WeatherNation Blog

Don is Done, Emily is Next

Tropical Storm Don came and went with little fanfare.  The highest rain fall total reported from this system was in Brownsville with only 0.63″.  It actually dissipated at an alarming rate, basically falling apart the moment it moved inland.   Now our attention turns towards the west as we watch the development of what maybe the next tropical system.

Emily? Another potential tropical cyclone is brewing in the Carribean. I have a hunch we’ll be tracking Tropical Storm Emily within 72 hours, a potential threat to the Lesser Antilles, and eventually the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Map courtesy of NOAA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The complex of storms is still located about 1000 miles to the east of the Windward Islands.  Some models project that it will be a tropical storm by early next week.  Stay tuned!

 

Tropical Storm Don – A Drought Buster?

Don NOT A “Drought-Buster”. Rainfall from Tropical Storm Don may put a dent in the 3rd largest drought in Texas history, but it won’t rain long enough (or hard enough) to totally alleviate the “exeptional” drought, now impacting 75% of the Lonestar state, an area 3.5 times larger than the state of Georgia. Photo courtesy of the New York Times.
  • Tropical Storm Don, now moving across the Gulf of Mexico toward the Texas coast, is not potent enough to break the ongoing Texas drought, says Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon.
  • “It’s been so dry in Texas for so long, this one storm will be a drop in an empty bucket,” says Nielsen-Gammon, who is a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University in addition to serving as the state climatologist for Texas.
  • “For rainfall potential, it doesn’t really matter whether or not it becomes a hurricane,” says Nielsen-Gammon. ”Hurricanes are windier, but they’re not rainier. Some of Texas’s worst floods have come from tropical storms or tropical depressions.”
  • “Don is forecast to keep moving northwest after making landfall. So it should produce a broad swath of moderate rain rather than a concentrated flood.”
  • The National Weather Service’s Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) is forecasting 3″ to 5″ in a 100-mile-wide swath along the path of the storm after it makes landfall. Precipitation amounts are expected to decrease as it moves farther inland.
  • Nielsen-Gammon warns that some flooding is not out of the question. “It’s always possible that an individual cluster of thunderstorms will end up stalling or regenerating over one particular area and produce a localized flood event.”
  • What does Don mean for the Texas drought? ”Unfortunately, Don is a fairly small storm at this point,” Nielsen-Gammon says. “The majority of the state will probably receive little or no rainfall. The drought is going to continue.”
  • Don would have to dump about two and a half inches across all of Texas to prevent the state from having its driest January through July on record, according to statistics compiled by Brent McRoberts of the State Climate Office.
  • “The lucky areas, if they receive 2″ to 5″ of rainfall, will be picking up one or two months’ worth of precipitation,” Nielsen-Gammon says. “That’s not enough to end the drought, but it will help reduce irrigation demands and perhaps let struggling ranchers produce another cutting of hay.”
  • Don might even be bad news for some, according to Nielsen-Gammon. “The area around Victoria and Corpus Christi has been suffering, but they’ve managed to get just enough rain at just the right times to produce some decent crops. Right now, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service, part of The Texas A&M University System, the cotton harvest is under way. If Don dumps a bunch of water on cotton that’s about to be harvested, it will hurt rather than help.”

Gulf Oil Producers Cut Output Due To “Don”.

  • Gulf of Mexico producers reduced oil and natural gas output on Thursday as Tropical Storm Don churned northwest toward the Texas Coast.
  • Although Don has cut a small 7 percent of U.S. Gulf of Mexico crude output and 3 percent of natural gas output according to government data by midday Thursday, analysts said the storm’s relative weakness and position in the Gulf of Mexico made it unlikely to cause prolonged production outages or energy infrastructure damage.
  • But analysts and meteorologists said output cuts were precautionary and Don isn’t likely to cause platform damage or affect output for long.
  • Gulf Coast refiners reported no cuts in crude processing, but several said they were closely monitoring Don or taking steps to ensure plants were prepared for severe weather.
  • In oil exporter Mexico, production has not been affected so far, although state oil firm Pemex is monitoring Don and has convened its emergency response team.

Taken from: http://www.startribune.com/weather/blogs/Paul_Douglas_on_Weather.html

The “Don” and the Floods.

