Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Latest on Tropical Depression Harvey

Here is the National Hurricane's Center forecast for what is now tropical depression Harvey. I have
added an "H" at the location where the storm is forecast to be a minimal (in terms of wind speed) hurricane just before landfall. There could be a few tornadoes with this system. As the soils saturate due to the excessive rainfalls with this system, trees may uproot causing power failures in some areas.

The map shows the system, weakened to tropical storm strength, hovering around the Texas coast. This slow movement is a recipe for severe to catastrophic flooding. The European model (below)
shows widespread 15 to 20 inch total rainfalls over the Houston metropolitan area. In addition, there is a storm surge watch for the indicated areas along the Texas coast.
A storm surge of up to 4-6 feet above sea level may occur as Harvey makes landfall.

As to preparations: Be prepared to evacuate, because of rising waters, on short notice. You may wish to load the car in advance with essentials. This includes any family heirlooms.

I would obtain extra cash (ATM's and cash registers do not work during power failures) and fill my car with fuel. Fresh batteries are essential along with a flashlight. If you live in a flood-prone area, make a reservation at a hotel and know your escape route.

Behind the Scenes During Hurricane Andrew

I want to thank the National Hurricane Center's Dennis Feltgen for putting together an excellent piece on what is was like behind the scenes during Hurricane Andrew. Dennis' description was very familiar to me because it is very similar to what occurs at AccuWeather during a tornado outbreak, blizzard or other extreme weather.

Kudos to KC Chiefs' Neil Smith!

With major flooding expected in Texas (scroll down), former Kansas City Chiefs' great, Neil Smith, becomes a hero and also spreads a crucial message.

Hat Tip: Brandon Smith

First-Ever "Storm Surge Watch"

The NWS has issued a storm surge watch --  meaning a dangerous storm surge may occur -- for the section of the Texas coast highlighted in pink. It does include the parts of the Galveston Bay that are near Houston.
This is the very first time a storm surge watch has been issued by the NWS.

I'll have more on all of this late this afternoon or this evening.

Hurricane Watch Just Posted for Part of Coastal Texas

Tropical Depression Harvey is now forecast to strengthen to hurricane strength just before landfall (see the "H" I added to the NHC map). A hurricane watch and a storm surge watch from Port Mansfield to High Island due to a 4-6' surge expected along with sustained winds of around 75 mph.

There is the likelihood of life-threatening flash floods with the storm as it stalls near the Texas coast (see map).

I'll have more late this afternoon or evening, including safety suggestions.

Weather Bulletin!

Tropical Depression Harvey has re-formed in the Gulf of Mexico and is preliminarily forecast to move toward Texas with torrential rains and flooding.

More later this morning.

Does Basic Research Eventually Turn Into Something Useful?

A worthwhile article on the subject, here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tornado Watch in the Northeast

There is a tornado watch for the area above. I recommend you keep informed on the latest storm warnings.

That line of thunderstorms is already causing serious problems at the Northeast airports and in Toronto. Extra patience will be needed.

Monday, August 21, 2017

CURSES!! Foiled Again!!

I hope your eclipse viewing went much better than ours!!

I thought...maybe...parking across the street from a church might do the trick this time. No such luck. You'll note it was sunny when the photo was taken, about 15 minutes before totality.

It is a long story as to why we weren't able to go to my original point (which, of course, turned out clear) and this was my second choice. It and my third choice went down the tubes.
That is the eclipse (my camera was set to capture the low light) behind the dark cloud. Didn't miss it by much as you can see a little bit of blue sky to our southeast.

Final Cloud Forecast for 1pm

Here are two models that should have some skill and their cloud forecasts for 1pm CDT.


For the latest weather satellite imagery, go here. This link is good after sunrise.

Good luck and keep your eyes on the road!!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Meteorologists: "You Wouldn't Dare!"

From Richard Crowson, editorial cartoonist for the Wichita Eagle who has been following the weather forecasts for the eclipse. It isn't quite that bad. Scroll down.

I just looked at the latest computer models and I would not change the forecast below. However, it is important to note the forecasts -- in this case -- have low to moderate confidence. 

I will update again at mid-evening. 

9:30am Cloud Forecast for Eclipse

Based on the computer model that I believe will be best for this purpose, here is the cloud forecast for 1pm CDT tomorrow (Monday). Again, the two red lines delineate the zone of totality. The oval is the are where totality will be occurring at 1pm.
This forecast is less unfavorable that some of the others, especially as regards the Atchison, Kansas across the border to Kansas City.

This tendency is evident on an average of the last four forecasts (below).

According to the model, there is a lightning hazard showing up: Thunderstorms along several segments of the path.

The national NWS's cloud cover forecast looks like this, which is slightly more favorable in Nebraska.

I will update this forecast. I also urge you to follow me on Twitter @usweatherexpert to get my storm coverage. 

Sunday Fun: Amazing Eclipse Video

Weather Risks In the Eclipse Zone: Now Until 3pm Monday

Let's talk about the entire weather situation near and along the path of the eclipse tomorrow. 

Path of the eclipse pertinent to these forecasts.
There are going to be multiple hazards and given the reports of impromptu camping, etc., all of this becomes pertinent.

Severe Thunderstorms

Keep in mind that a "severe thunderstorm" is one with 1" or larger hail and/or wind gusts of 50 knots (which is 58 mph) or higher. The Storm Prediction Center uses a 5-level system for conveying these risks. 

For this afternoon and tonight, there is marginal chance (a 1 on the scale of 5) of severe thunderstorms in the dark green area.

Tomorrow -- the day of the eclipse -- the risk of severe thunderstorms increases. 
The yellow is a 2 on the scale of 5 with the darker green area still a 1. 

So, even though clouds are a problem, there is a safety issue with lightning, high winds and hail while caught in rural areas where there are few buildings for shelter. A car is adequate protection from lightning, high winds and hail (although the latter can ruin your windshield). If intense lightning is in the area, I recommend not touching the car's interior. 

And, there is yet another hazard. The NWS is forecasting a "slight" (level 2 on a 4 level scale) risk of flash flooding in the yellow area Monday.

Since so many people will be driving in unfamiliar areas, I highly recommend the AccuWeather app for your smartphone. When you install it, "allow" it to use location services. That way, it will follow you and provide storm warnings wherever you happen to be (provided there is a cell signal). 

I'll have a separate cloud forecast later this morning. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Central Eclipse Zone Forecast

Because I have seen forecasts for other parts of the path of totality, here is the best forecast I have at this time for the Nebraska-western Missouri portion of the path of totality.
The above is the NWS's 3km model valid at 1pm CDT Monday. The path of totality is bordered by the red lines and the black oval is the area of totality at 1pm.

Most all of the computer models (there are multiple versions that cover this period of time) show quite a few clouds across the region. They are consistent that conditions will be better from Scottsbluff to the west. Otherwise, there will be leftover cirrus and cirrostratus clouds left over from thunderstorms in Colorado the night before. In Missouri, there will likely be some leftover clouds from thunderstorms in Kansas.

I would not make any relatively minor changes in plans because of this (e.g., Liberty, MO versus Excelsior Springs) because the model is not that good. This forecast will be updated in the morning.