Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurricane (or soon to be) Katia

Sometime this afternoon, after further aircraft reconnaissance missions through the circulation of Katia, it will likely be determined that hurricane force winds have been established.  This will make for the 2nd hurricane of the season.

Katia will likely intensify into a major Category 3 hurricane by this weekend, but is expected to remain mainly over water with very minimal impacts through the weekend.  Atmospheric steering currents will likely bear a re-curving effect on this storm directing it northward into the Atlantic.  (*Note this steering current is often due to a Atlantic Subtropical high pressure system, or a Bermuda high)  At this point concern for a landfall on the US coastline appears to be low. 

On the other hand, computer models indicate tropical wave over the Gulf of Mexico may have a more immediate effect on the United States.  Pictured below is the GFS forecast model valid Sunday afternoon.  Notice the tropical development in the Gulf of Mexico.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Irene gone, Hello Katia?

[caption id="attachment_2202" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Then Tropical Storm Irene as the eye passes over New York City"][/caption]

As of 11am Monday morning, Irene is no longer considered a tropical system. Although the storm produced maximum wind gusts to 115mph in parts of North Carolinas shore, the system will long be remembered for the historic flooding.

North Carolina Wind Gusts

Pennsylvania Wind Gusts

New York Wind Gusts

New England Wind Gusts

An example of the extreme flooding occuring in New England, in particular Vermont, as a result of heavy rains from Irene.

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All is quiet now over the Atlantic, right? Not even close.
While parts of New England was being flooded and battered by Irene, Tropical Storm Jose formed. You might have asked, 'why haven't I heard about Jose?'.  The answer is simple. It was a short lived storm which developed and quickly died out in a matter of 2 days.

[caption id="attachment_2199" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Monday morning satellite picture. I = Irene, J = Jose. Both are no longer tropical systems. "][/caption]

As if that wasn't enough, another tropical system is on the verge of being named. As it stands right now Tropical Depression 12 only bosts winds of 35 mph but is expected to strengthen to Hurricane status by weeks end.  It would earn the name Katia, replacing Katrina in the hurricane name rotation (Katrina was retired after 2005). As you can see from the map below, this storm has over 2 weeks before it would even be within range of striking the US.

[caption id="attachment_2200" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Soon to be Katia's projected path, per the NHC. "][/caption]

 You get the scope of how far away Tropical Depression 12 is from the United States when you look at the satellite view. Only a stones throw from Africa.

Predictions before the hurricane season said this would be an active far that has been the case.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

“The category of the storm does not tell the whole story.”

“The category of the storm does not tell the whole story,” FEMA Director, Craig Fugate, reminds folks. Major concerns surrounding Irene are not in intensity nor organization -- they are flooding, storm surges, and heavy downpours.

As Irene heads right for NYC, street level waters rise, and areas of the heavily populated city become unrecognizable under a sea of flood water. Still categorized as a Category 1 Hurricane, Irene is carving a path of destruction up the coast, and authorities are having some of their worst fears confirmed.

The storm's landfall is expected midday in NYC Sunday. Reports from yesterday recorded anywhere from 12-24'' of rain in areas of North Carolina, and an estimated 10'' in Delaware. Irene is still pulling significant moisture from the ocean, so similar rain levels can be expected in the New Englad states for the second half of the weekend.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene: Update Saturday -- 5AM

It has been 1077 days since a hurricane has made landfall in the United States. The last cyclone to hit the U.S. was hurricane Ike on September 13, 2008. After nearly three years, we'll reset that number back to zero today.

As of 5am Saturday, Irene is directly over the Outer Banks and NC coast with 90 mph sustained winds and gusts of nearly 110 mph. The storm has been downgraded to a Category 1 due to a slight decrease in intensity, but that's not to say the threat of severe weather (and consequences) has diminished.

Airports are shutting down, areas of NYC are being mandatorily evacuated, public transporttaion is coming to a hault, professional sporting events are being rescheduled,  and the entire East Coast is preparing for one of the largest impacts from a hurricane in decades.

President Barak Obama has called Irene "extremely dangerous and costly" storm.

