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WeatherBrains 554: Bracing For Impact

| August 30, 2016 @ 5:01 am

WeatherBrains Episode 554 is now online (August 29, 2016). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

This episode of WeatherBrains takes a look back on the 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

John Zarrella is this week’s guest WeatherBrain; he worked for CNN from 1981–2013. In addition to covering numerous hurricanes and tropical storms, he was the principal correspondent for CNN’s coverage of the U.S. space program, covering such events such as John Glenn’s 1998 return to space, the Mars Pathfinder mission and numerous space shuttle launches.

JohnZarrella

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 113 at Death Valley, CA, and 34 at Lake Yellowstone, WY, Truckee, CA, & West Yellowstone, MT
  • Heading into meteorological Fall but still hot
  • Tropical Atlantic has sprung into action
  • Astronomy Outlook with Tony Rice
  • and more!

Our email bag officer is continuing to handle the incoming messages from our listeners.

From The Weather Center:

WeatherBrains 101:

Listener SurveyListener Surveys: Okay, we continue to drive this topic into the ground, but we really do like to hear from you. Many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to fill out the Listener Survey. The survey takes just a minute or two to complete and provides us with an opportunity to learn where you are and hear your thoughts and comments on the show. Click here to take the survey.

Web Sites from Episode 554:

NCDC report on Hurricane Katrina

To subscribe to the brand new SkyWritings, an email newsletter from the WeatherBrains gang, click HERE.

Picks of the Week:

Nate Johnson – The Watch & Warning Rainbow

Bill Murray – National Weather Association WeatherReady Fest 2016

Kevin Selle – Drone data used to upgrade storm

Rick Smith – News organizations embarrassed with rotten weather reporting

James Spann – 30-minute tornado warnings?

Aubrey Urbanowicz – NOAA Hazard and Data Viewer

The WeatherBrains crew includes your host, James Spann, plus other notable geeks like Nate Johnson, Bill Murray, Aubrey Urbanowicz, Rick Smith, Kevin Selle, and Brian Peters. They bring together a wealth of weather knowledge and experience for another fascinating netcast about weather.

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Dry Pattern For Alabama; TD 9 Stays East

| August 29, 2016 @ 2:49 pm

RADAR CHECK: You can pretty much count the number of showers on radar this afternoon on one hand. They are small, short lived, and moving to the west…

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Away from the showers, the sky is partly to mostly sunny with temperatures in the 91-95 degree range.

The weather won’t change much tomorrow and Wednesday; lots of sun both days with only isolated afternoon showers or thunderstorms, along with highs in the low to mid 90s.

THURSDAY/FRIDAY: The ridge breaks down, and we should see a shot of drier, continental air by Thursday night and Friday. A few widely scattered showers or storms is possible Thursday afternoon and evening, but Friday looks rain-free as the dry air takes over. The humidity will be lower Friday, and conditions will be much more comfortable for high school football games Friday night. Not really cooler, but at least the humidity will be down.

LABOR DAY WEEKEND: For Alabama we project mostly sunny days and fair nights Saturday through Monday. Highs 88-91, lows in the 60s. Some of the cooler spots across North Alabama could reach the upper 50s early Saturday morning.

And, the dry pattern looks to hold into the middle part of next week. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: First off, Friday night looks fantastic for high school football across Alabama with a clear sky and temperatures falling through the 70s. Humidity levels won’t be as bad as the first two weeks.

Auburn hosts Clemson Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium (8:00p CT kickoff)… the sky will be clear. Kickoff temperature near 78 degrees, falling into the low 70s by the final whistle.

Alabama will take on Southern Cal Saturday night at Arlington, Texas (8:00p CT kickoff)… a clear sky with temperatures falling from near 82 at kickoff, into the mid 70s by the end of the game.

TROPICS: Hurricane Gaston remains well organized in the Atlantic east of Bermuda, but it is moving eastward away from the U.S.

