A very nice early July Sunday is in progress across Central Alabama. Things are returning to normal quickly in the temperature and moisture department across Alabama. Precipitable water values are getting back to 1.5 inches across the state, as evidenced in the lower left panel of the graphic. Temperatures are climbing through the middle 80s for the most part but were already near 90F at Tuscaloosa. You can see the nice field of cumulus clouds which are a byproduct of the increased moisture. A few showers were starting to show up over East Central and South Central Alabama, from Alex City to Montgomery to Greenville over to LaGrange, Georgia. The pulse thunderstorms are drifting aimlessly to the northwest for the most part.
MyWARN SEVERE WEATHER TODAY: Severe weather is likely today across parts of Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota, eastern Iowa, northeastern Iowa and northern Illinois. The culprit is a surface low that is moving from Minnesota to Wisconsin.
TROPICS: The post tropical low that was Arthur is skirting Newfoundland this morning. There is a trough of low pressure southeast of Georgia coast that is triggering widespread showers and storms. It is not recognized as a disturbance yet by the NHC and development is not expected. But it is another case of where we will probably see our tropical cyclones develop for the most part this year: close in to the U.S.
If you didn’t know better, you would think it was late September rather that the Fourth of July across Central Alabama.
First, everyone started off with some comfortable readings this morning. It was 61F at the Birmingham Airport, some ten degrees below the average low for the date of 71F.
Skies have been mostly sunny, with just a few high clouds and contrails across the middle of the state and over the Tennessee Valley, and a few puny puffy cumulus clouds over western sections.
The closest showers to Central Alabama were in the Louisiana coastal waters and over the Florida Peninsula, south of a frontal system that is lying over the northern Gulf of Mexico into southern Georgia.
It was 83F at 3 p.m. at the Birmingham Airport. It that ends up being the high for the day, it would make it the 10th coolest 4th of July on record in the Magic City. 84F would make it the 12th. The interesting thing about the top ten coolest Independence Days in Birmingham is that it rained on nine of them.
If you remember, last year was the 2nd coldest 4th of July in Birmingham history with a high of 77F. It had been cloudy and rainy all day with flash flood watches.
Usually at this time on the Fourth, we are fretting whether fireworks shows will go on. Not this year. The show will go on and be beautiful in all Alabama cities tonight.
CHECK ON ARTHUR
Arthur is racing off to the northrast this afternoon. It will brush by Cape Cod and Nantucket this evening with some tropical storm force winds. It will reach Nova Scotia tomorrow morning and Newfoundland Sunday. It will be tropical storm when that happens.
Damage in North Carolina is minimal, thankfully. Highway 12, the road over the Outer Banks was covered with sand, but it projected to reopen tomorrow.
Arthur will go in the books at the earliest hurricane in history to make landfall in North Carolina.
We have a technical landfall I believe on Cape Lookout southeast of Morehead City at 10:14 p.m. CDT tonight.
Now we will wait to see if the NHC agrees and gives the official word.
Arthur is the first landfalling category two or greater hurricane in the U.S. since Ike in 2008.
And it is official…
HURRICANE ARTHUR TROPICAL CYCLONE UPDATE
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL012014
1130 PM EDT THU JUL 03 2014
…CENTER OF ARTHUR MAKES LANDFALL…
THE CENTER OF ARTHUR MADE LANDFALL AT ABOUT 1115 PM EDT…0315
UTC…OVER THE SHACKLEFORD BANKS BETWEEN CAPE LOOKOUT AND BEAUFORT
NORTH CAROLINA. THE NOAA AUTOMATED STATION AT CAPE LOOKOUT RECENTLY
REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS OF 77 MPH…124 KM/H…AND A WIND GUST OF
101 MPH…163 KM/H.
SUMMARY OF 1130 PM EDT…0330 UTC…INFORMATION
ABOUT 5 MI…10 KM NW OF CAPE LOOKOUT NORTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 65 MI…105 KM WSW OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…100 MPH…155 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…NE OR 35 DEGREES AT 18 MPH…30 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…976 MB…28.82 INCHES
The eye of Hurricane Arthur is skirting the coast just south of Morehead City, NC tonight.
Here is the 9 p.m. advisory summary and forecast track:
The issue of whether the hurricane will actually make landfall is in play. It is an academic question, cause the worst of the impacts are in the eyewall. If the eye actually stays offshore, the impacts can be worse since locations along the coast stay in the worst weather without a break.
Here is the radar from Morehead City:
Landfall is defined as the point when the geometric center of the center crosses the coast. It will be a very close call to see if the geometric center intersects the coastline at Cape Lookout for a technical landfall.
The NW Wilmington reports that a weather station at Fort Macon east of Atlantic Beach has recorded an 87 mph wind gust. This is in the northern eyewall.
Hurricane Arthur has continued to slowly intensify this afternoon as it is over warm water and experiencing very light wind shear. Air Force reconnaissance found a central pressure of 977 mb at 1:41 p.m. The pressure has been steadily dropping for over 24 hours, despite dry air being entrained into the storm from the west. The eye has become clearly visible on this infrared satellite image loop.
On the inbound leg of that eye penetration, the SFMR instrument (playfully known as the Smurf) estimated the surface winds at 94 mph. So the NHC is holding the winds at 90 mph, still a category one hurricane. The Hurricane Hunters just completed another penetration of the eye and we are awaiting that vortex data report.
Arthur still has about 18 hours to strengthen and will likely become a category two hurricane.
