Sunday, August 30, 2009

8/30 - 12:30pm - MSU Forecast, Watching the Tropics

Here's your weekly Mississippi State University forecast:

Notice how we might not even break 90 this week because of the cold front that came through yesterday. The rain we're having now should stop by the mid afternoon and sunny skies should take over for most of the week.

We've had a bit of a break in storm formation in the tropics over the past couple of days, but it looks like that will change. A tropical wave east of the Caribbean organized itself overnight and is set to become a tropical depression if it keeps organizing:

Just yesterday this wave looked very disorganized and didn't look like it had potential to strengthen. We'll have to really watch this one, especially because of its proximity to the Caribbean Sea.

Friday, August 28, 2009

8/28 - 11:30am - Cooler Temperatures on the Way, Danny Weakens

Tropical Storm Danny has weakened quite a bit (winds are only at 40mph) in the last day or so and is now not forecast to become a hurricane. The track has shifted towards the East Coast a bit as well, but luckily it will not strike with as much force as previously thought:

The yellow highlight on the North Carolina Outer Banks indicates a Tropical Storm Watch for that area.

Another area of disturbed weather in the Atlantic halfway between Africa and the Caribbean needs to be watched as it tries to organize over the next few days. We may indeed have a new tropical depression if this system can get its act together.

Last weekend was absolutely beautiful here in Starkville with lower temperatures and a lack of humidity. Another round of nice weather is set to enter the area after a cold front passes on Saturday evening. Temperatures should stay in the 80's from Sunday until at least the middle of next week, with lower humidity. Today should still be hot though, with a high of around 90 and a chance of storms this afternoon. A better chance of storms will be around tomorrow with the approaching cold front, along with temperatures in the lower 90's again.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

8/26 - 10:30am - Tropical Storm Danny

Tropical Storm Danny has formed overnight and could potentially affect the East Coast this weekend. Winds right now are at 45mph and this storm is forecast to become a hurricane by Saturday morning. The latest models are not agreeing on how far or near the coast it will get, but the National Hurricane Center's forecast track seems to be taking the average of the model tracks:

This is something we'll definitely need to keep watching this week.

Around here in Starkville the heat and humidity have returned. The temperature is already 80 degrees, so it won't take long to get into the lower 90's this afternoon. Stay cool out there!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

8/23 - 12pm - MSU Forecast, Hurricane Bill to the UK

It's been hot and sticky over the past week here at Mississippi State, but a cold front that came through late last week really cooled things down and took the humidity out of the equation. It looks like the cool temperatures and low humidity will continue for the next couple of days, but more hot weather is in the works for the middle of this week. Things should remain dry for most of the week as well:

Category 1 Hurricane Bill is getting ready to clip Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in Canada today, but luckily the storm is weakening and will become a tropical storm tomorrow. The interesting part of this storm is where it's headed after Canada.... The United Kingdom. The storm will cross the Atlantic and what's left of it could make landfall in the upper part of the UK. It will most likely be just a bit of rain and wind by the time it gets there, but the fact that this storm has gone from Africa, to the US East Coast, then to the UK really shows how far a storm can travel.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

8/19 - 10:30am - Category 4 Hurricane Bill

Hurricane Bill has strengthened overnight to become a category 4 storm with winds up to 135mph. The current forecast track takes it just west of Bermuda, while at the same time sparing the East Coast:

The only other feature in the Tropics right now are the remnants of Tropical Storm Ana, which will most likely not strengthen again.

Around here in Starkville, looks like we'll continue the heat and humidity this week with a daily chance of rain.

An EF1 tornado damaged some department stores in Beaumont, TX yesterday, click here to read more.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

8/16 - 11am - New Tropic Developments, MSU Forecast

Tropical Depression Four has formed overnight, which should be Tropical Storm Claudette later today. Looks like some rain from the system could pay Starkville a visit:

The quick development of this system demonstrates the potency of the Gulf waters right now. Tropical Storms Ana and Bill are still alive in the Atlantic, but Bill is strengthening quite a bit more than Ana. Bill is forecast to become a major hurricane, but landfall is still a question right now:

Tropical Storm Ana's track has quite a bit of rough terrain to cover, which will weaken the already disorganized storm:

Whether or not the storm can strengthen after getting into the Gulf of Mexico is anyone's guess. At any rate, the tropics have awakened and it's time to start keeping up with the latest forecasts.