We note a well organized tropical wave is about to emerge off the coast of Africa; this has a good chance of developing over the Atlantic as it moves westward late this week and over the weekend. WAY too early to know if this recurves over the open water, or tries to make a run at the Greater Antilles or the U.S. Just something to watch.

Tropical Depression Eight remains very disorganized, but still some chance it becomes a minimal tropical storm in coming days. It will recurve just off the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and head back out to sea. The main impact will be rough surf, but this will be long gone by the Labor Day weekend.

Tropical Depression Nine in the Southeast Gulf of Mexico is also very disorganized. Still a chance it becomes a tropical storm over the next 48 hours…. it will turn eastward, with the broad center moving into North Florida Thursday. Then, it continues moving moving out over the open Atlantic, and it will be long gone by the Labor Day weekend as well (at least as far as the Southeast U.S. is concerned).

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*TD 9 will have no direct impact on Alabama, although it will help to pull down drier air late this week.

*The main issue with the system is rain for the Florida Peninsula (not the panhandle), and dangerous surf/rip tides. Most of the rain over the Florida Peninsula will fall today through Thursday. The rain won’t be continuous, however, and the sun will be out at times.

*TD 9 will be well off in the Atlantic by the Labor Day weekend; nothing but the routine risk of “widely scattered thunderstorms” for Florida with a good supply of sunshine by then. Even for places like Orlando, Tampa, and Daytona Beach.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Generally speaking, the weather looks fine on the Central Gulf Coast (Gulf Shores east to Panama City Beach) this weekend, and over the holiday weekend with 7 to 9 hours of sunshine daily and only widely scattered showers. The exception will be at Panama City Beach Thursday as TD 9 passes just to the south… periods of rain are likely on that one day. And, also keep in mind there will be potential for rip tides along the coast this week, especially tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday. But, the surf will settle down for the weekend. Highs on the immediate coast will be in the upper 80s, with low 90s inland. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40. We will produce this week’s show tonight at 8:30 CT… you can watch it live here.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow…

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Midday Nowcast: Hot & Humid, and Still No Sign of Hermine or Ian

| August 29, 2016 @ 12:44 pm

simuawips

Hot and humid conditions out there at this hour for Central Alabama, with partly to mostly clear skies and no rain on the radar at this moment. Of course the eyes are on Tropical Depression Nine to see if it is going to develop into a storm, and where exactly it is going to go.

TEMPERATURES AT THIS HOUR: Here is a list of temperature observations from across the area at this hour:

Birmingham 91
Tuscaloosa 91
Gadsden 90
Anniston 93
Cullman 87
Jasper 93
Alexander City 90
Selma 91
Montgomery 91

CODE YELLOW AIR QUALITY: The Air Quality Index for the Birmingham Metropolitan Area is in the “Code Yellow” for ozone and particulate matter 2.5. Unusually sensitive people should consider limiting prolonged outdoor exertion.

TODAY’S CLIMATOLOGY FOR BIRMINGHAM: The normal high for August 29th is 89, while the normal low is 68. The record high for today was set back in 1990 at 101. The record low was set back in 1952 at 56.

REMAINDER OF TODAY: Much of the same news as our weather will continue under the influence of the upper ridge across the Southeast. It will be hot and humid, with partly to mostly clear skies, and with a very slight chance of widely scattered afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Afternoon highs will mostly be in the low to mid 90s. The odds of any one spot getting rain is about one in eight.

TUESDAY’S WEATHER: Same forecast on a different day… hot and humid, with partly to mostly clear skies, and with a very slight chance of widely scattered afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Afternoon highs will mostly be in the low to mid 90s. The odds of any one spot getting rain is about one in eight.

