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 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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1836. CC45
Quoting HoustonTxGal:


That Texas "wall of Jericho" is keeping everything on the LA side and not letting the slightest breeze or rain drop come into the Lone Star state!


Looks like someone drew a line down the eastern Texas border doesn't it? Nothing gets in.
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1835. beell
Quoting Levi32:


It's not a hybrid. It's a sheared, lopsided tropical cyclone, and that's all.


The ULL played a part in this storm's lopsided development when it was stronger. And that made it somewhat unique for a time. The large ingestion of god-foresaken Texas atmosphere has kept it that way.
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 141 Comments: 16278
1834. Levi32
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Levi, does Katia have an eye or is it just dry air intrusion. It sure as heck looks like an eye...

Link


Well she has one but there is nothing between it and the dry air to its southeast, and the eyewall is not closed.

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1833. WxLogic
Quoting stormpetrol:
Does anyone else notice Katia wobble to WSW ? Could mean bad news for the Northern antilles, just sayin...

Link


Wobble but if it persists then is a track change. A matter of watching a couple more hours of SAT to really know.
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1832. franck
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.


You guys stop it. We Southerners must hang together....or well...you know what they'll do to us.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Noooooo!!!.Katia stay away and commit suicide in the Atlantic....


Send Katia here to TX, we will dispatch her right quick and in a hurry! Just like Don and now Lee...LOL
Member Since: September 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1073
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1829. docrod
Quoting TexasHoosier:


Not sure what you meant by that comment.

I really don't care who responds, just interested in thoughts or comparisons with past events.

Anyhow, I always though StormW was reasonable in his comments....and he said he was a Senior Chief.....which is not an honorary NCO position.


Me neither.

If you google something like Palm Harbor Forecast Center you can find him.
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Levi, does Katia have an eye or is it just dry air intrusion. It sure as heck looks like an eye...

Link
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31567
Quoting BenBIogger:


Katia.
Noooooo!!!.Katia stay away and commit suicide in the Atlantic....
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Quoting HCW:


Very possible at 10pm. I will listen in on the NHC conf call and let you know at 920 :)


How do you listen to the NHC conference call?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31567
Does anyone else notice Katia wobble to WSW ? Could mean bad news for the Northern antilles, just sayin...

Link
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KATIA IS GOING <------

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31567
1822. CC45
Quoting mojofearless:


Of course I am.
But it does get old - all the nasty comments from our bone-dry neighbors to the west. They have never ceased to cram their Katrina-era charity down our throats every chance they get, and quite frankly, I'd rather live on a rickety raft in an abandoned urban swamp here than live in a McMansion surrounded by big box boredom and smug pseudo-Christian superiority there.
But no - of course I wouldn't blame Houstonians.
Just meeting the stick and parry. Nothing more.


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.
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Quoting TexasHoosier:
I would appreciate some quick comments and thoughts on what I have written below and on Dr. Master's excellent column on a worldwide weather system fused effect on a approaching hurricane, Katia.

Dr. Masters that was as good a column as you have ever written and I have been a mostly quiet reader of this blog since its start time many years ago.

You speak of the potential effects of a Tropical Storm probably 10,000 miles away or more on Katia. You could even bring in the potential effects of Lee as well given its movement east and how large a entity it is. I do a lot of work with sensor and data fusion here at Lockheed Martin on tactical fighter planes and the synergy of data correlation and fusion is similar in many respects to the effect of atmospheric weather events have on each other.

I don't remember when a incoming storm like Katia has had as many variables that could affect its intensity and path. Certainly, I don't remember ever seeing a tropical storm 10,000 miles away in another ocean predicted to have a significant impact on an approaching hurricane from the South Atlantic.

Perhaps some of the long-time bloggers like Patrap, Drak, Canewhisperer, or others (have not seen StormW this year - is he OK?) could pull something out of long-term memory that is relative to this almost worldwide event that may occur in the next week - just what is Katia going to do.