Hurricane Irene Update -- 1 PM Friday

Within the next 24 hours Irene's extreme impact will be felt across North Carolina.  She is now expected to make landfall as a strong category 2 hurricane.  A slight decrease in the intensity is due to upper level shear it is battling just off the eastern seaboard.  This shear and the slightly weaker projection is a sliver of good news in an otherwise dire situation that still exists.  Severe coastal flooding and erosion, inland flooding and damaging winds are still all major hazards through the weekend all along the east coast.

The second landfall is still expected through the day Sunday on the Island of Long Island.  This could be the strongest hurricane to hit Long Island since Hurricane Gloria in 1985. 

Updated Hurricane Track:


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hurricane Irene Update-9 AM Thursday

The latest analysis indicates Hurricane Irene could have devastating impacts from the Carolina's through New England this weekend.  Model consensus show initial landfall around the Outer Banks (pictured below) late Saturday evening.

[caption id="attachment_2172" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="GFDL-Landfall of Irene Sat. PM (North Carolina)"][/caption]

The GFDL model depicted above actually is showing the landfall point west of other model consensus.  I expect, and agree with the NHC forecast path which is expected to be west of this point over the eastern tip of the Outer Banks. 

Irene then is expected to emerge into the Chesapeake Bay area and head northward with a second landfall possible over Long Island, New York.


[caption id="attachment_2170" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="NAM Sea Level Pressure and Precipitation forecast for Sunday morning 8 AM"][/caption]

This could be one of the most powerful hurricanes in decades to impact Long Island, New York City and New England and could have devastating and deadly consequences brought on by coastal flooding, inland flooding, and intense winds.  Stay tuned for updates!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hurricane Irene: Cat. 3, Major Hurricane

A status change for Irene makes her a major player in this week's weather for a large portion of the United States.

Hurricane Irene has strengthened to a major Category 3 storm as it heads toward the East Coast.

Hurricane Irene is gaining strength on a course that may take it near North Carolina this weekend and into southern New England early next week. Not only that, but with a max sustained wind of 120 mph and 150 mph gusts, Irene packs a big punch, and areas under the gun next week include Washington DC, New York City, and Boston.

Evacuations have begun on a tiny barrier island off North Carolina early Wednesday in a test of whether people in the
crosshairs of the first serious hurricane along the East Coast in years will heed orders to get out of the way.

Irene is centered over the Bahamas Wednesday and is moving west-northwest near 12 mph.
Not convinced? Look at this:
“Irene is an extremely dangerous storm,” says Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground Inc. in Ann Arbor. “It has the highest potential of any storm in the last 50 years to make it all the way to New England as a Category 3.”

We'll continue to track Irene and keep you posted.

Severe Threat Today

Favorable atmospheric dynamics are lining up for strong and severe thunderstorms toward the evening hours tonight.  Our entire area is under a slight risk for severe weather which would include large hail, damaging winds and possibly isolated tornadoes. 

Forecast Discussion: (Because you asked...)

Potent upper level shortwave and eventual closed low will work into the Great Lakes region sweeping a cold front across the area late tonight.  An increase in the 500 mb winds (~50kts) will provide ample shear for severe thunderstorms and isolated supercell storms.  Convection will be aided by moist and unstable atmosphere that will provide CAPE values (a common measure of instability) in excess of 4,000 j/kg.  This highly unstable atmosphere set off by an advancing cold front and moderate shear will likely allow for the formation of an MCS (Mesoscale Convective System) possibly in the form of discrete supercells initially followed by a squall line across most, if not all of our area.   

The timing on the storm will be after 5 PM, as a cap in the atmosphere is expected to hold until then.  Initial supercell thunderstorms would be the most likely culprit of an isolated tornado with the evolution of this event focusing more on damaging winds and large hail as the evening progresses.   Stay tuned for details!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Irene Update -- 1PM Tuesday

Hurricane Irene is expected to become a major category 3 hurricane by this evening as it roars toward the Bahamas.  The eastward shift in the hurricane path and computer models continue to be a trend and it is something I'll continue to monitor this week. 

