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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12z CMC Link
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Even if Lee were to head for Texas I'm afraid it would just dry up like Don did,That big dry High would eat it up!
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Quoting JGreco:


Like I said, I do agree with just a Cat 1 at the moment. But, Lee is suppose to be over water and over the region for MUCH longer. It scares me to think what that is going to do in the Central Gulf Coast region:0

Its the ugliest looking TS lol- that dry air in Tx seems to be doing a number on it- we've had very little rain here near Pensacola- seems like its all staying south in the gulf.
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Dry air is also a problem with Katia as well.

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Any one seen StormW lately or NRAamy?
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Levi, or anyone else?

Is it possible Lee leaves a piece of his energy in the Southern Gulf of Mexico after he does his thing. Dry air is just knocking the crap of him right now. He is so massive it looks plausible that he could leave some energy down there?
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Anyone else having issues accessing the HH Google Earth live recon data page?

http://www.tropicalatlantic.com/recon/

I'm getting a server temporarily unavailable message.
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980. ackee
looks like KATIA is getting stronger trying form an eye also looks like she going west
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Quoting scoobert:
so far, yet so close. If we don't get water soon the state of Texas is going to evaoprate off the map.

Dear Rain Gods,

PLEASE swing just a bit of the rain over this way. As an offering, the cars have been washed, I have done a very bad interpritation of the rain dance (one I almost got arrested for) AND I have illegally water my yard against the rules of the establishment.

Signed,
Desperate in Houston.


I know it is bad. I try to keep thinking that this season isn't over yet and hopefully mother nature will figure out where to bring the next GOM storm (if we have another one).

You know it is bad when people start wishing for a storm/Hurricane. but, it has gotten to that point.

Please "high" move out of the way.....
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Quoting SavannahStorm:


I bet Bob knows how to use the Caps Lock key...

Poof...



lmao! whew .
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Quoting cloudburst2011:
i have some great news we can relax the threat is over for us from lee...BOB BRECK on FOX NEWS JUST SAID THE STORM LEE WAS GOING TO OUR EAST INTO MISS AND ALABAMA...WE DONT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT A THING OVER THE WEEKEND...THIS IS GREAT WE WILL HAVE A NICE LABOR DAY AFTER ALL...THIS ISNT WHAT THE NHC SAYS JUST ONE OF OUR LOCAL METS...SO TAKE IT FOR WHAT ITS WORTH..


What a relief!!! lol....
Fox 8 "viper model" last night showed Lee hitting Sat pm and clearing sunny skies by Labor Day! Fox 8 weather here in NOLA is a joke to say the least.
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976. IKE

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Deep-layer dry air occupies Texas.

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Quoting CHinFL:

If I remember right- Opal got its act together a lot further south and then had most of the gulf to strenghthen- I believe it was an eyewall replacement cycle that kept Opal from being 4/5 and helped it fall to a 3 (still did a ton of damamge)
Opal came out of BOC after festering down there for a while. Opal was a beast on the front side but not near as bad on the back side. Watched a wind gust take out fences as far as I could see out back in one swoop. Tons of damage is right !!
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Quoting HoustonTxGal:
Everythingis bigger in Texas, including our DRY AIR...LOL
 

 



Just ask Don, he made it about 3 miles inland and pulled a Whodini.
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Quoting yoboi:
how much of texas is in a drought?
...yes
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Quoting wolftribe2009:


I am a bit confused on what this person and Bob is talking about. I see Lee still dumping loads of rain (Yes 10-20 inches of rain) on Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The Panhandle of Florida and Georgia also included in that I believe.


If it slides to east of N.O. it will put the city in on dry side.
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the dry air this year is ridiculous.
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Everythingis bigger in Texas, including our DRY AIR...LOL
 

 
Quoting washingaway:
That bone dry Texas air is killing Lee. That stuff is dangerous! I'd rather have a storm.


Member Since: September 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1073
Question for the group. When is the typical end of "Cape Verde" storms and a shift toward GOM / Carib originating storms?
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Quoting thesituation:
My daughter lives in Mobile, should I be worried about this storm?

Anyone know how bad it will be in Mobile?


This storm is a drought buster. I don't think we will see anything above a 75 mph storm worse case scenerio. Preparations need to be made in low lying areas. Anywhere from Baton Rouge to just north of Tallahasee FL will get an easy 6" of rain with isolated amounts over a foot. This is going to be a wet system, but it has many factors going against it.

This storm will have dry air issues all through its life cycle do to the position of it near the coastlines.

Also its huge size will only accelerate dry air into its environment, a bit like Irene had along the east coast, only this storm is no where near the strength of her.