I've been asked to create a weather forecast for the public announcement TV in the front lobby of my residence hall here at MSU. It will be updated every weekend and I'll post it here on my blog as well:

It's great to be doing weekend forecasts again!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

8/15 - 1:30pm - Tropics, House Building

It's been an interesting 24 hours. Yesterday it looked like Tropical Depression Two might not regenerate it self after falling apart. Instead of dying out, it instead intensified to become Tropical Storm Ana. Here's the track on Ana, which is may or may not become a hurricane depending on the track it takes:

Obviously that track may have people in Florida a bit nervous at the moment, but things are always subject to change as we've seen in just the past few hours. The next area of interest in the Tropics is Tropical Depression Three, which is looking like a more serious contender right now than Ana. Take a look at the storm track:

The National Hurricane Center thinks this storm will be a hurricane by Wednesday. The computer models are loosely agreeing on a track just north of Puerto Rico, but it's difficult to estimate where it will go after that. The GFS model has been showing a hurricane coming onshore in the U.S. for the past couple days, but the landfall location has varied wildly. To sum it all up, it's just too early to tell what will happen with either storm.

Yesterday a couple friends and I went to work on the MSU-led Habitat for Humanity house in Starkville. Here are some pictures from our work day:

After working in the heat and humidity yesterday, I think I've finally adjusted to the climate here!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

8/13 - 4:15pm - Let's Talk Tropics

I'm sure you've heard an earful about the Tropics roaring to life if you've watched TV lately. While nothing extraordinary has formed yet, tropical waves and depressions are beginning to make themselves known in the Atlantic. Tropical Depression Two has been spinning around east of the Caribbean for the last couple days, but it's dying and may not strengthen again:

A tropical wave just coming off the African coast is really gaining attention today, especially because of its already-apparent organization on satellite imagery:

The GFS computer model seems to be hinting at an organized hurricane coming from this tropical wave, but it's extremely early to jump to conclusions. This is just something to keep an eye on at this point.

A ridge forming in the Southeast US is beginning to give some relief to areas hit by rain and high humidity over the last couple weeks. Most of the Southeast should see lower humidity and dry conditions this weekend, although it will be hot. I know that Starkville, MS was certainly much nicer today with the lower temperature and humidity levels!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

8/11 - 12pm - Severe Weather in Mississippi

The SPC has issued a SLIGHT Risk for a good portion of the southeast today:

CAPE values in central Mississippi right now are topping 4500 J/kg and storms are firing vigorously. Shear values are way too low to have a tornado threat here, but high winds and a bit of small hail aren't out of the question. Hopefully these storms can hold temperatures down this afternoon into the lower 90's instead of the middle 90's.

Looks like Louisville had more flooding problems yesterday with storms that came through the area. More storms are on the way for this afternoon up there, so they'll really have to keep an eye out for more flash flooding.
[Courier-Journal, NWS]

A typhoon that already caused havoc in Taiwan came ashore in China yesterday, causing one million people to be evacuated and numerous fatalities. A typhoon hit Japan yesterday as well, which caused landslides and fatalities.
[USA Today]

Sunday, August 9, 2009

8/9 - 10am CDT - Moved In at Mississippi State

After a day full of moving boxes and organizing, I'm finally moved in at Mississippi State University! One remarkable difference between Louisville, KY and Starkville, MS is the temperature. Take a look at the NWS forecast for today in Starkville:
Today: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 1pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 92. Heat index values as high as 99. South southeast wind between 5 and 10 mph. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

The notion of a thunderstorm seems very nice after realizing how hot it is down here. Temperatures should settle into the upper 80's this week, although this upper-level ridge should stick around for at least a week.

There's a MODERATE Risk for severe weather in the upper Midwest today, including parts of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa:

Looks like the main risks will be for hail and high winds, with Chicago right in the center of all this. We'll have to see what kind of storm remports come in this afternoon.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

8/6 - 11:30am - Tomorrow's the Day!

After a summer full of storm chasing, traveling, and wacky severe weather, it's finally time for me to travel to Mississippi State tomorrow for my first semester there. Move-in day is on Saturday, meaning all those boxes have to come out of the car and into my dorm room. The drive is fairly long (7-8 hours), but it should be fun and I hope that things will go smoothly!

