TD 13 intensifying; Katia may pass uncomfortably close to U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:28 PM GMT on September 02, 2011

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Tropical Depression Thirteen formed last night over the Northern Gulf of Mexico and is slowly intensifying, but isn't in a hurry to go anywhere. What TD 13 will do is dump torrential rains along the northern Gulf Coast over the next three or more days. So far, rain amounts along the coast have mostly been below one inch. At New Orleans Lakefront Airport, just 0.32" inches of rain had fallen from TD 13 as of 10 am CDT. Some coastal regions have received up to two inches, according to radar rainfall estimates. TD 13 is generating a large area of 30 - 35 mph winds over the Gulf of Mexico. At 7:20 am CDT, winds at the Mississippi Canyon 711 oil rig were southeast at 47 mph. This is above 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 35 mph. Latest surface wind observations from an Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft support leaving TD 13 as a tropical depression. Long range radar out of Mobile, Alabama shows heavy rain showers building along the northern Gulf Coast, but these rain showers are not well-organized into spiral bands. Strong upper-level winds out of the west-northwest are creating a moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear over TD 13, keeping the storm's heavy thunderstorms disorganized and pushed to the east side of the storm. However, latest satelllite loops show TD 13 is becoming increasingly organized, with a respectable spiral band forming on the southeast side, and an increase and areal coverage of heavy thunderstorm activity. This is very likely to be a tropical storm later today.


Figure 1. Radar-estimated rainfall from TD 13 from the New Orleans radar.


Figure 2. U.S. drought conditions on August 30. The rains from TD 13 have the potential to bring major drought relief to drought-stricken portions of the coast. Note how Eastern North Carolina is no longer in drought, thanks to the rains from Hurricane Irene. These rains also came close to putting out a persistent fire that had been burning in the Great Dismal Swamp near the Virginia/North Carolina border. Image Credit: U.S. Drought Monitor.

Forecast for TD 13
TD 13's large size, ill-formed circulation center, and the presence of dry air on its west side due to an upper-level trough of low pressure argue against rapid intensification of the storm for the next three days. Also tending to slow intensification will be the slow movement of the storm, which will allow cold water from the depths to rise to the surface, thanks to wind and wave action. Tropical cyclones strongly cool the water's surface when they pass over it, as seen in the time vs. depth chart of sea surface temperatures during Hurricane Irene's passage along the New Jersey coast (Figure 3.) However, the Gulf of Mexico has some very warm waters near TD 13 that extend to great depth (Figure 4), so the surface cooling imparted by TD 13 will be less than that seen for Hurricane Irene. As TD 13 moves closer to the coast, more and more of its circulation will be over land, which will also slow intensification. NHC's 11 am EDT wind probability forecast for TD 13 gave the storm a 23% chance of intensifying into a hurricane by Sunday. Assuming TD 13 does not attain hurricane strength, wind damage and storm surge damage will likely not be the main concern--fresh water flooding from heavy rains will be the most dangerous impact. Also of concern is the possibility of tornadoes. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center is currently not highlighting the Gulf Coast in their "slight risk" area for severe weather, due to the lack of enough solar heating to create instability. However, there will be plenty of wind shear in the lower part of the atmosphere that can potentially create spin in the coastal thunderstorms, and it is possible that as TD 13 intensifies, it may be able to generate several dozen tornadoes.

Coastal Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the extreme western Panhandle of Florida will likely receive very heavy flooding rains that will intensify Saturday and peak on Sunday. These rains should be able to put out the stubborn marsh fire east of New Orleans that has brought several days of air quality alerts to the city, but may cause moderate to severe flooding problems in other areas. The latest rainfall forecast from NOAA Hydrological Prediction Center shows that a large area of 15+ inches of rain is expected over Southeast Louisiana and coastal Mississippi. 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. 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°C), which will provide plenty of moisture for heavy rains, and plenty of energy to help TD 13 strengthen into a strong tropical storm. Steering currents will be weak in the Gulf this weekend and early next week, which will likely make the motion of TD 13 erratic at times.


