Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Washington DC
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Re: Thunderstorm in Chesapeake Bay
For T'storms not associated with 'fronts' -
The problem with T-storms on the Chesapeake is that many 'form' and stay stationary as they form along the western shore before moving off, usually towards the NE.
if caught out, go 'south' or SE and avoid the typical NE track.
If the wind is actively rising into (strong updraft) or out of (strong downdraft) a visible growing Tstorm along the W. Shore .... either get to port, anchor close to and in the lee of the W shore, or 'run away'. When a T-storm is downdrafting (with strong 'outflow') ... expect the 'worst' conditions.
Anytime you are out on the bay, and there are quickly forming black clouds on the W. shore ... and the wind is 'rising', get into port as soon as possible is the most 'defensive' / safest tactic.
If possible stay ~3mi. from the 'darkest' part of the T'storm cloud, even if 'blue' overhead, to avoid the occasional 'bolt from the blue'.
Fronts, including 'white squalls':
With approaching fronts with imbedded Tstorms, favor the Western shore, get to a lee port (less fetch) ... or anchor in the lee close to shore if necessary .... avoid passing through 'inlets' or river entrances, unless you definitely can 'make it'. (example entrances to Magothy R., Rappahannock, Patapsco, Patuxent, etc. ) during or near the max. wind as the land effects will 'funnel' the wind through the 'passes'.
Keeping 'moving' seems to be good tactic as for some unknown reason moving boats seem to get 'hit' with lightning less than anchored or docked boats ... Ive been 'hit' three times ... always when not moving. (Good thing is most insurance policies dont apply penalty when hit by lightning).
Same applies to Tstorms developing over the Delaware shore of the Delaware Bay.
RichH Can you elaborate on "updraft" and "downdraft"? I assume updraft is wind blowing towards the storm and down draft vice versa?