A Look Back at Hurricane Elena of 1985 – Tuesday Update 5:30pm

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On this date in 1985, major Hurricane Elena brushed the Alabama Gulf Coast and officially made landfall in Biloxi, Mississippi. The storm brought heavy rainfall to much of the Southeast for several days after. While the storm didn’t make a major impact across central Alabama, the coastal sections of the state had extensive damage…

Here’s a great article from NOAA on the storm:

A well organized cloud pattern moved out of the Sahara Desert and was first identified on satellite
imagery north of the Cape Verde Islands on the 23rd of August.  The system moved unusually fast;
30-35 mph to the west across the Atlantic.  This combined with the dry saharan air mass around the
system apparently inhibited the formation of a tropical cyclone until it approached Cuba on the evening
of the 27th.  On the 28th, reconnaissance aircraft measured 50-60 mph winds in its northern periphery
while the system was centered over central Cuba, and tropical storm Elena was born.

After moving into the Gulf of Mexico north of Havanna, Elena quickly strengthened into a hurricane
on the 29th.  A cold front approached from the northwest, which collapsed the steering currents around
Elena, and the storm began recurvature.  It approached Florida, moving quite close to Tampa Bay and
Cedar Key, before high pressure bridged the frontal boundary and steered Elena back towards the west.
The cyclone intensified as it accelerated west-northwest, and was a major hurricane by the afternoon of
the 1st.  On the 2nd, the hurricane made landfall near Biloxi, Mississippi.  Bursting convection after moving inland, Elena brought locally heavy rains to Louisiana, Arkansas, and Kentucky over the succeeding four days that the system maintained integrity while it was inland.  After the night of the 5th, the remaining cloud system became stretched in a north-south axis and quickly faded while moving eastward across Kentucky.

Below are storm total rainfall maps for Elena.  Rainfall information was obtained from the National
 Climatic Data Center.  Note the maxima shifts from west of the track to east of the track once Elena
 moved inland.  This could have been due to an upper low that remained quasi-stationary in the
Tennessee Valley.

Caitlin Golden

WVUA Weather Intern

Source: NOAA

Scattered Storms Continue Possible… Tuesday Forecast Update – 5pm #alwx

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Good Tuesday afternoon! Our local weather has turned out very hot and humid today, with temperatures reaching the 90s. Scattered storms have developed this afternoon, but not everyone is getting rain today. Scattered showers and storms will remain possible through this evening and tonight, with overnight temperatures falling into the lower 70s. We’re stuck between a ridge and a trough, which puts us in a favorable spot for scattered storms, especially given the amount of moisture in our area. This pattern will continue for our area for the rest of the week and the weekend.

If you have plans outdoors this evening or tonight, keep the umbrella handy and expect very muggy conditions. Temperatures will slowly fall into the 70s tonight, then rise into the lower 90s for highs on Wednesday. The rest of the week and weekend will feature identical weather, with hot temperatures and scattered storms. While I can’t rule out a few morning or overnight storms, the best chance of getting a downpour will occur between noon and 10pm each day. Unfortunately, storms will be scattered, so rain amounts will be highly unevenly distributed. I don’t expect any severe weather issues, but storms may produce intense lightning and gusty winds.

Here’s the latest on Tropical Storm Dolly:

DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK

AT 400 PM CDT…2100 UTC…THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM DOLLY WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 22.0 NORTH…LONGITUDE 97.0 WEST.  DOLLY IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 12 MPH…19 KM/H…AND THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT DAY OR SO.  ON THE FORECAST TRACK…THE CENTER WILL CROSS THE COAST WITHIN THE WARNING AREA THIS EVENING OR OVERNIGHT…AND CONTINUE MOVING INLAND OVER NORTHEASTERN MEXICO ON WEDNESDAY.

 MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 45 MPH…75 KM/H…WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  LITTLE CHANGE IN STRENGTH IS FORECAST BEFORE LANDFALL. WEAKENING WILL OCCUR AFTER DOLLY MOVES INLAND…AND THE SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO DISSIPATE BY THURSDAY.

TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 140 MILES…220 KM FROM THE CENTER.

THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE ESTIMATED FROM RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT DATA IS 1004 MB…29.65 INCHES.