Figure 3. EPA, in conjunction with Rutgers University and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, has an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV, aka the Glider) deployed off the coast of NJ (since early August) continuously monitoring ocean temperature, density, salinity, sound velocity and dissolved oxygen at different depths. The AUV's path and data are displayed at the following website: http://marine.rutgers.edu/cool/auvs/index.php?did =221&view=imagery. The plot of temperature versus time above shows that in the weeks prior to the arrival of Irene, the ocean was heavily stratified, with warm waters of 24 - 26°C (75 - 79°F, red colors) extending from the surface to a depth of 10 - 15 meters. A sharp thermocline existed at a depth of about 15 meters, and ocean temperatures were colder than 14°C (57°F, dark blue colors) below the thermocline. The strong winds and high wave action of Hurricane Irene on August 28 - 29 stirred up cold water from the depths to the surface, cooling the surface waters to 17 - 19°C (63 - 67°F). In the days since the hurricane, surface waters have begun to warm again. Thanks go to Kevin Kubik, Deputy Director of the Division of Environmental Science and Assessment for EPA Region 2, for making me aware of this data.


Figure 4. The total amount of heat energy in the ocean available to fuel a tropical cyclone, in kilojoules per square centimeter of surface area. Tropical cyclones that move over ocean areas with TCHP values in excess of 70 - 90 kJ/cm^2 commonly undergo rapid intensification. Waters that are warm to a great depth have the highest TCHP, and the Loop Current that brings warm water northwards from the Caribbean to the Gulf of Mexico usually has the highest TCHP values in the Atlantic. Currently, we have an eddy that broke off from the Loop Current earlier this summer, now located a few hundred miles south of the Louisiana coast, that also has high TCHP values. Image Credit: NOAA/AOML.

Hurricane Katia
Hurricane Katia is continuing its long trek across the Atlantic Ocean today, and will not pose a danger to any land areas over the next five days. Katia is still struggling with dry air and moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots. Latest satellite loops show surface-based arc-shaped clouds racing to the southwest away from Katia's core, a sign that dry air is penetrating into Katia's thunderstorms and creating strong downdrafts that are robbing the storm of heat and moisture. Katia is over warm ocean waters of 28.5°C, and these waters will increase in temperature to 29°C over the next five days. Katia will pass well north of the region of cooler waters stirred up by the passage of Hurricane Irene last week.

The models are split on when the upper-level trough of low pressure bringing the wind shear to Katia will move away, and the storm may spend two more days battling wind shear and dry air before the upper-level trough pulls away to the north and allows Katia to intensify more readily. It is still unclear how much of a threat Katia may pose to the U.S., but it is becoming increasingly clear that Katia will pass uncomfortably close to the U.S. East Coast. The trough of low pressure currently steering Katia to the northwest will lift out early next week, and a ridge of high pressure is expected to build in, forcing Katia more to the west. This decreases the danger to Bermuda, but increases the danger to the U.S. A second trough of low pressure is expected to begin affecting Katia by the middle of next week, and will potentially recurve the storm out to sea before it hits the U.S. However, the models differ widely on the strength and timing of this trough. Meteorologist Grant Elliot of Australia's Bureau of Meteorology in Perth pointed out to me yesterday that the long-range forecast for Katia has more than the usual amount of uncertainty, due to the inability of the computer models to agree on what will happen to Tropical Storm Talas in the Western Pacific. Talas is expected to hit Japan early on Saturday as a strong tropical storm, then race northwestwards into the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska. Talas is then expected to transition into a powerful extratropical storm in the waters south of Alaska. This storm will create a ripple effect downstream in the jet stream, all the way to North America, by early next week. The timing and amplitude of the trough of low pressure off the U.S. East Coast expected to potentially recurve Katia out to sea next week is highly dependent upon the strength of Tropical Storm Talas during its transition to an extratropical storm. The computer models are not very good at handling these sorts of transitions, leading to more than the usual amount of uncertainty in the long-range outlook for Katia. It will probably be another 2 - 3 days before the models will begin to converge on a solution for the long-term fate of Katia. Dr. Bob Hart's Historical Tropical Cyclone Probability web page suggests shows that tropical storms in Katia's current position have a 17% chance of hitting North Carolina, a 21% chance of hitting Canada, a 13% chance of hitting New England, and a 55% chance of never hitting land. One almost certain impact of Katia on the U.S. will be large waves. Long period swells from Katia will begin affecting the Bahamas on Sunday night, then reach the Southeast U.S. by Monday morning. By Tuesday morning, the entire U.S. East Coast will see high surf from Katia, and these waves will increase in size and power as the storm grows closer. Given the slow movement of Katia as it approaches the coast, plus its expected Category 1 to 3 strength as it approaches, the storm will probably cause extensive beach erosion and dangerous rip tides for many days.

