Gulf of Mexico disturbance 93L a Lousiana flood threat; Katia a hurricane

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:28 PM GMT on September 01, 2011

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Surface winds over the northern Gulf of Mexico are rising, pressures are falling, and heavy thunderstorms are building today thanks to a tropical disturbance (Invest 93L) that is the product of a tropical wave interacting with an upper-level low pressure system. At 8:35 am CDT, winds at the Mississippi Canyon 711 oil rig were south-southeast at 38 mph. This is just 1 mph below tropical storm force, but the wind instrument was 348 feet (106 m) above the ocean surface, and winds near the surface were probably considerably lower, near 30 mph. Long range radar out of Mobile, Alabama shows heavy rain showers building along the northern Gulf Coast, but these rain showers are not organized into spiral bands and show no signs of rotation. Strong upper-level winds out of the west-northwest are creating 30 knots of wind shear over 93L, keeping the storm's heavy thunderstorms disorganized. Strong onshore winds raising tides to 1 - 2 feet above normal are likely along the northern Gulf Coast through the weekend, and coastal flood statements have been issued for the region.


Figure 1. Predicted rainfall for the 5-day period ending at 8am EDT Sep 6, 2011. A large region of rains in excess of 15 inches is expected over Southeast Louisiana. Image credit: NOAA/HPC.


Figure 2. U.S. drought conditions on August 30. The rains from 93L have the potential to bring major drought relief to drought-stricken portions of the coast. Image Credit: U.S. Drought Monitor.

By late tonight, wind shear is expected to drop to the moderate range, below 20 knots, and 93L should begin to organize into a tropical depression. Wind shear is expected to remain moderate, 10 - 20 knots, into Monday. There is some cold, dry air aloft that will retard this process, and I think the earliest we would see a tropical depression is Friday afternoon. NHC is giving 93L a 70% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Saturday morning. All of the major models develop 93L near the Louisiana coast, and show a slow and erratic movement due to weak steering currents. Coastal Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the extreme western Panhandle of Florida will likely receive very heavy flooding rains beginning this afternoon and intensifying Friday and Saturday. The latest rainfall forecast from NOAA Hydrological Prediction Center (Figure 1) shows that a large area of 15+ inches of rain is expected over Southeast Louisiana. The region is under moderate drought, so flooding problems will be delayed compared to what we'd normally expect from heavy rains of over a foot. Nevertheless, minor to moderate freshwater flooding is likely from 93L, and flash flood watches are posted for New Orleans and surrounding areas, and rainfall amounts of 1 - 3 inches per hour are possible in some of the heavier rain squalls. Ocean temperatures are near record warmth, 88°F (31.3°C), which will provide plenty of moisture for heavy rains, and plenty of energy to help 93L strengthen into a tropical storm. Most of the models predict 93L will have some motion to the west by Saturday, which would bring rains to the Texas coast near the Louisiana border. Steering currents will be weak in the Gulf this weekend and early next week, making it difficult to predict where the storm might go. If 93L stays over water through Tuesday, like the ECMWF model is predicting, the storm would be a threat to intensify into a hurricane. Most of the other models predict 93L will move ashore over Louisiana by Sunday, limiting the storm's development to just tropical storm strength. I think it at least 50% likely 93L will be a tropical storm with 40 - 60 mph winds along the coast of Louisiana by Sunday.

Hurricane Katia
Hurricane Katia intensified into the 2nd hurricane of the 2011 season last night, and continues its long trek across the Atlantic Ocean today. Katia is expected to arrive at a position several hundred miles north of the Northern Lesser Antilles Islands by Monday. The islands are not in the cone of uncertainty, and it appears unlikely that they will receive tropical storm-force winds from Katia. Satellite images show that Katia is a well-organized storm with plenty of heavy thunderstorms, but the storm has been struggling with dry air and moderate wind shear of 10 -20 knots, and is looking less organized than it did last night. These problems will likely diminish by Friday night, as the upper low bringing the wind shear moves away. It is still unclear how much of a threat Katia may post to the U.S. Dr. Bob Hart's Historical Tropical Cyclone Probability web page suggests shows that tropical storms in Katia's current position have an 16% chance of hitting North Carolina, a 21% chance of hitting Canada, a 12% chance of hitting Florida, and a 54% chance of never hitting land. I suspect that Katia will turn north before reaching the U.S. and potentially threaten Bermuda and Canada, based on what past storms in similar situations have done, and assuming the jet stream maintains its current pattern of bringing frequent troughs of low pressure off the coast of the U.S. It will be another day or two before the models will begin to have a handle on the long-term fate of Katia, though.