Send us your weather pictures! Send them to weather@wvuatv.com. Also, look us up on facebook and twitter. Like us on facebook by searching facebook.com/wvuaweather or WVUA-TV Weather. You can find us on twitter by searching weather@wvuatv.comor WVUA-TV Weather. Great way to get weather updates! Plus, facebook is a great way to send us weather pictures. Simply tag us!

Join us live on WVUA-TV weekdays at 5, 6 and 10:00 P.M. and weekends at 10PM for the very latest on your news, weather and sports.

Richard Scott

WVUA Chief Meteorologist

rscott@wvuatv.com

Twitter: Richard_wvua

 

Tropical Storm Dolly Update… Tuesday 10am #alwx

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Good Tuesday morning! We’re watching Tropical Storm Dolly slowly strengthen in the western Gulf of Mexico at this hour. So far, the news is good… Dolly will not impact the US, and wind shear is preventing rapid strengthening. Dolly will make landfall as a tropical storm sometime tonight or Wednesday morning, well south of the Texas boarder. There are no other tropical systems we’re currently watching. Here’s a discussion from the National Hurricane Center:

TROPICAL STORM DOLLY DISCUSSION NUMBER   4
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL       AL052014
1000 AM CDT TUE SEP 02 2014

North-northwesterly vertical shear continues to affect the tropical storm, and the low-level center is located near the northwestern edge of a large mass of deep convection.  Arc clouds are also noted to be propagating northward from the system which is indicative of the presence of some dry air at mid levels.  Based on observations from the aircraft mission from earlier this morning, the current intensity is held at 45 kt, which is a little above the latest
Dvorak estimates.  Another Air Force Hurricane Hunter mission into Dolly is scheduled in a few hours to check the intensity.  Since the system has been able to intensify overnight in spite of the shear, some additional strengthening is certainly possible before landfall. Weakening after the center moves inland could be more rapid than indicated here, due to the mountainous terrain of northeastern Mexico.

The motion has been somewhat faster than earlier estimates and is now near 300/14 kt.  A mid-level ridge to the north of Dolly should cause a continued west-northwestward motion for the next 24 hours or so and, based on the faster initial motion, the center is likely to cross the coast somewhat earlier than indicated in previous advisories.  The current official track forecast is a little ahead of the model guidance but still shows a decrease in forward speed through 36 hours.

The primary threat from Dolly will come from heavy rainfall, with precipitation totals possibly approaching 10 inches in a few
locations.  These rains will likely cause flash flooding and mud slides in regions of mountainous terrain.  This threat will continue even after the center moves inland.

Richard Scott

WVUA Chief Meteorologist

rscott@wvuatv.com

 

TD #5 Forms in the Tropics… Tropics Update — Monday 4:15pm

TD #5 has finally formed in the southwestern Gulf. Expected to move ashore into Mexico early Wednesday AM.

Currently, not a threat to the U.S., however could bring heavy rain to central and southeastern Mexico.TD 5

Send us your weather pictures! Send them to weather@wvuatv.com. Also, look us up on Facebook and Twitter. Like us on facebook by searching facebook.com/wvuaweather or WVUA-TV Weather. You can find us on twitter by searching weather@wvuatv.comor WVUA-TV Weather. Great way to get weather updates! Plus, facebook is a great way to send us weather pictures. Simply tag us!

Join us live on WVUA-TV weekdays at 5, 6 and 10:00 P.M. and weekends at 10PM for the very latest on your news, weather and sports.

Peter Crank

WVUA Staff Meteorologist

Twitter: crankyweather

Hot and Humid Start to September… Labor Day Forecast Update — 3:45pm

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Happy Labor Day! Hope you are able to enjoy this hot and humid weather! Good time for a cook out! Tonight will be another warm and humid night with lows down in the low 70s, a couple of clouds will hang around tonight leaving us with partly clear skies.

For our short work week, the hot and humid weather will continue as our winds will continue to bring up moisture and warm air from the Gulf of Mexico this week. Tuesday will be partly cloudy with highs in the mid 90s. A couple of storms will pop up across Alabama, but nothing widespread or organized. As we progress through the week, the moisture pumped in from the Gulf will continue to increase and build bringing us better chances for scattered afternoon storms by the end of the week. Tuesday, Wednesday, and even Thursday will be mostly dry, but then the moisture will start to kick up storms across the state.

