Isaac lashing the Lesser Antilles; TD 10 forms

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:06 PM GMT on August 22, 2012

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Tropical Storm Isaac is lashing the entire Lesser Antilles chain of islands with heavy rains this morning, and the winds will be on the increase this afternoon as the storm heads west at 19 mph. Isaac is still a weak and disorganized tropical storm, but that is changing. The Hurricane Hunters are in the storm, and have thus far found no increase in the storm's top surface winds, which remain near 45 mph. In their 7:44 am EDT center fix, an Air Force Reserve aircraft measured a rather unimpressive center pressure of 1007 mb, and top winds at their 1000 foot flight altitude of 56 mph. The plane did not observe an eyewall trying to form, and recent microwave satellite images also show no signs of an eyewall forming. A large area of dry air to the north of the storm, as seen on water vapor satellite loops, continues to interfere with development, and it is unlikely Isaac will become a hurricane today. Satellite loops, however, show that Isaac has developed a Central Dense Overcast (CDO) of high cirrus clouds, the hallmark of a developing storm. These clouds have very cold cloud tops, indicating that the updrafts creating them are quite strong. An analysis of upper level winds from the University of Wisconsin CIMSS shows that upper-level outflow is becoming well-established to the southwest and northwest, but outflow is restricted on the southeast side. A large clump of heavy thunderstorms several hundred miles southeast of the center continues to compete for moisture, and is interfering with the low level inflow and upper level outflow of the storm. The intensification rate of Isaac will increase if the storm is able to integrate this clump of heavy thunderstorms into its circulation, which satellite loops this morning suggest is now beginning to happen. Radar imagery from Barbados and Martinique show plenty of heavy rain showers, mostly on the south side of Isaac where it is moister, but little spiral banding. Hurricane hunter missions are scheduled for Isaac every six hours, and a NOAA hurricane hunter research aircraft will also be in the storm, with missions scheduled every 12 hours. The NOAA jet is first scheduled to fly into the storm on Thursday afternoon, to do a large-scale dropsonde mission to aid model forecasts.


Figure 1. Morning radar image of Isaac taken from the Barbados radar at 10:15 am EDT. Image credit: Barbados Weather Service.

Intensity forecast for Isaac
The latest 8 am EDT run of the SHIPS model shows that wind shear is moderate, 10 - 15 knots, but is expected to relax by this evening to a low 5 - 10 knots. Ocean temperatures have increased to a very warm 29°C, and the storm is now over waters with a high total heat content. The lowering wind shear and warm waters should allow the storm to wall off the dry air that has been interfering with development, and also allow the storm to integrate the thunderstorm clump on its southeast side that has been interfering with low level inflow and upper level outflow. It will take some time for the increase in organization to result in an increase in Isaac's winds, and I still expect top winds of 45 - 60 mph in the Lesser Antilles Islands this evening when the core of the storm moves through. On Thursday, when Isaac will be in the Eastern Caribbean, conditions should be favorable enough to allow steady strengthening to a Category 1 hurricane. The 11 am EDT wind probability forecast from NHC predicted a 47% chance that Isaac will become a hurricane by Friday morning, and a 16% chance it will be a Category 2 or stronger hurricane then. This is a reduction in the odds given in the 5 am advisory.

Impact of Isaac on the Islands
The entire Lesser Antilles Islands chain will have a three-day period of heavy weather Wednesday through Friday. Sustained tropical storm-force winds extend out about 50 miles to the north of the center and 30 miles to the south, so an 80-mile wide swath of the Lesser Antilles will potentially see tropical storm-force winds of 45 - 60 mph this Wednesday evening. Guadaloupe, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Montserrat, and St. Kitts and Nevis at highest risk of these winds.

Winds in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands will likely rise above tropical storm force on Thursday morning, and the south coast of Puerto Rico should see tropical storm-force winds by Thursday afternoon. The San Juan airport may be able to stay open Thursday afternoon and evening, but I think it is more likely they will be forced to shut down.

On Thursday night, heavy rains and tropical storm-force winds should arrive on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic, and all airports in the D.R. will probably be closed on Friday. Rainfall amounts of 8 - 12 inches will likely affect the Dominican Republic Thursday through Saturday, creating dangerous flash floods and mudslides.

