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Hurricane Frances Makes Landfall...

Jason Samenow @ 12:28 AM

Eye of Frances nears the coast, courtesy Palm Beach Post and News 12Just after 1am today, Hurricane Frances officially made landfall in Stuart, Florida which is just south of Ft. Pierce and about midway between West Palm Beach and Vero Beach (recall that's exactly where I called for landfall 48 hours in advance. I also correctly suggested there was a "strong possibility" the storm would hit south Florida 120 hours in advance. My Ft. Lauderdale forecast 96 and 72 hours in advance was just a bit off.) While Frances became a bit better organized as the shear relaxed, she did not intensify appreciably and made landfall as a Category 2 storm.

Notes on Frances:
  • She is about the size of Texas
  • At Fort Pierce, sustained winds to 95 mph were reported with gusts to 110 mph
  • Over 1 million without power in Florida
  • As I write this (1:30 am Sunday), Palm Beach has already received about 6 inches of rain
  • Areas on the northern side of the storm (from Ft. Pierce to Melbourne) will likely incur the worst damage as the strongest winds and heaviest rain will be most extensive and most persistent there.
  • During the daylight hours, the threat of damaging winds along the coast will subside as the storm weakens, but the risk of inland flooding will increase especially north of Lake Okeechobee and south of Ocala. Because the storm is moving so slowly (at about 7mph), she will drop over 10" of rain in areas.
  • Frances will likely move over the Gulf of Mexico for a time, re-organize just a bit, before hitting the Florida panhandle.
  • She will then likely move through Alabama and into the Tennesse Valley. The National Weather Service (NWS), Sterling forecasts Frances will have a "minimal" impact on our area due to its inland track (Kudos to Josh for calling that over five days ago if correct). I don't necessarily disagree with the NWS, but caution that forecasting the movement of hurricane remnants is tough and believe it's a bit early to write-off the possibility of the storm affecting our area in more than a "minimal" fashion.

The following newspapers have excellent coverage of Frances:

The Palm Beach Post
Orlando Sentinel
Tampa Tribune

See the radar over Florida here.

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