The title above the graphic is "Ophelia headed for open ocean."
The difference between the one in the Roanoke Times and the one from NOAA is the Times' version is cropped just above Yarmouth, Nova Scotia so that one might rightly conclude that Ophelia is just headed for open ocean.
Those of us who know the world extends beyond New England happen to know that there is land north of the US border, and that Opehlia is headed directly for Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, and Newfoundland.
If you go to the online version of the Chronicle Herald, which is published in Halifax, NS, the largest city in the Canadian maritimes, you will find a little different perspective on Ophelia than was conveyed by the graphic in the Times. The Chronicle headlines verify that Opehila is on track to hit Nova Scotia.
Preparing for the worst
Nova Scotians stocking up as Ophelia bears down on province
If you dig into the article, you'll find that Nova Scotians are preparing for Opehila very much like we in the Roanoke Valley prepare for a large snow or ice storm.
From the article in the Chronicle Herald, these are the predictions.
The storm will likely strike southwestern Nova Scotia this evening but "there is going to be rain throughout the day (over the mainland)," Environment Canada meteorologist Ted McIldoon .....
Then, as Ophelia bears down, winds may gust to 90 kilometres per hour and rainfall could total between 70 and 100 millimetres in some areas, Mr. McIldoon said.
Potential for flooding is expected to be heaviest in southwestern areas and the Annapolis Valley.
The storm is expected to make landfall east of Halifax around midnight and cross Cape Breton later Sunday morning, Mr. McIldoon said.
Seas will be between six and seven metres and forecasters were warning of a possible 60- to 70-centimetre storm surge in the Cape Sable Island area if Ophelia times its arrival with high tide.
To provide a little translation, wind speeds up to 56 miles per hour are expected. They are predicting from 2.75 inches of rain to almost 4 inches of rain with waves in the sea at 20 to 23 feet and a tidal surge of about 2.3 feet.
While these aren't extreme numbers (waves excluded), they are certainly something we would be concerned about here in our valley. The tidal surge on Sable Island isn't a huge one, but the potential flooding in the Annapolis Valley may be due in part to the tidal nature of the Annapolis River and the topography that isn't very dissimilar to what we face in our mountain valleys.
Thus a lot of rain in a short time can create flooding. Fortunately the Annapolis River doesn't have as a large and as mountainous a drainage area as does the Roanoke River. Also the Annapolis Valley is not going to be in the most dangerous quadrant of the tropical storm when it makes land fall.
Things could have been much worse. Had Ophelia taken a slightly more westerly track and come up the Bay of Fundy as some storms have done, it would have had a chance to enhance a tide which already is as much as 45 feet. We were living in Nova Scotia when a storm close to hurricane strength very nearly came up the middle of the Bay of Fundy. It was impressive. In case you are wondering the Bay of Fundy has the highest variation between high and low tides of anywhere in the world.
Canadians are used to the American perception that weather systems stop at the border or that the unknown territory on the Weather Channel television maps is beyond the realm of possibility for many in the US. Canadian also believe that America doesn't pay much attention to the potential impact of their policies on the people who live where weather systems fall into a black hole.
I can only hope the people in the Roanoke Valley that stop by my blog are by now well aware of the land beyond Maine, know as the Canadian Maritimes. (Google Map)
There's is some great travel information on the Canadian Maritimes at this National Geographic site.
Or you can read my more personalized suggestions that I did in a post this summer, "A Summer Excursion Through New Brunswick, PEI, & Nova Scotia." Fall is also a great time to travel to the Maritimes.
Finally you can view some real neat NOAA experimental weather maps of tropical storm Ophelia at this site. Below is one of my favorites.