HEADED TO THE BEACH: Generally speaking, the weather looks fine on the Central Gulf Coast (Gulf Shores east to Panama City Beach) this weekend, and over the holiday weekend with 7 to 9 hours of sunshine daily and only widely scattered showers. The exception will be at Panama City Beach Thursday as TD 9 passes just to the south… periods of rain are likely on that one day. And, also keep in mind there will be potential for rip tides along the coast this week, especially tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday. But, the surf will settle down for the weekend. Highs on the immediate coast will be in the upper 80s, with low 90s inland. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

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TROPICAL DEPRESSION NINE: Aircraft investigated the cyclone this morning and could not find any winds of tropical storm force, so it is still a depression. Another flight through the cyclone is scheduled this afternoon which would give a better estimate of the strength of the system. The NHC track has the center turning northeast over the Gulf of Mexico, cutting across North Florida Thursday. Not too important to focus on the center since this will, most likely, still be pretty disorganized. It will have no direct impact on Alabama, although it will help to pull down drier air late this week. The main issue with the system is rain for the Florida Peninsula (not the panhandle), and dangerous surf/rip tides. Most of the rain over the Florida Peninsula will fall today through Thursday. The rain won’t be continuous, however, and the sun will be out at times.

REST OF THE TROPICS: There are two other systems on the board; Hurricane Gaston is in the Central Atlantic, and is recurving well east of Bermuda, and is no threat to land. Tropical Depression Eight is struggling this morning with hardly any convection; it has potential to become a weak tropical storm, and should recurve into the Atlantic just off the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

ON THIS DAY IN 2005: Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Plaquemines Parish in southeastern Louisiana early on the day with maximum sustained winds near 125 mph, a strong category-three, and the third most-intense landfalling hurricane in U.S. history. The center of the hurricane passed just east of New Orleans, where winds gusted over 100 mph. Widespread devastation and unprecedented flooding occurred, submerging at least 80 percent of the city as levees failed. Farther east, powerful winds and a devastating storm surge of 20-30 feet raked the Mississippi coastline, including Gulfport and Biloxi, where Gulf of Mexico floodwaters spread several miles inland. Rainfall amounts of 8-10 inches were common along and to the east of the storm’s path.

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Watching TD 9; Mostly Dry For Alabama

| August 29, 2016 @ 6:23 am

SHOWERS WILL BE HARD TO FIND THIS WEEK: The upper ridge is holding across Alabama and the Deep South, meaning the weather won’t change much through mid-week. Mostly sunny, hot, humid days with only isolated afternoon and evening showers; chance of any one spot getting wet today, tomorrow, and Wednesday is only about one in eight. Highs will be in the 91-95 degree range.

LATER THIS WEEK: An upper trough will pass north of Alabama, beating down the ridge, and allowing drier air to drop in from the north. Showers look very unlikely with the change, but at least dew points will come down by Friday with lower humidity during the day, and slightly cooler nights. The high Thursday will be in the low 90s, and some spots just might hold below 90 degrees Friday with that airmass change.

LABOR DAY WEEKEND: Dry air stays in place; we expect mostly sunny days and fair nights Saturday through Monday. While highs will be close to 90 degrees, nights will be cooler thanks to the dry air; we project low to mid 60s early Saturday morning, with potential for upper 50s for some of the normally cooler spots.

And, the dry pattern continues well into next week. See the Weather Xtreme video for maps, graphics, and more details.

FOOTBALL WEATHER: First off, Friday night looks fantastic for high school football across Alabama with a clear sky and temperatures falling through the 70s. Humidity levels won’t be as bad as the first two weeks.

Auburn hosts Clemson Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium (8:00p CT kickoff)… the sky will be clear. Kickoff temperature near 78 degrees, falling into the low 70s by the final whistle.

Alabama will take on Southern Cal Saturday night at Arlington, Texas (8:00p CT kickoff)… a clear sky with temperatures falling from near 82 at kickoff, into the mid 70s by the end of the game.

TROPICS: Three systems are on the board; Hurricane Gaston is in the Central Atlantic, and is recurving well east of Bermuda, and is no threat to land.