Figure 3. Morning satellite image of Katia.

94L
A well-organized low pressure system with a surface circulation and limited heavy thunderstorm activity has developed between Bermuda and the Canadian Maritimes. This disturbance, (94L), is headed out to sea, and is being given a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression by NHC. 94L is under a very high 30 - 40 knots of wind shear, and will not be able to intensify very much. However, Tropical Storm Jose formed from a similar type of system, and we might get surprised by 94L.

I'll have more on Irene in tomorrow's post.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting beell:


I got an extra dog today. So I could kick it...
Awe. Lol. I guess we both need Tex's laugh therapy. :)
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Quoting SavannahStorm:
All this look at models has me wondering- why hasn't there been a serious attempt at quantum modeling of tropical systems? If quantum mechanics can predict when a photon or neutrino will appear at a certain point, why can't it be applied to fluid systems, like the atmosphere?

I'm no trained physicist, and it's a bit over my head, but is anyone familiar enough with quantum physics or string theory to tell me if the tropics could be applicable?


The only thing quantum on this blog tonight is that some were suggesting that TD 13 will take a quantam leap SE to a position 25N 87W when apparently that is not happening.

Jose being declared was pretty quantum in that the NHC declared it...that was one quantum leap of faith on the part of the NHC to say that was a trpoical storm....

By the looks of these answers...I am probably not the best to ask about quantum mechanics....
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:

I guess. The latest GFS basically wiggles it around on top of us for a while. But the NHC said after they saw the GFS they moved the track east. Lol. I'm as confuzzled as ever. :)


Well since I have kinda been keeping up with storms (since Rita) we tend to get them (if we do) around the middle to end of month (September). So we will get relief then. Yeah, I'll go with that. :)
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3142. Dennis8
Quoting canehater1:
Spent the day offshore near Breton Sound evacuating

an oil platform. While we were only 20 miles from shore we had sustained winds 20-25 kts and gusts to
40 kts in squalls...This thing is definitely lopsided
with all the worst conditions 100 miles East of the
poorly defined center...Heavy rain will be our biggest
problem but you can never rule out a Strong better organized storm, especially if it says over water longer..I bet there are Texans on the beach with
lassos ready to grab it and drag it in...They sure need it!!!


Thanks for the report..lots of 30mph winds in the northern Gulf being reported
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


lol....I'm sorry sometimes all you can do is laugh or you will go insane. :)
Lol. That is the most true and definite thing I've ever heard on this blog! Lol.
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3140. Seastep
Katia has a larger convective mass than I can ever remember at this stage. Sorry NHC, that is not a TS.

Link
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3139. Levi32
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Levi...these Katia model runs have been continuously shifting westward with time. Everyday I check it seems like the models have shifted left....when will they stop shifting west?


It hasn't been that dramatic actually. They'll stop shifting when they stop shifting. Computers do what they will. I have no idea what signals the logic gates inside of them are going to give next. My forecast track has remained static for days now. We'll see if it verifies.
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Spent the day offshore near Breton Sound evacuating

an oil platform. While we were only 20 miles from shore we had sustained winds 20-25 kts and gusts to
40 kts in squalls...This thing is definitely lopsided
with all the worst conditions 100 miles East of the
poorly defined center...Heavy rain will be our biggest
problem but you can never rule out a Strong better organized storm, especially if it says over water longer..I bet there are Texans on the beach with
lassos ready to grab it and drag it in...They sure need it!!!
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3137. Dennis8
Quoting want2lrn:
In the image @3101, it appears that all of the moisture is on the east side of the storm. Is that an indicator that our "death ridge" has not moved like previously forecast? Or is it simply just dry air? Thanks!


Ridge is "breaking down" as evidenced by our temperatures and the forecasted move is occurring as I type. The dry air is greatly reduced over Tx compared to yesterday. JMO
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3136. beell
Quoting AtHomeInTX:

So not only the ridge, now we got wind blowing the other way against us? Sigh.


I got an extra dog today. So I could kick it...
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


hi At Home...how things going? Still LA I assume right?
I guess. The latest GFS basically wiggles it around on top of us for a while. But the NHC said after they saw the GFS they moved the track east. Lol. I'm as confuzzled as ever. :)
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Quoting want2lrn:
In the image @3101, it appears that all of the moisture is on the east side of the storm. Is that an indicator that our "death ridge" has not moved like previously forecast? Or is it simply just dry air? Thanks!


