Years ago I met a guy named Dr. Neil Frank who was the Director of the National Hurricane Center. At one Hurricane Conference, Neil said…”those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it”. His message was if you build along the coast near water and your house gets wiped out by a hurricane, best not just build there again unless you build higher & stronger. History has a way of repeating. So tonight we have a disorganized mass of clouds over the eastern Caribbean extending northward over Puerto Rico into the Atlantic. Hurricane Hunters could not find a surface circulation , however, NHC says a depression or storm could form at any time in the next 1-2 days. So my memory recalls a system (Andrew) that formed roughly at the same time 24 years ago in a location not too far from this disturbance. Back then a blocking high to the north steered the strengthening storm right into south Florida. Tonight, a similar situation is set up so that anything that does form is UNLIKELY to head up the east coast into the Carolinas, but rather will turn west into Florida. My concern is this disturbance will do little over the next 1-2 days allowing the low level steering to keep it moving to the west. IF it quickly developed and strengthened into a Hurricane, it might make the turn to the north. Even then I see the blocking high steering it back towards the west. So the big unanswerable question is….where will this system end up? Up the east coast of Florida away from us? Or, into the Gulf bringing a threat to the northern Gulf? RIGHT NOW, if I had to choose, I would give a 30% chance of staying east of Florida & a 70% chance of getting into the Gulf. Am I nervous? Nah, not yet, since we don’t even have a depression tonight. I’ll get concerned when there is more CERTAINTY in the forecast. Remember, computer models have great difficulty with the weaker systems. We have another 2 days to watch before we send up any alerts.
Watching David Bernard this afternoon and tonight, he clearly showed the 3 ill-defined circulations on tonight’s satellite loops. Until one of them becomes the dominate circulation, don’t expect any rapid development. We’ll have time this weekend to do any stocking up. But why wait until the stores are packed with folks doing panic buying? If it were me, I would go buy the basics tomorrow and beat the rush. If this system becomes a storm and heads our way, I will be available to assist David & the FOX 8 Weather Team as I have done for the past 38 summers. This is summer 39 for me here in NOLA and let’s hope it continues to stay quiet for another 6 weeks. Be strong my friends !