94L
A well-organized low pressure system with a surface circulation but limited heavy thunderstorm activity due to high wind shear is 450 miles south of Halifax, Canada. This disturbance, (94L), is headed northeast out to sea, and is being given a 60% chance of developing into a tropical depression by NHC. 94L is under a high 25 - 30 knots of wind shear, but this shear is expected to fall to the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, by Saturday morning. However, sea surface temperature will fall from 27°C today to 25°C Saturday morning underneath 94L, and the storm will have a very short window of time to get organized enough to get a name. At this point, it's really a subjective judgement call on whether or not 94L is already a tropical storm.


Figure 5. A Portlight volunteer works to clear storm debris from Hurricane Irene in Hollywood, Maryland.

Portlight disaster relief effort in Maryland
Hurricane Irene heavily damaged the town of Hollywood, Maryland, when a tornado cut off electric power, water, and phone service. Portlight and Team Rubicon volunteers arrived before emergency personnel, after following up on a local tip. What they found was an isolated area whose plight was unknown to the larger community. Most residents were trapped at their homes by heavy debris. Portlight and Team Rubicon worked for two days to clear paths to each address, extract vehicles from debris, and cut down trees that constituted safety hazards. Portlight also instructed local residents how to operate and maintain chainsaws and safely clear debris. No other volunteer organizations or emergency personnel arrived at any time, and Portlight succeeded in meeting the specific needs of the underserved, unserved, and forgotten. Visit the Portlight blog to learn more; donations are always welcome.

I'll have a new post each morning over the coming holiday weekend; wunderground meteorologists Angela Fritz, Rob Carver, and Shaun Tanner will be handling the afternoon and evening posts. Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!

Jeff Masters

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Quoting nodramaman1022:


In Morgan City right now, winds 40+ rain in sheets, the worst is yet to come, flooding is going to be the big issue here right now, power flickering every 25 min or so


I hear ya mane.. hopefully ur power will stay on and wont have power issues and all.. Just stay safe and the rest of us on the gulf coast here.. Some reason I have a feeling that Lee might have a trick up its sleeve..
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Quoting RedStickCasterette:


All for the almighty dollar!

I pray your son is safe.

May he be safe and dry during this trying period
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Quoting mamabeth:

Yeah, my son works for the paper here in waveland. has to be out in it to deliver. why do they do that? puts his life at risk to deliver a hunk of paper? They told him he would still have to run his route no matter what the weather was doing.





All for the almighty dollar!

I pray your son is safe.
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Quoting RedStickCasterette:


That one area in Ascension looks bad. I am watching it on the WBRZ weather channel.


I'm in the thick of it now. Gusts are probably still below tropical storm force, I'd say 30 to 35 mph. But this is definitely the worst I've seen here.
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Quoting FLPandhandleJG:
Lee

Moving : NNW 7mph
Winds : 50mph
Pressure: 995 MB

5am Advisory


In Morgan City right now, winds 40+ rain in sheets, the worst is yet to come, flooding is going to be the big issue here right now, power flickering every 25 min or so
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Don't worry. :)


That one area in Ascension looks bad. I am watching it on the WBRZ weather channel.
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Yeah, my son works for the paper here in waveland. has to be out in it to deliver. why do they do that? puts his life at risk to deliver a hunk of paper? They told him he would still have to run his route no matter what the weather was doing.



