All kinds of things going on in the tropics this week – just no hurricanes

Wide satellite shot showing all of the areas of interest in the Atlantic Basin this morning

Wide satellite shot showing all of the areas of interest in the Atlantic Basin this morning

Here we are at the end of September and not one hurricane has formed in the Atlantic – not this month anyway. The only two hurricanes were Danny and Fred and those were in late August. I do not see much potential for hurricane formation over the coming days but there is plenty to talk about in terms of other action in the tropics.

First up, we have invest area 99L in the Gulf of Mexico. The latest info from the NHC suggests that it won’t develop in to a tropical storm before reaching the coast tomorrow or Wednesday. Upper level winds are just too strong and continue to blow across the top of the system, not allowing deep convection to develop. However, there is ample tropical moisture associated with this system and very heavy rain is possible for a large swath of the eastern Gulf Coast states and areas inland from there.

The coasts of Mississippi and Alabama received excessive rain over the weekend with flooding issues becoming a big problem in some locations. More rain is on the way but it looks like the heaviest totals will be shifting further to the east towards Florida as the moisture plume moves northward out of the Gulf.

Meanwhile, we now have TD #11 which formed yesterday over the warm waters of the southwest Atlantic. The official forecast calls for no significant additional strengthening but it would not take much for this system to become a tropical storm. It should not impact land directly but the track is aimed towards the East Coast of the U.S. and this could have an influence on the weather this weekend. More on that in a moment.

Next there is the ghost of Ida. Although no mention was made on the NHC’s latest outlook, I think there is a fair chance that Ida makes a comeback as it continues to move off to the west with time. Again, water temps are plenty warm and the MJO (favorable upward motion) is turning more positive for development for the Atlantic Basin. This should allow Ida to grow and possibly become a tropical storm again later this week. It won’t affect land, not yet anyway but needs to be watched since the pattern is such that a lot of energy from the tropics is being aimed at the East Coast of the U.S. This brings me to the weekend….

Some of the model guidance is suggesting that a combination of energy coming in from the Gulf, meeting up with energy from TD11 could produce a coastal storm that would affect areas from the North Carolina Outer Banks to points north towards Cape Cod. It has been interesting to watch each run of the various models over past few days as some will show quite a bit of wind and rain while others do not or are not as pronounced with the effects. What does look like a certainty is that a lot of rain is headed for areas of the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and eventually parts of New England as the week wears on. How strong any one system is remains to be seen. Will we have a singular intense coastal storm or a large, spread out mess? It’s tough to call right now but there is an awful lot of heat energy available from the tropics right now during a time of year when the atmosphere is changing from summer to fall. Stay tuned, looks like a wild week ahead!

In the Pacific, tropical storm Marty is lurking off the coast of Mexico with 70 mph winds. The forecast track bends Marty sharply west before reaching land but as always, heavy rain is a possibility as outer bands from the storm circulate inland over the next couple of days.

I will have a full video discussion posted later this afternoon covering all of the goings on in the tropics.

M. Sudduth 9:20 AM ET Sept 28

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Tropics to remain busy as we enter climatological peak month of September

A Very Busy Atlantic Basin

A Very Busy Atlantic Basin

Isaac is now well inland over Louisiana but it is still causing significant problems for the areas that have dealt with its rain, wind and storm surge over the last few days. There have also been tornadic storms accompanying some of the rain bands as well. It will take a few more days for the remnants of Isaac to finally clear the pattern and it will likely do so by dumping a lot more rain over a wide swath of the eastern U.S. In fact, interests along the entire cone of Isaac’s forecast track need to be on alert for rapidly changing weather conditions over the coming holiday weekend. This is especially true in the mountainous areas that Isaac’s moisture will pass over as it heads east and even south of east.

Elsewhere we have hurricane Kirk and TS Leslie to keep us busy over the coming days. Kirk is of no threat to land areas right now and Leslie will probably turn north within 10 degrees of 60 W longitude, but you never know this time of year.

The next 30 days are the most active of the hurricane season climatologically speaking. This season has proven to be quite a bit more active than earlier thought by forecasters and I think the increase that NOAA indicated in their August update is coming to fruition. Isaac proved once again that much needs to be done to help the general public realize that hurricanes are not points on a map nor do they follow some set of rules laid out by man. Their effects can be far-reaching and extend well beyond the wind seed or category assigned to them. As September arrives, keep preparedness and education on your mind – you never know when that can pay off in helping you to deal with the likes of Isaac.

I am on the road heading back home from the MS Gulf Coast after a very successful field mission with Mike Watkins and Kerry Mallory. Once again, we met a great group of very kind and helpful people, some even in the middle of the wind and rain who just wanted to help us with directions. It is amazing how the Internet connects us now, no doubt about that.

I’ll have regular blog posts again, perhaps many per day. That being said, I plan to write one addressing our iPhone app and what went right, what went wrong and how we plan to make it the success that I know it will be.

I’ll post more here tomorrow.

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Isaac not done, not by a long shot

5 Day Rainfall Forecast from HPC

5 Day Rainfall Forecast from HPC

The field mission to cover Ike along the Gulf Coast is nearing its end. I will write up a more thorough look back at what all we accomplished, and what still needs to be done, in a later post.

Right now, Isaac continues to dump heavy rain on portions of the lower Mississippi Valley. This huge envelope of tropical moisture will spread northward and eventually turn northeast, bringing heavy rain to a large chuck of the eastern United States. Just look at the HPC rainfall forecast and you’ll see what could be coming over the next five days as Isaac leaves the coast and finally moves inland.

For areas that have not seen heavy rain in quite some time, keep in mind the risk of flooding and take the necessary precautions. It mostly has to do with common sense. Follow that, and you will be safe.

As for Mississippi and Louisiana, Isaac will live on long after it moves away from the region. The clean up and recovery phase, something all too familiar in this area of the country, will commence. Some locations were hit harder than others. News reports are full of more sad stories of flooding and loss but the effects, as we well know, could have been far worse. They were far worse exactly seven years ago today.

The rest of the tropics remain busy as we round out August. Kirk is no threat to land and 98L will almost certainly be a depression tomorrow. We’ll watch it and see what its future holds. At least the coming weekend will be nice for coastal areas with no threats from the tropics to worry about.

We had a very successful field mission and I look forward to sharing much of what we learned, the data we captured and some incredible video with you over the coming days. Mike, Kerry and I would like to thank all of the people who watched our live streams and for the support that we received from the great people of Mississippi once again. While it’s tough to see you all have to deal with this on a regular basis, we appreciate you extending a helping hand to us as we do our work to better understand and report about these incredible weather events. I’ll have regular blog posts again beginning tomorrow afternoon.

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