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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i should go thank cantore for saving me from devistation
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CC45:


It's all good, I understand you have strong feelings, and I'm sorry for what you had to go through in Katrina. Death and destruction will always come, all we can do is have each other's backs in the aftermath. Like Franck said in an above post, we southerners have to stick together! I'm going to get off the subject now before everyone gets mad at us.

If we don't hang together, surely we will hang separately.
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did the ull go away or did lee eat it?
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1293
hey guys is lee weakining or what?
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Quoting stormpetrol:
Does anyone else notice Katia wobble to WSW ? Could mean bad news for the Northern antilles, just sayin...

Link
I know , hopefully a wobble but if the trend continues NHC, need to say something about it soon or it will be to late for the island for preparations is pretty close already.
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Quoting sarahjola:
thanks, but what about the hurricane hunters? did they go out at 4 and if so what did they find? tia!


Not sure about that. I just got on.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 575 Comments: 20553
Quoting CosmicEvents:
Good post.
I've heard of teleconnection from other posters, and I've seen the Dr. mention it briefly a few times over the years, but I've never seen him or anyone make that direct teleconnection between a specific cyclone on the other side of the world and the domino effect it can have to a cyclone 9-10 days later. And that difference between whether it takes 9 or 10 days, and how strong it is..is what will tell the tail of where Katia's coc goes. Whether it'll turn out true or not I can't tell you, but it's fascinating.


CE, RedWagon and Houston Girl thank you for your comments.

Levi, do you have anything to say on ths matter? You have been around for a while.....Korithe Man, seen you on this blog many times in past years, what do you think about Dr. M's postulations about Talas affecting Katia, many days and 10,000+ miles away?

No kidding everyone, never seen somebody with the professional smarts ever and I mean ever, try to draw a correlation like this before with atmospheric weather.....

Anyway, thanks for the comments my post did elicit and I will be back again tonight - now its time girls HS Volleyball at North Crowley High School, here in Fort Worth!!! and yes, its still about 102 degrees for what seems forever.....
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Quoting KoritheMan:


The upper-level environment was never forecast to be ideal. Strengthening will be slow.
thanks, but what about the hurricane hunters? did they go out at 4 and if so what did they find? tia!
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1293
Quoting Patrap:


Should be Fine..not much rain accumulating as of tonight

kewl..much obliged
Member Since: September 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3482
1877. 996tt
Quoting sarahjola:
is lee still in a position to strengthen, or is he falling apart? i would think with all that hot water that it would have gotten a little stronger by now. has anyone gotten any info from the hh that was supposed to take off at 4p.m.? thanks!


Dry air from Texas is killing. If it shift a little east, it may get a wrap. Once it starts wrapping, it could intensify a little. If it just drifts more westward, dry air will continue to infuse and keep intensity minimal.
Member Since: September 5, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 308
looking at model data and current movement of katia looks to me its going to come very close to the bahamas
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Time lapse New Orleans Cams...

Link
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9814
1874. Patrap
Quoting hurricanehanna:

Hey Pat - daughter is staying in hotel on Camp street tonight - any reason she couldn't get out of there tomorrow?


Should be Fine..not much rain accumulating as of tonight
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Quoting Clearwater1:


I don't and can't tell where the coc is from that graphic, much less which way it's headed. But you seem to know what your talking about most of the time, so I'll take your word for it. In fact, looking at the latest atsa, I don't know why it isn't moving due west.


According the microwave that Levi posted, the center is where I see it on the rainbow loop at around 18.2n/53.8w, that would be a west or just a tad south due west movement over the last few hours? I could be wrong though
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7862
1872. CC45
Quoting mojofearless:


I'm sorry I caused the sting. I mean that. And I do wish y'all would get some rain. Not THIS much rain, necessarily, but still.
For the record, my mother-in-law lives in Spring, and I lived off of Dairy Ashford for a minute many moons ago. And my uncle's beach house in Galveston.. well. Yeah.