It's westerly shear associated with an upper low over Louisiana.
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3133. Levi32
Quoting beell:
Still an upper level cyclonic wind field around 30 knots in this model at 36 hrs (Sat. AM) centered over the TX/LA border. Not an ideal environment for traditional tropical organization. May keep TD 13 hybrid-like and lopsided to the east.



Agreed.
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3132. Levi32
Quoting TexasHurricane:


and maybe miss what is suppose to pull it north?


Anything can happen in a weak steering situation, so we can hope, but at this point I think not.
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Quoting TomTaylor:

Yeah..really.

I didn't know you were a met until today when you sorta threw it into my face when we were discussing recon's findings.





When it comes to that sort of thing, I respect that you're a met and have put in the time, but please don't try and use your schooling as a reason for why you're right, or why I shouldn't question your reasoning. I'm sure your classes have given you a much better understanding behind everything weather related, but it doesn't mean casual enthusiasts can't also know what they're talking about, and it certainly doesn't mean you are always right.

Maybe you didn't intend your wording to come off that way, but thats how I interpreted it when I read your post: "I'm a met, don't question me".


A modicum of respect on your part might be in order as well. A Phd is no small feat. It amazes me the degree of hubris which is exhibited on this blog. People claim to come here to learn yet when someone with real knowledge attempts to share it they get bent out of shape..
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3130. Levi32
Quoting louisianaboy444:


The GFS takes it NNW Near SE LA...Due west towards the TX/LA border..back East...then Landfall in Central La...WTF lol


Not that far away from the loop track I forecasted this morning.
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:

So not only the ridge, now we got wind blowing the other way against us? Sigh.


lol....I'm sorry sometimes all you can do is laugh or you will go insane. :)
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In the image @3101, it appears that all of the moisture is on the east side of the storm. Is that an indicator that our "death ridge" has not moved like previously forecast? Or is it simply just dry air? Thanks!
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3127. Seawall
I'm sure I'm the umpteenth to post this, but here goes...

Calcasieu
Tropical Storm Warning
Statement as of 11:00 PM CDT on September 01, 2011

... Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect...

... Probability of tropical storm/hurricane conditions...
the chance for hurricane conditions at this time is very small.
Also... the chance for tropical storm conditions at this time is
up to 62 percent.

... Winds and seas...
as Tropical Depression Thirteen approaches... sustained tropical
storm force winds are expected to begin Friday morning. Maximum
winds are forecast to be in the 50 to 60 mph range with gusts to
70 mph.

Damaging winds are likely. Most poorly anchored Mobile homes will
be damaged... some severely. Other homes may have damage to
shingles... siding... gutters and windows... especially if these
items are not properly secured. Loose outdoor items will become
airborne... causing additional damage and possible injury. Some
power lines will be knocked down by falling trees... resulting in
scattered power outages. Many large branches of trees will be
snapped... and a few trees will be uprooted.

... Storm surge and storm tide...
the impact from combined storm surge and tide waters is expected
to be minimal. According to the latest surge grids... coastal
flooding is likely to be three to five feet.

... Inland flooding...
tropical depression 13 is going to be a very slow moving system
and this could lead to prolific rain totals over the next 5 days.
Heavy rainfall up to 10 inches with locally higher amounts
possible across south central Louisiana. Rainfall of this
magnitude could produce flash flooding across portions of the area.
Fortunately river levels are low and soil conditions are very dry
so it will take some time to fill up the basins.
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Levi...these Katia model runs have been continuously shifting westward with time. Everyday I check it seems like the models have shifted left....when will they stop shifting west?


I don't think anyone knows the answer to that question. lol
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Quoting beell:
Still an upper level cyclonic wind field around 30 knots in this model at 36 hrs (Sat. AM) centered over the TX/LA border. Not an ideal environment for traditional tropical organization. May keep TD 13 hybrid-like and lopsided to the east.

