Archive for June 20th, 2012
We have been monitoring a trough of low pressure over the western Caribbean extending northeastward across Cuba into the Bahamas.
This trough is moving northwestward slowly and will be over the Gulf of Mexico. The GFS has been hinting for several days that we could see some type of tropical development over the southwestern or southern Gulf by the weekend.
It is much more bullish on that idea this morning with the 12z run. Here is its forecast for 132 hours out, which is Monday night, showing the storm approaching the West Coast of Florida north of Tampa, likely as a tropical storm.
The European model is in fair agreement with that idea. Here is its depiction of the storm approaching the same area early Wednesday, perhaps as a strong tropical storm or weak hurricane.
But not so fast my friend. Steering currents will be weak over the Gulf, and here comes the Canadian with the idea of a definite westerly track, counting on the ridge to the northeast of the storm being stronger. This would be a category one or two hurricane approaching Lake Charles/Houston early on Monday morning.
So, it will be model madness over the next several days as we try to pin this system down. Will it develop? Will it move west or east? How much will it intensify? For now, we don’t think it will impact Alabama’s weather or weather along the Gulf Coast, but stay tuned!
June 27th is the 55th anniversary of Hurricane Audrey, which rapidly strengthened in the hours before landfall on the Southwest Louisiana coast, going from category two to category four in a short period. The storm surprised many who thought they could evacuate the following morning, but rapidly rising tides during the night cut off their escape routes. 390 died. 190 were never found.
There will be no video this morning due to connectivity issues at my current location on Mt. Cheaha.
Central Alabama appears likely to be pinched between systems with dry and warm weather winning out in spite of the fact that we could really use some rain. So for the moment, the forecast remains essentially dry and warm as we watch the future motion of a couple of systems.
The major element in our pattern right now is the combination of surface high pressure centered over the East Coast of the US together with the upper ridge which has built much stronger across the eastern half of the country. A strong trough moving across Canada is still forecast to dampen the ridge into the Friday/Saturday time frame which could bring a weak front into the Ohio River Valley. Moisture remains sparse, however, for much of the Southeast, so even with a front at least nearby, there appears to be little reason to forecast more than isolated showers in the heat of the afternoon for Friday and Saturday.
To our south, moisture over the Florida Straits will drift northwestward. But it seems unlikely at this time that this moisture would get to us. After Saturday the upper ridge builds strong again just to our west, so that area of disturbed weather is not likely to reach us as long as the GFS is correct. The GFS is also potentially showing the development of what could be the fourth named tropical system off the East Coast of Florida around Sunday or Monday. While the ECMWF does not develop the system in the vicinity of Florida quite as aggressively as the GFS, the two models are in substantial agreement on keeping us warm and dry through the next seven days.
With the ridge very strong over the Central Plains, we stay dry but not terribly hot with a northwesterly flow pattern as the strong ridge stays just to our west with the Central Plains getting pretty hot.
In the tropics, Chris has formed in the North Atlantic but was moving well away from land. Over the Caribbean, an area of disturbed weather was expected to drift northwestward over the Florida Straits, Cuba, and extreme South Florida producing rain but conditions currently remain unfavorable for storm formation.
Severe weather potential across the country remains confined to the northern tier of the country along and ahead of the trough moving through southern Canada.
Voodoo country shows a substantial trough over the eastern US around July 2nd that could bring a front into the area with the ridge centered over eastern New Mexico. Fronts don’t usually make an appearance in July but it can happen and I hope so since it would bring good chances for rain. But the GFS suggests the summer ridge comes back around July 5th.
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I hope to resolve the connection issues, but at least I plan to post an updated discussion on Thursday morning. Godspeed.