Isaac is potentially a very dangerous storm for Haiti, where 400,000 people still live outside underneath tarps in the wake of the 2010 earthquake. Heavy rains from Isaac will begin on Friday morning in Haiti, and last through Sunday. Rainfall amounts of 8 - 12 inches are possible, which will be capable of causing extreme flooding on the vegetation-denuded slopes of Haiti. It will be a major challenge to keep those Haitians living outside safe, if rainfall amounts of 5 - 10 inches occur.

Impact on Florida, Cuba, Jamaica, and the Bahamas
Florida, Cuba, Jamaica, and the Bahamas are all at high risk of receiving hurricane conditions from Isaac. The latest set of 06Z (2 am EDT) model runs for Isaac are fairly unified for the coming three days, showing a westward track to a point on the south coast of Hispaniola. All of the models then predict a more west-northwest track across the island and into eastern Cuba, as Isaac responds to a trough of low pressure over the Southeast U.S. Most of the models then predict a path for Isaac along the spine of Cuba, then into the Florida Straits off the coast of Miami by five days from now. A notable exception is our best-performing model, the ECMWF, which keeps Isaac just south of Cuba, and takes the storm more to the west between Jamaica and Cuba on Saturday, then into the Yucatan Channel between Mexico and Cuba by Monday. However, this model is keeping Isaac weaker than the other models, and thus predicts the storm will have a weaker response to the trough of low pressure over the Southeast U.S. If the official NHC intensity forecast is right and Isaac becomes a hurricane on Thursday, the more southerly track of the ECMWF is not going to verify, and Isaac will spend considerable time over Cuba on Saturday and Sunday. Where Isaac pops off the coast of Cuba will be critical in determining its future path and intensity. Some models predict a more easterly exit point, allowing Isaac to move up the east coast of Florida, and potentially make landfall in the Southeast U.S. The latest 06Z GFS model run predicts a more westerly track, which would potentially allow Isaac to move up the west coast of Florida towards Tampa. Keep in mind that the average error in a 5-day forecast is 260 miles. The two most recent runs of the GFS model, at 00Z and 06Z (8 pm and 2 am EDT), gave positions for Isaac that were about 250 miles apart--the earlier run putting the center near West Palm Beach, and the more recent run giving a location between Key West and Havana, Cuba. While passage over the high mountains of Hispaniola and then Cuba will substantially disrupt Isaac and probably reduce it below hurricane strength, the storm is quite large, and should be able to re-intensify once it emerges over the Florida Straits. Waters will be very warm, near 30°C, wind shear is predicted to be light, and forecasts of the upper-level winds show the possibility of an upper-level outflow pattern very favorable for intensification. If Isaac spends a day over water, that should be enough time for it to intensify into a Category 1 hurricane, and if the storm takes a longer 2-day track over water up either the east or west coast of Florida, a Category 2 or stronger storm is possible.

Isaac is a threat to affect Tampa during the Republican National Convention, August 27 - 30, and the official NHC forecast now has Tampa in the 5-day cone of uncertainly. The latest 11 am EDT wind probability forecast from NHC gives Tampa a 9% chance of receiving tropical storm-force winds for the 24-hour period ending on the morning of first day of the convention (Monday). I blogged about the climatological chances of a hurricane causing an evacuation of Tampa during the convention in a post last week, putting the odds at 0.2%. I put the odds of an evacuation occurring during the convention in the current situation at 3%.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Tropical Depression Ten.

Tropical Depression Ten forms in the Eastern Atlantic
The large tropical wave in the Central Atlantic, midway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands, has become Tropical Depression Ten. The depression has an impressive amount of spin and heavy thunderstorm activity, as seen on visible satellite loops, and should be Tropical Storm Joyce by Thursday. None of the models show that TD 10 will be a threat to the Lesser Antilles Islands.

Which model should you trust?
Wunderground provides a web page with computer model forecasts for many of the best-performing models used to predict hurricane tracks. So which is the best? Well, the best forecasts are made by combining the forecasts from three or more models into a "consensus" forecast. Over the past decade, NHC has greatly improved their forecasts by relying on consensus forecast models made using various combinations of the GFS, GFDL, NOGAPS, UKMET, HWRF, and ECMWF models. If you average together the track forecasts from these models, the NHC official forecast will rarely depart much from it, and the NHC forecast has been hard to beat over the past few years. The single best-performing model over the past two years has been the ECMWF (European Center model). The GFS model has been a close second. You can view 7-day ECMWF and 16-day GFS forecasts on our wundermap with the model layer turned on. Ten-day ECMWF forecasts are available from the ECMWF web site. The European Center does not permit public display of tropical storm positions from their hurricane tracking module of their model, so we are unable to put ECMWF forecasts on our computer model forecast page that plots positions from the other major models. As seen in Figure 3, the HWRF and GFDL were well behind the ECMWF and GFS in forecast accuracy in 2011, but were still respectable. The BAMM model did very well at 4 and 5-day forecasts. The UKMET, NOGAPS, and CMC models did quite poorly compared to the ECMWF, GFS, GFDL, and HWRF. For those interested in learning more about the models, NOAA has a great training video (updated for 2011.)


