Watching the Tropics… Thursday Eve Update – 9:45pm #alwx @wvau23

hl.png

Good Thursday evening! New model data coming in this evening continues to point into the direction of a weak, poorly organized tropical low moving into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. Above is the 0z set of tropical models, and the model spread is very wide, which leads to a low confidence forecast. Some models have the weak tropical low moving towards Brownsville, Texas, while others move the low into the Florida Panhandle.

Here’s the facts as of 9:45pm Thursday… There is a very weak tropical low (not a named storm or hurricane) over the extreme southeast Bahamas, moving west or west northwest towards northern Cuba. Given the land interaction, wind shear and dry air around the system, there’s basically an open swirl on the satellite. Little to no thunderstorm activity is associated with the system, which means it will continue to lose its identity as a tropical wave. There is a real chance this wave just fizzles out and loses it’s energy over Cuba and doesn’t re-organize over the Gulf. While it will be moving into more of a favorable environment over the next few days, I’m not sure if the energy can re-organize into a tropical cyclone.

If you have interest along the coast next week, lets keep an eye on it, however, the risk of a damaging tropical system making landfall looks low at this time.

Let me mention this… The power of social media has led to the spread of poor information of a “major hurricane” coming for the coast. A few models actually suggested this as a possibility earlier this week, but those models have since weakened the system with time. Meanwhile, the thought of this being a major storm continues to get spread across social media. This should serve good example why you need to check your source. If it’s not a post from the National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center or your local meteorologists, ignore the post. There is too much false information on social media these days, so it’s never been more important to be cautious what stories you share.

The bottom line… there are still uncertainties with the forecast track and intensity of the tropical low. Keep checking back with us for updates as we move through the weekend and into early next week.

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.

Richard Scott
WVUA Chief Meteorologist
rscott@wvua23.com
Twitter: RichardWVUA23
Facebook: WVUA23RichardScott

Hot Days Ahead… Watching Tropics… Thursday Forecast Update – 4pm #alwx @wvua23

7 Day Forecast - Offset Lows - PM.png

Good Thursday afternoon! If you have been outdoors today, it is obvious that summer is still here! Temperatures reached the lower to middle 90s across the state, with a heat index of 100 to 104. A few random, tiny summer storms have popped up over the state, but most areas remain dry. Expect temperatures to drop into the 80s by sunset, then middle 70s late tonight, under a mostly clear sky.

Friday through the weekend will include hot, hazy and humid conditions, as an upper air ridge remains overhead. The ridge will continue to keep most communities dry through Sunday, but I can’t rule out a quick shower or storm somewhere across the state.

Early next week, the main core of the ridge will move off to the east, but our local weather will remain hot and mostly dry. There is still the risk of a stray afternoon and evening storm, but most areas will not get rain. The forecast by mid-week highly depends on whether a low develops in the Gulf and moves out direction. There are still many, many questions on this very weak and disorganized tropical wave.

dahhhh.png

Speaking of the tropics… Tropical Storm Gaston is moving northwest across the central Atlantic and will not impact land, as the storm gradually turns north, then northeast in the northern Atlantic.

The tropical wave known as Invest 99L remains very disorganized due to wind shear and dry air removing any convection from the center. There’s a fair chance this system never becomes a tropical storm or hurricane. While the chance “0” for this to come into the Gulf and develop into something tropical, the chance is not very high at the moment. I’m amazed by the power of social media. About a week ago, one run of one computer model showed a major hurricane impacting the Alabama Gulf Coast. I have not seen that look since then. Someone shared it on social media, and I have been asked over and over about a ghost hurricane in the Gulf. Please understand, if there is a real threat to Alabama’s coast and something you should be concerned about, I will saturate social media with updates, as well as on television. However, above is the latest 18z computer model tracks of what could still become a tropical storm over the next few days. Most models now take the feature into the Gulf, and we will need to keep an eye on development. This is about 5 to 7 days away, if it actually develops and if it actually comes in our direction. There’s just not enough evidence at this time to start a panic.

The bottom line… keep checking back with me for updates. I will post any changes on the blog, social media and discuss on television. The good thing about tropical systems is you know they are coming atleast a few days in advance.

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.

Richard Scott
WVUA Chief Meteorologist
rscott@wvua23.com
Twitter: RichardWVUA23
Facebook: WVUA23RichardScott

9pm Wednesday Eve Tropical Update… #alwx @wvua23

JHKG.png

Good Wednesday evening! As of 9pm, the latest information is coming in with computer model data and information from the National Hurricane Center. First, Tropical Storm Gaston in the central Atlantic is approaching hurricane status. This storm will likely become a hurricane sometime tonight, as it moves northwest. Gaston may brush Bermuda over the weekend, but a US impact is not expected.

