Jacksonville, Fla. – The “squeeze” play between the big high pressure to our north and Eta to our south will be slowly fading the next few days.
Coastal advisories are numerous as we see tides run above normal, to moderate flood levels along the St. Johns River. There is a pronounced higher flooding issue along the St. Johns River, at high tide, mainly south of downtown Jacksonville. That extends all the way south to Palatka.
The mechanics involved are similar, but not to the extreme of Irma. Irma flooded many areas from the downtown then up the St. Johns River towards Green Cove Springs.
Basically, the constant onshore wind at the mouth of the St. Johns River is slowing the amount of water being discharged from the St. Johns River into the Atlantic Ocean. At the same time, the slight southerly component of the wind is helping the St. Johns River pile water into the “crook” of the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville. The result is moderate flooding in areas along the St. Johns River south of the downtown. This flooding will likely continue as winds will remain moderate (but not as strong) over the next couple of days.
Winds will slowly relax as the big area of high pressure to our north moves off and when it does so, this is when we will need to follow Eta closely. Eta has been traveling quickly to the southwest and should abruptly come to a stop, then as the high pressure moves out, turn back northward. The real question that is still very much a question mark, will Eta quickly follow the high pressure out to the northeast, possibly tracking back onto Florida’s West Coast and then into Northeast Florida? Or take a more casual drift to the north and begin to decay over the cooler water over the Northern Gulf of Mexico? Or does Eta track north, weaken dramatically, then get pushed to the west nearing Louisiana as a swirl of clouds with no impact to their coast?
The models are still split, with a slight new hint of tracking northeast towards Florida but then weakening and moving westward to fade away. Clearly, this would be optimal.
Stay tuned everyone, although unlikely, Eta may not be done yet.