Tropical Depression Eight is struggling this morning with hardly any convection; it has potential to become a weak tropical storm, and should recurve into the Atlantic just off the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

And, our old friend “Invest 99L” is now Tropical Depression Nine in the southeast Gulf of Mexico. Here are the important points to note…

*The system remains very disorganized this morning. Some chance it reaches tropical storm strength, but it is not expected to become a hurricane.

*The NHC track has the center turning northeast over the Gulf of Mexico, cutting across North Florida Thursday. Not too important to focus on the center since this will, most likely, still be pretty disorganized.

084851W5_NL_sm

*TD 9 will have no direct impact on Alabama, although it will help to pull down drier air late this week.

*The main issue with the system is rain for the Florida Peninsula (not the panhandle), and dangerous surf/rip tides. Most of the rain over the Florida Peninsula will fall today through Thursday. The rain won’t be continuous, however, and the sun will be out at times.

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 5.18.09 AM

*TD 9 will be long gone by the Labor Day weekend; nothing but the routine risk of “widely scattered thunderstorms” for Florida with a good supply of sunshine by then. Even for places like Orlando, Tampa, and Daytona Beach.

GULF COAST WEATHER: Generally speaking, the weather looks fine on the Central Gulf Coast (Gulf Shores east to Panama City Beach) this weekend, and over the holiday weekend with 7 to 9 hours of sunshine daily and only widely scattered showers. The exception will be at Panama City Beach Thursday as TD 9 passes just to the south… periods of rain are likely on that one day. And, also keep in mind there will be potential for rip tides along the coast this week, especially tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday. But, the surf will settle down for the weekend. Highs on the immediate coast will be in the upper 80s, with low 90s inland. See a very detailed Gulf Coast forecast here.

ON THIS DAY IN 2005: Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Plaquemines Parish in southeastern Louisiana early on the day with maximum sustained winds near 125 mph, a strong category-three, and the third most-intense landfalling hurricane in U.S. history. The center of the hurricane passed just east of New Orleans, where winds gusted over 100 mph. Widespread devastation and unprecedented flooding occurred, submerging at least 80 percent of the city as levees failed. Farther east, powerful winds and a devastating storm surge of 20-30 feet raked the Mississippi coastline, including Gulfport and Biloxi, where Gulf of Mexico floodwaters spread several miles inland. Rainfall amounts of 8-10 inches were common along and to the east of the storm’s path.

WEATHER BRAINS: Don’t forget you can listen to our weekly 90 minute netcast anytime on the web, or on iTunes. This is the show all about weather featuring many familiar voices, including our meteorologists here at ABC 33/40. We will produce this week’s show tonight at 8:30 CT… you can watch it live here.

CONNECT: You can find me on all of the major social networks…

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Look for the next Weather Xtreme video here by 4:00 this afternoon… enjoy the day!

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First Eight, Now Nine

| August 28, 2016 @ 4:53 pm

Earlier today we announced the birth of Tropical Depression Eight. Now, just six and a half hours later, we have Tropical Depression Nine.

Data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft this afternoon indicated that the area of low pressure located in the Florida Straits had a well-defined center. Satellite imagery also showed a significant increase in the convective organization today, so NHC has now classified this system a tropical cyclone. The initial intensity is set to 30 knots based on the highest reliable wind data from the aircraft. The aircraft also reported a central pressure of 1009 mb. Interesting that this is actually a lower pressure than the 06Z GFS run projected this morning.

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 4.49.35 PM

The depression is still moving through a marginal environment for intensification and will be doing so for the next day or so. Only slow strengthening can be expected during the short term. After a day or so, the environment should improve a little as the shear is forecast to decrease somewhat and become southwesterly, which should permit a little more strengthening. But there are some mixed signals from the models. The ECMWF is now showing the cyclone dissipating in the Gulf while the GFS delays development until 4-5 days. The 00Z run of the ECMWF was much stronger this morning, but no most of the tropical cyclone guidance is more aggressive. Given this uncertainty, the NHC intensity forecast is conservative and shows the system peaking at 45 knots, below all the explicit intensity guidance. As you can probably imagine, confidence in the intensity forecast is even lower than
usual for this system, something we’ve seen throughout its history.

