Tag Archives: forecast

Benefits of living in the South: 70s in December

It’s definitely not going to feel very Decemberish this week, that’s for sure. Over the next couple days, we’ll be mired in occasional showers as a trough of low pressure is dropping in. This should clear out and bring us a very nice rest of the week.

It’s just not going to feel like December. NWS keeps us in the 70s for a majority of the week. Yes, 70s! It’ll be nice not to wake up and have to scrape my car, but still — the warmth will make it that much harder to get motivated to sit online and do Christmas shopping. The models seem to keep this warmth in play up through this weekend; temperatures seem to only begin to moderate closer to normal by the beginning of next week when another disturbance comes through. Don’t lose track of your sweaters, but keep the short sleeves handy through this week!

Experience The Warmth

We in Charleston have reverted back to October, apparently. If you’ve stepped outside, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the return of warm, mid-70s temperatures, Charlestonian humidity and a familiar urge to dodge mosquitoes. Funk-nasty. This is happening thanks to a system pumping a very warm southerly flow into the area.

Well, this sort of thing doesn’t last too long in December, and typically, these temperature differences resolve themselves with force. A fairly potent storm system is sweeping through the middle of the country, causing plenty of problems with severe weather across Texas and into Mississippi and Alabama. So, as you might expect, we’ve got a slight risk of severe weather tomorrow, which primarily hinges on how much sunshine peeks through before the front arrives. In fact, the outer portions of the storm are showing up on radar.

So, keep an eye out during the day tomorrow — it could get a little rough at times. It’ll be through by Friday, and we’ll get back into upper 50s for highs (though the lows aren’t currently projected to be as low as they have been, which is good for my getting up on time). One thing is for certain, this late fall has been anything but normal; we just can’t seem to figure that out this time around.

Temperatures plunge again

Temperatures are once again falling rapidly at this hour; locations inland a few miles such as West Ashley, Mt. Pleasant, and Summerville are already seeing temperatures dropping below the mid-40s. Chances are good for another frosty morning throughout the Lowcountry as temperatures are once again expected to flirt with freezing in spots. I definitely need to locate my windshield scraper for that morning commute! Temperatures will rebound into the lower 60s with copious amounts of sun, though, so make sure to get out and enjoy your Thursday a bit.

The final word on Hanna; Ike approaches

Full Path of Hanna, From Genesis to End

After Tropical Storm Hanna gave us some much-needed rain Friday, it turned northeast and hit hyperspeed and has made conditions quite interesting going up the Eastern seaboard, dumping a lot of rain and causing some brief flooding issues from North Carolina up into New Hampshire. It’s lost tropical characteristics now, and the Hurricane Center has issued the final advisory for Hanna, which will go down as a reasonably bizarre, devil of a storm to try to predict.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Hanna actually did have some winds. Francis Shepherd had some videos of some of Hanna’s wind and rain from Deltaville, VA on Saturday morning. While the winds didn’t seem too exceptionally strong in those videos, that’s certainly more than I saw from my humble abode in West Ashley.

Ike Satellite Photo

Hurricane Ike lashed a Hanna-ravaged Turks and Caicos Islands and is going to give the Bahamas quite a ride today before it slams into Cuba, likely maintaining Category 4 strength throughout. Evacuations have been underway in the Florida Keys for the last day or two; first, tourists were asked to leave, and now residents are being evacuated as the Keys are under a hurricane watch. They likely won’t see the brunt of Ike’s fury, but even Category 2 winds can cause severe problems on the Keys.

From there, it’s anybody’s guess where Ike will end up. Here’s the path, which could point it anywhere from south of Texas to just to the west of Pensacola.

