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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3437. aquak9
G'morning GR, a pleasure to see you. Looks likeya'll are in for another coupla days of this mess. can't imagine all that rain...and a really long night with torn warnings for a lotta folks.
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Finally some decent rain here. I thought it would never mix out all the dry air.

Unfortunately, its one extreme to another.
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3435. WxLogic
Good Morning...
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 5038
3434. GetReal
Zoom in on this loop and see for yourselves, Lee is not current tracking north, and has on the last frame meandered east even closer to tucking under the heavy convection. This ride is only beginning for today!

Link


On a side note, we're getting extremely heavy tropical rains and winds gusting near 40 mph here in Westwego, La.
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Morning, Aqua.

Sun is up here and the critters are gathering in the yard right outside my window demanding breakfast - back in a bit after I feed those pesky things.
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LOL at the food - no bologna in this house - ate it all last week while the power was out. :)

Got plenty of eggs I could scramble for you... Or we could just pretend it's lunch time and start working on the remains of the pot roast - there's a couple of pounds of that left. :)
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Heavy squalls and wind most if the night over here, I did hear thunder once or twice.
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3429. aquak9
G'morning all from NE Fla coast (Jax).

Just read back from about 1am. I feel like I've been up all night with every one of you. Your families, your worries about loved ones, a leaky kitchen, and WoWo Wubsy. Smart kid, there.

Glad to hear most folks are doing ok, worries aside.

Thanks for the muffins, Coops, I might bake some blueberry ones later m'self.
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TROPICAL STORM LEE FORECAST/ADVISORY NUMBER 7
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL132011
0900 UTC SAT SEP 03 2011

TROPICAL STORM CENTER LOCATED NEAR 28.8N 91.9W AT 03/0900Z
POSITION ACCURATE WITHIN 20 NM

PRESENT MOVEMENT TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHWEST OR 345 DEGREES AT 6 KT

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE 995 MB
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS 45 KT WITH GUSTS TO 55 KT.
34 KT.......175NE 175SE 0SW 90NW.
12 FT SEAS..180NE 210SE 0SW 0NW.
WINDS AND SEAS VARY GREATLY IN EACH QUADRANT. RADII IN NAUTICAL
MILES ARE THE LARGEST RADII EXPECTED ANYWHERE IN THAT QUADRANT.
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Quoting fllamorgan:
Morning all... just woke up to some serious wind kicking outside my door in Harahan. I'm just west of New Orleans. I am supposed to go to Houma today for a family reunion... not thinking the hour long drive south is too smart the way it sounds out there right now.


Up here in mandeville the wind is starting to whistle and the rains been coming down
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Good AM all .Lights flickering off Bayou St John....
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Quoting blsealevel:
Ah man now i got to go cook me an omlet or something
thanks y'all


I actually just finished a left-over grilled pork chop, 2 eggs over medium, and a piece of texas toast.
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3419 -

Gee, thanks. City still hasn't started picking up residential debris yet here in VaBeach. Much worse on the OBX - Ferries taking residents back to Hatteras tomorrow.

At least it looks as if GA may get some precip out of one or the other of these.

Given up on getting precip to Texas. I think Mother Nature took Gov Perry's threat of secession seriously. :)
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Quoting GetReal:


IMHO this latest pic is bad news for us along the south central and Se La coast. The center of Lee is clearly visible at 28.4N and 92.1W, and may have stalled there. Worse yet is that convection is at this moment wrapping entirely around the COC. To make matters worse the current pressur is 995mb, which is only two millibars above the usual thresehold of 993mb found in Cat 1 hurricanes.

I strongly believe that Lee will use the friction of the circulation bumping up to the curvature otf the La coast to further tighten the circulation, and will become at Cat 1 hurricane later this morning, or afternoon before crossing the coast.

In summary ATM Lee appears to have stalled off the south central coast of La, and is strengthening.

Link


ahaha your clearly from my area with the fluer di lis so i can say yes it is starting to wrap around and yes the curviture will help but it is getting so close to land i dont think it will help all that much....

