Archive for August, 2012

TORRENTIAL RAINFALL INUNDATES PARTS OF HAMPTON ROADS… TROPICAL STORM ISAAC MAY THREATEN THE GULF COAST WITH HURRICANE CONDITIONS, BUT THERE IS LOTS OF UNCERTAINTY WITH THE FUTURE INTENSITY OF THIS STORM

 A weather system that reminded me of a remnant of a tropical cyclone inundated parts of Virginia with copious amounts of rain on Saturday. The highest total that I saw was nine inches of rain, which was on the peninsula. Here in the Southside Hampton Roads, only light amounts were recorded. In my backyard, only two tenths of an inch of rain fell. We still have a weak disturbance over the area so we may see some showers/storms again today (Sunday) but the coverage is not expected to be as widespread as yesterday.  Rain chances should lessen somewhat on Monday but they will probably go back up during the mid-week period as a cold front approaches the area. The remnants of Isaac may play a role in our weather later in the week but that is far from certain at this time. Isaac is still not a very organized system, and it really never was. However, it is back over very warm water and is expected to continue its west-northwest movement into the Gulf of Mexico. One big question now is whether it will intensify. Conditions should be favorable overall for intensification. The forecast track right now brings the storm to somewhere between the Florida panhandle and the eastern Louisiana coastline. The other question is how strong of a storm will it be. It’s a large storm so folks in that area should not just pay attention to where the center makes landfall.

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It’s just more of the same for Hampton Roads… Some clouds, seasonal temperatures, and just a very slight chance of a shower/storm… Tropical Storm Isaac is struggling with dry air and a disorganized center of circulation

The weather map has basically looked the same for the past few days. The stalled front located off of the Southeast Coast is still there and so is the trough over the Eastern states. The southwesterly flow aloft is bringing up high and mid-level cloudiness at times. Weak high pressure to our northwest is causing a light northeast to east flow, which is keeping our temperatures rather comfortable. However, with the warm water temperatures, the onshore flow isn’t exactly refreshing. The warm water actually increases the humidity levels and it is causing some cumulus cloud development during the late mornings and afternoons as the air moves inland and rises due to daytime heating. This pattern should stay about the same for the next couple of days. Although rain chances are low, a shower or storm cannot be ruled out.  Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Isaac is now moving south of Puerto Rico and it is struggling with dry air in the mid-levels of the atmosphere. The storm is also quite disorganized and at times, it actually had multiple centers of circulation. This is never good for intensification. The storm is expected to become better organized as the air moistens up. As the storm moves near the island of Hispaniola, the mountainous island will most likely weaken the developing tropical cyclone if it passes close enough. That should be temporary, though and it will be interesting to see what happens when it re-emerges over the water. An expected turn to the northwest is expected due to the trough over the Eastern States. Folks in Florida need to play close attention to this storm as it is expected to impact the weather there beginning over the weekend. Everyone in the Southeast part of the country and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico needs to also watch this storm’s progress. That’s it for now.

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The stationary frontal boundary is still impacting our weather bringing cloudiness and an occasional isolated shower or storm… Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to intensify but its interaction with the island of Hispaniola may cause the storm to weaken temporarily

The stationary frontal boundary that has been affecting our weather the past several days is still to our southeast off the Carolina coast. The effects lately have just been lots of clouds and just an occasional shower or storm in spots. Rainfall has been limited and it has mostly been confined to areas to our south and east. There will continue to be a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm through Friday.  Weather Forecasters are expecting high pressure to gain control of our weather this weekend lessening the chance of rain. Then, all eyes will be on Tropical Storm Isaac which should be getting closer to Cuba by then. The storm is showing signs of intensification as its structure is improving with time. It is continuing on its westward track. The trough over the Eastern US that has been affecting our weather will probably impact the eventual track of Isaac as it will probably cause the storm to turn more northwest. That could pose a major problem for Florida. However, the storm’s track should take it close enough the the mountainous island of Hispaniola which will disrupt the storm’s circulation. If it gets close enough to the island, the storm will weaken before emerging back on the water. How fast the storm can recover if at all will be the big question. Could it affect our weather here in Hampton Roads? It’s too early to tell but that turn to the northwest that is expected may bring the storm’s moisture our way. If the storm tracks further west, it could go into the Gulf of Mexico. And if the storm tracks further east it could impact the East Coast directly. So, this is definitely a storm to monitor very closely. Then, there is another developing system further east but we have time to worry about that one. Let’s deal with Isaac first.