The initial motion estimate is 270 degrees at 9 knots, but the confidence here is low, too, given the recent formation of the center with little real history to go by. The cyclone will be steered in the short range by the mid-level ridge centered over the Southeast United States. As we noted in the Weather Xtreme Video this morning, this ridge will weaken in 2 to 3 days. This should cause the cyclone to slow down and turn northward then. Late in
the period a northeastward acceleration is expected ahead of an approaching mid-latitude trough. Track guidance continued to show a substantial spread late in the forecast period, however, there is reasonable agreement in the near-term track of the cyclone. The NHC forecast is close to a consensus of the GFS and ECMWF through day 4 and is a little faster than the GFS and GEFS ensemble mean at day 5.

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There is probably going to be a race between TD Eight and Nine to see which one reaches tropical storm strength first. It looks like Eight could gain tropical storm status first so it would be named Hermine. That likely means that TD Nine would be named Ian. But stay tuned since everything can change!

In the near term, heavy tropical rain is likely to occur over much of the Florida Peninsula with amounts of 3 to 5 inches. The HPC folks are estimating the heaviest rainfall over the next five days to fall in the eastern Gulf of Mexico with 7 to 10 inches possible.

p120i

It always seems to get exciting as we approach the peak in hurricane season, and 2016 is certainly not disappointing.

-Brian-

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Tropics Take Center Stage

| August 28, 2016 @ 12:54 pm

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It’s a warm and humid last Sunday of August across Central Alabama. Temperatures are approaching 90F at the noon hour, heading toward highs between 91F-94F. With dewpoints in the lower 70s, heat index values are in the middle and upper 90s.

Skies are partly cloudy and regional radars are mostly quiet. High pressure at the surface and aloft is pretty much putting the kibosh on any showers and storms. A few isolated ones will form over a few lucky spots and continue into the mid-evening hours.

If you find yourself under one, count your lucky stars, then watch out for lightning!

QUICK CHECK ON THE TROPICS

…Gaston is a 105 mph hurricane east of Bermuda. It is drifting WNW but should recurve before affecting the island.

…99L is passing through the Florida Straits this afternoon. A circulation center is evident south of the Florida Keys. Key West NAS has a NE wind at 14 gusting 23 mph. The models believe 99L will become a tropical depression over the southern Gulf of Mexico. The GFS moves it out into the Middle Gulf by late Tuesday before turning it northeast toward the West Coast of the Florida Peninsula by next weekend. That would have little impact on Alabama’s weather, just some rough surf and showers and storms along the Gulf Coast. The European run from last night also depicts a move toward the Big Bend area of Florida. The Canadian does carry it to the Mobile/Pensacola area by Thursday night. It is too early to tell what specific course might occur or how strong it will become. Suffice to say, we will be watching.

LONG TRACK CAPE VERDE STORM IN THE CARDS?

The models are predicting a long track hurricane will move across the Atlantic over the next two weeks. This is the GFS output for Tuesday morning the 13th.
2016-08-28_12-42-57

Output has consistently carried it to the mid-Atlantic Coast, as far south as Jacksonville or up into Virginia. But the morning run of the GFS brings it across the Caribbean and into the GUlf of Mexico. We will also have to pay attention to that possibility.

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Depression Eight Forms

| August 28, 2016 @ 10:04 am

A new tropical depression has formed this morning, but those of you watching the tropical Atlantic may be surprised to learn it is NOT the one progressing through the Florida Straits. No, it is not that one, but it is the one that is west of Bermuda headed west.