So not only the ridge, now we got wind blowing the other way against us? Sigh.
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Quoting JLPR2:


Really surprised me too, wasn't expecting a closed LLC.
Is September, it will gain some latitude soon following Katia and future Maria perhaps a threat to the northern Antilles and Florida,will see,
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Earlier today Tropical Depression 13 formed in the central Gulf of mexico. As of the 8pm advisory Tropical depression 13 is located at 26.6N 91.5W. As of right now TD 13 is facing unfavorable wind shear as well as mid level dry air over lousiana that is hampering development on the western side of the circulation. In the forecast discussion the NHC made sure to indicate that it is possible that the circulation could reform as is not unusuall in early developing tropical systems. Surface observations tonight indicate that a new low level circulation could be forming around 25.0 N 90 W. If this is the case the models will change the eventuall track. The current thinking is that TD 13 will remain sandwiched between the ridge over texas and the ridge over the central atlantic eventually to be picked up by a trough 5 days from now. The current cone has anyone from the LA/TX border to the MS/FL border facing a possible landfall. My personal thinking is that a reformation to the south will shift this cone further east. Intensity forecasts are very difficult and only a tropical storm is currnetly forecasted out of TD 13, however, storms forming in the GOM have the reputation of ramping up quickly and a hurricane is still possible. As of right now this needs to be monitored throughout the labor day weekend and will result in heavy rainfall for the northern gulf coast.

Tropical Storm Katia: Earlier today Katia weakened to a tropical storm. Currently it has 70 MPH winds however recent satellite imagery indicates Katia should be a hurricane once again within the next couple of hours. Over the next 3-5 days Katia is expected to continue on a WNW-NW path with it expected to reach a peak intensity of a category 3 hurricane. After days 3-5 the track gets very uncertain. There are many possible scenarios and the eventuall strength and track of TD 13 will certainly be a factor. As mentioned the track and strength of TD 13 is very uncertain and for this reason along with the complex synoptic pattern setting up I will not speculate past 5 days for Katia. However, I will mention that everyone along the U.S. east coast should monitor Katia over labor day weekend as the models have been hinting at a westward shift.
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All this look at models has me wondering- why hasn't there been a serious attempt at quantum modeling of tropical systems? If quantum mechanics can predict when a photon or neutrino will appear at a certain point, why can't it be applied to fluid systems, like the atmosphere?

I'm no trained physicist, and it's a bit over my head, but is anyone familiar enough with quantum physics or string theory to tell me if the tropics could be applicable?
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Quoting Levi32:
0z GFS looks like a near miss for Katia, too close for comfort, but right between the uprights of Cape Hatteras and Bermuda. This solution still makes sense to me, as it has ever since Katia got to 40W, but the U.S. should still keep watch just in case. The same goes for Bermuda.


Levi...these Katia model runs have been continuously shifting westward with time. Everyday I check it seems like the models have shifted left....when will they stop shifting west?
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Quoting Levi32:
0z GFS looks like a near miss for Katia, too close for comfort, but right between the uprights of Cape Hatteras and Bermuda. This solution still makes sense to me, as it has ever since Katia got to 40W, but the U.S. should still keep watch just in case. The same goes for Bermuda.

I agree that it should miss the US, but 8 days out is too far for great model accuracy. I remember that far out Irene was supposed to smack into Florida and it hit the east coast instead; so I heartily endorse your second thought: that the folks in the East Coast and Bermuda should not discount his system.
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3119. beell
Still an upper level cyclonic wind field around 30 knots in this model at 36 hrs (Sat. AM) centered over the TX/LA border. Not an ideal environment for traditional tropical organization. May keep TD 13 hybrid-like and lopsided to the east.

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3118. Dennis8
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Did y'all hear that? LOL....TD 13 is a DICTATOR...its not going to do anything we say it will...LOL

But seriously though...it will take a lot of patience with TD 13 to know what it will be doing...its is a very broad center that hasn't consolidated...someone referred to Frances '98 which structurally is a bit like TD 13 right now. It took Frances '98 from September 8 to early on the 10th before it consolidated and really started to move anywhere....


EXACTLY....I would put VERY LITTLE stock in anything right now except I respect the NHC but it is a long way from a done deal. GOOD CALL. MESSY.
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3117. WxLogic
@192HR 00Z GFS:

Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 5038
Quoting Levi32:


We'll have to see if the center tomorrow is still the same vortex identified by recon today, but if it is and it's staying south, I think the most significant effect is to prolong time over water, and thus its opportunity for strengthening.


and maybe miss what is suppose to pull it north?
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


I'd say right now Katia's center is right in the middle of the 0000Z and 1200Z forecast points in this animation (click on the Trop Pts. check box at this link)

In other words...she remains dead on track with the NHC track right now if you ask me....

And HOLY SMOKES (as Jim Cantore kept saying in the Chicago thunderblizzard)...that is a heck of a convective burst!!!


Looks pretty good to me...possibly slightly further SE.
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3114. Dennis8
Quoting jpsb:
I remember the Fox Met anchor during Rita, she saved me a trip out of town, I liked her I can't remember her name but I was sorry Fox did not keep her.