Quoting RedStickCasterette:


It's not like he can say no and lose his job. Why do companies put their workers in danger?
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Lee
Location: 28.8N 91.9W
Moving : NNW 7mph
Winds : 50mph
Pressure: 995 MB

5am Advisory
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Quoting redwagon:
You take over the twister warnings? I can't stay awake any longer


Don't worry. :)
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You take over the twister warnings? I can't stay awake any longer
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Radar New Orleans News Channel

Link
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Yikes!
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Looks like the Texas border force field is still keeping the rain away.


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Well def plenty of moisture with this system and def will develop but IMO not into a hurricane unless it stalls/sits there or starts moving back to the south( i doubt lol).. But def going to be some nasty conditions, if u dont have to drive in this.. DONT! Unless u need to get to a shelter.. I just think from the wind shear models I saw that, that it will be hard to be a hurricane and its getting close to shore as well.. So from 50 to maybe 60mph is the max that I will believe storm will intensify too.. Probably make landfall near morgan city, LA.. Im starting to get my first band from this storm and looks pretty decent.. With these types of storms, still take it seriously.. Good luck to everyone that is in the path and hope nothing happens.. God Bless!
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Quoting LargoFl:
Stay safe over there folks, heed those warnings ok

Tornado Warning

2011-09-03 04:43:30 EDT until

2011-09-03 04:45:00 EDT

340 am CDT Sat Sep 3 2011


The National Weather Service in New Orleans has issued a

* Tornado Warning for...
Ascension Parish in southeast Louisiana...
this includes the city of Gonzales...
south central Livingston Parish in southeast Louisiana...
northern St. James Parish in southeast Louisiana...
southwestern St. John The Baptist Parish in southeast Louisiana...
this includes the city of Reserve...

* until 415 am CDT

* at 335 am CDT...National Weather Service meteorologists detected a
severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado near Edgard...or
near Reserve...moving northwest at 45 mph.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Yeah. At least with Gustav we had a week's notice.


Yep and I've been so busy this week with school and clinicals that I had no time for last minute things. Eeek!
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Tornado warning for Ascension and Livingston Parish on the TV.
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Quoting RedStickCasterette:
I do not like these systems that form so fast and close to home.


Yeah. At least with Gustav we had a week's notice.
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looks like a break coming up might let the dranage catch up some


img src=" ">
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I do not like these systems that form so fast and close to home.
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3317. LargoFl
Quoting RedStickCasterette:
Grateful this is not another Katrina or Gustav, although it's still stressful.
Stay safe over there folks, heed those warnings ok
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Amen, midgulfmom...I accidently unplugged my weather radio while I was turning off the alert...now I'm not sure it will respond to the next alert. So, I guess I will be up for a while. My daughter and her beau are in for the weekend...so I have extra 'worries' for the night. Just another late summer in S. LA, eh?
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Going to catch a few winks... Back when I can. Hopefully no more waking warnings for anyone.
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Quoting LADobeLady:


Good morning blsealevel, Broadmoor area here and our drainage improvements seem to be holding right now. No street flooding in my immediate area. Stay safe.


Morning neighbor
just got back from dulac eairler checked in on my
parents didnt look to bad down their so i left them sleeping old folks get cranky when you wake them up
because its raining out :)

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.
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Quoting TheKeeper:
South Baton Rouge, here...woke up to Tornado warning...so it begins. About 2.5 inches of rain here so far and the wind is really picking up! Stay safe everyone! I hope it's not anohter Gustav


Tornado Warning
2011-09-03 04:27:00 EDT until
2011-09-03 05:00:00 EDT
327 am CDT Sat Sep 3 2011

The National Weather Service in New Orleans has issued a

* Tornado Warning for...
northwestern Plaquemines Parish in southeast Louisiana...
this includes the cities of...Port Sulphur...Belle Chasse...