Im starting to get in the heaviest part of the storm it appears to be strengthening this morninng

just imho
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Ah man now i got to go cook me an omlet or something
thanks y'all
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Morning all... just woke up to some serious wind kicking outside my door in Harahan. I'm just west of New Orleans. I am supposed to go to Houma today for a family reunion... not thinking the hour long drive south is too smart the way it sounds out there right now.
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Quoting CoopsWife:
Not awake enough yet to know if it'll be good or not. Slept late two days in a row - and it definitely scrambles my brain for a while.

Coffee is on - got muffins going in the oven - I'll throw 'em out on the virtual sideboard in a few minutes so we can all refuel our brains. :)


How about a fried bologna sandwich?
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Oh thought i would through this in as well

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Not awake enough yet to know if it'll be good or not. Slept late two days in a row - and it definitely scrambles my brain for a while.

Coffee is on - got muffins going in the oven - I'll throw 'em out on the virtual sideboard in a few minutes so we can all refuel our brains. :)
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Quoting blsealevel:
hard rain band hit me now gusty out this morning but wind isnt that bad at the moment had some strong lightning just before the rain band so far street flooding out front is minimum

Link


so weird, all the wind, rain, tornado warnings, etc. that we had here in Holden all night & I can't remember seeing the first bit of lightning or, come to think of it, thunder either. Lee sure is a strange storm...be careful out there!
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Quoting bigwes6844:
3 more warnings we got Orleans, Jeffferson, and Lafourche Parishes! thats 6 warnings in 5 mins now


JINX!!!
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Good Morning.

Center of Lee is well visualized in the rainbow loop:

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Another New Orleans tornado warning (and surrounding areas) until 6:31 am.
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3 more warnings we got Orleans, Jeffferson, and Lafourche Parishes! thats 6 warnings in 5 mins now
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Quoting sassy2002:


Very intelligent for 3 years old and it's awesome that he knows what it is...he may very well save his family one day just by making the connection. Of course, I don't blame him, I'd be po'd if Wow Wow Wubzy was interrupted...I have a 2 yr old grandson that likes to watch that when he's at Nana's...lol But, when we ride in the car, he's all about dancing, so if you ever see a blue/green Saturn Ion with both the driver & the baby in the back "head knoddin", that'll be us! lol



OHH I've seen ya'll!!! just kidding lol.
I really wanted to dove hunt today up around Pine Grove, but it's not looking like that's going to happen. As long as Cox Cable holds out and I can watch LSU tonight everything will be okay lol.
Mostly just concerned that nobody get's hurt with all the possibility of tornados.
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Quoting CoopsWife:
Morning, Louisiana/ Gulf Coast. Holding good thoughts, saying prayers for all to be safe.

LADobeLady - glad those improvements are holding. Good to see you on here again.



just mornin, not sure about the "good" part lol
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hard rain band hit me now gusty out this morning but wind isnt that bad at the moment had some strong lightning just before the rain band so far street flooding out front is minimum

Link
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Quoting HimacaneBrees:
Is it going to rain like this all day long? Or will it become hit and miss?


I would answer that but I think Lee has changed so much & surprised everybody! The forecast I saw earlier shows 100% chance of rain all the way through Monday....I just hope it slacks up a little before game time, that's not much to ask for!
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got 3 brand new warnings Tangiphoa, Livingston, and St. john the Baphtist
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Morning, Louisiana/ Gulf Coast. Holding good thoughts, saying prayers for all to be safe.

LADobeLady - glad those improvements are holding. Good to see you on here again.

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Quoting HimacaneBrees:
In Central. And no he's not usually scared of weather. He doesn't like the noise when the warning comes out. I think he was more upset that WOW WOW Wubbzy was interrupted LOL. I was really surprised he knew what the noise meant.


Very intelligent for 3 years old and it's awesome that he knows what it is...he may very well save his family one day just by making the connection. Of course, I don't blame him, I'd be po'd if Wow Wow Wubzy was interrupted...I have a 2 yr old grandson that likes to watch that when he's at Nana's...lol But, when we ride in the car, he's all about dancing, so if you ever see a blue/green Saturn Ion with both the driver & the baby in the back "head knoddin", that'll be us! lol
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Is it going to rain like this all day long? Or will it become hit and miss?
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Quoting sassy2002:


bigwest, I got 5 minutes to go!!!!
yeah u guys are good now so far no more tornado warnings added since 10 mins ago
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I decided to make coffee in the leaky kitchen - we have even more new and exciting leaks here at the art studio! And I heard this horrible noise - that low pulsing rumbling noise that can never mean anything good.
And then I realied it was just Amtrak backing up.
Doh!
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3402. GetReal


IMHO this latest pic is bad news for us along the south central and Se La coast. The center of Lee is clearly visible at 28.4N and 92.1W, and may have stalled there. Worse yet is that convection is at this moment wrapping entirely around the COC. To make matters worse the current pressur is 995mb, which is only two millibars above the usual thresehold of 993mb found in Cat 1 hurricanes.