Hurricane Ike:  Projected Path, 11am 09/07

The forecast has Ike taking a beating from Cuba, but eventually getting it back together in the Gulf and becoming a Category 3 again. Ike’s got folks along the Gulf Coast worried, and rightfully so; this could be a force to be reckoned with through this week. A lot of the folks I followed for Gustav are watching Ike extremely closely, and making preparations now just in case. While it shouldn’t affect us in the Carolinas, thankfully, we’ll be watching the Gulf Coast closely, hoping folks there get out of harm’s way.

11PM advisory: Lifting northward

Hanna’s starting to lift northward of Charleston. The 11PM fix put it roughly about 60 miles east-southeast of Charleston, and I’m willing to bet it’s pulled even or even slightly north of Charleston now, based on some of the radar I’ve been looking at. The advisory also says that it’s moving north at 20; however, I’m seeing strong indications that the turn to the northeast has begun and is now moving in that direction. Landfall is expected just north of Myrtle Beach within the next few hours.

The advisory canceled the tropical storm warning south of Edisto; I could see this being whittled back even further as time goes on. The Hurricane Watch for our area was also discontinued. There’s a chance Hanna could still become a hurricane — it’s been trying to form an eyewall for the past couple hours, and the pressure is as low as you’ll ever see for a tropical storm — but shear is and dry air are giving it one hell of a fight.

Hanna’s dropped plenty of beneficial rain on the Charleston area. The usual spate of flooding has happened; but this happens whenever it rains normally, much less when a tropical system swings through.

I’ll be interested to hear what comes of the postmortem from Hanna. This has been one heck of a storm for many reasons, whether it be its odd track deviations or its odd strengthening habits. It’s been a great learning experience, as well.

I probably won’t be awake for landfall. Here’s hoping that folks in Myrtle Beach and throughout North Carolina come through alright; I suspect things will be okay, though. This storm’s moving incredibly quickly, so widespread flooding won’t be a major issue, and the winds probably won’t get past Category 1, much less tropical storm force.

For now, this will sign off the advisory-by-advisory posting for the Charleston area for Hanna. I’ve made this official by cracking a beer.

I’ll have a recap of Hanna sometime tomorrow or Sunday; right now, I need rest before coverage ramps up for Ike, which is a damn dangerous, scary, and beautiful storm.

2PM: Hanna headed to hurricane strength again

Hanna’s getting it together in a hurry. The 2PM advisory took it to the threshold of hurricane force — a 70 MPH tropical storm. It’s also started heading north at 20, a bit earlier than the forecast track first pegged it, too — which may have implications for the forecast track at 5PM.

So far there’s been some decent, if short-lived, rain, heavy at times through the area. Bands have stopped and started — typical of a tropical system. A third squall is about to come on shore now; these will increase in frequency and strength as time goes on. Nothing out of the ordinary so far, though. Post some of your observations in comments — I’m curious to see what you’re seeing.

Radar is rolling in the Charleston Weather broadcast, and I’ll have skycam shots at times too. Back to the air I go…

5am: Leftward Shift

Tropical Storm Hanna, 5am Advisory:  Forecast Track

Hanna had another trick for us up her sleeve: She accelerated her forward speed to 20 MPH, still heading northwest, and thus the track has shifted left a bit. We’re now looking at a landfall from anywhere from northern Charleston County to Myrtle Beach again, roughly 2am Saturday (though if Hanna continues to accelerate, this timeframe may also speed up).

Hanna 2am Forecast Models

The model consensus bears out a landfall spread roughly from Beaufort back to the NC/SC border, but interestingly enough, the Wilmington landfall that was fairly certain yesterday is no longer even in the cards, according to this run. The 8am runs should shed more light.

The Shift’s Impacts

5am:  Hanna estimated windfield

We can now expect fairly sustained tropical storm force winds in the afternoon through midnight, including winds over 60 MPH at times with gusts near hurricane force, with the worst of the weather coming when it’s dark. The NWS forecast for today calls for 50-60 MPH sustained winds through the night, especially along the coast; those winds can cause power outages, so now’s the time to make sure you’ve got your batteries in place for your flashlight, because it’s a fairly safe bet you’ll need it. The leftward shift also means inland impacts through South and North Carolina will be increased, with the possibility of sustained tropical storm force winds spreading very close to even Greenville, SC now.