* until 400 am CDT

* at 326 am CDT...National Weather Service meteorologists detected a
severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado 6 miles south of
Pointe a la Hache...or 6 miles west of Port Sulphur...moving
northwest at 45 mph.

* Other locations in the warning include but are not limited to
Myrtle Grove
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TheKeeper be safe too. Nothing like a tornado warning to wake you up quick!
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The blog update I mentioned earlier has finally been complete.

Feel free to check it out everyone.
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South Baton Rouge, here...woke up to Tornado warning...so it begins. About 2.5 inches of rain here so far and the wind is really picking up! Stay safe everyone! I hope it's not anohter Gustav
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Quoting RedStickCasterette:
Grateful this is not another Katrina or Gustav, although it's still stressful.
Oh yes indeed. Cindy right before Katrina was worse than this but it's still nasty out there. Tornados are my main concern. The worry is stressful. A weather radio helps...
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Grateful this is not another Katrina or Gustav, although it's still stressful.
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Quoting blsealevel:
good morning
bayou cane area terrebonne raining pretty good out at the moment street starting to flood wind has picked up some and tornado warnings out



Good morning blsealevel, Broadmoor area here and our drainage improvements seem to be holding right now. No street flooding in my immediate area. Stay safe.
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Quoting blsealevel:
good morning
bayou cane area terrebonne raining pretty good out at the moment street starting to flood wind has picked up some and tornado warnings out



Tornado Warning

2011-09-03 04:12:00 EDT until

2011-09-03 04:45:00 EDT

312 am CDT Sat Sep 3 2011


The National Weather Service in New Orleans has issued a

* Tornado Warning for...
north central Lafourche Parish in southeast Louisiana...
St. Charles Parish in southeast Louisiana...
this includes the cities of Des Allemands and Hahnville...
St. John The Baptist Parish in southeast Louisiana...
this includes the city of Reserve...

* until 345 am CDT

* at 310 am CDT...National Weather Service meteorologists detected a
severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado 6 miles
southeast of Des Allemands...or 13 miles north of LaRose...moving
northwest at 45 mph.
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Click to see the 3Sept_6amGMT mapping for TS.Lee

16.9n51.3w, 17.4n52.1w, 17.9n53.0w, 18.3n53.9w have been re-evaluated&altered for H.Katia's_6amGMT_ATCF
16.8n51.2w, 17.4n52.1w, 18.0n53.0w, 18.5n53.9w, 19.0n54.7w are now the most recent positions
Starting 2Sept_6amGMT and ending 3Sept_6amGMT

The 4 eastern line-segments represent HurricaneKatia's path
and the westernmost line-segment is the straightline projection.

Using straightline projection of the travel-speed&heading derived from the
ATCF coordinates spanning the 6hours between 12amGMT then 6amGMT :
H.Katia's travel-speed was 10.5mph(16.9k/h) on a heading of 303.4degrees*(WNW)
H.Katia was headed toward passage over FortStewart,Georgia ~7days7hours from now

Copy&paste 16.8n51.2w-17.4n52.1w, 17.4n52.1w-18.0n53.0w, 18.0n53.0w-18.5n53.9w, 18.5n53.9w-19.0n54.7w, svn, 18.5n53.9w-31.70n81.15w into the GreatCircleMapper for more info

The previous mapping (for 3Sept_12amGMT)

* 303.75degrees is midway between WNW and NW
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Quoting mrsalagranny:
I hope you all stay safe in this storm Koritheman,Patrap and everyone else.I am getting a little rain in semmes Al right now.They have us under tornado watch and tropical storm warning.I have to be at work at 4:00 AM this morning and I hate driving in rain.I am praying for all of your safety.
Back at ya... Please drive carefully... I know you will just reminding... Nothing more important than safety. Thanks for your prayers, care and concern. :)
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good morning
bayou cane area terrebonne raining pretty good out at the moment street starting to flood wind has picked up some and tornado warnings out

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Quoting KoritheMan:


Thank you! You stay safe yourself, ma'am.
Thank you I will do my best.Have a Blessed Day everyone.
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Quoting RedStickCasterette:
His bosses are local so I do believe they can be woken with a phone call from him, lol!