Our next feature is a weak tropical low near Puerto Rico this evening. I’m actually amazed by the amount of horrible information being spread on social media. I have been asked numerous times about the “imaginary” Hurricane in the Gulf. So, let me give you the latest facts as of 9pm Wednesday, and these will change with time…

First, there is no hurricane in the Gulf. The system we are watching is not even a tropical storm or tropical depression. It’s classified as a tropical wave or weak tropical low. Hurricane Hunter aircraft investigated the wave today and did not find a well defined center of circulation, which is one reason forecast models are having a tough time with it. The wave or weak low is moving west northwest at 15mph, approaching the southern Bahamas. Convection is rather disorganized this evening, but that is not surprising given the amount of dry air and wind shear over the system. A developing tropical storm needs little to no wind shear, deep tropical moisture and very warm sea surface temperatures.

What happens next?

The tropical wave or weak low will move into the Bahamas and into a better environment for development by Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This may be the best shot of this system becoming a named storm, as wind shear lessens and dry air pulls away. Above is the 0z model plots of possible tracks over the next 7 days. These could be way off, so don’t panic if you see lines pointing towards Alabama’s coast.

Below are three scenarios that could play out over the next 5 days. Scenario # 1, the mid Atlantic states ridge is weaker over the weekend and early next week, allowing the tropical wave to turn north over Florida or the east coast of Florida. At this time, I think that is the least likely, given the current upper air pattern and trend, however, it is possible. If by chance this is correct, there would be no tropical issues in Alabama.

Tropical Close Up Loop Storm Area Cone 2.png

Scenario # 2, the ridge is stronger, which most data suggest that to be the correct solution. If this is correct, the tropical low would cut across Florida or between Cuba and Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico, where plenty of warm water and a good environment is located. If this solution is correct, the tropical system, if it even develops could impact the northern Gulf Coast and could have some sort of local impacts.

Tropical Close Up Loop Storm Area Cone.png

Scenario # 3, the tropical low never gets organized and remains a tropical wave, bringing showers to Florida. While I think the chance of this idea is rather low, it is certainly possible.

The bottom line… There are still lots of questions on what will happen with this system. We are getting closer to having a better answer, and as soon as confidence in a solution is high enough, I will give you specific details on any sort of US impact. We will likely have a much better handle on the system by Friday.

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.

Richard Scott
WVUA Chief Meteorologist
rscott@wvua23.com
Twitter: RichardWVUA23
Facebook: WVUA23RichardScott

Wednesday Forecast Update… 4:30PM #alwx @wvua23

7 Day Forecast - Offset Lows - PM.png

Good Wednesday afternoon! As the upper air ridge builds over Alabama, the summer feel has returned! As of 4pm, temperatures have warmed into the lower to middle 90s, with a heat index over 100. With a ridge dominant in the forecast through the weekend, I don’t expect any real changes to the forecast.

Expect temperatures to drop into the lower to middle 70s overnight, with rain-free conditions. A high dewpoint will add a muggy feel to the air overnight. Thursday through Sunday will feature hot days and mild nights. Expect highs to reach the middle 90s Thursday through Sunday. There is a small chance of a passing afternoon storm each day, but the risk of rain is less than 20%. Heat index will approach 100 to 103 each afternoon.

Now… On to the tropics… Tropical Storm Gaston in the east Atlantic is moving northwest, with winds at 70mph. Gaston should become a hurricane soon, but wind shear is preventing rapid development at this time.

Below is a satellite image, with computer model tracks from a tropical wave near the northern Lesser Antilles. With dry air and wind shear over the tropical wave now, it has really become ragged this afternoon. Thunderstorms are not concentrated near the center, rather they are in clusters removed from the center. Models suggest the best chance of organization will occur on Friday through Sunday, as the environment around the tropical wave becomes favorable for development. There is a chance this system will never become well organized and only become a rain-maker for Florida this weekend into early next week.

Most models suggest the system will move into south Florida late this weekend, then turn north across the state. Given the blocking ridge forecasted to be north of the storm, there is still a chance it gets into the Gulf of Mexico. The bottom line… until a fixed center can develop within the tropical wave, computer model data will be nearly worthless. I expect the projected path and intensity to become much more clear over the next day or two, so keep checking back with us for updates. At this time, I don’t know if this will even become a tropical storm or hurricane. There are just too many questions to be answered first. There is no need to panic if you live near the gulf coast or southeast Atlantic coast. Lets just sit back and wait on model data to clear up a bit over the next few days.

ddghhaaa.png

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.

Richard Scott
WVUA Chief Meteorologist
rscott@wvua23.com
Twitter: RichardWVUA23
Facebook: WVUA23RichardScott

Looking Back at the Disaster of Hurricane Andrew… Wednesday Update – 2:30pm #alwx @wvua23

Hurricane Andrew

24 years ago today, Hurricane Andrew swept across the southern tip of the Florida Panhandle before moving into the Gulf of Mexico. The picture above shows a time laps of Hurricane Andrew: before making landfall in Florida (1st storm on the right), shortly after crossing the Florida peninsula (middle storm), and as Hurricane Andrew approached Louisiana (far left).

