Monday, May 21, 2018

The Hype Has Begun...

Hey I get it…it’s Memorial Day Weekend coming up & a lot of folks head to the  Florida beaches.  Computer models have been hinting that something might develop over the Gulf so there is a reason to be cautious.  However, all 3 major news stations lead their newscasts with the possibility of “tropical troubles” in 3-5 days.  Is this going a little overboard?   No wonder folks get anxious when they have to follow something that hasn’t even formed yet.   Perhaps it was a “slow” news day?  Don’t know, just don’t like making folks nervous so far in advance.   Here’s what we know.  NHC says a broad area of low pressure has formed (weak swirl with no storms around it in western Caribbean) and has a 40% chance for development during the next 5 days.   That’s based on several computer models (Canadian, Euro) that bring a system towards Louisiana.  The GFS (which for days had a similar solution) takes the bulk of a weak system into Florida leaving us alone.  However, it does wrap moisture back westward around a slow moving upper low.   RIGHT NOW, there is wind shear all over the place and any development would be slow.  Water temperatures are marginal for development.  Could a weak named storm form by this weekend?  Sure.  Will it become a Hurricane?  Unlikely since there has never been a Gulf hurricane in May.  Would some folks be asked to evacuate?  Perhaps those along the coast outside the levee protection (risk reduction) system might have to, but not the rest of us.   We need to get a grip and not get too hyped up about a storm in May.  The main threat (especially in Orleans) will once again be heavy rains that could result in flooding.   But for now it’s just something to pay attention to for the next several days, especially if you have outdoor plans for this weekend.   Mother Nature might make it a rain out?  Stay tuned!

 

I watched several stations and thought all the weathercasters presented the facts without hype.   It’s the idea of leading every newscast with a story that may turn out to be nothing IF the GFS model  turns out to be  correct.  Get used to it…weather will be the lead story all this week.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Rain Chances On Increase...

After Friday’s gully washer, we’ve “enjoyed” 2 dry days allowing the ground to recover from 3-6” of rain.   Tonight’s satellite loops show a weak upper low centered just south of Panama City, FL. Moving little.   We are currently on the dry side of this system but it is expected to slowly shift westward this week.   A surge of tropical rains are rotating around the eastern side and will be across the Florida beaches by daybreak.  IF the upper low doesn’t make much progress our way, Monday could be another mostly dry day.   However, models continue to indicate a rather deep upper tough will develop over the Southeast & northern Gulf and that should result in higher rain chances as we head towards next weekend.  Several models (Canadian, Euro) develop a storm in the Gulf by Friday with the Canadian taking the center  towards Mobile Bay while the Euro brings it just to our west.   The Euro is the far wetter model run for us.  What about the GFS (American) model?  Well, it doesn’t show any development unlike the past several days indicating a storm would form.  Bottom line, we are still in May with water temps only marginally supportive of tropical development, but more importantly, the upper trough would make it difficult for a strong system to develop as wind shear would be a factor.    What might happen is a weak low could form often referred to as “sub-tropical” (cold core) and slowly meander across the northern Gulf by late week.   NHC is not talking about it in their 5 day outlook and it’s just something to pay attention to for later this week.   On average, a named storm forms once every third year during May.  However, the last 3 years in a row we’ve seen storms form before June 1st.  This could make it four in a row.   Early named storms doesn’t mean it will be an active season.    It’s just that we don’t need/like to get nervous  before the heart (August-September) of the season when the big/major hurricanes usually develop.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Slightly Less Hot...

After Friday’s downpours drenched the South Shore with 3-6+” of rain, some of today’s sunshine energy went into evaporating that moisture resulting in highs “only” in the lower 90s.  There remains a weak upper low over the eastern Gulf that will begin to shift westward for early next week, but Sunday should be another day of below normal (10-20%) shower coverage before our rain chances increase by Monday.  Models continue to hint at some kind of tropical system coming northward out of the Caribbean late next week and Joe Bastardi of WeatherBell Analytics says the MJO (Madden-Julian Oscillation) is in the “favorable” (rising air) phase that would support development.   With the current upper low in place, it is a hostile environment for something to form.  That could change by late next week IF the models can be believed.  For now it appears much of the Gulf Coast & Southeast will be in for a wet Memorial Day weekend.  That should result in temperatures being less hot (upper 80s) instead of the low to mid 90s.  

 

The recent heavy rains over Florida has flip flopped them from drought to too wet in less than 2 weeks.  Mr. Bastardi mentioned that there is a connection to Florida turning wet in April-May & the return of El Nino.   If that were to happen by July-August, that could increase wind shear over the Gulf & Atlantic reducing the number of storms/hurricanes that might form this summer.  La Nina is gone, but El Nino has yet to develop.  Tropical development is way more than just having warm water temperatures.   That’s what makes predicting how many storms will form so uncertain.   Stay tuned!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Finally Some Rain...

It took quite a while, but T-Storms finally developed during daytime heating soaking much of the South Shore with significant rainfall (1-3”+).   It kept temps from reaching record highs, but 92 still was way above normal.  Rainfall amounts ranged from less than an inch in Kenner to nearly 4 “+ in the CBD.    My yard received 2.86” along with some pea size hail.  This was welcomed rainfall  and it quickly was absorbed by my yard.   Tomorrow should see less rain coverage as today’s upper disturbance pulls away.   Since much of the morning sunshine will be used in evaporating today’s rainfall, I suspect highs will be limited to the Lower 90s.  

 

Today’s GFS computer  runs do not show a low developing in the Caribbean moving into Florida later this month.   I really am concerned about model runs out 10-14 days.  Rarely are they accurate yet many believe in them and start hyping up a danger that really isn’t there.   Right now, all is quiet and that’s what we like to see going forward.   Stay tuned!