The tropics have some activity in the far southwestern portion of the Gulf of Mexico, a cluster of clouds and storms have crossed over the Yucatan Peninsula, and are expected to strengthen over the next 12-24 hours into a tropical disturbance, and possibly even a tropical storm. The track for the disturbance is to head northwest into southeastern Mexico, and at most, bring heavy rainfall to southern Texas, the Panhandle of Texas, and possibly New Mexico. No serious threats to the U.S. is anticipated at this time; however, we will continue to watch as the storm moves over the very warm Gulf of Mexico.

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Join us live on WVUA-TV weekdays at 5, 6 and 10:00 P.M. and weekends at 10PM for the very latest on your news, weather and sports.

Peter Crank

WVUA Staff Meteorologist

Twitter: crankyweather

Labor Day Cookout Conditions… Sunday Forecast Update — 6:45pm

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A good Sunday to you, and a early Happy Labor Day, also! 

As the afternoon storms die off tonight, some patchy fog will develop overnight into early on our Labor Day. Temperatures tonight will be in the low 70s with mostly cloudy skies. For our Labor Day, we are all concerned as to whether or not the cookout or barbecue needs to be moved indoors. For the majority of us, the cookout can remain outside! It will be warm Monday afternoon in the low to mid 90s, with partly cloudy skies. Some widely scattered storms will develop Monday afternoon, so keep an eye out as you set for the event. The best chances for those storms will be north toward Huntsville, and south, along the Gulf Coast. Monday evening will be humid with lows back in the low 70s.

The short work week ahead will be hot with partly cloudy skies. Mainly dry conditions mean our temperatures will heat up into the mid 90s this week. Things will remain humid throughout the week though, and a stray storm or two each afternoon cannot be ruled out. Better storm chances look to be this late this week into the weekend with the potential for a cold front late in the weekend.

As for the tropics, the system to keep an eye on is over the Yucatan Peninsula right now and looks a bit disorganized. The disorganization is common with tropical systems that are over land as they need the warm waters to keep their strength. It should organize and strengthen once again on the other side, in the southwestern Gulf. All indications are for the storm to move back ashore in Mexico and pose no real threat to the U.S..

Send us your weather pictures! Send them to weather@wvuatv.com. Also, look us up on Facebook and Twitter. Like us on facebook by searching facebook.com/wvuaweather or WVUA-TV Weather. You can find us on twitter by searching weather@wvuatv.comor WVUA-TV Weather. Great way to get weather updates! Plus, facebook is a great way to send us weather pictures. Simply tag us!

Join us live on WVUA-TV weekdays at 5, 6 and 10:00 P.M. and weekends at 10PM for the very latest on your news, weather and sports.

Peter Crank

WVUA Staff Meteorologist

Twitter: crankyweather

A Look Back… Hurricane Baker: August 31, 1950

On this day, 64 years ago, Hurricane Baker came ashore on the Alabama Gulf Coast bringing with it prolific rain and causing significant damage to crops due to the heavy, pounding rain. Here is a summary from the National Hurricane Center of the life of Hurricane Baker, and the resulting effects.

 

Hurricane Baker – August 22-September 3, 1950

Forming east of the Leeward Islands, Baker passed over Antigua on August 20th as a hurricane.
Moving west-northwest, the system weakened as it passed by Puerto Rico, when it was a weak
tropical storm.  Once south of Cuba on the 25th, the system redeveloped, moving across the western
tip of Cuba and turning northward into the Gulf of Mexico before regaining hurricane strength.  It
peaked as a major hurricane while south of Alabama, but weakened prior to its landfall in southern
Alabama.  The resultant heavy rainfall across the Florida panhandle and southern Alabama caused
significant crop damage. Below are the rainfall graphics for Baker, which used data from the National
Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina.

Baker (1950) Rainfall Baker (1950) Rainfall Baker (1950) Rainfall

 

This information and more on other signifcant hurricanes can be found here: http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/tropical/rain/baker1950.html

 

Send us your weather pictures! Send them to weather@wvuatv.com. Also, look us up on Facebook and Twitter. Like us on facebook by searching facebook.com/wvuaweather or WVUA-TV Weather. You can find us on twitter by searching weather@wvuatv.comor WVUA-TV Weather. Great way to get weather updates! Plus, facebook is a great way to send us weather pictures. Simply tag us!

Join us live on WVUA-TV weekdays at 5, 6 and 10:00 P.M. and weekends at 10PM for the very latest on your news, weather and sports.

Peter Crank

WVUA Staff Meteorologist

Twitter: crankyweather

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