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Katrina a tropical depression

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 9:54 PM GMT on August 30, 2005

Just a quick update on the current state of tropics for now. The incredible stories of Katrina's devastation playing on the news now leave me stunned, and my heart goes out to all the victims and their loved ones.

Katrina now
Katrina is a tropical depression, racing northeastward through Indiana and Ohio at 27 mph, and will be gone tomorrow. No major flooding due to Katrina's rains is occurring in the areas north of the coastal devastation zone. The flooding and rains associated with Katrina's second landfall have been fairly low for a major hurricane, since the storm has been moving quickly and the soils the rain have been falling on are not saturated from previous storms. Katrina should continue to produce rain amounts in the 2-4 inch range for the rest of its track, which should only cause localized flooding problems. A few tornadoes are still possible. So far, Katrina has produced two damaging tornadoes in Georgia, one in the tourist town of Helen that ripped the roof off of an Econolodge.

Figure 1.Total estimated precipication from Katrina from the Mobile radar. Maximum amounts were in the 8-12 inch range. Data from 6 NWS radar sites is still not available, due to the failure of over 100 fiber lines in Louisiana and Mississippi. No repair date is available.

What's behind Katrina
We are watching two areas in the Atlantic that may become tropical depressions in the next day or two, but neither are expected to be a threat to land. Tropical Depression 13 dissipated yesterday, but is looking more organized and may regenerate. If it does regenerate, this system is probably only a threat to Bermuda. Another strong tropical low pressure area is midway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands. This low has a large circulation and a small amount of deep convection trying to build over it. The low has some modest wind shear it is fighting, and a large area of dry, dust-laden air surrounding it. The dry air and shear will probably keep the low from developing into a depression today, but the shear may lessen enough tomorrow to let a depression form. If the low does develop, the early track models forecast the system to track northwestward over the open Atlantic Ocean and not threaten land.

Dr. Jeff Masters

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.