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earlier burfling | later burfling

Uh-oh ...

Okay, it's not yet time to panic, by any stretch of the imagination. But it's time to Look Concerned. [1]

Yesterday, the National Hurricane Center's 1100 EDT update on Wilma first mentioned that she'd intensified into a hurricane - the twelfth of the season - with further intensification expected over the next couple of days.

Well, just like Rita, Wilma intensified at warp speed - as of 0500 EDT today, she was rated as a Category Five, with an 884 millibar central pressure - "the lowest ever measured in a hurricane in the Atlantic basin".

Now, according to the most recent discussion on the NHC site (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCDAT4+shtml/191459.shtml), there is at least some risk of Wilma hitting New England:
HOWEVER...RECENT RUNS OF THE GFS AND
NOGAPS ARE SUGGESTING THE POSSIBILITY OF A THREAT TO NEW ENGLAND.
IN THIS SCENARIO...WILMA BECOMES CAPTURED BY A LARGE MID- TO
UPPER-LEVEL LOW FORECAST TO MOVE INTO THE GREAT LAKES REGION IN
FOUR DAYS. THE ECMWF AND IN PARTICULAR THE UKMET...BOTH OLDER
RUNS...DO NOT YET INDICATE THIS. THE FIVE-DAY OFFICIAL FORECAST
POINT HAS BEEN ADJUSTED TO THE LEFT AND FASTER THAN THE PREVIOUS
ADVISORY...BUT IS STILL MUCH FARTHER OFFSHORE OF NEW ENGLAND THAN
THE GFDL...GFS...AND NOGAPS GUIDANCE.


Even the "official" 5-day cone has New England in a potential strike zone; the 8AM Monday forecast position is 39.0N, 69.0W - roughly 150 nautical miles southeast of Nantucket (at 41.3N, 70.1W). However, the track errors for day 5 forecasts have been averaging 325 nautical miles daily; so it's well within the realm of possibility that Wilma could hit southern New England on Monday morning. And our rivers are already bank-full; there was major flooding damage in southwest New Hampshire earlier this month, while a dam in Taunton is getting national attention as it threatens to give way. The absolute last thing we need around here is more rain.

I'm not personally threatened by flooding, since I live on high ground. But I am now officially Looking Concerned.

[1] Back when I split neutrons on the Ustafish for a living, part of my responsibility was to have my immediate actions memorized for every possible casualty. Immediate Actions were defined as the things you have to do without taking the time to check the manuals, bills, etc. Once the IAs are done, it's your job to go back and check and see if you missed something. For most of them - especially the ones that weren't engineering casualties - the Reactor Operator didn't have any officially described immediate actions, so when asked, we'd say that our IA was "Look Concerned."

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