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There are currently no coastal watches or warnings in effect, but all interests along the Outer Banks of North Carolina should monitor
the progress of this depression. A tropical storm watch may be required for part of this area later today.

At 10:00 am CDT, the center of Tropical Depression Eight was located near latitude 31.5 North, longitude 70.0 West. The depression is moving toward the west near 9 mph. A west-northwestward motion is expected later today and tonight followed by a turn toward the northwest and a decrease in forward speed on Monday. Based on the forecast track, the center of the storm will pass offshore of the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Tuesday.

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Maximum sustained winds are currently near 35 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is possible in the next couple of days, and the depression may reach tropical storm strength on Monday. The estimated minimum central pressure based on data from NOAA buoy 41048 is 1009 mb or 29.80 inches.

Convection associated with the area of low pressure located west of Bermuda has increased markedly since 06Z. Given this and the well-defined center shown by an overnight ASCAT pass, advisories are now being initiated on this system as a tropical cyclone (depression). The initial intensity is estimated to be 30 kt based on the latest Dvorak estimates of T2.0/30 kt from TAFB and SAB. An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the depression this afternoon.

The environment is currently only marginally conducive for intensification with moderate southeasterly to easterly shear expected to become southwesterly and increase further in 36 to 48 hours. As a result, only modest strengthening is shown in the official forecast, with the depression expected to become a tropical storm in the next day or two. After that time, the global models show the cyclone opening up along a frontal zone well offshore of the northeastern United States. However, there is some disagreement in when this will occur, with the GFS showing the cyclone dissipating in about 3 days, and the ECMWF hanging onto it until around day 5. The NHC forecast compromises on this showing dissipation after day 4, but this timing is quite uncertain.

The depression is currently situated south of a mid-level ridge that extends from the Mid-Atlantic states into the western Atlantic with an initial motion estimate of 280 degrees at 8 knots. The ridge is forecast to break down and shift eastward during the next 2-3 days, which should result in the cyclone gradually turning poleward and then recurving during the next 72 hours. The NHC track forecast is close to a blend of the GFS and ECMWF models through dissipation. This forecast keeps the center of the cyclone east of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, but a tropical storm watch may be needed for that area later today.

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You may be inclined to think that this system is the remnant of Fiona. However, based on an evaluation of satellite imagery and data during the past
few days by NHC, it appears that the remnants of Tropical Storm Fiona are not directly responsible for the genesis of this depression. The Fiona remnants were absorbed into a separate area of pre-existing vorticity, with the current depression developing out of the combined system. As a result, this is considered to be a new tropical cyclone, not a regeneration of a previous tropical cyclone.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) will issue the next advisory at 5:00 pm EDT.

-Brian-

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Isolated Showers Once Again Today

| August 28, 2016 @ 7:35 am

Showers developed yesterday afternoon across the northern third of Alabama, pretty much in line with the precipitable water chart. This morning, clouds were present in the Alabama sky generally over the southern two-thirds of the state. Those clouds will still allow some sunshine as temperatures rise into the lower 90s. Showers and storms will once again be isolated, but the precipitable water chart for this afternoon suggests the better chances for a passing shower will be in North and Central Alabama. It will still be hit or miss as not everyone will see one of those showers.

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Beachgoers will find more sun than clouds with only a few passing isolated showers/storms a possibility today. Eyes are on the tropics as we could see additional showers and storms along the Gulf Coast, especially by the middle of the week. Highs along the beach will be in the upper 80s with overnight lows in the upper 70s. The sea water temperature at Perdido Pass at Orange Beach was 87 degrees. See the complete Gulf Coast 7 Day Planner here.

