Friday, August 12, 2016

Why Not a Tropical Depression?

Our current nasty weather is being caused by a large area of low pressure that exhibits all the qualities of a tropical system.  The low formed over the NE Gulf on Saturday, moved northward into Georgia, and then westward into Louisiana.   Why it is not being designated a TD is probably due to the lack of low level winds.  Usually a TD has winds 30+.  That has not been the case with this system.   But it’s kind of like,  was it a tornado or straight line winds?  Damage is damage.  In this case, flooding is flooding.   And there may be more to come as I’m seeing the low level swirl of radar echoes centered between Hammond & Gonzales drifting to the SOUTH.  I’m not sure if this is just a temporary movement, but if it continues, that motion would take the center back over the Gulf by daybreak.  FOX 8 has already scheduled a special Saturday morning newscast between 6-9 AM to mainly focus on the rising rivers on the North Shore, but also to deal with any breaking weather if this system does indeed get over the Gulf.


As you know, I spent 38 years at Ch. 8 so I’m definitely biased.  However, watching today’s coverage of the flooding by various channels clearly showed that for the FOX 8 reporters, this was not their first rodeo.  Rob Masson & Natasha Robin were outstanding with their knowledge of previous flood events while Shelby Latino, Bruce Katz & David Bernard clearly explained why the severe flooding was only on the North Shore.  As we hit the heart (Aug 15- Sept. 30) of hurricane season, we’ll have to be prepared to deal with more tropical systems that might not involve evacuations, but could cause heavy rain events that produce massive flooding.  I remember a slow moving weak hurricane (Danny) back in the 80s that stalled over Mobile Bay for 3 days dumping up to 43” on the West side of the Bay.  Can you imagine getting 40+ inches of rain inside our levee system?  The severe flooding back in 1995 was caused by 15-20”+ or about half the Danny total.   It’s part of what we deal with living so close to a tropical body of water.   Let’s keep up with the weather tomorrow & Sunday in case this low pressure turns into something worse.  Stay tuned!

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