It's all good, I understand you have strong feelings, and I'm sorry for what you had to go through in Katrina. Death and destruction will always come, all we can do is have each other's backs in the aftermath. Like Franck said in an above post, we southerners have to stick together! I'm going to get off the subject now before everyone gets mad at us.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 39
Quoting franck:
What did Lee say about Texans in battle? Anybody?
"My enemies never see the backs of my Texans."
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Quoting sarahjola:
is lee still in a position to strengthen, or is he falling apart? i would think with all that hot water that it would have gotten a little stronger by now. has anyone gotten any info from the hh that was supposed to take off at 4p.m.? thanks!


The upper-level environment was never forecast to be ideal. Strengthening will be slow.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 575 Comments: 20553
As far as teleconnections go. Normally if a Tropical Cyclone hits Japan from the South the teleconnection would have a trough in the Central CONUS in about 7 days. This would in turn create a stronger Western Atlantic Ridge. Thus you have seen the models trending farther West with Katia.
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1868. ackee
Quoting stormpetrol:
Does anyone else notice Katia wobble to WSW ? Could mean bad news for the Northern antilles, just sayin...

Link
well I see it that would be quite a shock mybe the umket may end up beeing right
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is lee still in a position to strengthen, or is he falling apart? i would think with all that hot water that it would have gotten a little stronger by now. has anyone gotten any info from the hh that was supposed to take off at 4p.m.? thanks!
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1293
Evening all. Hmmm, we over in west central LA just got put on a hurricane statement. We've had a very windy day, largest a gust of 37. The statement (out of Lake Charles usually) says it won't be over TS strength. Still waiting on the rain, though radar keeps making it look like any minute.

LOL!! My daughter-in-law just walked in the room and asked where Cantore was. I said New Orleans. She looked back at the TV and said, "But isn't he the bad guy?"

So if I'm not on the blog this weekend, it means I lost electric. It doens't take much for that to happen here.
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1864. docrod
Quoting TexasHoosier:


Ok, folks, I give on individual contributors; I just don't know all the facts about them and except for the political or personal stuff, don't care.

What I do care about is does ANYBODY, amateur or professional ever remember a weather event from the past where a tropical storm 10,000+ miles away could have a decisive effect on another tropical system that could conceivably be devastating to the GOM or Eastern Coast of the United States???

I mean, look at membership date - 2002, and that is just went I decided to pay for UM Weather access (and do every year, because it is the best!).

Dr. Master's can write some really amazing columns, but this one is way up there, postulating effects of a storm that far away in time and distance having such an effect on an approaching hurricane - and there is a lot of plausibility with his comments.


Again - agreed see post 1829 ...

I've been watching the WU when it was a UM page under cirrus ... back in the late 80's. take care and good eve to you
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1863. hotrods
Katia does seem to have taken a little wobble to the wsw, shortwave loop shows it. JMA map does not look good either!
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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9814
1861. franck
"Texans always move 'em!"
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Quoting breald:


awww, what happened to your dog avatar?


Can only run around like that so long without driving oneself crazy, hence...
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Quoting hamla:
jim cantorie in nola doing his thing so the fun begins


Well there you have it.. NOLA is safe! Jim Cantore has boots on the ground there.
Member Since: September 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1074
Good evening, all. Not much to speak of here with Lee yet. Gusts to around 15 mph and intermittent rain in squalls. We are supposed to receive gusts as high as 45 mph beginning tonight, but I don't see that happening with the center so far offshore.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 575 Comments: 20553
Quoting franck:
What did Lee say about Texans in battle? Anybody?


I'll bite? What did Lee say about Texas?
Member Since: September 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1074
1856. hamla
jim cantorie in nola doing his thing so the fun begins
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Quoting Patrap:




Hey Pat - daughter is staying in hotel on Camp street tonight - any reason she couldn't get out of there tomorrow?
Member Since: September 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3482
Quoting stormpetrol:
Does anyone else notice Katia wobble to WSW ? Could mean bad news for the Northern antilles, just sayin...

Link


I don't and can't tell where the coc is from that graphic, much less which way it's headed. But you seem to know what your talking about most of the time, so I'll take your word for it. In fact, looking at the latest atsa, I don't know why it isn't moving due west.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TexasHoosier:


Ok, folks, I give on individual contributors; I just don't know all the facts about them and except for the political or personal stuff, don't care.