That was way after my time.....I was back in the Cecilia Sinclair days....
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3112. will40
GFS out 204 hrs left feeder bands just brushing the NC coast so it not change much from 18z run
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:

Dang it. Just saw that. Hope it's wrong.


hi At Home...how things going? Still LA I assume right?
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Quoting Levi32:


I see no significant changes. The 0z GFS is on par with the ideas laid out today. The models are still focused on Louisiana.



The GFS takes it NNW Near SE LA...Due west towards the TX/LA border..back East...then Landfall in Central La...WTF lol
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Quoting Levi32:
TD 13's center is moving southwest now. It may reform somewhere else tomorrow closer to where it has been all day, or else stall and start coming back north. It's not all that well-defined so it can do whatever it wants at this point.


Did y'all hear that? LOL....TD 13 is a DICTATOR...its not going to do anything we say it will...LOL

But seriously though...it will take a lot of patience with TD 13 to know what it will be doing...its is a very broad center that hasn't consolidated...someone referred to Frances '98 which structurally is a bit like TD 13 right now. It took Frances '98 from September 8 to early on the 10th before it consolidated and really started to move anywhere....
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3108. jpsb
Quoting Dennis8:
It appears center MAY be reforming to the southeast based on my analysis of satellite...NHC indicated system in formative stages next 12-24 hours. I will be watching EVERY frame to see if it reforming within the broad circulation center and then when the NHC experts will either confirm or deny this based on their many tools. I advise everyone to stay alert. I am a retired form the field of meteorology and got my degree from Dr. Meisner at the University of St. Thomas in Houston in the mid 1980's before the program ended there. I was with Universal Wx at Hobby and Fox 26 Houston.
I remember the Fox Met anchor during Rita, she saved me a trip out of town, I liked her I can't remember her name but I was sorry Fox did not keep her.
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3107. Levi32
Quoting TexasHurricane:


you think that may change things? track?


We'll have to see if the center tomorrow is still the same vortex identified by recon today, but if it is and it's staying south, I think the most significant effect is to prolong time over water, and thus its opportunity for strengthening.
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Td13? Really? Looks like an open wave east of an upper low to me (which is conducive for development but i just don't think It's organized enough for a td right now. They upgraded it only because it threatens land). and katia continues to trend way west of forecasts. Not liking this trend as someone affected by irene!
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Quoting Levi32:
TD 13's center is moving southwest now. It may reform somewhere else tomorrow closer to where it has been all day, or else stall and start coming back north. It's not all that well-defined so it can do whatever it wants at this point.


you think that may change things? track?
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Quoting ncstorm:


lol...
Dang it. Just saw that. Hope it's wrong.
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3103. Levi32
0z GFS looks like a near miss for Katia, too close for comfort, but right between the uprights of Cape Hatteras and Bermuda. This solution still makes sense to me, as it has ever since Katia got to 40W, but the U.S. should still keep watch just in case. The same goes for Bermuda.
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3102. Dennis8
Quoting nofailsafe:


Sort of like a teenager. Messes up the house and may not have direction in life yet.


LOL or an adult
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3100. jpsb
Quoting GetReal:


It is a weak ULL, that is forecast to move NW tonight, or tomorrow morning. IMO that is what has been shearing this system.
thanks
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1276
3099. Levi32
Quoting JGreco:



So what do you think about the model trends trying to pull it into Texas now. Is the Death Ridge now forecast to suddenly move?


I see no significant changes. The 0z GFS is on par with the ideas laid out today. The models are still focused on Louisiana.

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3098. Dennis8
Quoting want2lrn:


You would be correct was all of 13 days old when Celia hit and not yet living in Corpus. Moved here in 1980 a month after Allen. Really have not been through a significant storm. To old to change careers now, but storms are fascinating to me. Learn a lot from amateurs and pros alike on this site.


I am retired 10 years ago and life of leisure in Houston but email me any questions..glad to answer...take care.
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Quoting nofailsafe:


Sort of like a teenager. Messes up the house and may not have direction in life yet.



Speaking of teenagers.........isn't tomorrow a school nite and we still got a kid still blogging.....Makes ya wonder huh! LMAO.....i know!!!! Nite everyone!
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3096. JLPR2
Two hours ago, but with the satellite images combined with the ASCAT you get a better idea of where the center might be now.
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3095. WxLogic
@168HR Katia getting closer to CONUS on every run:

Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 5038

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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