Thursday, August 15, 2013

No Camille this weekend...

Saturday is the 44th anniversary of Hurricane Camille, a small but super powerful (Cat. 5) storm that slammed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  I was 3 months shy of graduating from the University of Michigan and remember how primitive our storm tracking & forecasting was back then.   No computer models, no satellite loops (1 still picture every 6 hours!) just paper maps.  Forecasting required knowledge & experience.  Today?  All you hear is “the models say…”  I find myself using that phrase too, but I try to explain WHY the models are doing what they’re doing.  Will we see another Camille explode from the tropical wave over the Yucatan?  Well, “most models say” NO.  WHY?  Because there remains an upper low over the central Gulf presenting a hostile environment for development.   However, there still is a heavy rain threat mainly from Biloxi eastward to the Florida beaches beginning Saturday into Sunday.  Will Fernand form this weekend?   He might, but it won’t be over the northern Gulf.  “Most models say” he will form over the Bay of Campeche and move into Mexico south of Brownsville, TX.  Stay tuned!   


Speaking of staying tuned, the MJO is headed towards the favorable (rising air) phase for tropical development during the next 2-3 weeks.  I expect to see a burst of activity after the 20th with perhaps several named storms happening at the same time.  The real question is… will the plume of dry air that keeps coming off of Africa prevent development of the “Cape Verde” long track storms?   I’ll let you know in another 30 days!

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