Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Cindy's Convoluted Circulation Continues...

Wow…I’m not sure where to begin.  Let’s start with the IR satellite loop that still shows the center of Cindy totally exposed with all of the storms now wrapping around to the north & west sides.  To me Cindy has really slowed down and that is why her large wind field has not weakened very much.  Persistent SSE winds are not allowing water to recede out of Lake P. and, coupled with the runoff from today’s heavy rains across the Lake, water levels are actually rising despite the fact Cindy is over 200+ miles to our west.  I don’t think the center will reach shore until sometime Thursday morning.  Here’s my concern.  As David pointed out on the forecast model, we’re likely to see several bands of heavy rainfall develop overnight.  Where these band set up will make a huge difference in what kind of weather you get tomorrow.  If you are lucky and stay between bands, Thursday will be mostly sunny with just a passing shower.  However, if you get stuck under one of these bands, you will stay rainy with another 3-6” possible on top of what we’ve had already.  Until Cindy gets farther inland and her wind field decreases, I expect more high water outside the levee protection system.   Some rain bands could still be around on Friday, but I expect to see gradual drying.   It will take probably until Saturday for waters to drain out of Lake P.


Now to recap.   Let’s be honest.   Long range computer models hinted at a tropical system in the Gulf 7-10 days ahead of time.   Where they were wrong was on the timing and location.  NHC original had a track much closer to us before finally settling along the TX/LA coast for landfall.  Here’s what surprised me.   I have never in 45+ years tracking storms & hurricanes seen a system that was so lopsided initially and then became totally devoid of storms during its lifetime.  All of the weather stayed away from the center.  In addition, I was surprised by the power of the winds from such a disorganized storm.  We all should take note how high the waters rose in the Lake,( with only a weak Tropical Storm) and outside the levees all because of days of strong SSE winds.  It really matters what side of the storm you are on.  This will not be our last tropical threat this season so we must pay attention to where that “centerline” track goes. Cindy clearly showed us what side of the storm is the worse, however, as she has slowed down approaching the coast tonight, much of the strongest storms are now rotating over the western side.  Typically, the east side will get the heaviest rains and strongest winds & storm surges.   Cindy should also tell us that when a real storm comes (Cat. 2+), you better think EVACUATION.  I know I’m thinking full house generator!  My concerns going forward?   After seeing all the water over the roads down to Grand Isle, on the NOLA lakefront and along the Mississippi Gulf coast, I feel we have not addressed the low spots that will flood blocking the main evacuation route out of NOLA.  It bothers me that going out I-10 to the east just before you get on the long bridge, it would take only 4-5 feet rise in Lake P. to cut off that route to safety.  In addition, we know the same problems exist going out I-10 to the west at La Place and I-55 to the north.  The state has done nothing to fix those issues exposed during Isaac back in 2012.  Bottom line…if you choose to evacuate, leave early to 1) avoid the gridlock and 2) to avoid having the roadways flood closing them down.  We can hope this will be our only threat this season, but signs point to more problems coming down the road.  Stay tuned!

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