Figure 3. Skill of computer model forecasts of Atlantic named storms 2011, compared to a "no skill" model called "CLIPER5" that uses just climatology and persistence to make a hurricane track forecast (persistence=a storm will tend to keep going in the direction it's current going.) OFCL=Official NHC forecast; GFS=Global Forecast System model; GFDL=Geophysical Fluid Dynamic Laboratory model; HWRF=Hurricane Weather Research Forecasting model; NOGAPS=Navy Operational Global Prediction System model; UKMET=United Kingdom Met Office model; ECMWF=European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting model; TVCA=one of the consensus models that lends together several of the above models; CMC=Canadian Meteorological Center (GEM) model; BAMM=Beta Advection Model (Medium depth.) Image credit: National Hurricane Center 2011 verification report.

I'll have a new post this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

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I am beginning to think the storm is in the process of moving more southern and westward than the NOAA forecast is showing.
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Where I see the center:
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5313
Man the mid and low level circulations seem to be extremely displaced.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


There's no need to poke fun at it, but I just view his solution not as likely but if that's what he feels would happen.. he should be allowed to post it. All options must be put on the table.


Ok, but he didn't clarify that it was his forecast. That really should explicitly stated.
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I had posted this before the blog updated:





12z GFS Operational @ 180 hrs. (8/29): Issac moving N to NNE; going in over FL Big Bend area.  And, Joyce harassing Bermuda.

A drought buster for S GA/SC; but lots of rain and wind and potential tornadoes for FL Penisula. And, Tampa licking its wounds by then.


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Waiting patiently for the 1 p.m. news, because I want to hear what our local mets are saying about possible impacts here this weekend...
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Quoting ncstorm:
12z CMC..hello Florida



Farther west. Sometimes the models have to be forced into reality.
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Quoting 7544:
looks like issac is starting to tighten up
there is dry are affecting it now from the north, maybe when he moves over the outer island chain maybe he can get his act togther before hitting one of the bigger islands and the dry air will be behind him
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39144
Quoting Gumbogator:
Who ya got GFS or Euro model?? Not only that but, the Republican Convention would make a good hurricane party in Tampa. Can you imagine if an Obama-led FEMA had to bail out the Republicans in Tampa would the Republicans reject this as stimulus?? I'm sure HAARP is to blame in Alaska for this storm!! Euro puts "Sir Isaac." south of Louisiana........we can't handle any kind of curveball here.


POLITICS OFF BLOG PLEASE
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Quoting Kowaliga:
CDO passing over Martinique (?)


It isn't a CDO. Well, it probably was at one point, but it quickly became displaced from the center. The center is closer to here, due East of Guadalupe:
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Isaac looks like a yin yang to me.:)
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Quoting robj144:


Thanks. I wonder where he got that forecast from... some Tarot cards? :)


There's no need to poke fun at it, but I just view his solution not as likely but if that's what he feels would happen.. he should be allowed to post it. All options must be put on the table.
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Levi did indeed shift his track west abit and its reasonable to me!
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Quoting islander101010:
big.bend.landfallers.are.usually.homegrown.system s. ..dont.know.any.cv.ers
Good point, but I cannot think of a physical reason why that is so, besides plain old good fortune.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry about this link:
http://www.plumblee.net/uploads/newsletters/20080 212_025057.pdf
Florida's Big Bend A Region for Mild
Hurricanes
By
Harry Plumblee, PhD, REALTOR

St. George Island is located in Florida's Big Bend region. The Big Bend area, based on 150 years of National Weather Service data, is in a region where no major hurricanes have made landfall.
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12z CMC..hello Florida

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WHO DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
Off Topic, but it is time to use the heavy duty bug spray

(CNN) -- The recent West Nile virus outbreak is the largest ever seen in the United States, according to new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The number of cases so far this year is the highest recorded since the disease was first detected in the United States in 1999. As of August 21, 38 states had reported human infections. The cases reported to the CDC total 1,118, including 41 deaths.
No, it's a great post. Get rid of standing water, it a death trap in your own back yard.
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I am concerned that Issac may only cross a small portion of eastern Cuba allowing the system to hit the water sooner than expected allowing it more time to get to a category 2 storm before landfall somewhere in the US.
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474. 7544
looks like issac is starting to tighten up
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Quoting HuracanTaino:
Don't say that loud, there is a Kidcayman there, that might faint of joy...


