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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PI Your saying 45% chance for Katia to make land fall between North Carolina and Canada, so does this mean there's a 55% chance she makes land fall between South Carolina and the F state?
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If you look at the Loop Eddy pic from Dr. M, the storm seems to be sitting right on top of it at the moment but the sheer (which will die down) is keeping it in some kind of check.....Not a good situation at all either way you look at it for LA and nearby locations.
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Quoting scott39:
Im wondering since those feeder bands are so far south of the broad LLC of TD 13, will the COC relocate farther S and E?


I can see the possibility of the current center be sucked east under the heavier convection. That would not surprise me...
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8802
Quoting Patrap:



Looks like that is going to be needed...

GFS @ 42hrs, what a deluge!

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Quoting lowerbamagirl:


Yuck! So much for a "holiday weekend." Now it is cooped up in the house with five kids with nothing to do.
Come on ... break out the slip and slide and let the kids have a ball. Gotta be creative
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What i dont like ia almost all the Modles have Katia Moving past 70 west at a high latitude, going WNW/NW not NNW.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Shear continues to drop over TD13 and Katia.



Doesn't that map show shear increasing over TD13? It says the white lines are increasing and the outline of the white lined area covers where TD13 is located.

sorry, if I'm not reading it right...
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: )
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Quoting Patrap:

do ya have one with a duck head? I feel more secure in those
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Quoting jpsb:
I would not be surprised if some areas did not get over 30 inches of rain from a stalled td13 sucking all the heat out of the GoM.


Well does anyone here have a place my family can come stay then because if we get 30 inches in Terrytown,LA i am screwed for sure lol. I would def get water in my house then.
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Quoting InTheCone:

Looking at the GFS out 30 hrs, you are in for A LOT more!



Yuck! So much for a "holiday weekend." Now it is cooped up in the house with five kids with nothing to do.
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Quoting Patrap:



looks like the western side of the system is starting to fill in with precip .. so it seems
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Shear continues to drop over TD13 and Katia.


But one invest is entering a very, very very very very very very very painful death by entering the red zone.
Member Since: November 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 728
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If both TD13 and 94L become Lee and Maria today, we will be exactly on pace with 2005. Hurricane Maria was named in the eastern Atlantic on September 2, 2005.
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Quoting connie1976:


Question is old and tired
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Apparently CIMSS believes TD13 is a tropical storm:

Most Definitely!
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6706
From the last blog 925 scott39 "Ok, Was there ever a TS lee or not? I hate seeing something that looks official and then turns out not to be."

"Lee" is still a TropicalStorm on its 12pm_ATCF ...
...even after NHC revised the Katia's 12pm_ATCF at 3:17pmGMT to upgrade Katia to Hurricane status.

The ATCF is the official report of record.
The NHC has final say on the ATCF reports.
In other words, NHC's still pondering on whether "to Lee or not to Lee"
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
When is wind shear expected to abate further? hopefully not soon and not too much, because if it becomes light TD 13/ TS Lee is going to blossom quite quickly.
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TD13 looks sheared today, but i have to admit, it looks better organized.
Member Since: November 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 728
Quoting thesituation:
Its not a TS. Im a Met so I know just like the NHC


I am sorry you may be a Met but you have only been a member for a week and that's only because of Hurricane Irenne was coming to your New Jersey Shoreline. People like Levi, Grothar. and others have studied tropical weather for years. Why don't you let them talk about what they know and have learned about the tropics and you can stick to forcasting snow storms and frontal boundries and giving updates about snooki sightings.

Some people focus on the tropics for one week and now they are experts. Sorry everyone i will go back in my shell now. LOL...
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Apparently CIMSS believes TD13 is a tropical storm:



Impressive vorticity with 94L.
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Shear continues to drop over TD13 and Katia.

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Quoting Grothar:


Thanks, twin. I posted it two days ago and a number of blogs early this morning. I got a little flustered last night because I saw you and Nea agree with each other on something. You two shouldn't do that to an old man. Threw me right out of the loop.

Sorry about that. It just goes to show that even he can be lucid and reasonable at times... ;-)
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Quoting divdog:
Here we go with the will Katia hit South Florida a 100 times today from the same people.


Sorry....just curious if it's coming my way or not.... If it is, I will keep reading and watching the bog....if not, I will find something else to do... btw, I didn't say it was going to hit South Florida....I just asked if anyone thought it was...
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Quoting Grothar:


Well, when I told the people to leave Pompeii, they didn't listen then either. I always feel good when the Doc agrees with my analyses. I am looking to find some new models. It really doesn't look good for Louisiana. That is a bad scenario the Doc has posted.


@Grother As a long-time lurker and rare (as of recent) poster, i can say your wit and wisdom is sorely missed.
Plus, you live in the stomping grounds of my youth (well actually a little bit west of you). Miss hearing about the local conditions there. Thanks for your contributions!

BTW: read the blog, and you definitely nailed the next system to develop. ;)
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Quoting lowerbamagirl:
FWIW the rain is falling here just north of Orange Beach, Alabama at an alarming rate. We had about 1 1/2 hours of blinding rain. No wind...as a matter of fact it was eerie because of the lack of wind. Guessing (from looking at my pool) we had about 3-4 inches in the hour and a half!

Looking at the GFS out 30 hrs, you are in for A LOT more!