The tropics remain busy. Gaston is in the Central Atlantic and has become a hurricane. It is expected to turn to the northeast later today and remain well away from land. The area of disturbed weather that was just southwest of Bermuda yesterday has moved westward and remains disorganized. It is expected to continue westward approaching the Carolinas before turning northeastward and heading out to sea. The third area, also known as Invest 99L, can’t seem to make up its mind as to what to do. The area of disturbed weather is rather large covering a good portion of the eastern two-thirds of Cuba and much of the southern half of the Bahamas. There is still no well defined center. The future course of 99L makes forecasting anywhere from Tampa to Lake Charles a bit iffy over the next week. Conditions for development as it moves through the Florida Straits are not very good, however, as it reached the Southeast Gulf of Mexico those conditions are expected to get better. There is still a great deal of uncertainty on the future course and strength of 99L, so forecasts may have to be adjusted as we get a better handle on this broad low. For now, the GFS and the ECMWF seem to be in fairly good agreement on the course of this low. While they agree on the track, they seem to be wide apart on the intensity. The ECMWF is quite a bit stronger than the GFS that has a 1010 millibar center on Thursday as compared with the 985 millibar low at that same time. This is going to be a cliff hanger, so we’ll all need to stay tuned.

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The rest of this discussion may be way off depending on the motion of Invest 99L. With the ECMWF and GFS tracks in close agreement on location and timing, I’m going to buy into that solution. However, I do believe the GFS may be too weak in the forecast intensity while the ECMWF may be a tad too strong.

The strong upper ridge is still forecast to undergo weakening as the main ridging slides back across the western states. This allows the development of a weak trough over the East Coast. This should be the pattern present as Invest 99L comes into the eastern Gulf on Thursday. The troughiness is forecast to become a little stronger (deeper) so it should guide Invest 99L out across North Florida and into the Southeast Atlantic. Additional uncertainty enters the picture for next weekend as the GFS wants to hold the tropical disturbance in the vicinity of Jacksonville, FL, while the ECMWF has no part of that and moves the disturbance briskly northeastward hugging the Southeast US coast. Since Central Alabama will be on the western and dry side of the tropical system, about the best we can expect to see in the way of rain will be isolated showers. Sinking motion form the disturbance could inhibit even those small chances for showers. Under this scenario, we can expect to see highs for the week ahead in the lower and middle 90s.

Looking out into voodoo country, the GFS keeps a ridge over the Southeast US until the 7th of September. Another tropical system, the one expected to come off the African coast on Monday/Tuesday, is forecast to be a potent storm coming through the Bahamas and into Georgia and the Carolinas between the 10th and 12th of September. Remember, this is voodoo country, so this is not a forecast for landfall of the next storm. You certainly cannot look at the long range charts and not identify this feature. But that feature may not be anywhere near the location noted now – it might be out in the Atlantic or gone completely. There is no skill in a specific forecast this far into the future.

James Spann will have the next edition of the Weather Xtreme Video posted here first thing on Monday morning. Check back here often for updates on our weather. Have a great day and Godspeed.

-Brian-

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Invest 99L And Labor Day Weekend

| August 28, 2016 @ 7:04 am

THE HYPE MACHINE: I still say the open tropical wave known as “Invest 99L” is the most publicized disorganized wave in history. The two primary reasons…

*It has been 3,961 days (almost 11 years) since a major hurricane (category three or higher) has made landfall in the U.S… last one was Hurricane Wilma that hit Florida on October 24, 2005. This is now the longest streak (by far) since hurricane records began in 1851. And, no, “Sandy” wasn’t a “major hurricane” by definition when it moved into the Northeast U.S. in 2012; it was a a category one hurricane morphing into a post-tropical storm.

*Social media now allows anyone and everyone to share weather information and computer models to thousands, if not millions. Twitter didn’t exist the last time a hurricane hit Florida. And, there are many weather enthusiasts and zealots that “want some action”, and do their best to “wishcast” a hurricane by finding that one deterministic 300 hour model run that shows the big one coming up on places like Gulf Shores or Panama City Beach.