(Enhanced IR Satellite with forecast path and various model projections)

All major cities on the East Coast are on high alert for impacts from this hurricane which include high surf, heavy rains, storm surge with inland flooding and strong winds.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

First Atlantic Hurricane

Hello Irene!  The first hurricane of the Atlantic Basin has arrived.  With winds now at 75 mph it is expected to graze the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before driving into the Bahamas en route to the Atlantic coast of Florida.  At this point there is a HIGH probability of a landfall at hurricane strength on the US mainland.  Here is the most recent satellite imagery:

Here is the latest hurricane track and position of Irene by 5 PM on Friday as a category 2 hurricane:

Me, Myself, and Irene

As of 1pm Sunday, Tropical Storm Irene is dumping heavy rain on the northern Leeward Islands and the system is expected to strengthen as it heads toward Puerto Rico. The National Hurricane Center says Irene could become a hurricane Monday, especially if its track takes it primarily over the water, where it is more likely to gain speed and energy. So far, the 9th named storm of the 2011 hurricane season has maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.  Sustained winds must reach 74 mph for the storm to become a hurricane.

 A projection of Irene's track have it moving directly through Puerto Rico Sunday, into Cuba Wenesday, and into the southern coast of Florida by Friday.

Sunday's Forecast

Some interesting temperature patterns lately are emerging as synoptic weather anomolies exchange control of our forecast. Going from High pressure to low, and tracking the movement of warm and cold fronts is typical, but temperatures jumping from upper 90s all month in July to near average almost everyday so far in August is definitely noteworthy.

After a large high pressure system released its grip on our region in the beginning of August (it's still got a firm hold on areas of Oklahoma and Texas) our temperatures returned to normal like clockwork. Aside from some showers and thunderstorms here and there, i think i can speak for almost everyone when i say this change has provided some much needed relief.

For the rest of this weekend and into the work week, we can expect temperatures below average. At this time of year, our region should be seeing temperatures in the low 80s. For today the forecast has us at 80 degrees exactly and into the day tomorrow, we're only looking at a high of 78. Overnight tonight will be very cool, especially for areas of Fremont and south of there, with a low in the low to mid 50s! Aside from a little added humidty today, conditions should stay dry. A spare shower or two doesn't pose much of a threat to our Sunday, and into the work week, things look very pleasant.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Heavy Rain & Flooding

An isolated, slow moving thunderstorm sent a torrent of rain down across eastern Lucas county late Thursday evening.  Those that found themselves in the midst of what seemed like a monsoonal downpour received anywhere from 2" to 4"+ of rain.  This caused significant flooding on roadways and in some basements in west Toledo, north Toledo and Oregon.  Take a look at rainfall estimates from Doppler Radar:

A flash flood warning was in effect for the majority of the evening as roads, cars and basements were overwhelmed with the standing water. 

Outside of this intense, compact area of rain, most areas barely saw a drop of rain.  In fact, official records at Toledo Express airport will only show 0.01" of rain for the day!

In addition to the heavy rain, large hail was reported in downtown Toledo east into Oregon.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Flood in Port Clinton

Heavy rains drenched Port Clinton this past weekend with as much as 6 to 7 inches of rain on Sunday.  Hydrologist are calling this a one in 500 year rain and flood event. 

Click on the radar animation below to see from the early afternoon hours capturing the moist onshore flow around a closed upper level low that moved over north central Ohio Sunday causing the repeated heavy rains:

(Notice the cyclonic or counter clockwise circulation around the upper level low)

More information on the floods and the perspective from the residents of Port Clinton can be found Here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Waterspout Spottings

Ottawa County dealt with some excitement this morning after a series of waterspouts were spotted on the water near Catawba Island between 9:30 and 10:30AM.

For most people, the question was -- What is a waterspout?

Waterspouts are similar to tornadoes in their funnel shape and general behavior, but they may not be what they seem. 

First, water is not being pulled up from the surface of the lake. The funnel you see is a visible weak rotating column of air surrounded by condensation being created by an influx of warm air.

Second, they typically form overwater, beneath a cumulus cloud, but the circumstances for development can vary in each sittuation.

Third, the intensity and potential danger of each waterspout is different. In today's case, waterspouts were a big concern to boaters and marine life, but once these particular storms hit land, they fell apart. It takes a pretty strong storm and lots of warm air to support a waterspout onland for very long.

All in all, it's just a really amazing weather feature to admire -- just don't get too close! :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Streak of Record Heat Broken

After 40 consecutive 100 degree days in Dallas, Texas the temperature yesterday fell short of the mark topping the thermometer at 97 degrees.  This record breaking heat wave was only eclipsed by the summer of 1980 when 42 consecutive days of 100 degree heat were observed at Dallas.  We did feel some of this heat earlier this summer, but the good news for us now, no heat like this in the near future.  Temperatures over the next week will be near normal with highs generally in the lower 80s. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Who's Got a Case of the Sniffles?