What I do care about is does ANYBODY, amateur or professional ever remember a weather event from the past where a tropical storm 10,000+ miles away could have a decisive effect on another tropical system that could conceivably be devastating to the GOM or Eastern Coast of the United States???

I mean, look at membership date - 2002, and that is just went I decided to pay for UM Weather access (and do every year, because it is the best!).

Dr. Master's can write some really amazing columns, but this one is way up there, postulating effects of a storm that far away in time and distance having such an effect on an approaching hurricane - and there is a lot of plausibility with his comments.



I could see how one storm could effect the other. I would think it to be highly plausible that it could happen.
Member Since: September 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1074
has LEE sure dos look like a STS
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115074
1851. franck
What did Lee say about Texans in battle? Anybody?
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1850. breald
Quoting PcolaDan:


awww, what happened to your dog avatar?
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LEE sould be a STS
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115074
Quoting CosmicEvents:
Good post.
I've heard of teleconnection from other posters, and I've seen the Dr. mention it briefly a few times over the years, but I've never seen him or anyone make that direct teleconnection between a specific cyclone on the other side of the world and the domino effect it can have to a cyclone 9-10 days later. And that difference between whether it takes 9 or 10 days, and how strong it is..is what will tell the tail of where Katia's coc goes. Whether it'll turn out true or not I can't tell you, but it's fascinating.

Teleconnection is what brought us Hermine last year.. EPAC conditions melding with WATL.... of course that's not very far to teleconnect. I'd love to hear anybody expound on the topic, too.
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lol, I put the 30 image loop on facebook of Irene a few days back, when she was in the Bahamas. It still works, but shows current conditions.

Link
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32001
Quoting Levi32:
Gotta run to a lecture. Back later.



Giving or receiving?

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Yikes...this looks nasty for a lot of the Southeast...
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Quoting HoustonTxGal:


Uh oh.. here we go again.....


<----- jumps behind the shed to avoid flying objects


Ok, folks, I give on individual contributors; I just don't know all the facts about them and except for the political or personal stuff, don't care.

What I do care about is does ANYBODY, amateur or professional ever remember a weather event from the past where a tropical storm 10,000+ miles away could have a decisive effect on another tropical system that could conceivably be devastating to the GOM or Eastern Coast of the United States???

I mean, look at membership date - 2002, and that is just went I decided to pay for UM Weather access (and do every year, because it is the best!).

Dr. Master's can write some really amazing columns, but this one is way up there, postulating effects of a storm that far away in time and distance having such an effect on an approaching hurricane - and there is a lot of plausibility with his comments.
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Quoting CC45:


Okay, I see (kinda). We all help each other that's how it should be. And I agree giving charity to someone in need should never be gloated about. Some good deeds don't go unpunished, that's just the way it is. It wasn't anyone's fault what Katrina did to them, and it's no one's fault my state is turning to dust. If someone called you self-righteous and said "how'd Katrina work out for ya" it would be innappropriate. I can sort of see why you feel the way you do, and I'm not judging you for that, but your comment about the drought was a callous thing to say because right now people are dying here and a comment like that really stings.


I'm sorry I caused the sting. I mean that. And I do wish y'all would get some rain. Not THIS much rain, necessarily, but still.
For the record, my mother-in-law lives in Spring, and I lived off of Dairy Ashford for a minute many moons ago. And my uncle's beach house in Galveston.. well. Yeah.
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Quoting CC45:


Looks like someone drew a line down the eastern Texas border doesn't it? Nothing gets in.


If we could just figure out a way to move that "Wall" to the far south we would be much better off.
Member Since: September 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1074
How come the ATSA, never seems to jive with the visual or other products. For example, the latest Visual of wide tropical Atlantic has a H just east of GA, yet the ATSA has a stationary low. Could it all have change that much in just a few hours. That's just one example, but then don't seem to be on the same page with each other that often.
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1838. Levi32
Gotta run to a lecture. Back later.
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Quoting HoustonTxGal:


Send Katia here to TX, we will dispatch her right quick and in a hurry! Just like Don and now Lee...LOL
These two are tropical storms.Katia would've likely been a hurricane.
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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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