Vitals

5am Hanna Satellite

Hanna’s still a 65 MPH tropical storm, but it’s pressure has dropped to 989 millibars, suggesting that it has strengthened slightly and could continue to do so. The possibility still exists for it to become a minimal hurricane by landfall, though that’s a matter of semantics when dealing with the differences between a minimal hurricane and a strong tropical storm. Its satellite appearance is still not wonderful, but there is a bit of a flareup of storms on the leftward edge, which is captured well by Melbourne’s radar site.

Hanna as seen by KMLB radar site, Melbourne, FL

Continuing Coverage

Coverage continues throughout the day. Stick close to here and Twitter for updates, including on-air times (which may be fairly soon as conditions begin to deteriorate).

11am: Hanna barely clinging to tropical characteristics

Hanna’s looking rough this morning. It’s back down to 65 MPH winds, and there’s a lot of speculation that Hanna is becoming extratropical. NHC acknowledges Hanna’s struggle to remain tropical in the discussion:

VERY DRY AIR ASSOCIATED WITH THE UPPER-LEVEL LOW OVER THE
NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS IS CHOKING OFF CONVECTION NEAR THE CORE OF
HANNA…AND THE CYCLONE HAS A VERY SUBTROPICAL APPEARANCE.
CONVECTION HAS DIMINISHED SUBSTANTIALLY OVER THE PAST 6-12 HOURS
AND THE HIGHEST FLIGHT-LEVEL AND SFMR WINDS HAVE COME DOWN AS WELL.
BASED ON SOME 52 KT SFMR WINDS AROUND 11Z…THE INITIAL INTENSITY
IS LOWERED TO 55 KT.

Here’s the latest track, which returns more to the rightward path that we started seeing emerge during the day yesterday before the 11:00 came out:

The wind field is still pretty broad — 310 miles, to be exact — but largely to the north and northeast. We in Charleston still stand a decent chance of seeing tropical storm force winds for a time, and some rain, but with the dry air influencing the storm as well as the continued rightward bias in the models, impacts along our coast will be lessened.

News 2 reports that Gov. Mark Sanford has called for voluntary evacuations of Horry and Georgetown counties; he also said that Hanna might be a “dress rehearsal for a thing called Ike.” Ike is bothersome to me; I’m crunched for time now but will have more later on.

5am: Hurricane watches now up for the area

5am Hanna Watches

As of 5am, hurricane watches are now up from Surf City, NC, to just north of Hilton Head, SC. Tropical storm watches extend from roughly Hilton Head down to almost the Georgia/Florida border.

Hanna’s still a 65 MPH storm, headed to the northwest at 11 MPH. Its satellite presentation has been less than impressive this morning; however, strengthening is still fairly likely and Category 1 strength at landfall is to be expected.

Tropical Storm Hanna 5am 09/04:  Wind Field

The 5am track speeds up the timeline a bit and shifts landfall slightly left. As of now we’re looking at a landfall a bit closer to the NC/SC border (almost right on top of Wilmington) around 2am Saturday. Tropical storm force winds should begin to arrive in Charleston around noon tomorrow, or so. Today is another clear day, so today is the day to finish your preparations. Conditions will turn drastically downhill as Friday comes along. On the current track — still very subject to change — the center of the storm will probably pass to the east of here from around 7 to 9 PM Friday night. Once this occurs, conditions will begin to improve as Hanna’s not expected to have much on its southwest side.

More after 8 or so with the new model runs and the intermediate advisory.

11 PM: Hanna begins northwest turn; watches likely tomorrow

Tropical Storm Hanna 11PM Advisory 09/03:  Satellite Photo

The 11PM advisory is now out on a steadily reorganizing Hanna. Winds remain around 65 MPH, and pressure is sticking around 989 millibars. The Turn has really started to happen, as NHC states forward motion is north-northwest at 13 MPH.