I'd love for the moisture to end up here in Fort Worth (we are burnt to a crisp) but if Katia gets into the GOM and keeps a 270 degree course to the West, all that TCHP in the Western Gulf could make for an amazingly bad atmospheric event....and there is a lot of very hot water neart the TX/LA/FL coastline right now.

Thank you for reading and commenting on this post.
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.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5538
Quoting washingtonian115:
What storm is that suppose to be from?


Katia.
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Quoting HCW:


Very possible at 10pm. I will listen in on the NHC conf call and let you know at 920 :)


Thank you!
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
Quoting Patrap:





That Texas "wall of Jericho" is keeping everything on the LA side and not letting the slightest breeze or rain drop come into the Lone Star state!
Member Since: September 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1073
1817. pcola57
Quoting TexasHoosier:


Not sure what you meant by that comment.

I really don't care who responds, just interested in thoughts or comparisons with past events.

Anyhow, I always though StormW was reasonable in his comments....and he said he was a Senior Chief.....which is not an honorary NCO position.


Ok...no prob..just my 2 cents
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Quoting redwagon:

Well, Vicki Vallencourt is STILL the devil.



Out dere in da gouf..Dat's sum high-quality h2o!
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Quoting BenBIogger:
12z JMA

What storm is that suppose to be from?
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1814. Patrap



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Quoting TexasHoosier:


Not sure what you meant by that comment.

I really don't care who responds, just interested in thoughts or comparisons with past events.

Anyhow, I always though StormW was reasonable in his comments....and he said he was a Senior Chief.....which is not an honorary NCO position.


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


<----- jumps behind the shed to avoid flying objects
Member Since: September 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1073
Quoting mojofearless:


More like a sisterly love/hate. Lol.
"Hey! Quit borrowing my pink cowboy boots!"
"But these shrimp boots don't match my miniskirt,"
"BBQ Shrimp does not involve BBQ suace."
"I think we know how to BBQ - go suck a cypress knee."
"MOM!!!"
And never ever doubt that I'm a native. My family got here in 1727 - when there were more alligators than people, and Bourbon street was the back of town.

Well, Vicki Vallencourt is STILL the devil.
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12z JMA

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Quoting pcola57:


Not sure what you meant by that comment.

I really don't care who responds, just interested in thoughts or comparisons with past events.

Anyhow, I always though StormW was reasonable in his comments....and he said he was a Senior Chief.....which is not an honorary NCO position.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1809. HCW
Quoting tennisgirl08:
Any ideas if they will extend the TS warnings to AL and western FL panhandle...especially considering the current NHC track?


Very possible at 10pm. I will listen in on the NHC conf call and let you know at 920 :)
Member Since: August 10, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1408
Strength will not matter as much with Lee as much as its motion. Depending on how slowly it moves, and what areas it affects, will be the greatest determinates. As far as a wind event, Lee could be a fun one.
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12pmGMT's "TS.Lee" has been re-evaluated&downgraded to TD.13
HOWEVER TD.13 has been upgraded to TS.Lee then named for TS.Lee's_6pmGMT_ATCF
26.8n91.6w, 27.0n91.6w have also been re-evaluated&altered
26.8n91.5w, 27.2n91.4w, 27.4n91.5w are now the most recent positions
Starting 1Sept_6pmGMT and ending 2Sept_6pmGMT

The 4 southern line-segments represent TropicalStormLee's path
and the northernmost line-segment is the straightline projection.

Using straightline projection of the travel-speed&heading derived from the ATCF coordinates spanning the 6hours between 12pmGMT then 6pmGMT :
TS.Lee's travel-speed was 2.5mph(4k/h) on a heading of 336.0degrees(NNW)
TS.Lee was headed toward passage over PecanIsland,Louisiana ~2days13hours from now
(though I wouldn't count on Lee continuing to move that slowly)

Copy&paste gls, 26.3n90.8w-26.6n91.4w, 26.6n91.4w-26.8n91.5w, 26.8n91.5w-27.2n91.4w, 27.2n91.4w-27.4n91.5w, lch, 27.2n91.4w-29.58n92.615w, ara into the GreatCircleMapper for more info

The previous mapping (for 2Sept_12pmGMT)
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Strangely, for some reason Katrinans never left Houston after IKE.