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A STALLED FRONTAL BOUNDARY SHOULD KEEP OUR WEATHER ON THE UNSETTLED SIDE THROUGH MID-WEEK… THE NEXT TROPICAL CYCLONE MAY BE FORMING VERY SOON

Weather forecasters have a very difficult forecast due to the frontal boundary that has stalled just to our south and east and the persistent trough that is in place across the Eastern states. Although there is a chance of a shower or thunderstorm at any time over the next few days, it is literally impossible to predict with any certainty what areas will see rain and how much will fall. Speaking of rain, I picked up about an inch and a half of rain in my backyard since Saturday. There will probably be some sunshine at times but clouds should dominate through Wednesday. It appears now that once we get to Friday, the chance of rain will finally be low enough to remove showers from the forecast. The dry weather should last through next weekend. At least that’s the way it looks right now. What about the tropics? Gordon has become extra-tropical as it heads towards Europe. There is an area of disturbed weather moving steadily westward in the Central North Atlantic that may become the seaon’s next tropical cyclone. It doesn’t look very healthy now since there is a lot of dry air around this system. However, conditions may be improving over the next few days. Meteorologists are concerned that should this develop into a tropical cyclone, it may eventually impact parts of the Southeastern U.S., especially Florida. That does not mean that anything is imminent. Folks should monitor this storm for any future development. There is another area of concern further east-southeast of this system. Since we are now entering what normally is the most active part of the Atlantic hurricane season, you should make sure that you are prepared just in case a storm threatens your area. That’s it for now. I’ll have an update Wednesday morning.

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AN UNSETTLED WEATHER PATTERN DEVELOPS BRINGING THE CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS… AN AREA OF DISTURBED WEATHER IN THE DEEP TROPICS WILL HAVE TO BE WATCHED

Just a brief update on our current weather situation…. The threat of severe weather has diminished here in Hampton Roads. In situations like this when we have a frontal system over the area, areas to the south and east of the front will have the best chance of severe weather. In this case, that was areas of North Carolina. That is where the air is most unstable as it is warmer and humidity levels are higher. Cool temperatures and clouds north of the front have inhibited the severe weather threat…. The weather map this today (Sunday) features a large upper-level low pressure area just east of James Bay in Canada. The associated trough over the Eastern portion of the U.S. will create unsettled weather the next couple days. Low pressure developing along the frontal boundary will move offshore on Monday but other waves of low pressure may affect us into Tuesday. The computer models are having a tough time with this weather pattern so predicting when and where it will rain will be very difficult. The uncertainty in the forecast continues well into the week as the broad trough continues to affect our weather… What about the tropics? The Atlantic Basin features Hurricane Gordon which is now a category two hurricane. The water is not that warm in the area where this storm is so it proves that there are other factors that are just as important to a hurricanes strength as is warm ocean water. Of course, the water cannot be too cool but it obviously doesn’t have to be near 80 degrees which has always been widely believed. That is one reason I absolutely love the subject of meteorology…. There are still so many things that we don’t fully understand about weather. You wonder whether we will ever be able to program a computer model to accurately predict the movement and intensity of a tropical cyclone. The atmosphere is very complex and I think it is impossible to consider every single variable. An area of disturbed weather in the deep tropics may become our next tropical cyclone, but this system is way out in the Eastern North Atlantic so we have plenty of time to watch it. Anyway, that’s it for now. Please watch the skies today for any severe weather that may develop.

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