Nothing like checking the BlackBerry and seeing not one, not two, but four areas of potential tropical development in the Atlantic. While the storm in the Caribbean (#2 on the map above) has the best shot at developing soon, the storm near the Lesser Antilles (storm 4) could see some slow development over the next few days and might be worth watching. Read tonight’s Tropical Weather Outlook for more. They said it was going to be a busy year — I suspect we’ll see a lot of outlooks like these over the next few months.
A very ragged Tropical Storm Hanna was classified at 11am by the National Hurricane Center. Hanna — aka Tropical Depression 8 and Invest 95L — has never been a great-looking storm as it’s been fighting some shear, and it’s definitely been torn to shreds even more as the day goes on. But Hanna’s been a fighter, and it’s forecast to hang in there and gradually become a hurricane over the next several days.
Hanna’s on a west-northwest track right now; it’s expected to make more of a northerly jog. That much is reasonably certain; but then things get really dicey later in the week as there is significant disagreement in the models as to what is going to happen. Right now, the official forecast slows it down and turns it toward Florida. (Bliss.) Historically speaking, storms near this location at this time of year almost always recurve to sea (with the exception of a certain Category 5 beast named Andrew). However, there are some exceptions, and some storms have gotten pretty close…so, as always, got to keep an eye to this one.
Be sure to swing by Jeff Masters’ blog at Weather Underground. There’s a whole string of waves chugging their way off the coast of Africa. Things could get simply CRAZY in the tropics in the next week. That’s the peak of the season for you, though…
I woke up, went scrolling through my Twitterstream and caught this post by Brian Neudorff — it looks like Tropical Depression 8 has been classified from the former Invest 95L, and this is definitely one for us in Charleston to watch. Models seem to have it taking a southerly dive (!) but again, models have not been the most accurate thing in the world these days, and these can and will change at a moment’s notice. For now, NHC guidance follows the models and sees TD8 becoming Hanna later today, and then gradually develops a minimal hurricane by the weekend. It’s early yet, and a lot can and probably will change, so as my broken record (entitled “Hurricane Preparedness Techno Remix”) likes to play, definitely keep an eye on this one if you’re anywhere from Florida to North Carolina.
The last time I spoke of Gustav, it was a rapidly intensifying tropical storm at 60 MPH; it eventually became a hurricane and made landfall on Haiti as a high Category 1 storm. Haiti’s terrain has subsequently torn the storm apart. As of 11:00PM, it’s only packing 45 MPH winds. Pressure’s up significantly to 999 millibars (29.49″ of mercury), and is a total shadow of what it was a day or so ago.
While it’s fairly weak now, Gustav’s going to move back over the water soon — some very steaming hot water to be exact. That, combined with a fairly favorable upper-air setup, will help Gustav get its act back together. The official NHC forecast has it reaching Category 2 and hitting somewhere along the Gulf Coast by Monday night.
These long-range forecasts are tricky. The cone of uncertainty in the five-day in particular is an incredible spread that takes up most of the Gulf. A lot of buzz is being generated because the path currently takes the center extremely close to New Orleans; this, combined with the upcoming three-year anniversary of Katrina, has a lot of folks really worried. Louisiana has already declared a state of emergency well in advance of Gustav’s potential arrival.
If you’ve got interests along the Gulf Coast, it definitely behooves you to watch this thing closely. It really could end up anywhere along the coast at this point.
As for Invest 95, it’s started to flare some convection up, but it’s still awfully hard to identify a circulation and it seems to be a fairly hostile environment at the moment. It’s just drifting around; it’s starting to turn a bit more northwest, but it’s tough to say exactly what it wants to do. Models seem to want to develop it into a Category 1 in a few days and recurve it out dangerously close to Bermuda, but other models also turn it more southward and send it toward Florida. This is, of course, all depending on whether it actually survives. 95’s been in and out of the NHC’s radar, so it’s hanging in there, but it’s still too early to say exactly what it will do beyond bring some rain and wind over the islands.
Oh, and the tornado outbreaks over the last two days in the upstate of SC and into North Carolina? Those were all from the Ghost of Fay. Gotta love systems that overstay their welcome. :)
Fay, Fay, Fay. During these storm cycles I write so much about a storm that I honestly get sick and tired of the name and hope to never hear it again for another six years. (Typically, that’s the case.) While we’re writing the last chapter on Fay here in Charleston, it’ll be around our friends on the Gulf Coast for quite a while it looks like, as it treks toward a record fourth Florida landfall enroute to stalling out and continuing to dump tons and tons of rain on an area that’s had enough.
Yesterday brought the Lowcountry a tornado watch. While most of the tornadic activity was concentrated in Georgia, where there was a steady stream of warnings, there was a short-lived rotation in Hampton and Jasper counties prompting a warning. There weren’t any reports of such weather in Charleston, though.
Rain’s the story here, as it is in most other places (but certainly not to the degree that it is in Florida, where they’re getting it in feet). NWS record-keeping indicates a new record for rainfall downtown yesterday, with 2.16″ of rain. The College of Charleston weather station indicates 2.03″ of rain, most of which came down in a squall between 11am and noon.
We’re still contending with some scattered showers from Fay, but since it’s actually starting to move away a little bit, this should actually come to an end by tonight. In fact, I’ve seen some sun for the first time in a few days…it’s a nice change.
As Fay leaves Charleston, there’s two more items of interest in the Atlantic. Invest 94 has been on the radar for about a week as having potential for development, but it hasn’t gotten it together. A look at the models and its position shows that it’s going to maintain a fairly southerly track, so I don’t anticipate this one would be much of an issue for us here at home. Invest 95 may be something to watch as time goes on, at least track-wise: It’s at a latitude that seems to foreshadow some threat to the U.S. in the next couple of weeks, though there’s some significant divergence toward the end on where it’d end up. A strike against 95 is that its satellite presentation, or near-lack thereof. It’s got a little bit of convection, but the circulation is not well defined and it would have a long way to go before it became anything significant. It’s still worth peeking at every now and again, though, as conditions are generally favorable for slow growth…and it is still the peak of hurricane season, after all.