Visible Satellite of Tropical Storm Don

Señor Don has just completed his visit to the Yucatan peninsula. Don still remains a tropical storm. He was barely hanging on as the peninsula was ripping into him, but now that he’s in the open water, Don will have a chance to intensify further. Earlier this morning, Tropical Storm Don had sustained winds of 40 mph. The Hurricane Hunter report says that’s now up to 45 mph after its flight. He will have to combat some wind shear in the Gulf, which will make it tough for him to become a hurricane soon. The water temperature, however, is like bath water: mid 80s. Don will like that. The models are all pointing towards a Texas landfall:

Corpus Christi seems to be a good bet. Here’s the forecast cone:

As we talked about in yesterday’s blog. Texas is in dire need of precipitation with over 80% of the state under the “exceptional” category for drought. Of course, rain is excellent… especially a good steady 2 to 3 day rainfall. There are a few concerns with the arrival of Don, of course. Hurricane Beulah set the record number of tornadoes in Texas with 115 total. Again, Don is forecast to remain a Tropical Storm, but water spouts and small EF0 to EF1 tornadoes can’t be ruled out. Also, a lot of rain in a short period of time can yield some serious flooding. Especially for soil that has been so moisture deprived. Soil like that doesn’t “drink” water as quickly as more saturated soil. No one knows this better than our friends in Iowa.

The Midwest has been dealing with a ridiculous amount of rain in the past 24 hours. “Training” storms have allowed the inches to pile up in many states. Dubuque county Iowa takes center stage. Through 10 AM, Dubuque Airport received 10.31″ of rain. 14.5″ of rain was observed just south of Dubuque (in roughly 12 hours!!!). Galena, IL also tipped the scales with 13.45″. Check out this amazing footage:

According to various reports, the Mississippi River at Dubuque rose around 4 feet in 12 hours:

Dubuque Hydrograph

Residents in the East Dubuque Flats area are being asked to evacuate after 4 to 5 feet of water has risen in many areas.

Chicago also makes our top stories. Chicago officially has the wettest July on record as of yesterday. With an additional .71″ of rain, that brings July’s total to 9.75″… not to mention that it has been POURING today. The Windy City is sure to blow that record out of the water. Here’s a look at the wettest Julys:

RANK..................VALUE..................YEAR
1......................9.75..................2011
2......................9.56..................1889
3......................8.98..................1957
4......................8.84..................2010
5......................8.33..................1982
6......................7.58..................1969
7......................7.31..................1963
8......................7.18..................1875
9......................6.78..................1950
10.....................6.66..................1899

How about the wettest months ever? Impressive list:

RANK..................VALUE..................MONTH/YEAR
1.....................17.10..................AUG/1987
2.....................14.17..................SEPT/1961
3.....................13.63..................SEPT/2008
4.....................12.25..................AUG/2001
5.....................12.06..................OCT/1954
6.....................11.28..................AUG/1885
7.....................10.58..................JUNE/1892
8......................9.96..................JUNE/1993
9......................9.80..................JULY/2011
10.....................9.70..................AUG/2007

Sadly, more rain seems to be on tap for parts of the Midwest tomorrow. Not quite as fierce as today though and less of a risk of severe weather:

Severe Threat Tomorrow

 

Just What the Doctor Ordered…

Visible Satellite of Intensifying Tropical Wave

The tropics are acting up and we’re watching a tropical wave really pull itself together nicely in the Caribbean. It has been pouring in Cuba and Jamaica. The Hurricane Hunter will be examining the low this afternoon. I think we’re on track to have a tropical depression shortly. If it continues to intensify, the 4th name on the list is “Don.” With warm sea surface temperatures in the Gulf and low wind shear, this system will likely intensify as traverses the Gulf of Mexico. The system had been a bit suppressed as it encountered Cuban and Mexican land, but as it enters the open, deep, warm waters of the Gulf, there’s no telling how strong it could get right now. Many agree that a tropical depression is more than reasonable by this afternoon. The next question is where is it going to go? Most models are bringing this system into the Coastal Bend of Texas. Here’s the spread:

