Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
The projected path of the storm continues to take it into the southern Gulf as a major Cat 3 storm by tomorrow. As it approaches the U.S. mainland, the uncertainty starts to rise in it's track and intensity. Regarding intensity, while conditions remain optimal through tomorrow, by Sunday night, shear is expected to increase and the waters actually cool slightly, which both could promote a slight weakening by the time it reaches the northern Gulf. Also, history tells us that storms just don't maintain "monster" status for an extended period of time - conditions don't stay that good for more than a day or so. Should Gustav reach Cat 4 or even 5 (which is not out of the question), I'm not sure with the conditions I mention above that it will be able to maintain that all the way to U.S. landfall. (Not that a Cat 2/3 storm is anything to take lightly of course, but total devastation would not be as likely).
As for the track, models continue in two camps, though one or two are starting to take on traitor status and jump from one to the other. Some continue to move Gustav directly northwest with landfall along the central Louisiana coast Monday night (which the Hurricane Center still is going with). But many are now indicating the high over the Great Lakes will not only shift the track left, but slow the storm down and then bend it back to the southwest after making landfall (or even before landfall according to a couple of models), increasing a flooding risk for eastern Texas and Louisiana by the middle of next week. See the track map below. In any case, it does now appear that the high pressure over the eastern U.S. will have a strong impact on Gustav and significant flooding could be a major part of this storm's history when all is said and done. We'll continue to monitor.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Tropical storm conditions will start to be felt as early as Monday morning along the coast ahead of the storm. Evacuation orders are already in place or take effect tomorrow for many locations, including the city of New Orleans, where today they commemorated the landfall of Hurricane Katrina 3 years ago to the day. We can only hope that Gustav does not inflict the magnitude of damage that occurred with Katrina and that emergency and government officials are more prepared than 3 years ago.
Below is the current forecast track from the Hurricane Center as well as a plot of most of the computer models' forecasts indicating the degree of error that still exists - the spread lies all the way from Houston to New Orleans. The big question mark seems to be the strength of a high pressure system due to be over the Ohio Valley early next week - a stronger high would tend to steer the hurricane further west (which some models are forecasting) while a weaker high will allow the storm to continue on a due northwest track closer to New Orleans, which others are forecasting will happen. Only time will tell.
Though this storm will get all the press for the next several days, strengthening T.S. Hanna in the Atlantic also bears watching as it too could affect the U.S. mainland later next week.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Next week's forecast is highly dependent on the eventual track of Gustav, but it appears like there could be a chance of some precipitation from it's remnants by the middle of next week over the Mid-South, which will help to bring temperatures down as well.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I expect Sunday to actually have lower chances of rain than today, but as Fay continues to move west and then slightly north into southern MS, look for a better chance of rain and thunderstorms again on Monday. Nonetheless, it will still be a fairly humid weekend and early part of the work week with a lot of Gulf moisture in place across the region. Even northeasterly surface wind around the general circulation of Fay will not lower humidity values significantly.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Fay has now re-emerged over water into the Atlantic Gulf Stream where she is expected to re-organize slightly and make a left turn, heading back into northeast FL tomorrow. After that, Mother Nature only knows where fickle Fay will go, but tracks are pointing towards a slow progression across the FL panhandle or southern Georgia and Alabama. However, there are hints from a couple of models that perhaps a more southerly track will occur, which would mean more water time over the Gulf. This could be bad news for perhaps a third (fourth if you count Key West) landfall somewhere along the central Gulf coast early next week. Time will tell, and as unpredictable as she is, anything is certainly possible.
As for potential impacts to the Mid-South, my gut tells me we'll see some precip in the area around the middle part of next week as Fay's remnants round the strong high pressure situating itself over the Mid-Atlantic seaboard. Of course, my crystal ball is in need of a little polishing too.......
Monday, August 18, 2008
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for southwest FL north to just south of Tampa Bay. On it's current track, Fay will make landfall as a Cat 1 storm around Ft. Myers about noon on Tuesday EDT. The extended range tracks are all over the place after it makes it's way through central FL on Tuesday night. It's entirely possible that it could emerge into the Atlantic briefly before taking a hard left, going back across the FL peninsula and heading into the Gulf, regaining intensity! There is more than one model that indicate it will do just that. For now, the Hurricane Center is taking the high road and dissipating it later this week over the southern Appalachians... We'll see. Below is a radar image of Fay from the Keys just after it passed over Key West. (Wind went from gusting 51 mph to calm as it passed overhead Key West!)
Friday, August 15, 2008
A hefty change in the forecast from yesterday morning to today and the result is rain and t'storms around the area a day earlier (today) and a pretty nice weekend on tap! It had looked like today would be dry and the weekend wetter, but that apparently won't pan out. Scattered storms around the area this afternoon will continue through the evening hours. Most people have a decent chance of getting at least a little rain. A few showers could linger overnighe, but with only a 20% chance or less of rain tomorrow and a dry day Sunday, it should be nice as temps top out in the upper 80s and humidity is a non-factor. Can't ask for much better for mid-August!