Many of these weather amateurs are middle school or high school students, that run sites like “Joe Bob’s Weather Center”, with a corresponding Facebook page. They have learned that the most outrageous hurricane forecasts are the ones that get the attention. When they post long range model output that shows a big storm, they also ask, and almost beg, for you to “like and share”. That is the first warning sign you have stumbled upon a clickbait site with no regard for the truth or ethics.

We want young people to be able to have web sites and Facebook pages, but even a 15 year old has to understand they have great power to deceive the public, and need to keep the information they share within the bounds of meteorologically sound advice. There are many things we don’t know, and many things we can’t do. There is no 15 year old running “Joe Bob’s Weather Center” that knows the intensity and track of a tropical cyclone two weeks in advance.

From those of us in the professional enterprise, I am asking you not to click, like, or especially share bogus weather information concerning things like hurricanes and winter storms, despite the temptation. Look for professional meteorologists, especially those with American Meteorological Society certification like the CBM (certified broadcast meteorologist), or CCM (certified consulting meteorologist). You earn these through academic credentials, a review of your professional work by peers, and a rigorous exam. Sure, those with a CBM or CCM can and will be wrong, but I assure you the information is more solid that “Joe Bob’s Weather Center”.

WHAT ABOUT 99L? This morning the wave near the northern coast of Cuba remains disorganized, but is hanging in there. Model output can’t be trusted much since there is no way to initialize the wave, so you see wild output like this (06Z tropical model set)…

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 6.38.27 AM

Concerning global models and the ensemble approach (one model using slightly different initial conditions that are all plausible given the past and current set of observations), the GFS has been fairly consistent, suggesting slow development in the eastern Gulf, with a turn to the right over North Florida late this week.

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 6.58.45 AM

The reliable European model is trending toward this solution, and seems to be a credible idea. If by chance this is correct, most of the rain and inclement weather associated with the wave (it gets the name Hermine if it becomes a Tropical Storm) will remain south and east of Alabama, and east of places like Gulf Shores and Pensacola.

And, intensity guidance suggests a hurricane is not especially likely…

aal99_2016082806_intensity_early

But the bottom line is this… at this time nobody knows the final destination and intensity curve of “99L”, or if it will impact the Central Gulf Coast over the Labor Day weekend. Once we finally get an organized system, we will be able to give you a decent holiday weekend forecast for the various coastal locations. Stay tuned.

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A Hot Saturday Afternoon

| August 27, 2016 @ 1:35 pm

Our weather continues to be dominated by the influence of the upper ridge across the Deep South. For today we are seeing plenty of sun and hot conditions as temperatures are in the 90s out there this afternoon.

8-27-2016 1-18-16 PM

We are watching a few of those isolated storms this afternoon, but for the most part the radar has very little activity currently. Most of this activity is across northern portions of the state and are tracking towards the northeast.

8-27-2016 1-20-23 PM

Tomorrow’s weather will be the same, expect partly to mostly sunny, hot, humid conditions with isolated, mostly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Afternoon highs will be generally in the low to mid 90s.

INVEST 99L: Looks unimpressive today as the weak area of low pressure located between the northern coast of Cuba and Andros Island in the Bahamas continues to produce a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms, mainly to the south and east of its center.

rb_lalo-animated 99L

Upper-level winds are not conducive for significant development during the next day or so while the low moves west-northwestward through the Straits of Florida at about 10 mph. Environmental conditions could become a little more conducive for some development when the system moves into the eastern Gulf of Mexico early next week. Heavy rains are likely to continue over portions of eastern and central Cuba today. Gusty winds and locally heavy rainfall are likely over portions of the Bahamas, and will spread into parts of southern Florida and the Florida Keys by Sunday. The Hurricane Hunter aircraft mission scheduled to investigate this system today has been cancelled.

8-27-2016 1-30-44 PM

This feature could still develop but the NHC give this feature a 40% of development the next five days. Due to the upper-ridge over the Southeast, it appears the system will continue to track west across the Gulf. The computer models are still struggling with this system and there is a lot of uncertainty with it, so stay tuned…

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