The Track

Tropical Storm Hanna 11PM Advisory 09/03:  Track + Uncertainty Cone

The track seems to have shifted a bit more leftward before landfall; there’s still a fair bit of uncertainty. In the discussion, NHC acknowledges low confidence in the track, citing some spread in the forecast models.

Tropical Storm Hanna 11PM Advisory 09/03:  Forecast Models

There’s good consensus for a turn to the north and then the northeast; the big question is where it will happen. There’s decent consensus heading toward Wilmington, but there’s spread on the western periphery of the consensus — including a HWRF model that generally gets a fair bit of weight from NHC forecasters — hence the uncertainty and the slight leftward jog in the track.

NHC is saying that hurricane watches are likely for a “large portion of the southeast US coast” by tomorrow morning. It’s probably safe to assume that we in Charleston will be included in this watch.

It’s worth noting that the storm will be relatively short-lived; it’ll be increasing in forward speed throughout its approach. In Charleston, it’s likely that Hanna will have largely cleared the area by Saturday night. This is good for reducing the threat of severe flooding. There will still be heavy rains, but at least they will be short-lived.

Effects

Charleston should start feeling effects from Hanna as Friday wears on. As it gets closer, winds will increase. I’ve been able to use an experimental forecast wind field product as a decent guideline for what we might see here.

Tropical Storm Hanna 11PM Advisory 09/03:  Forecast Wind Field

The forecast says that we’ll see some of the worst of the weather Friday night into early Saturday morning, as the center passes within 75 miles or so of Charleston. Sustained winds of 58 miles per hour or greater — as indicated by the purple shading in the map above — are possible for a brief period. As mentioned above, rain totals will probably hit 6″ in some places, but this won’t be a storm that sits and spins and dumps 30″ of rain like a Fay over Florida.

Again, a lot of this is contingent on something resembling the current track holding. There’s more time for stuff to wobble back and forth, and Charleston is still in the cone of uncertainty, so there’s still stuff to watch. However, the direct strike scenario is looking less and less likely.

Closures, etc.

Keep an eye to media outlets and other sources for closure information in the Charleston area tomorrow, as I expect most of those closures (or lack thereof) would be announced during the day. A good resource for this is the @news2 Twitterstream.

Check out Lowcountry Bloggers’ Storm Buzz

The Lowcountry Bloggers roundup site has launched Storm Buzz, an automated feed of hurricane-related posts from the Lowcountry blogosphere. This is a good one-stop resource to see what Charleston bloggers have to say about Hanna and Ike.

Speaking of Ike…

Ike exploded into a dangerous but equally gorgeous Category 4 storm during the day Wednesday. It’s in a perfect environment for strengthening and could be a 5 before it’s all said and done. It’s expected to weaken to a 3; tentatively, it’s headed to the Bahamas, but there’s a lot of spread and uncertainty. It could recurve out into the sea — which would be ideal, of course — or it could threaten the U.S. within the next five or so days. Ike is one to watch because it’s expected to retain major hurricane status as it traverses the Atlantic, with fluctuations in intensity characteristic of huge storms.

For now, though, all eyes will continue to be on Hanna as she makes her move toward the coast. I’ll have more in the morning, probably shortly after the 8am advisory unless there’s a major shift in track that needs immediate attention.

Coverage Continues

Another video briefing will be broadcast at about 9:15 PM, with a roundup of the day’s information and hopefully a better fix on what Hanna’s going to do. She’s still got a history of behaving badly and needs to be watched closely.

Coverage will be more frequent as conditions deteriorate; I’m planning on bringing in additional folks to assist with coverage. Additional streams are planned for as long as power is viable. Now’s the time to follow @chswx and my own personal Twitter account for information and accounts of the storm, too.