I really feel bad for those that have to be out in this.

What happened to just a "rainmaker"? I've been trying to keep an eye on this, as much as my time would allow, and had a bad feeling. Most people were downcasting it around here.

What happened is about an hour ago a wedge of hot dry air from TX (sorry about that!) just hacked off a big
chunk of Lee's 'body' (energy) to the south, which like a figure skater pulling in her leg, causes faster center spin. In addition, an arc of hot dry air north of Lee is
retarding his forward movement. He's being forced to shrink smaller but faster in rotation.
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Quoting mrsalagranny:
I hope you all stay safe in this storm Koritheman,Patrap and everyone else.I am getting a little rain in semmes Al right now.They have us under tornado watch and tropical storm warning.I have to be at work at 4:00 AM this morning and I hate driving in rain.I am praying for all of your safety.


Stay safe too!
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Quoting mrsalagranny:
I hope you all stay safe in this storm Koritheman,Patrap and everyone else.I am getting a little rain in semmes Al right now.They have us under tornado watch and tropical storm warning.I have to be at work at 4:00 AM this morning and I hate driving in rain.I am praying for all of your safety.


Thank you! You stay safe yourself, ma'am.
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I hope you all stay safe in this storm Koritheman,Patrap and everyone else.I am getting a little rain in semmes Al right now.They have us under tornado watch and tropical storm warning.I have to be at work at 4:00 AM this morning and I hate driving in rain.I am praying for all of your safety.
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Quoting RedStickCasterette:
His bosses are local so I do believe they can be woken with a phone call from him, lol!

I really feel bad for those that have to be out in this.

What happened to just a "rainmaker"? I've been trying to keep an eye on this, as much as my time would allow, and had a bad feeling. Most people were downcasting it around here.


It is just a rainmaker. It was pretty much always anticipated that Lee would reach at least 50 mph. The primary hazard is still heavy rainfall, though.
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Tornado warning for Raceland...moving nw up from Houma....
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His bosses are local so I do believe they can be woken with a phone call from him, lol!

I really feel bad for those that have to be out in this.

What happened to just a "rainmaker"? I've been trying to keep an eye on this, as much as my time would allow, and had a bad feeling. Most people were downcasting it around here.
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ALERT! Tornado warning...from DesAllmands moving NW toward New Sarpy... St. Bernard also under warning Ycloscky in danger!
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Quoting RedStickCasterette:


It's not like he can say no and lose his job. Why do companies put their workers in danger?

Because it's Labor day weekend and everybody thinks Lee is going to land fall sometime monday as a rainmaker. Also it's 3am. Nobody is following what just happened to Lee in terms of quick spinup.
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Quoting RedStickCasterette:


No! It's just flat out dangerous! I don't think that anyone needs to be going anywhere unless they absolutely have to, such as those that work with emergency or law enforcement (even then, I hate the idea of those poor folks in danger).

I hope your husband stays safe!
Thanks...he's gotta go. He's one of the above. Oh...and a downcaster so he's not worried... That's all up to me! Hope your Husband can wait.
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St bernard and North Lafourche Parishes both under tornado warning thats 8 now
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Quoting RedStickCasterette:


It's not like he can say no and lose his job. Why do companies put their workers in danger?


Because most of the ones making decisions are safely at the main office in another state and couldn't buy a clue with a truck load of money.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Quite the shift east on the 00z ECMWF with Katia. Has it recurving out to sea before reaching 70%u02DAW. No westward motion is indicated, just a smooth recurvature around the subtropical ridge's periphery.


The most likely scenario for Katia is still recurvature. Always has been.
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About

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