People need to take neccessary preparations as there are factors that people need to be VERY wary of, mainly flooding.
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Quoting ncstorm:


Quoting SavannahStorm:


I bet Bob knows how to use the Caps Lock key...

Poof...


I am a bit confused on what this person and Bob is talking about. I see Lee still dumping loads of rain (Yes 10-20 inches of rain) on Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The Panhandle of Florida and Georgia also included in that I believe.
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Quoting CHinFL:

If I remember right- Opal got its act together a lot further south and then had most of the gulf to strenghthen- I believe it was an eyewall replacement cycle that kept Opal from being 4/5 and helped it fall to a 3 (still did a ton of damamge)


Like I said, I do agree with just a Cat 1 at the moment. But, Lee is suppose to be over water and over the region for MUCH longer. It scares me to think what that is going to do in the Central Gulf Coast region:0
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
That bone dry Texas air is killing Lee. That stuff is dangerous! I'd rather have a storm.

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53rd Weather Squadron: At the eye of hurricanes
By David Larter - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Sep 2, 2011 14:03:00 EDT



One week, Irene. The next week, Katia swirling in the Atlantic and another storm brewing in the Gulf. And, the next week, maybe a tropical depression bouncing around the Caribbean.

That’s the way it is when it’s hurricane season and you’re a Hurricane Hunter.

From June through November, the 115 or so airmen of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron fly specially rigged C-130s headlong into gut-churning winds and driving rains to collect the latest and most accurate storm statistics for forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

August and September is the busiest time for the 53rd, a Reserve unit. All 20 crews are up and running 24/7 for those two months; half the squadron’s members work full time year-round.

At any moment, the 53rd can track three storms at once. In the past couple of weeks, the squadron kept tabs on Irene, then monitored Tropical Depression 12, which became Tropical Storm Katia and, finally, Hurricane Katia.

After all the attention paid to Irene, Air Force Times called a Hurricane Hunter to find out more about what the 53rd does...





http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2011/09/air-for ce-squardron-at-the-eye-of-hurricanes-090211w/
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962. IKE

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Quoting kipperedherring:
Tiggerific...That's a cool name. Far out man!


I try hard to have a tiggeriffic day...but must inform you that i am not a far out man...i am far out woman...roflmbo
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Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14451
Quoting seflagamma:


let me guess, after you saw 2004/2005 from outside the State You wanted to "experience" a storm and moved back.....
so YOU are our protective shield!!! LOL



Nope! I don't want to see anything more then our typical afternoon T-storms during the summer and year round golf during the winter.

Just pointing out that while I generally have no luck at all, maybe I finally found one area where I have a horseshoe in one pocket and a four leaf clover in the other.
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Quoting JGreco:



That is what I'm concerned about but in terms of track and possible strengthening to a Cat 1 (I agree that it shouldn't get any stronger though). Lee is not moving and its a sit and spin. There seems to be wobbles slightly to the East. Opal did the same thing. If I remember (it's been a long time and those on this forum that are better with history can be more specific) it kept wobbling East till it went over the Mouth of the Mississippi (the orientation of the land in are part of the World makes it a precarious situation in terms of storms like these) allowing it to strengthen over water more. Though, there are quite a few instances in terms of a much more amplified trough and the greater strength and organization of Opal, and the accelerated speed of its movement . But I guess it is a wait and see right now.

If I remember right- Opal got its act together a lot further south and then had most of the gulf to strenghthen- I believe it was an eyewall replacement cycle that kept Opal from being 4/5 and helped it fall to a 3 (still did a ton of damamge)
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Waves reaching 16 ft at BP Inc Fixed Drilling Station 42369 - Mad Dog - Green Canyon located 60 nm from Tropical Storm Lee.
buoy 42369...national data buoy center
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Quoting 69Viking:


I mentioned that a couple hours ago, water vapor looked like Lee was trying to eat the ULL!
That's exactly what I see in the water vapor.

This may take 24 hours to really tighten up to a "traditional" warm core cyclone.
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Hey look at it on the brighter side

Weather Channel shows about Half an Inch of rain for South East Texas (Houston Area).

Link
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Quoting cloudburst2011:



BOB BRECK IS PRETTY GOOD WHAT HE SAYS USUALLY HAPPENS...IT WOULD BE APLUS FOR THE NHC TO HAVE HIM WORKING FOR THEM...WELL AT LEAST WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A GREAT LABOR DAY AND NO 15-20 INCHES OF RAINFALL...HOW SWEET IT IS BOB...


I bet Bob knows how to use the Caps Lock key...

