track of TS Debby from 2012.
This is the predicted track of TS Colin (and it's holding up, as of now)
This is the predicted track of TS Colin (and it’s holding up, as of now)

Now, here’s one thing I want you to understand:  Even though these are systems of similar strength, with near identical tracking, they MAY be very different.  Colin is moving pretty fast…Which means the time we have to spend under the rainmaker should be shorter than it was under Debby.  Also, we had pretty heavy rains BEFORE Debby in June of 2012.  So direct comparisons are not a good bet!

The question that was most vexing today was “When will it get here?”

Where is here?  What is it?  Is IT the leading edge, or the middle of the storm?  Is it the rain, or is IT the storm surge?

The answer is complicated.  First though, check this out:

Look at the SIZE of the system.  At least 400 miles.  There is no way to call a point on a map "the storm".
Look at the SIZE of the system. At least 400 miles. There is no way to call a point on a map “the storm”.

It’s not a point on a map.  It can’t be represented by a thin tracking line.  It is a MASSIVE system, in the wild.  It moves like jello being pushed around in a pan of water.  They are incredibly difficult to predict.  Yet, as we’ve seen, the folks at NOAA and the NHC, and even our local Emergency Management Team, do a great job of predicting, preparing and publicizing these storms.

Here are tide charts for New Port Richey (Cotee River) and Hudson.  The highest tides today will occur around 2:30pm.  While it depends on rainfall and other factors, it seems safe to say that if we are going to see major flooding problems, they will be during the high tide period, as the storm passes us and pushes a surge of water to the coast…Which could also trap rainwater runoff in creeks, rivers, streams, and drainage ditches.

Hudson tide chartCotee River Tide Chart

So…When IS it going to get here?    Let’s ask a different question:  When can we expect the worst conditions from this storm?

The worst weather, if the storm tracks as predicted, will be from dawn to 11pm, tonight.  IF.  

It’s important that you realize the complexity of the question you are asking…IF you want a good answer.

Here is the link to the Pasco County Emergency Preparedness website, where you can download a PDF file of the 2016 Pasco Hurricane Guide.  You can also pick up a copy at local post offices and Pasco County Libraries.  Click the image below to get the guide:

The guide contains prep checklist, tracking maps, and critical planning info!
The guide contains prep checklist, tracking maps, and critical planning info!

It’s getting late…But if you need sandbags, Click the text below to get the location of sandbags for Pasco County residents:

Pasco County Sandbag Locations

As of 3am, Pasco County Schools ARE open on Monday.  Sorry, kids.

Finally, as my friend Deryl reminded me, today…Once you have a plan in place. Once you’ve done everything you can to secure safety and property…Enjoy this amazing weather event.  This is nature at her peak of power…Let’s all take in the grandeur, and be grateful that it is not a major hurricane!

Be safe!  Send me pics of weather news you think folks would like to see!

~Greg

Feel free to leave a comment! Be nice, though, or the banhammer shall fall.