I strongly believe that Lee will use the friction of the circulation bumping up to the curvature otf the La coast to further tighten the circulation, and will become at Cat 1 hurricane later this morning, or afternoon before crossing the coast.

In summary ATM Lee appears to have stalled off the south central coast of La, and is strengthening.

Link
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In Central. And no he's not usually scared of weather. He doesn't like the noise when the warning comes out. I think he was more upset that WOW WOW Wubbzy was interrupted LOL. I was really surprised he knew what the noise meant.
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Quoting HimacaneBrees:
Been raining all night here. I love the sound on my roof. What I don't love is my 3 year old son just came in my bedroom crying. "Daddy Daddy the TV is making the bad wedder noise"

I get up and the NWS bulletin is on and we're under a tornado warning now.


Where do you live? Is your son scared of the weather when it's like this? The bad thing is, he's too young to really understand & even if he did understand, he'd probably still be scared because of the noise from the thunder/lightning! Can you imagine being that small, hearing all that & NOT knowing what it was?
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Been raining all night here. I love the sound on my roof. What I don't love is my 3 year old son just came in my bedroom crying. "Daddy Daddy the TV is making the bad wedder noise"

I get up and the NWS bulletin is on and we're under a tornado warning now.
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Quoting bigwes6844:
kool i think you guys expire at 530 i believe


bigwest, I got 5 minutes to go!!!!
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Quoting RedStickCasterette:
Whew, hubby made it to the plant. Maybe I can get some sleep now. I just hope he can get home tonight, although I'd rather him stay out there if things are worse.


Thank goodness! That's a load off your mind, I know! Enjoy your well-deserved sleep!
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got another one in Plaquemines Parish thats now 8 in less than an hour
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Quoting RedStickCasterette:


I know. Just wish this thing would decide to get on out of here quickly, lol.


My son's on the boat (work) & I can't sleep when it's like this....things just running through your head...just like "waiting up to see if your son made it to work" I understand perfectly!
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Whew, hubby made it to the plant. Maybe I can get some sleep now. I just hope he can get home tonight, although I'd rather him stay out there if things are worse.
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ohh got some thunder and lightning at present in this band
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Quoting blsealevel:

Tornado Warning(s)

all or portions of the following counties,
In Louisiana: East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Jefferson, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Tangipahoa



This is what they're showing on the Weather Channel website:

Tornado Alertsback to top
Tornado Warning for:

East Baton Rouge
Jefferson (Alert #1)
Jefferson (Alert #2)
Jefferson (Alert #3)
Livingston
Orleans
Plaquemines (Alert #1)
Plaquemines (Alert #2)
Plaquemines (Alert #3)
Saint Bernard
Saint Charles (Alert #1)
Saint Charles (Alert #2)
Saint Helena
Saint Tammany
Tangipahoa (Alert #1)
Tangipahoa (Alert #2)
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Quoting sassy2002:


I can't remember ever seeing this many tornado warnings at one time, especially for a storm they said was moving very slow!


I know. Just wish this thing would decide to get on out of here quickly, lol.
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Quoting sassy2002:


I'm more than happy to share with you...I'm in Livingston parish...Holden! It's been pretty hairy tonight.
kool i think you guys expire at 530 i believe
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A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 545 AM CDT FOR
NORTHWESTERN ST. BERNARD...EXTREME NORTHWESTERN PLAQUEMINES...
NORTHERN JEFFERSON AND SOUTHWESTERN ORLEANS PARISHES...

AT 506 AM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS CONTINUED TO
DETECT A TORNADO. THIS TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR CHALMETTE...MOVING
NORTHWEST AT 40 MPH.

OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO NEW
ORLEANS...LAKEFRONT AIRPORT AND METAIRIE
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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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