While no one wishes a hurricane for any given area, let’s face it. This is exactly what the doctor ordered for Texans. One can only cross their fingers and HOPE that it does drive into Texas. The Lone Star state is desperate for rainfall. Around 70% of Texas pastures are classified as “very poor,” which means that there has been complete or near complete crop failure. Little to no food exists for grazing livestock in the affected areas. Cattle herds shrunk to the smallest since 1973. The crop and livestock losses could rival the record $4.1 billion lost in 2006. David Anderson, an economist with Texas AgriLife Extension Service postulates that it may double that number by the end of the year if conditions don’t improve. Rainfall deficits are at above 20″ for many locations. Texas has officially experienced the driest nine-month period in the states history between October of 2010 and June 2011. This beat the previous record of June 1917 to February 1918. A good 80% of the state is under an exceptional drought, the worst category possible. Let’s not forget that neighboring states such as Oklahoma and Louisiana are also exceedingly dry:

Drought Monitor Map

Look at this amazing comparison:

O.C. Fisher Reservoir, San Angelo, TX: 1985 vs. 2011.

It’s looking pretty brown also in Texas (to say the least):

Let’s hope Texas gets what it’s been waiting for.

What’s That in the Caribbean

Hello and happy Tuesday everyone, hope all is well on this July 26th. As of midday today, the National Hurricane Center had an area of interest over the western Caribbean, which looks a little interesting – take a look:

What’s That in Caribbean

1. SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ASSOCIATED WITH A TROPICAL WAVE OVER THE
NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA HAVE BECOME MORE CONCENTRATED THIS
MORNING BETWEEN WESTERN CUBA AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS.  SLOW
DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS POSSIBLE DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF
DAYS AS IT MOVES TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST AT 10 TO 15 MPH.  THIS
SYSTEM HAS A LOW CHANCE...20 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A
TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

Forecast Track

 This could potentially yield some beneficial rainfall for Texas that is in desperate need of rain

End of Week Rainfall

Now, I expect this to change, but the day 4 & 5 HPC rainfall forecast shows a little rain blowing into the Coastal Bend of Texas by Friday

U.S. Drought Monitor

Any rain that we get is going to be beneficial since we are so far behind rainfall this year – take a look a the Drought Monitor below - see more information HERE:

Extreme Heat Continues

Here are some of the latest heat stats:

New Heat Facts

  • Tuesday: 56 days in a row of 90F+ temps in OKC. 2nd longest streak on the record books. Only the DiMaggio heat steak of 1980 (71 days) remains
  • Dallas forecast to hit 102 today (Tuesday) – officially it will be the 25th straight day of 100-degree heat; will tie for 3rd longest stretch with August 1952
  • Tuesday: Fort Smith, AR forecast to hit 103 today; will be the 22nd day in a row 100 degrees or higher. Longest streak in history, and still ongoing


Heat claims at least 10 in Philadelphia region

  • At least 10 heat-related deaths were reported during the weekend in the Philadelphia metro.
  • Although officially last summer was the hottest ever in Philadelphia, the heat-related death toll for the entire season was just five. The 2011 city total now stands at 11, assuring this will be the deadliest season since 2008 when there were 26.
  • It’s true that July 2011 has gone toe-to-toe with the blistering heat of last July. So far, 17 of the first 25 days saw temperatures of 90 or better, one fewer than July 2010, and both Julys featured back-to-back days of 100-plus heat.
  • However, the heat of last July was almost desert-like by comparison, with low humidities.
  • In all likelihood, the Philadelphia death toll from last week’s heat will increase.
  • In higher mortality heat waves, it can take days for the medical examiner’s office to locate to all the victims.
  • Philadelphia’s deadliest season was 1993′s, with 118 heat-related deaths.

 

More Heat – Heat Headlines Continue

High Temps Expected Today

More Severe Weather Developing on the Outer Fringes of the Extreme Heat

Take a look at the convective outlooks for the next few days – as the extreme heat bubbles north, severe storms will fire up. Hail, High Winds and an isolated tornado or two

Severe Threat Today

Severe Threat Wednesday

Severe Threat Thursday

That’s all for today – thanks for checking in on this Tuesday

Meteorologist Todd Nelson – WeatherNation

 

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