Poof...
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so far, yet so close. If we don't get water soon the state of Texas is going to evaoprate off the map.

Dear Rain Gods,

PLEASE swing just a bit of the rain over this way. As an offering, the cars have been washed, I have done a very bad interpritation of the rain dance (one I almost got arrested for) AND I have illegally water my yard against the rules of the establishment.

Signed,
Desperate in Houston.
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Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14451
Quoting padirescu:


Did I mentioned I moved back to Florida in 2006 after leaving "for good" when I turned 18 in 1990? :-)


let me guess, after you saw 2004/2005 from outside the State You wanted to "experience" a storm and moved back.....
so YOU are our protective shield!!! LOL

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Quoting 69Viking:


I mentioned that a couple hours ago, water vapor looked like Lee was trying to eat the ULL!


So Viking it seems to be getting worse and worse for us by the minute?...Well...crap...I guess there is no family Crab Island fun anymore for me:o
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
Quoting wolftribe2009:


I just think that the ULL just HAD to show right at the moment a storm was about to get comfortably close to Texas. All the Texas Folks are like, "Hey look RAIN!?!?!" and then the ULL forms and shoves Lee off to the east.

I figure the ULL either has it out for Texas or it's task is to make sure NOLA gets more rain than they want to have at one time.


That ULL is also keeping Louisiana from being hit by a Cat 4 hurricane..lol
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Quoting Abacosurf:
I think what we will see is the northern half of the convection will eventually fold down over itself to the west which will create a tighter center.

It will be interesting watching this one morph.


I mentioned that a couple hours ago, water vapor looked like Lee was trying to eat the ULL!
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uhm, having a big tropical storm drench a dry state is not very good..... you will have flash floods that are very very bad cause all the ground is dry and it will be like flooding a bathroom with no grass, and vegetation to soak up the water. its better to have some rain for that drought but not a storm.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

Hopefully you are right, but October storms in Texas are fairly rare due to the pattern changes and increased troughiness that fall brings. The last one we've had was in 1989.


I just think that the ULL just HAD to show right at the moment a storm was about to get comfortably close to Texas. All the Texas Folks are like, "Hey look RAIN!?!?!" and then the ULL forms and shoves Lee off to the east.

I figure the ULL either has it out for Texas or it's task is to make sure NOLA gets more rain than they want to have at one time.
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Quoting seflagamma:
but now I think about it, we do at least "prepare" for a storm because we get under a warning almost every year since I arrived in 1979 except for 2006/2007/2008/2009/2010 and so far 2011..

wonder what's up with that.. more cold fronts moving thru earlier each year???



Did I mentioned I moved back to Florida in 2006 after leaving "for good" when I turned 18 in 1990? :-)
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Do want.

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Quoting washingaway:


When Katrina was on the east coast of Florida, Bob Breck said that it would go up the east coast and not bother us "at all". However, he might be right his time.



Oh Come one...I was trying to have a good Labor day weekend party in FWB, Fl. I guess that put a stop to it:0
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
Quoting Caner:
Now that i have sat here and watched Lee's visible for a few...

It almost looks like the LLC has popped out of the convection and is sliding under that ULL...

Watch for the smaller coc in the NE corner of that big ULL...

Anyone else see that?

That may be why it looks like the convection is trying to wrap that ULL... Maybe they are merging?


I think what we will see is the northern half of the convection will eventually fold down over itself to the west which will create a tighter center.

It will be interesting watching this one morph.
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Quoting Jedkins01:


In case you haven't noticed though, despite that Florida historically has had so many impacts, we have been almost untouched by tropical systems since the breakout seasons of 2004 and 2005. Which is very interesting, because this might be the one of the largest period of Florida inactivity in proportion to how active the hurricane seasons have been during this period of inactivity for Florida.

I'm surprised nobody else is really noticing this, but I sure have. Heck, I'm not complaining, hurricanes will kill the economy in Florida that is barely surviving as it is. But I have noticed this.

The question is, why? Well I don't know exactly, I haven't done any research on it. But lets hope whatever is causing so many storms to miss Florida will continue.

What I do know is the dominant steering currents around Florida are similar to previous years, I predicted Florida to have a lower than normal chance of a hurricane making landfall in proportion to how active the season will be. However, it doesn't mean I I'll be right at all of course, I'm just basing it on my educated guess from looking at past events and seeing what patterns occurred when hurricanes missed as apposed to hit Florida, or lack-there-of, LOL.



We also had a big gap from 1966 Betsy to 1992 Andrew here in SE Fl and the complacency that created was horrible i remember people insting until the night before Andrew hit that it was going to turn away at the last minute!
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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.