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Quoting nolacane2009:


Any flooding around you yet? I am only having light rain where I am south of New Orleans.
.

Not that I know of (unless you count the pond that used to be my front yard)! Our local met here said this morning that isolated parts of the AL coast could potentially get two FEET of rain from this. I am not in a flood plain, but I know we couldn't take two feet.

I am sure some of the roads in the low lying areas around here are flooded. I remember one year with one of these storms, the kids got stuck at school since the buses couldn't get through.
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It looks like at the end of this run, the models beging to start diverging. Maybe this is the point to which the Doc was referring.

img src="">
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Here's the trough Dr. Masters is talking about - 12 Z NAM has been pretty consistent with this

Link
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Last update for awhile.. off the the office

Complete Update

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI





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The convergence associated with TD13 is much more impressive than with Katia:

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Venice, La. currently tropical showers on and off..

Winds SE at 10-20 kts with higher gusts barometer at

29.85 in/hg.
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I didn't see his track forecast except erractic next three days.
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Apparently CIMSS believes TD13 is a tropical storm:

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Well shoot!  I was really hoping we here in TX would get some rain out of 13 but it seems as though we are out of luck...AGAIN!!

NO FAIR!
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Quoting GetReal:



Impressive feeder bands starting to form to the south of TD 13. the convection south of Lafayette is trying, and may succeed in wrapping around the west side of the system.
Im wondering since those feeder bands are so far south of the broad LLC of TD 13, will the COC relocate farther S and E?
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6706
46. jpsb
Quoting MississippiWx:
TD13 is certainly feeding off the warm Gulf waters. Impressive convection...

I would not be surprised if some areas did not get over 30 inches of rain from a stalled td13 sucking all the heat out of the GoM.
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went thru hurricane camille in Long Beach Miss. Lived just over the tracks on Valentine street.what a ride! After living in gtmo for 10 years watching storms go by I always think about camille in season. One thing I always remember- if you are in the cone when you go to bed remember to wear a pair of shoes that lace on and please pants and shirt- sounds crazy but if you get blown out or washed out of your house guess what you are walking on - everthing that blew apart- lumber nails glass and things you dont want to think about ever seeing. I saw bodies in trees.Wont be so nice and easy as to wake up and say lets get dressed. Dont forget to take a waterproof marker and at least write your name and address on the heal of your feet-at least the street name- on both of them. Makes identifying you easier if you stay when you should go!
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Quoting twincomanche:
Quoting Grothar:


Nobody ever listens to me anyway, whep! :) Even when I said TD13 would not go to Texas and would go to Louisiana and that Katia would move closer to the East Coast. So I just post the images and let everybody else argue the models. (Couldn't find my sarcasm flag.)

You must have posted this after my bed time last night because I always pay attention to you.


Thanks, twin. I posted it two days ago and a number of blogs early this morning. I got a little flustered last night because I saw you and Nea agree with each other on something. You two shouldn't do that to an old man. Threw me right out of the loop.
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Is there a graphic showing a pre-landfall precipitation field, much like the wind field graphic that NHC provides (you know the ones, probability for TS winds, probability for 50kt winds, probability for hurricane force winds.) We all know it is not necessarily the winds, but often flooding that is the major hazard. I have seen probability for surge but not precip. The precip graphics I have seen are post landfall.
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hmmmm.....somehow I am beginning to doubt this whole recurve thing.

I am not just saying that based on the models but it is incredible the amount of westward bias Katia has developed. the trough above her right is not really pulling her drastically either.

As per the NHC at the 5AM advisory, ALL GLOBAL MODELS are in agreement of a strong ridge building westward. not sure how any trough is going to kick Katia out majorly.
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Quoting MrstormX:
This is a first from the NWS:


NDC001-007-011-025-033-041-053-087-089-022100-

URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
CIVIL EMERGENCY MESSAGE
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
RELAYED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BISMARCK ND
1133 PM CDT THU SEP 1 2011 /1033 PM MDT THU SEP 1 2011/

THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS TRANSMITTED AT THE REQUEST OF THE
STARK COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT.

A SUSPECT IN THE RECENT HOMICIDE IN BELFIELD WAS SEEN THURSDAY
EVENING NEAR THE EAST RIVER ROAD AREA ABOUT 20 MILES NORTH OF
MEDORA IN BILLINGS COUNTY. THE SUSPECT WAS LAST SEEN WEARING
SHORTS...WAS MUDDY WITH A CAMOUFLAGE JACKET. THE SUSPECT WAS ON
FOOT AND MAY BE LOOKING FOR A VEHICLE WITH KEYS OR AN ATV OR 4
WHEELER.

IF YOU SEE THIS SUSPECT DO NOT APPROACH. CALL 911.

$$

WAA


Not a first. Have seen that kind of thing many times in the past. A lot of Amber Alerts are transmitted by NWS if it impacts their area.
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Quoting lowerbamagirl:
FWIW the rain is falling here just north of Orange Beach, Alabama at an alarming rate. We had about 1 1/2 hours of blinding rain. No wind...as a matter of fact it was eerie because of the lack of wind. Guessing (from looking at my pool) we had about 3-4 inches in the hour and a half!


Any flooding around you yet? I am only having light rain where I am south of New Orleans.
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About JeffMasters

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