A uncommon blue supermoon might elevate tides above regular simply as Hurricane Idalia smashes its method throughout Florida’s west coast, exacerbating flooding from the storm.
The moon will probably be closest to the Earth on Wednesday, the day Idalia made landfall in Florida. Whereas a supermoon could make for a spectacular backdrop in pictures of landmarks around the globe, its intensified gravitational pull additionally makes tides greater.
“I might say the timing is fairly unhealthy for this one,” stated Brian Haines, the meteorologist in cost on the Nationwide Climate Service workplace in Charleston, South Carolina.
It’s anticipated to make tidal flooding worse not solely in Florida, however in states reminiscent of Georgia and South Carolina, the place Haines’s workplace has been warning residents that components of Charleston could possibly be beneath water by Wednesday night time.
When the moon is full, the solar and the moon are pulling in the identical path, which has the impact of accelerating tides above regular ranges, stated Kerry Emanuel, professor emeritus of atmospheric science on the Massachusetts Institute of Expertise.
The moon’s gravitational pulls are even stronger when it’s nearer to Earth, so the tides are even greater.
The storm surge is usually the best killer when hurricanes strike. “There’s a saying that you simply cover from the wind and run from the water, and hopefully persons are heeding that recommendation,” stated Brian Tang, affiliate professor of atmospheric science at College at Albany in New York.
The a part of north-west Florida that has been hit by Idalia is very weak to storm surge due to the area’s geography. The continental shelf extends thus far out from the coast and has a gradual slope, permitting the ocean to develop greater as hurricane winds drive the water on to land, Tang stated.
The form of the coast in that area – referred to as Florida’s Huge Bend space, the place the northern a part of the state’s peninsula meets the panhandle – can also be curved inward, which might focus the storm surge to make it much more harmful, he stated.