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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 11/13/2009

Powerful Nor'easter pastes SE Va. & local beaches

By Capital Weather Gang

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The remnants of Hurricane Ida, now a potent Nor'easter, will go down in the record books as a historic storm for southeast Virginia.

Some interesting facts:

*High tide at Sewells Point hit 7.68 feet last night, slightly lower than Hurricane Isabel's 7.9 feet in 2003.
*Widespread 5-10" rainfall totals were reported and peak wind gusts reached 70-75 mph in many coastal areas. See peak winds and rainfall totals.
*Yesterday evening more than 175,000 people had lost power in southeast Va. according to Dominion Power.

Further north along the Maryland/Delaware eastern shore, this has also been a remarkable storm. Heavy beach erosion and flooding have been reported. The southbound and northbound lanes of Route 1 around Rehoboth and Dewey beaches were closed due to flooding as waves had broken through the dunes according to WBOC-TV.

National Weather Service coastal floods statements indicated coastal flooding would be the worst in more than a decade...7-8 feet or so above mean lower low water. 57 people evacuated their homes due to flooding in Sussex county, Del.

Conditions will gradually improve for coastal areas today as the storm drifts north and east. However, rain and breezy conditions will linger into early Saturday.

By Capital Weather Gang  | November 13, 2009; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Beachcast  
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Next: PM Update: Slow-moving storm winding down


Here are some pics of Bethany Beach, DE as of yesterday. So much for the restoration project!

Posted by: TheMot | November 13, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

We finally have some evidence the storm is pulling away from us...there seems to be plenty of lightning several hundred miles out in the Atlantic.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | November 13, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

As near as I can tell the predictions (models, forecasters, including NWS and CWG) of Ida's redevelopment (extratropical tranasition) and lingering along the coast were pretty much a bust until perhaps Tuesday (Nov 10) morning. Consequently, the forecasts of associated high winds and rain persisting through at least today were well off the mark.

Just imagine the furor and much more had this had been a snowstorm, as for example the surprise snowstorm of January 24-25, 2000.

As Jason has stated, some forecast scenarios are a piece of cake. Others, perhaps even most high impact cases, are not.

On the research side the key issue in a case like Ida is to what extent the storm was and was not predictable and why. I hope to report further on this in the near future (non geeky terms) in context of relating informative guidance on how to interpret and deal with varying levels of uncertainty existent in ALL forecasts.

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | November 13, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

According to Jeff Masters at Weather Underground, the storm surge at Sewell's Point, Va. was higher than during Isabel, making it the highest surge in Norfolk history. Masters also included this interesting information about relative sea level rise in the Norfolk, Va. area:

"Storm surges and sea level rise
The storm surge flooding in the Norfolk area was exacerbated by the fact that sea level has risen and the land has subsided significantly over the past century. Over the past 60 years, absolute sea level along the coast of Virginia has risen by about 2.6 mm/year. However, the relative sea level has risen by 4.44 mm/year since 1927 (Figure 4), meaning that the land has sunk by about 1.84 mm/year. The net result is that the ocean is now about 1.16 feet higher at Norfolk than it was in 1927. The Norfolk tide gauge shows the highest rate of relative sea level rise of any gauge on the U.S. East Coast (though relative sea level rise is much higher along the Gulf Coast, with rises near 3 feet/century at New Orleans). Thus, today's 5+ foot storm surge brought water more than a foot higher in Norfolk than the 5+ foot storm surge of the 1933 hurricane. Storm surge damages will steadily increase along the entire coast this century as sea level rise accelerates and coastal development continues. It is urgent that government take action in coming years to limit development in vulnerable coastal regions. The ocean is going flood our sand castles that we are building in harm's way, at an ever increasing rate."

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | November 13, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

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