Not so strange. They are graciously charming, haven't you read?
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Quoting connie1976:
Those people in New Orleans now, are you getting any wind now?

Meh. A little bit.
I did notice that all the herons and egrets and ducks along the Veterans canal were hunkered down though.
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Quoting connie1976:
Those people in New Orleans now, are you getting any wind now?


Not much on the northshore, if that helps. Not a lot of rain either.
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Quoting Patrap:


6 years and they still cant spell Levee?

LOL

The Coast Guard inspects Levee's now.

Phunny,,the Army COE Builds them.

No one could even spell Levee before 05.


Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan,
Got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his home,
Oh, well, oh, well, oh, well.

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1801. 996tt
Quoting Patrap:


6 years and they still cant spell Levee?

LOL

The Coast Guard inspects Levee's now.

Phunny,,the Army COE Builds them.

No one could even spell Levee before 05.


Maybe if they could learn to spell it, they could then learn to build it.
Member Since: September 5, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 308
Quoting connie1976:
Those people in New Orleans now, are you getting any wind now?
yeah bascially wind up to 25mph gusting to 35mph right now but i just got a huge squall come right over our area.
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Any ideas if they will extend the TS warnings to AL and western FL panhandle...especially considering the current NHC track?
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
The rain is evaporating as fast as it falls here.

Wow, this is a stubborn ridge.
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Quoting redwagon:

Louisiana and Texas share a permanent sister-state love for each other, and anybody who belittles or tries to tear that asunder is not a native of either state.


More like a sisterly love/hate. Lol.
"Hey! Quit borrowing my pink cowboy boots!"
"But these shrimp boots don't match my miniskirt,"
"BBQ Shrimp does not involve BBQ suace."
"I think we know how to BBQ - go suck a cypress knee."
"MOM!!!"
And never ever doubt that I'm a native. My family got here in 1727 - when there were more alligators than people, and Bourbon street was the back of town.
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Quoting Charliesgirl:

I am from NOLA, and I think the problem comes when we abandoned traditional raised building techniques. The onslaught of ranch houses in areas that traditionally are floodplains is disasterous.


Well, it is FLOOD PLAIN that constantly get repleted every spring flooding that kept elevation higher than what it is now. How much lower is it now than when New Orleans was built?
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Quoting Trouper415:
Katia is a little worrisome. She has stayed much weaker than forecast, and it well, well, to the south of many of the forecast points a couple/few days ago.

Lee is also worrisome. Those 5 day rain totals are off the charts.
Katia wants to come to the U.S on a free payed trip.Lee...well Lee.....He wants his name remembered.
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"...Drove my Chevy to the levy..." takes on a whole new meaning :-)
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1793. Levi32
Quoting P451:


I guess that solves that then.



Sorry. My opinion on that became as hard as a rock when the NHC suggested the possibility of subtropical development.
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Those people in New Orleans now, are you getting any wind now?
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3 niche and countin
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Quoting Patrap:



Indeed,..




Calamity Knows no Border's, only men's minds and Map's do


If "ifs" and "buts" were candy and nuts,

We'd all have a merry Christmas.
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Katia is a little worrisome. She has stayed much weaker than forecast, and it well, well, to the south of many of the forecast points a couple/few days ago.

Lee is also worrisome. Those 5 day rain totals are off the charts.
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1788. hamla
Quoting canehater1:
Cue Aaron Neville's "Louisiana 1927"

or the Randy Newman original if you prefer !

randy newmans good ole boys album was one of the best and it was banned in la. because of the song rednecks
but his version of louisiana 1927 is a classic imo
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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.