The Louisville National Weather Service office has issued a regional map with 24-hour rainfall totals the morning after the flood:

You can really see how isolated the storm cell was that hovered over Jefferson County that morning. We were shocked to see that we only had .99" at the end of the day on our rain gauge here at home, but this map pretty much confirms that reading. The gym floor at my alma mater duPont Manual High School was flooded during this event, but luckily maintenance crews and administrators were on the scene to help reduce the amount of damage. Great job!

I also wanted to point out that we've just gone through the coolest July ever in the region. We usually have 12 days with 90 degrees or higher in Louisville during July, but this year we had none for the first-time ever. [Coldest July Ever Recorded in the Midwest/Ohio Valley - NWS]

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

8/4 - 9pm - Just Another Wacky Day in Louisville

Talk about some wacky weather, a surprise flood that damages millions of dollars worth of property, traps many in their vehicles, and knocks out power to thousands of residents. If you told me last night that we would break the all-time record for a one-hour rainfall today with 6 inches in places around the Metro, I would have told you to see a doctor. So, in the last twelve months we've had a record-breaking wind storm, record-breaking ice storm, and a record-breaking surprise flood. Is this really just another day in the wacky realm of Louisville weather?

Many are asking why, what happened? Why did this eastward line of storms this morning suddenly make a 90-degree southward turn over Southern Indiana and slam Louisville? My answer is about as clear as the one from the rest of the meteorological community at the moment: I don't really know. My guess would be something to do with the lower level jet, which is a rapid stream of wind a few thousand feet off the ground. This jet normally activates at night when there is little to no instability, meaning it can power late-evening thunderstorms with little interference from rising parcels of unstable air. The thunderstorms heading eastward this morning may have come in contact with or lost contact with the lower level jet this morning by some fashion and that may have made a difference in the direction they were moving. Technicalities aside, I've never seen a storm system take a sharp turn like that before and it was about as freak of an event as, say, a wind storm from the remnants of hurricane over Kentucky (oh wait a minute...).

Looks like we're going to see more rain in a few hours here in town, but I don't think it will be as heavy as the deluge we had this morning.

8/4 - 10:15am - FLOOD EMERGENCY

Louisville is under a Flood Emergency right now after inches and inches of rain fell this morning. Rain should end by around midday, but more storms are on the way for this afternoon. This is a very dangerous situation, especially in the Downtown Louisville area. Please do not drive into high water, and stay inside if you don't absolutely have to go out today.

Updates will be posted on my Twitter feed:

Monday, August 3, 2009

8/3 - 12pm - The Packing Process Has Begun

Boxes and more boxes are beginning to show up around my room as I begin packing for Mississippi State. You never realize how much stuff you've accumulated in 18 years of life until you start sorting through it. Luckily most of my stuff nowadays is fairly small, like discs, cameras, books, etc. This is going to be an action-packed week as I finish packing and finally travel down to Mississippi State on Friday.

I just peeked at the forecast for Starkville, MS again from the National Weather Service:
Friday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a high near 95. Calm wind becoming south southwest around 5 mph.

Friday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 71.

Saturday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 95.

Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 72.

Sunday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 95.

I thought 80 felt pretty warm yesterday, so it may take some time to adjust to temperatures in the mid 90's (something we haven't had here in quite a while!).

A cold front coming through the Louisville area tomorrow evening may bring some strong or even severe storms to the region. I don't think we'll see too many severe storms, but the low level jet may enhance things a bit. Here's the outlook from the SPC for tomorrow:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

8/1 - 3pm - Late Summer Tornadoes Abound

It seems like I've been writing about tornadoes quite a bit lately. There were 85 reported tornadoes in July (through the 29th), which is up slightly from the 77 3-year average. The good news is that we haven't had a tornado-related fatality since May. Our overall tornado count for 2009 is down from previous years, thanks in part to the tornado drought we had in Tornado Alley early on in the season.
[SPC - Monthly and Annual U.S. Tornado Summaries]

A tornado that hit Selton, Connecticut yesterday was rated an EF1 after analysis by the NYC National Weather Service office. Trees seemed to be the only things damaged by the tornado, but thousands lost power during the storm.
[NWS, NBC Connecticut]

Just took a look at the forecast for Starkville, MS when I get there on Friday:
Friday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a high near 88.

Whew... Not as hot as I was expecting! The long-range GFS shows a fairly dry pattern shaping up with a possible ridge forming in a couple weeks.