Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:43 PM GMT on May 12, 2007
Andrea refuses to totally die. Thunderstorm activity associated with the remnant low continues to flare up, and wind shear remains low enough (10 knots) to permit redevelopment of this system. Current radar out of Melbourne, Florida shows some disorganized rainbands surrounding the center of the storm, and infrared satellite loops show intermittent bursts of thunderstorms, particularly to the east of the center. The activity as seen on radar and satellite is not very organized, and any redevelopment of Andrea should be slow to occur. However, the remains of Andrea have some tropical storm force winds of 45-55 mph a few hundred miles east of the center, as seen in this morning's 7:29am EDT QuikSCAT pass. Water vapor loops show some very dry air around the remnants of Andrea, and sea surface temperatures are still a rather cool 24-26 C. By Sunday, wind shear will increase to near 20 knots, and a trough of low pressure is expected to finally move Andrea's remains out to sea.
NHC put out this special advisory at 9pm today:
SPECIAL TROPICAL DISTURBANCE STATEMENT
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
900 PM EDT SAT MAY 12 2007
AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE...THE REMNANT OF SUBTROPICAL STORM ANDREA...IS CENTERED ABOUT 250 MILES EAST OF DAYTONA BEACH FLORIDA. THIS SYSTEM HAS NOT BECOME ANY BETTER ORGANIZED SINCE THIS MORNING...AND IS CURRENTLY ACCOMPANIED BY ONLY A SMALL AREA OF THUNDERSTORMS TO THE EAST OF THE CENTER. ALTHOUGH NO SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS EXPECTED...ONLY A SMALL INCREASE IN ORGANIZATION WOULD
RESULT IN THE FORMATION OF A TROPICAL DEPRESSION. THE LOW IS MOVING EAST-NORTHEASTWARD AT 5 TO 10 MPH AND A CONTINUED MOTION AWAY FROM THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES IS EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
Figure 1. True color image from NASA's Terra satellite of the remains of Andrea off the coast of Florida at 12:30 pm EDT Friday May 11, 2007. The counter-clockwise circulation around the storm fanned fires (red dots near the Florida/Georiga border) and drew the smoke all the way along the length of Florida, and into the center of the storm. Note the huge area of smoke covering the Gulf Of Mexico, blown there on previous days. Image credit:NASA.
Andrea and the Florida/Georgia fires
The strong winds of Andrea fanned the huge fires burning in the Florida/Georgia border region, and the counterclockwise flow of air around the low drew the smoke over the entire length of Florida yesterday. The Air Quality Index (AQI) for particle pollution reached the "Very Unhealthy" level between 10am and 5pm yesterday in both Tampa and St. Petersburg. "Very Unhealthy" values trigger a health alert, meaning everyone may experience more serious health effects. For several hours the AQI exceeded 300 in both cities. An AQI of 300 is the threshold for "Hazardous" air pollution, which the EPA defines as "Health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected". Air quality in the Tampa Bay area was among the worst ever measured there; at the USMC Reserve Center monitoring site in Hillborough County, particulate matter pollution reached 753 micrograms per cubic meter, and the 24 hour average was 198--nearly six times the federal standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter.
Fortunately, residents seem to be paying attention to the air pollution advisories. "Area hospitals reported just a handful of patients complaining about breathing problems, which was an encouraging sign for health officials who say people with poor health seem to be heeding warnings to stay inside", according to the St. Petersburg Times. But there's no doubt that the pollution is very dangerous. Take a look at this comment posted on the Tampa Bay Tribune web site yesterday:
After my mile walk this evening at 11pm, I felt tired and weak at the knees later about midnight my heart pounded fast and hard. I have slight chest pain, anxiety comes in waves, lying down is worse, my throat feels opened up and there.s too much cold air, my throat is scratchy and my lungs are sore. I might need to call 911 It.s now 2:45am sometimes I feel like I might die. like my heart may explode. I was OK yesterday. An hour later I was feeling better thank God! I've wondered if it was the smoke in the air from the brush fires. I checked my resting heart rate before and it was 100 beats a minute. Now it's 56 beats a minute. I went to bed at 4:00am however I woke up 3 hours later 7am I started getting mild symptoms again. I found a face mask. It does help.
People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid all physical activity outdoors during the heavy smoke conditions. Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Pay attention to the air pollution advisories issued for your area. This air pollution episode has the potential to be far more deadly than any hurricane that has affected Florida over the past 79 years!
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