There are others from Cayman who would certainly NOT
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Quoting yoboi:
Why on earth would you quote this???
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470. Gorty
Quoting will40:


even a weak system this large in diameter can still feel an eroded ridge


Oh ok thanks.

And I am not taking my eyes off of our TD 10. Its in a prime location to come up to me in New England.
Member Since: November 8, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 1058
If one has CHROME,,just save Image As,,and use the JPEG or GIF from the Download prompt.

That way you dont need a Photobucket or other.

: )
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


That's his forecast, and I don't believe I agree with it. For one, there is no shear being impacted by a ULL - the shear we are seeing is associated with Isaac's own ULAC that is producing shear that will probably realign over it. Two, it's going to be rather hard for Isaac to even go as far south as the Euro is showing, I do not see this coming into Belize. Ernesto managed it due to the southern latitude, however there is a pronounced weakness developing over the state of Florida that will cause a more northern option. The most southern track it could take is just south of Haiti and into Cuba, though I will not discount the Euro solution due to the consistency, I doubt it will verify and the 12z could very well end up in line with everyone else.


Thanks. I wonder where he got that forecast from... some Tarot cards? :)
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CDO passing over Martinique (?)

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At the moment in Guadeloupe, very little wind as this can been seen on this webcam : Link
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Quoting TreasureCoastGirl80:
I work at a landscaping company. One of our maintenance guys just came in and said Home Depot in Stuart is crazy right now! Lol...04/05 isn't as distant a memory as it is for some...
It's not just that... it's that the models have had Florida in their tracks for what, FIVE days??? lol
Quoting TheMom:
So I know I know I'm such an UNfair weather friend.. Hey to the old timers that sorta kinda remember me and my gagillions of cherry questions. Nice to see some fresh eyes that are not just playing troll. So here we are again playing monkey in the middle of the East or West track sayers. Are we allowed to do the reverse fanatics thing and say that a hurricane hitting Tampa would be punishment for Republicans creating the tea-party? or would that get me in the time out chair even though we aren't in panic mood yet?
*runs around room and hugs all my old timer favs*
Hey... haven't seen you in a while.

We already did the politics you say I say... lol but it does make an interesting situation to watch...

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Quoting Chiggy:
WOW.. kudos to Levi - he is NOT budging from his cone taking east of FL's east coast and hitting the GA/SC area..
I believe he is incorrect...

?
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Just another data point from the CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) model. Both oil and gas have reversed their downward trend and are now up sharply. This tells me the met consultants that are hired by the oil companies and commodity brokers are starting to look at the HWRF models, that bring Isaac into the East/Central Gulf, more seriously than they were before the last update.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 16029
wheels up on HH
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Quoting HuracandelCaribe:
How i post a JPG from my PC.


You have to have it uploaded to the web somewhere before you can post it.
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HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT IS AIRBORNE
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Quoting RTSplayer:
When is the 1200Z ECMWF published?

The 0000Z scares the hell out of me...


DITTO
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I am starting to feel water logged with all this rain
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39144
Quoting BahaHurican:
The problem with just about any Florida strike, as others have said, is just that it's so narrow. Tampa rarely gets direct hurricane strikes, but "crossover" strikes from the east coast are fairly numerous. Fortunately the danger is normally considerably less that way...

Even if they do believe God is punishing them, would it change their future behaviour any? I think people who are set on doing what they are set on doing will interpret any comments made by God through natural phenomena to suit their own desires.

Besides God only punishes other people this way... when it happens to you, the devil did it...

Ditto my comments above.

I must say, however, it would be absolutely phenomenal if Isaac devastates the RNC in Tampa next week, and Joyce does the same in Charlotte the following week...

Not a laughing matter, but I wonder if it would be enough to make Americans put politics aside long enough to work together for their common good?



