Thursday, August 18, 2016

Beware the Lull...

While the 6th name storm is churning way out in the Atlantic and it appears there will be no threats into the Caribbean & Gulf for the rest of August, several computer models are hinting at a ramping up in activity beyond 10 days.  RIGHT NOW, models bring several systems up the east coast that could threaten the Carolinas & states farther to the north.   Remember I mentioned the high heat content of Gulf & Caribbean waters?  The same holds true along the eastern seaboard.   So while things are quiet around us for now, we know that can quickly change. 

 

One thing we learned from Katrina is after a flood, things change very slowly.  At first people quickly pile up the wet carpets & appliances out in the streets.   The process of rebuilding then will take weeks & months.  As I said days ago, I hope people build better & stronger & higher so when the next flood comes (and it will) the damage will be far less.   I just fear a tropical system coming during the next 4-6 weeks hitting flooded areas again.  Baton Rouge’s monthly rainfall total is 25.92” with still 10 + days to go.   That easily exceeds their previous August record by 11” !   Hopefully the rest of this month will see a drying trend.    Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

After Further Review...

After a game, our sportscasters recap the action often changing their opinions AFTER FURTHER REVIEW.  I dare say anyone who went through the horrors of the Katrina flooding feels great compassion for those folks to our north and west.  Seeing water to rooftops was reliving the hell of 2005 once again.   Many of you have reached out to help and it will take many weeks & months before folks flooded out return to “normal”.   So where do we go from here?  Do we rebuild our homes?  Absolutely!    But here’s where AFTER FURTHER REVIEW comes in.  Obviously, those who received 4-8 feet of water into their homes need to think very hard about rebuilding.  However, most others who had only some water in their homes have an opportunity to rebuild & ELEVATE their structures by 3- 4 feet.  If your house had just that extra couple of feet, you most likely would be dry with no damage.   Elevating is not cheap, but FEMA has a Flood Mitigation Grant program that could help with some of the cost.  Here’s the kicker.  You need to be covered under the National Flood insurance program because the Government doesn’t like to keep paying repeat flood claims by the same home owners.  So what should we learn by this record flood?  1)  If you live in south Louisiana, you MUST have flood insurance.  It’s cheap and coverage is terrific.  I rebuilt the lower floor of my townhome after Katrina for ZERO out of pocket coast.  Flood coverage costs roughly $1.25/day.   It’s a no brainer.    2)  Don’t rebuild expecting there won’t be another flood.   Seeing the fella crying after his home flooded again after the March 2016 flood broke my heart.   If he has it in him to rebuild again, he HAS to rebuild higher.   There are many quality (bonded & insured) elevation companies that can make homes safer.   History has a record of repeating itself. 

 

So who do we blame?   Possibly local Governments who allowed builders to construct slab homes without elevation.    Perhaps bankers who did not require homeowners to have flood insurance.  Why Not?    Perhaps homeowners who thought they were safe even though they lived near a river.  Whatever, we need to learn by this tragedy so we don’t repeat it.    Can’t afford to elevate?  Then at least buy flood insurance.  Can’t afford it?  Then you need to be a RENTER and not a homeowner.  Someone has to have personal responsibility or the blame game will go on forever.

 

Tropical Storm Fiona has formed way out in the Atlantic .   I’m still seeing a well-defined TUTT ( tropical upper tropospheric trough) stretching from East of Bermuda westward across Florida down into the SW Gulf.   This is a hostile environment for any tropical systems.  Unless models are clueless, we should get through August without a tropical threat in the Gulf.  Still plenty of time before those Fall fronts start coming.  We need to keep paying attention.  Stay tuned!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Prime Time Arrives

As many folks to our north & west are dealing with flooded homes, we are very thankful it could just as easily have been us.   We have reached the peak of the Hurricane Season (Aug. 15 – Sept. 30) and, as if on cue, a strong tropical wave has moved off of Africa with signs of rotation.  NHC gives it a moderate chance of becoming Fiona, but models leave it way out in the Atlantic.   Thomas Downs of WeatherBell  Analytics had some interesting graphics showing the high oceanic heat content in the Gulf plus the displacement of the “Loop Current” farther to the north & nearer our coast.   This is not good news for any of the Gulf coast states including us.  Let’s just hope the next few weeks stay quiet (unlikely) or most storms turn up the East coast and stay out of the Gulf as the Gulf is primed for explosive development.  What we need to pay attention to are easterly waves that don’t do much until they reach the Western Caribbean. That is what Camille did back in 1969.      RIGHT NOW, the Gulf & Atlantic are dominated by the TUTT (Tropical Upper Tropospheric Trough).  That should provide protection for the next 7-10 days.  Stay Tuned!

 

Before the Global Warming folks jump on our recent extreme rain event, they need to listen to the Rob Masson interview on FOX 8 with a lady who said…”  We never had this much water before.  It’s only since that new subdivision was built that we now see our streets flooding”.   Yep, man is causing some of these extreme events, but it’s not the reason the AGW crowd thinks is causing it (CO2).  Nope it’s called URBANIZATION.  Man building and paving over previous fields that soaked up the rains.  Now that additional runoff is causing water in areas that had never seen water before.  Make sense?

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Finally going back to Normal...

Wow what a 4 day stretch of nasty weather.   The last time we saw some real sunshine was back on Wednesday.   Fortunately for us, the real heavy rains stayed far enough to our west so as to not cause us any major problems.  But you’ve seen the video of flooded homes & cars.  It’s heart breaking to watch what 1-2 feet of rain will do when it falls mainly in 2 days.   Ryan Airport in Baton Rouge has reported nearly 17” while Lafayette is over 18”.   Many other rain reports have exceeded 20” with one over 26” just north of Baton Rouge.   This has been a strange system to follow.  As many bloggers have reported, there have been multiple centers both on satellite and radar loops.  Here’s what I’m seeing this afternoon.   One minor swirl has moved northward to just SW of Memphis.  What I believe to be the main center is just SW of Natchez.  On radar, it appears another center is around Lafayette.   Bottom line for us is the whole system 1) appears to be weakening and 2) it is shifting slowly to the west.   What we should see beginning Sunday and into next week is a gradual return to our basic summertime pattern of coastal AM showers redeveloping inland during daytime heating.  Coverage should be 40-50% with way more dry hours and way more sunny breaks.  Of course that will mean hotter temps once again as it still is mid-August.    The past 2 days with temps in the 70s has been a welcomed relief from our hot summer.  If you live on the North Shore near any of the flooded rivers, you’ll still need to pay attention for rising waters even though the heavy rains have moved on.  Enjoy the last half of your weekend.  Stay tuned!