It seems like everyone was suffering from some sort of sneezing, coughing, or runny nose spell at this morning's meeting here at WTOL. I did my best to keep my distance, until everyone found that they had something in common... Allergies. Immediately, several curious sets of eyes turned to me for answers. Well folks, here ya go.

While pollen levels are not at their peak, several factors are going into the role allergens are playing this summer. An allergy forecast discussion on says:
"The pollen levels for Thursday will remain relatively stable in the high range. The pollen producing plants are delivering a fairly constant level of pollen into the air."

During my time spent in Georgia, i was able to learn a lot about pollen and the havoc it wreaks on the entire southern region.

Yikes. Check out that haze.

While working in Macon, i spoke with an allergist (for stories and my own personal well being!) and his little nugget of information that i always refer back to is that rain is the enemy for pollen and allergens. The more it rains, the clearer our air is because showers knock allergens out of trees and 'wash-out' our atmosphere, so to speak. So the day after a good rain shower is always a good day for allergy sufferers. Two to three days later, the allergens return, and we're left with a haze of green and an increased concentration of allergens. You can see the evidence of that indicated on our pollen chart. Up until Saturday, we're experiencing high levels of pollen. Saturday brings us the next chance of rain, so we're looking at a more moderate concentration.

Also, allergen types can affect different people in different ways. Grass is a number one allergen and it's present all summer long. other types, such as Chenopods and Nettle (which are currently high in concentration) can only appear at certain times of the year, giving some folks a real problem only for a few weeks at a time.

Taking a larger view, across the US, you can see how clearly our region sits right in the thick of it.

So for now, grab an extra handful of tissues and prepare for some allergen infused weather.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Weekend Forecast Discussion

Maybe the weather is reacting to the recent stock market changes? Either way, we're in store for some significant changes around the region.

Since the beginning of August, temperatures have already varied drastically from July's. A high of only 82 degrees Thursday felt seasonable, but cool in comparison to recent highs in the 90s (the last time we saw a temperature of 82 degress was July 13th!).

Even my apartment pool looked deserted because people didn't want to swim in 80 degree weather! C'est La Vie, I say! More room for me :)

Now as we move into this weekend, temperatures rise back into the upper 80s, and that warm weather is accompanied by a chance of some thunderstorms. For Saturday, showers are likely throughout the afternoon and early evening hours. Then, Sunday, the exact timing is still unknown, there is definitely a chance of showers, with a risk of some severe weather in the form of gusty winds and hail at times as well.

Beyond that, we're looking at temperatures in the LOW 80s! ::Gasp:: and less humidity. Hmm. I think it's about time we get back to normal around here. Don't you?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tropical Storm Emily

Tropical Storm Emily has entered into the Caribbean and is expected to bring topical storm force winds and very heavy rains to Haiti and the Dominican Republic tonight and into tomorrow morning.  Currently winds are at 50 mph.

Here is the projected path of Emily:

There still is uncertainty on the strength and track of Emily.  Model consensus keeps her at tropical storm strength with a path just off the coast of Florida.   A modest amount of shear around 15 kts continues to hamper a more rapid intensification of Emily.  This tropical system will gradually turn more northwesterly under the influence of a subtropical ridge.  For the complete details check out the official National Hurricane Center discussion here.  Check out the forecast track eight computer models commonly used in forecasting hurricanes.  Notice the "uncertainty" and the path of greatest "agreement" between the model runs.

Monday, August 1, 2011

July's Record Heat Wave

Record high temperatures on several occasions along with persistent heat brought the 2nd warmest July on record!  Now that the month has come to a close, the average monthly temperature was 78.8°.  This mark is +5.8° above normal and is only eclipsed by July of 1921 where the average monthly temperature was 79.0°.


The warmest day was 102° on July 21st.  Now imagine this...Dallas Texas is currently on a streak of 30 consecutive days of temperatures ABOVE 100° for a total of 37 days of triple digit heat this year.  I expect some of the warmest weather of the season remains over the central and southern plains through the first week of August continuing the schortching hot weather.