"Devastates?"..."Absolutely phenomenal"?...Well that's just not very nice - never mind your persuasion - to wish devastation is rather extreme don't you think?
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Quoting Gorty:
How will Isaac ever turn toward the wnw if he remains so weak?


even a weak system this large in diameter can still feel an eroded ridge
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Quoting robj144:


What?! Who's forecast is this? Is this yours? Where is this coming from?


That's his forecast, and I don't believe I agree with it. For one, there is no shear being impacted by a ULL - the shear we are seeing is associated with Isaac's own ULAC that is producing shear that will probably realign over it. Two, it's going to be rather hard for Isaac to even go as far south as the Euro is showing, I do not see this coming into Belize. Ernesto managed it due to the southern latitude, however there is a pronounced weakness developing over the state of Florida that will cause a more northern option. The most southern track it could take is just south of Haiti and into Cuba, though I will not discount the Euro solution due to the consistency, I doubt it will verify and the 12z could very well end up in line with everyone else.
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Maybe try the "Preview Comment" feature next to the COMMENT box before posting.

It may save some grief
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through 240 hours..precip..ugggh..we just dont need any more rain



360
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How i post a JPG from my PC.
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Quoting TreasureCoastGirl80:
I work at a landscaping company. One of our maintenance guys just came in and said Home Depot in Stuart is crazy right now! Lol...04/05 isn't as distant a memory as it is for some...
It's not just that... it's that the models have had Florida in their tracks for what, FIVE days???
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Quoting Chiggy:

around 1:00pm CST


Thanks :)
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447. SLU
At 16:45:00Z (last observation), the observation was 95 miles (154 km) to the ESE (121°) from San Juan, Puerto Rico (USA)
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 5254
Quoting HuracandelCaribe:


Methinks something may have gone wrong there.
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FLOOD WATCH
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TALLAHASSEE FL
220 AM EDT WED AUG 22 2012

...PERSISTENT HEAVY RAIN SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS EXPECTED THIS
MORNING ACROSS THE EASTERN FLORIDA BIG BEND...

.AS OF 2 AM EDT...REGIONAL RADARS ARE INDICATING WIDESPREAD
DEVELOPMENT OF HEAVY RAIN SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS FROM THE
NORTHEAST GULF OF MEXICO INTO PORTIONS OF TAYLOR...DIXIE...AND
LAFAYETTE COUNTIES. THESE SHOWERS AND STORMS ARE EXPECTED TO
PERSIST NEAR A STALLED SURFACE BOUNDARY DURING THE MORNING.
ADDITIONAL HEAVY RAIN RATES IN AN AREA THAT HAS ALREADY
EXPERIENCED OVER 3 INCHES OF RAIN SINCE SUNDAY COULD LEAD TO THE
DEVELOPMENT OF FLASH FLOODING.

FLZ028-029-034-128-134-222000-
/O.NEW.KTAE.FF.A.0006.120822T0620Z-120822T2000Z/
/00000.0.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000 Z.OO/
INLAND TAYLOR-LAFAYETTE-INLAND DIXIE-COASTAL TAYLOR-COASTAL DIXIE-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...PERRY...MIDWAY...MAYO...CROSS CITY...
KEATON BEACH...STEINHATCHEE...SUWANNEE
220 AM EDT WED AUG 22 2012

...FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TALLAHASSEE HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF NORTH FLORIDA INCLUDING THE
FOLLOWING COUNTIES...DIXIE...LAFAYETTE...TAYLOR.

* THROUGH 4 PM EDT THIS AFTERNOON

* WIDESPREAD SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS MAY PRODUCE HEAVY RAIN
RATES IN AREAS THAT HAVE ALREADY EXPERIENCED HEAVY RAIN OVER THE
PAST FEW DAYS. ANY BANDS OF EXCESSIVE RAINFALL COULD LEAD TO THE
DEVELOPMENT OF FLASH FLOODING.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD
TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION.

YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION
SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED.

&&

$$

08-LAMERS
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39144
444. SLU
Product: Air Force High Density (HDOB) Message (URNT15 KNHC)
Transmitted: 22nd day of the month at 16:43Z
Date: August 22, 2012
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 307)
Storm Number: 09
Storm Name: Isaac (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Member Since: July 13, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 5254
443. Jaxen
Oh by the way, Friday is the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew's South Florida landfall.
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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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