Danny may dump rain

Published 8:12 am Friday, August 28, 2009

WAKEFIELD—Forecasters and local officials believe Tropical Storm Danny will spare Western Tidewater, but are keeping an eye on the storm as it moves up the Atlantic coast.

Isle of Wight County Emergency Services Director Rusty Chase and Franklin Fire & Rescue Chief Mark Carr participated Thursday in a conference call with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

“Based on the information that was shared with us from the National Weather Service, we’re looking at maybe a half-inch of rain Friday night and Saturday morning,” Chase said. “It doesn’t look like it’s going to be much of a system. We’re continuing to monitor the system, and we have plans in place. Our department heads are acutely aware (of the situation), and we are staying in touch with our schools and shelter operations.”

Carr concurred, adding, “It really looks like in our area it’s not going to affect us that greatly.” He said wind gusts could reach 15 miles per hour.

According to NWS projections, Danny will skirt Cape Hatteras, N.C. and will be about 200 miles from the Virginia coast by 8 a.m. Saturday. The storm might not make landfall in the U.S.

“I think we’re very fortunate this system has shifted away from us,” Chase said. “It’s moving up north just like (Hurricane) Bill did last week. We’re in a monitoring phase, keeping people up-to-date, and keeping in touch with the state. At this time they haven’t requested another conference call.”

Meanwhile, the NWS office in Wakefield issued a hazardous weather outlook at 1:51 p.m. for several counties in the region, including Southampton, Isle of Wight, Sussex and Greensville. The service warned that heavy rainfall “will be possible from late Friday through Saturday.”

The National Hurricane Center, based in Miami, said the center of the storm was located near 27.5 degrees north latitude and 73.1 degrees west longitude, or about 320 miles northeast of Nassau, Bahamas and about 550 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C.

According to the NHC, Danny is moving toward the northwest at about 13 miles per hour. The storm is moving in a general northwestward motion, and is expected to keep moving in that direction until Friday, when it should turn to the north. Wind speed was expected to increase.

Danny’s maximum winds were near 60 miles per hour with higher gusts, the NHC said, adding that slow strengthening was possible during the next couple of days. The NHC warned that tropical storm force winds could extend outward up to 205 miles, mainly north of the storm’s center.

Carr said our area could receive more rain on Sunday than from Danny on Friday and Saturday.

“There’s a cold front coming in from the west,” Carr said. “We could get as much as an inch of rain out of that, but it has nothing to do with the tropical depression.”