ABOUT 35 MI…55 KM S OF CAPE FEAR NORTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 185 MI…300 KM SW OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…90 MPH…150 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…NNE OR 20 DEGREES AT 13 MPH…20 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…977 MB…28.85 INCHES
The center of the hurricane is approximately 35 miles south of Cape Fear, or 60 miles south of Wilmington. It is a little more than 100 miles SSW of Morehead City and 1180 miles southwest of Cape Hatteras, which both may experience the eye according to the recon plots. You can see those last four center fixes on this graphic.
Winds at Wrightsville Beach near Wilmington were just reported sustained at 35 mph. Here is a radar image from Wilmington:
You can see the reports of a tornado in Duplin County, NC, as well as a funnel cloud. You can also see where the weather is bad under the feeder bands.
Weather is Charleston is improving rapidly now as the storm is moving away from them.
LATE REPORT – NEW VORTEX DATA MESSAGE
…Shows pressure continues to drop. Now 980 mb.
…The SFRM instrument estimated 66 knots surface wind (77 mph).
…Max flight level wind 79 knots (92 mph).
URNT12 KNHC 031518
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL012014
B. 32 deg 25 min N
078 deg 39 min W
C. 700 mb 2906 m
D. 66 kt
E. 360 deg 0 nm
F. 297 deg 62 kt
G. 199 deg 18 nm
H. 980 mb
I. 13 C / 3046 m
J. 14 C / 3046 m
K. NA / NA
L. OPEN SW
N. 12345 / 07
O. 0.02 / 3 nm
P. AF301 1101A ARTHUR OB 04
MAX FL WIND 62 KT 199 / 18 NM 14:57:00Z
MAX OUTBOUND FL WIND 79 KT 048 / 23 NM 15:10:00Z
MAX FL TEMP 16 C 179 / 13 NM FROM FL CNTR
The new advisory is out on Arthur. It has intensified to 90 mph. This is nearly a category two hurricane (threshold is 96 mph).
FAST FACTS 10 AM CDT
ABOUT 260 MI…415 KM SW OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 110 MI…175 KM SSW OF CAPE FEAR NORTH CAROLINA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…90 MPH…150 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…NNE OR 15 DEGREES AT 14 MPH…22 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…981 MB…28.97 INCHES
…Radar motion over the past 90 minutes or so seems to have been directly north. This is troubling, since all of the forecasts are showing a northeasterly turn. That northeasterly turn was very apparent early this morning with the recon fixes showing it clearly. The official track is to the NNE. The forward speed has increased to 14 mph.
…The central pressure continued to drop all morning. The last report from the plane was 983 mb at 6:26 a.m. CDT. The Air Force Hurricane Hunter plane is penetrating the center now. The NOAA3 P-3 Orion “Kermit” returned to base in Tampa for fuel. Seeing Kermit and Miss Piggy in recon reports always makes me smile.
…The P3 did measure a 91 knot max flight level wind (105 mph) at 8,000 feet.
…From the NWS Charleston: Good morning! The eye of Arthur is looking much more impressive over the past few radar volume scans, with an intense band of convection developing just northwest of the center. Buoy 41004 has been gusting to 45 knots with seas of 14 ft! It should be noted with seas that high, the buoy is likely not sampling the winds all that well and sustained winds could actually be closer to what the buoy is reporting as gusts.
…High surf and dangerous rip currents along the coast. Isle of Palms near Charleston reporting breaking waves 5-6 feet.
…A few observations from South Carolina:
…North Myrtle Beach 75F/73F with light rain/fog, SE-8 29.95R
…Mount Pleasant 77F/73F with drizzle, N 10 G 21, 29.81F
…Charleston 80F/73F with cloudy skies, N 16 G 23, 29.84F
…Folly Beach N 24 G 29
…Buoy (41 miles SE of Charleston) gusts to 52 mph
…Frying Pan Shoals Buoy is not available
…Coastal reports from the NWS Wilmington
OTHER MARINE REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WILMINGTON NC
1107 AM EDT THU JUL 3 2014
…ALL SPEEDS IN KNOTS…
WIND AIR TEMP(F) WATER TEMP(F) STATION NAME
SSW 17 80 NA NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH
SE 11 72 82 WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH
ESE 5 74 M MASONBORO ISLAND
M M 74 85 WILMINGTON RIVERFRONT
CALM 0 74 NA WILMINGTON STATE PORT
NE 6 78 NA FORT FISHER
E 10 76 NA BALD HEAD ISLAND
ENE 8 75 NA SOUTHPORT
M M M NA OAK ISLAND
N 15 73 83 MYRTLE BEACH
N 8 73 84 GEORGETOWN
Arthur is on the precipice of being a hurricane and likely will become one early tomorrow.
The track has been shifted a little westward with some of the models carrying it over eastern North Carolina.
The pressure continues to fall and is down to 988 mb.
As expected, Arthur is strengthening and is very close to being a hurricane. The pressure reported by Air Force Recon is 992 millibars, down from 995mb 2 hours ago. It will likely become a hurricane tonight.
A hurricane warning has been issued for the North Carolina coast from Surf City to Duck, including the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.
Forecast track shifted just a little west. The intensity forecast is not really changed. But the global models think that the storm will increase in intensity significantly and in size of wind field. The westward shift and the increase in the wind field prompted the upgrade to hurricane warnings.
The storm continues to try to become more organized. You can see new thunderstorms building on the east side of the storm.
There are three reconnaissance planes in the storm right now sending back information on Arthur.