Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Staying Mainly Dry on Wednesday

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

WAFB First Alert Quickcast:

- increasing rain chances through the week
- watching a weak disturbance in the northern Gulf
On this anniversary of 1992’s Category 3 Andrew landfall in Louisiana, it’s a good time to stop and consider: are you ready if something tropical pops-up and threatens us in the coming weeks?  Louisiana has been ‘hit’ by nearly three-dozen hurricanes in the past 100 years.  A look at the Louisiana history books shows us that since 1900, the 4-week period from August 25 through September 21 (28 days) is extremely active for the Bayou State, accounting for 16 hurricane ‘hits’ including 6 ‘major’ hurricanes (Category 3 or greater).  That’s nearly half of all the hurricanes to hit the Louisiana since 1900 and half of all the ‘majors’ to make landfall here.
Are you prepared?  “Get a Game Plan!”
We enjoyed a fairly decent August day today.  Not only did many of us miss out on the 90°s this afternoon, but with dew point temperatures running in the 60°s to low 70°s for much of the viewing area, we put some “weather distance” between us and the oppressive heat-and-humidity we suffered through last week and this past weekend.  But it is still August … and it is supposed to be hot … and the 90°s will return.
As you’ve probably heard, we have an area of action in the northern/northwestern Gulf that we’ve been watching for the past couple of days.  There are signs of a cyclonic spin but there is no clear organization at the surface and most of the regional convection (t-storm activity) is located north and east of that spin.  Given its current state and the disturbance’s expected movement towards the west, it looks as though it will reach the Texas coast before it can get organized.  That’s a big reason why the National Hurricane Center has it listed at just a 10% chance for development over the next two days (about all the time it will have over water if it doesn’t stall).  Frankly, we think that 10% may be a little on the low side and we must always be wary of anything spinning over the very warm Gulf waters at this time of year.  But the way it looks to us, no matter what becomes of this, it is not going to be a tropical problem for Louisiana -- possibly a rainmaker for some of the southwestern parishes, but that’s about it.
That same northern Gulf low is partly responsible for our lowered humidity today, with its counter-clockwise spin pulling air into our region from the ENE and NE.  But as we head into the next couple of days, we’re expecting a return of a more southerly flow over the WAFB viewing area.  That means back to our summer Gulf humidity: making it a bit stickier during the day, a little warmer and muggier at night, and increasing the afternoon rain chances as well.
We’ll stay with highs in the low 90°s through Friday, with morning minimums back into the mid 70°s for most of us by mid-week.  We’ll go with a 20% to 30% rain chance for Wednesday, a 30% to 40% chance for Thursday, then up it to 50% or better for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Sadly, it looks like half of more of us will be dodging the rains each day through the Labor Day weekend.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic, Category 1 Cristobal will continue ‘his’ slow movement to the north and NNE for the next day or so.  All indications are that Cristobal will miss Bermuda as ‘he’ accelerates on his way towards the cooler waters of the North Atlantic.  The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is also eyeing a tropical wave located roughly 800 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.  However, development appears rather unlikely over the next couple of days, at least, with the NHC only posting a 20% chance for development through the next five days.

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