August 26, 2016 Leave a comment
Good Friday evening! Here’s the latest update on the tropics… Tropical Storm Gaston has been sheared heavily over the past couple of days, but wind shear over that storm is about to relax. Gaston will become a hurricane again in the next 24 to 36 hours, as the environment around Gaston becomes favorable for strengthening. This storm will not cause any problems in the US, as it turns north and remains in the open Atlantic.
Above is invest 99L, which is a term for a tropical wave with the chance of development. This may be the most watched tropical wave in the history of tropical waves, as the power of social media has allowed horrible information to spread to millions. I have had questions of concern about a major hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico since last week. This all started when one run of one computer model last week showed the potential for a big hurricane in the Gulf. Since then, all models have backed off on the idea of this becoming a hurricane and now, nearly all data doesn’t develop the tropical wave at all. While there is a low chance this could become a weak tropical depression or tropical storm in the Gulf, there is no evidence of a dangerous hurricane. The big story from the tropical disturbance or wave will be from rain. Much of Florida will get dumped on with several inches of rain, which could lead to flooding. You don’t have to get a tropical storm or hurricane to have flooding, ask people in Louisiana that had 2 feet of rain from a non-tropical surface and upper level low. Based off the upper air pattern and steering currents, it’s unlikely that central Alabama will get any rain from this feature. We’ll keep an eye on it incase something changes, so check back with us for updates.
The panic and canceled vacations for many could have easily been avoided, if the people sharing this bad information simply checked the source before clicking “share”. Given the time we live in, people are very sensitive to the possibility of a destructive storm, especially since it’s been 11 years since the last major hurricane hit the US. That’s a record by the way… It’s been several years since a hurricane has moved across the Gulf of Mexico, also a record… If you see a post on facebook or twitter or whatever site and the source has an odd name, and no local meteorologist is talking about it, simply ignore it. Trusted sources include the National Weather Service, Storm Prediction Center, National Hurricane Center and your local meteorologists. Sadly, there are people out there that make money off of scaring you to click on their page. These sites will have a doom/end of the world look to get you to click on their link and go to their page. Once you do that, that site gets ad revenue from your site visit, aka… they make money off of that. These people are really good at tricking you into believing some doom and gloom forecast by fancy graphics that look like something from a meteorologist or the National Hurricane Center. One big red flag is their “predictions” are typically 10 days out or more. No one can predict a hurricane landfall more than 5 days out. There’s just too many variables and is too complicated to nail down a specific area in a risk. I promise, I will do everything I can to spread the word through social media and on TV if there is a real threat to our area. You will know about it atleast 5 days before it happens, which is plenty of time to prepare.
As we continue through the rest of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, I’ll be closely watching this tropical wave and any other systems that may move in our direction. We want to be a source of helpful information for you.
Join us live on WVUA23 weekdays at 5, 6 and 10:00 P.M. and weekends at 10PM for the very latest on your news, weather and sports.
WVUA Chief Meteorologist