Saturday, September 19, 2020

Beta Being Blasted...

What the heck is going on?  Satellite and radar loops are showing Beta is a system that is being attacked by Dry air and upper shear that has certainly weakened its appearance tonight.

Once we lose the daylight pictures, it's very hard to spot a surface center.  However, let me try.

The top pic shows where I think the center is (arrow), but look at the lack of the bright colors/colder cloud tops.  The water vapor shows extremely dry air west of beta and some SW shear over us.  Radar returns have diminished dramatically during the past several hours and surface pressure are RISING!
NHC is still keeping the max winds at 60 mph, but that's only over a small area.  They agree it has weakened and that is reflected in their intensity forecast that does not make this a hurricane.  Here's the 10 pm updated track.

Even though Beta's current motion is NNE at 2 mph, all guidance indicates it must turn to the west.  Plus look at the intensity guidance that really weakens it to a weak Tropical Storm or even a Depression as it nears the Texas Coast.  So what will make Beta go west.   As I explained on an earlier post, Hurricane Teddy could be a main reason as he moves up the east coast blocking the exit of a large, cold surface high over the northeast.  Take a look at what is now and what the GFS model predicts for next Tuesday.

Since our surface pressures are going up, that tells me Beta can't push out the building high and must move to the west.  More importantly, look at the drier dew points that are being drawn into Beta.
This system could just weaken down to a weak area of low pressure during the next 2 days.  regardless, the impacts here and over in Texas will be the heavy rain potential.

Most of the 10-15" amounts are still focused on the upper Texas coast and along the LA. coast from Pt. Fourchon westward.  One thing that is happening locally is our seas are increasing as the surface wind direction shifts from the NE around to more easterly.  Look for tides to remain above normal for the next several days.

Our gusty winds are more the result of the interaction between Beta and the large surface high over the Northeast.  I know many of you have mentioned that the models have been worthless during Sally & now with Beta.  Just remember with Sally, we did NOT have the amount of cooler and dry air surrounding her.  The environment around Beta is far more hostile.  Even IF the models are totally wrong and Beta continues coming our way, it is not much of a storm.  Tropical systems thrive with a warm, moist environment around them, but that is not the case tonight.   I'll probably not post again until after the 10 AM advisory tomorrow, unless something strange happens overnight.  Stay tuned!

Beta Comes to a Halt...

In yet another confusing development, Tropical Storm Beta is now stationary.  It was expected to slow down when it approached the Texas coast, but it has stopped way before what the forecast indicated.   There has been little change to the thinking as models still take it inland over Texas.

The European model brings Beta to the coast well SW of Houston as a Tropical Storm on Monday and then moves it inland and weakens it Tuesday & Wednesday.   The official NHC forecast follows the Euro except it does not take it as far inland.  It also no longer makes Beta a hurricane.

In their discussion, they again point out all the dry air over Texas and how that SHOULD keep Beta from becoming a hurricane.   Wouldn't it be nice for Beta to keep drifting into Texas and dissipate?  That could happen since we have a large surface high to the north that will be drawn southward by the circulation of Hurricane Teddy as he moves off the East Coast.

To be clear, I am NOT nervous about Tropical Storm Beta causing major impacts here.  We have received a good soaking rain today, but if Beta begins to move west and weaken, we should slowly see our weather improve, especially later next week.

The cloud shield with Beta is attached to the lower end of a cold front that has pushed into the northern Gulf.   The huge T-Storm cluster to its NE earlier today is almost gone while a smaller cluster of storms (red colors) remains around the center.  Again the main concerns are heavy rainfall that I feel is more likely along the upper Texas and western Louisiana coasts.

For nearly 4 decades I preached to follow the center line track trend as typically the eastern side is the wet & more dangerous side and the west side is much drier with far fewer impacts. Look at this storm.  Texas is dry while we are wet.  We want that center line to keep moving farther to the west once inland over Texas.  I don't want to see it move back out over the Gulf.  Next post around 10 PM.  Stay tuned!