In the tropics, the Hurricane Center has yet to jump onboard with the low pressure east of Puerto Rico. Expect this could become a tropical storm without too much difficulty, though it's path looks to take it over a fair amount of terrain in Hispaniola and Cuba. If it can survive, there is potential for the storm to really gear up as it moves into the Florida Straits or the Gulf Stream. Long-range models are all over the place with it's eventual track, from moving it into the Gulf of Mexico, to striking south or eastern FL, to turning it north and moving it towards North Carolina! We'll have to keep our eye on eventual T.S. Fay.
On a side note, anybody but me enjoying watching the Olympic coverage on NBC or cable? It is fun to watch for a change. Talk about reality TV!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Occasionally, this phenomena merges with another natural phenomena - thunderstorms. Birds tend to get upset when their normal roosting patterns are threatened, and apparently thunder and rain is one of those things that upsets them. Witness in the video below the light blues that move south out of Shelby County into DeSoto County (Walls to Hernando) ahead of the thunderstorms that break out over southern Shelby Co. There also appears to be a similar radar signature moving west over Crittenden County (Anthonyville to Jericho), though I think that has more to do with ground clutter appearing in the cool wake of the thunderstorms. Ths southbound echoes, though, I am fairly confident are restless birds headed into northwest MS from their roosting spots in southern and southwest Shelby County. ( I apologize for the quality of this video. To view it more cleanly, click here.)
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
By tonight, storms to our north will being dropping into the area late, with a good chance of rain during the day tomorrow. A few storms could be borderline severe with moderate-sized hail and high wind the main concerns. Chances of rain will linger through Thursday night until the front pushes through (yes, this one should actually move all the way through the area!).
With the front to our south, we are setting up for a beautiful (for August) weekend with lots of sun, low humidity, and highs near 90 starting Friday. By the time school starts for most kids on Monday, the front pulls back to the north and rain chances re-appear to start the week. If nothing else, it should help keep the temps under control!
To see the complete MWN forecast, click here.
Also, thanks to the Cookeville Weather Guy for posting on his blog about the tornadic storms that ripped through Chicagoland on Monday night. Check out his blog for more(www.CookevilleWeatherGuy.com) or read about the storms that forced the evacuation of Wrigley Field during a Cubs/Astros game by clicking here.
Monday, August 4, 2008
First, the NWS cancelled our Heat Advisory mid-afternoon today as heat indices weren't reaching the critical 105 degree level. The reason? Dewpoints. See my blog from July 11 on The Importance of Dewpoint. Even though the temperature climbed to near 100 today, the absolute amount of moisture in the air (dewpoint) fell this afternoon and heat indices didn't reach the necessary 105 degrees to constitute a heat advisory. This tells you just how difficult it can be to forecast something like the dewpoint. Yesterday, we had no trouble reaching 105-110 heat index as dewpoints stayed in the mid 70s. Today, they dropped into the 60s. The NWS does expect dewpoints to be back up tomorrow (as do I) so the Heat Advisory has been re-issued for tomorrow afternoon. We'll watch the dewpoints to see!
Also, Tropical Storm Edouard (or just Eddie) is churning in the northern Gulf just offshore Louisiana. Eddie's moving west towards the Houston/Galveston area with a projected landfall around Galveston Bay mid-morning Tuesday. Max wind, though just 45 mph now, are expected to increase steadily overnight, reaching just less than hurricane strength by landfall (65-70 mph). The inland track takes him into central TX with no impact to the Mid-South (unless it pulls a Dolly!). Fortunately he isn't near the storm Rita was a few years back when the entire city of Houston tried to evacuate - leaving motorists stranded on interstates for HOURS and HOURS as the storm side-swiped the city.
Finally, since it's my blog, I guess I can brag just a little... The MWN Forecast accuracy stats for July are in and my second period temperature forecasts averaged an error of just 0.85 degrees. That means of forecasts made for the second period (47 morning forecasts of that night's low and afternoon forecasts of the next day's high), I was off by less than a degree. For all MWN temperature forecasts made (235 total), my margin of error was 1.46 degrees - my best showing since July 2003. For more accuracy stats, visit the MWN Forecast Accuracy page.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
...HEAT ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT FROM 8 PM THIS EVENING TO 8 PM CDT SUNDAY...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MEMPHIS HAS ISSUED AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 PM CDT THIS EVENING. A HEAT ADVISORY IS ALSO IN EFFECT FROM 8 PM THIS EVENING TO 8 PM CDT SUNDAY. HOT TEMPERATURES COMBINED WITH A HUMID AIRMASS WILL PRODUCE HEAT INDEX READINGS OF 110 DEGREES OR GREATER THIS AFTERNOON.
AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING MEANS THAT A PROLONGED PERIOD OF DANGEROUSLY HOT TEMPERATURES WILL OCCUR. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE LIKELY. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS...STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM...STAY OUT OF THE SUN...AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS.
A HEAT ADVISORY MEANS THAT A PERIOD OF HOT TEMPERATURES IS EXPECTED. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE POSSIBLE. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS...STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM...STAY OUT OF THE SUN...AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS.
Check out the Red Cross website for more on dealing with excessive heat:
On an unrelated note, I watched the Brian Teigland Memorial service this morning on ABC-24/WPTY. Very well done and an exceptional tribute to Brian's life... The Memphis market will miss his personal touch to doing TV weather.