While Tampa Bay avoided any adverse affects from Hurricane Irene, millions on people in the Megalopolis, the stretch of large cities that run from Boston, MA, on to New York, NY, next to Philadelphia, PA, then to Baltimore, MD, and finally south to Washington, DC. The Weather Channel reported the estimated population of this expanded urban area is around 55 million, or about one-sixth (1/6) of the US population. The first area to be impacted will be the coastal areas of North Carolina overnight Friday. From there, Irene is expected to move just east of due north, and make another landfall Sunday afternoon between New Jersey and Connecticut. Areas around New York City have not been affected by even a glancing blow from a tropical system since Hurricane Gloria in 1985, and not a direct hit since the Long Island Express Hurricane of 1938. Strong winds will be an issue with all of the glass-windowed skyscrapers in these cities. Also, a combination of tidal salt-water flooding due to rising sea levels, and fresh-water flooding due to very heavy rainfall, should also detrimentally affect the large cities this weekend. Commutes around the region will be disrupted as much of their travel is by train bewteen cities, by ferry over stretches of water, and undergroung public transportation systems within each city. At the same time, Tampa residents should not let their guard down, as Tropical Depression Ten developed in the Eastern Atlantic Thursday. For more information, please visit the National Hurricane Center website at: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/, the AccuWeather Hurricane Center website at: http://hurricane.accuweather.com/hurricane/index.asp and the Storm Central graphics page at: http://centralstorm.wordpress.com/.
Tampa Bay remained mostly dry throughout the day on Thursday. However, a few of the outermost rain-bands from Hurricane Irene, more than 200 miles away, did produce small amounts of rainfall as she made her closest pass to the Florida Peninsula. According to the National Weather Service, Tampa received a trace of rain, St. Petersburg observed 0.02”, and the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport reported 0.12”. Another impact felt by individuals in Tampa from Irene was the gusty winds by mid to late afternoon. Sustained winds measured over 15 miles per hour, with gusts over 30. Highs ranged from 91 in St. Petersburg to 93 in Tampa, with partly cloudy skies most of the day.
Tampa Bay residents and vacationers can expect a sunnier and drier weekend than is typical for summer, thanks to a drier northerly flow left in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Skies are expected to remain mostly sunny to partly cloudy, with rain coverage only around 20% all three days. Friday will remain breezy, with highs from 87-93. By Saturday, winds may begin to subside late in the day, and high temperatures should be 90-95. Sunday high temperatures are expected to be 88-95. Morning lows should be 75-84 each morning. For more detailed information, visit the local National Weather Service website at: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/tbw/, or the Storm Team 8 Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/StormTeam8WFLA.