Wednesday, August 20, 2008

PM Update: Fay Stalls, Flooding Threat Increases

Late, late PM Update: As of the 2 am advisory, Fay is edging northwestward back toward the Florida coast at around 2 mph. Maximum winds remain at 60 mph. Total rainfall amounts of nearly 25 inches have been reported in North Melbourne.

Late PM Update: With the center of Tropical Storm Fay hovering nearly stationary off the central Florida east coast, the storm picked up a little in intensity this evening; maximum winds are back to around 60 mph, but the strongest winds are over water. Nevertheless, very heavy rains continue over east-central and northeastern Florida.

Rainfall Update: Here are 6-hour rainfall totals at Cocoa Beach from 8 am Tuesday through 8 pm tonight:
08/19 8 am: 0.49
08/19 2 pm: 0.88
08/19 8 pm: 4.49
08/20 2 am: 1.37
08/20 8 am: 8.31
08/20 2 pm: 5.47
08/20 8 pm: 2.22
Total: 23.23

Later PM Update: As of 5 pm, Fay is meandering northward at only 2 mph; strength remains at 50 mph. Like many anonymous commenters in the blogosphere (and the publishers who harbor them), the storm lacks an inner core, but otherwise it still has a well-defined structure. Because of the slow movement, rainfall continues to be biblically torrential. The official amount of 7.55" observed at Melbourne as of 4 pm crushes the old record for the date of 2.21". A co-op observer in Glades County had received a storm total of 16.17" through this morning.

Images: Upper, Doppler radar; lower, estimated 24-hr. precipitation from The Weather Channel.

Original post:
Tropical Storm Fay has now become stationary near Cape Canaveral, Florida, while maintaining its intensity at 50 mph. A slow turn to the north and northwest is still expected by tomorrow. Additional rainfall amounts of 5 to 10 inches are likely over east-central and northeastern Florida with isolated storm totals of as much as 30 inches possible. An unofficial report near Melbourne has reached 22 inches.

Many Melbourne area roads have been reported flooded with up to 5 feet of water, although none were officially closed. St. Lucie County schools will remain closed for the rest of the week because of flooding. The Florida State Emergency Operations Team reports that the storm has now affected every county in the state except for the Panhandle.

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