Please note: THESE ARE NOT THREE SEPARATE STORMS. NOAA and NASA were able to capture three separate images of Hurricane Andrew at different stages, and then they put the images on top of one another to show the progression. Below, is a summary of Hurricane Andrew done by the National Hurricane Center and NOAA.

Hurricane Andrew 1992
Click for a larger map of Andrew 1992 HurricaneClick here for a larger image of AndrewOne of the most destructive United States hurricanes of record started modestly as a tropical wave that emerged from the west coast of Africa on August 14. The wave spawned a tropical depression on August 16, which became Tropical Storm Andrew the next day. Further development was slow, as the west-northwestward moving Andrew encountered an unfavorable upper-level trough. Indeed, the storm almost dissipated on August 20 due to vertical wind shear. By August 21, Andrew was midway between Bermuda and Puerto Rico and turning westward into a more favorable environment. Rapid strengthening occurred, with Andrew reaching hurricane strength on the 22nd and Category 4 status on the 23rd. After briefly weakening over the Bahamas, Andrew strengthened into a Category 5 as it blasted its way across south Florida on August 24. The hurricane continued westward into the Gulf of Mexico where it gradually turned northward. This motion brought Andrew to the central Louisiana coast on August 26 as a Category 3 hurricane. Andrew then turned northeastward, eventually merging with a frontal system over the Mid-Atlantic states on August 28.

Reports from private barometers helped establish that Andrew’s central pressure at landfall in Homestead, Florida was 27.23 inches, which makes it the third most intense hurricane of record to hit the United States. Andrew’s peak winds in south Florida were not directly measured due to destruction of the measuring instruments. An automated station at Fowey Rocks reported 142 mph sustained winds with gusts to 169 mph (measured 144 ft above the ground), and higher values may have occurred after the station was damaged and stopped reporting. The National Hurricane Center had a peak gust of 164 mph (measured 130 ft above the ground), while a 177 mph gust was measured at a private home. Additionally, Berwick, LA reported 96 mph sustained winds with gusts to 120 mph.

Andrew produced a 17 ft storm surge near the landfall point in Florida, while storm tides of at least 8 ft inundated portions of the Louisiana coast. Andrew also produced a killer tornado in southeastern Louisiana.

Andrew is responsible for 23 deaths in the United States and three more in the Bahamas. The hurricane caused $26.5 billion in damage in the United States, of which $1 billion occurred in Louisiana and the rest in south Florida. The vast majority of the damage in Florida was due to the winds. Damage in the Bahamas was estimated at $250 million.

Here in Alabama, Birmingham recorded 1.77″ of rain as the remnants of Hurricane Andrew moved over the northwestern portion of the state.

Richard Scott

WVUA Chief Meteorologist

Tropical Thoughts on Gulf Storm? Tuesday Update – 10:40pm #alwx @wvua23

Tropical Close Up Loop Storm Area Cone.png

Good Tuesday evening! As new forecast model data comes in this evening, confidence is increasing on the development of a tropical storm in the next 5 days. I must warn you… there are still many, many uncertainties and a lot can change. It is important to keep checking back with us for updates through the weekend and early next week, especially if you live along the Gulf coast or the southeast Atlantic coast.

Please note the map above because there is a lot of information on it. First, you can see the well developed clusters of storms nearing the Lesser Antilles tonight, as a sharp tropical wave or tropical low approaches the northern islands. The track of this feature is west northwest at 15 to 20mph. Currently, there is some dry air around the disturbance, so development will be slow over the next 24 hours. Plus, land interaction with the mountainous islands could slow or even prevent development over the next day or two. By late week, the system will be moving into the southeast Bahamas, which is in a much more favorable environment for tropical development. Models continue to hint at very low wind shear and a deep layer of tropical moisture over the Bahamas and into the Gulf of Mexico (area shaded in green).

A ridge is developing over the mid Atlantic states and will be a key player in where the tropical system moves through the weekend and into early next week. This is a blocking high, which should force the tropical system in a west direction, rather than turn north away from the US. Keep in mind, it may not even develop. This is all based on whether the system actually gets better organized and becomes a tropical storm or hurricane.

I also want to note the current sea surface temperatures  across the Gulf of Mexico. All observations are reporting water temperatures between 87 and 90 degrees across the central and eastern Gulf of Mexico and into the Bahamas. That’s incredibly warm! The warmer the water, the more potential energy these systems have to feed on. Given the lack of wind shear forecasted in this area and the abundant heat energy off the ocean, there’s no doubt there is potential for a strengthening tropical system, if it makes it into the Gulf.

Gulf CURRENT SEA TEMPS Buoy Data  MSL Pressure.png

If this system develops, it would likely impact Florida on Saturday eve or Sunday, then spend Sunday night through Monday in the Gulf of Mexico. Again, this is all hypothetical on if it actually develops and if it actually moves into the Gulf of Mexico. The bottom line… confidence is increasing in the threat of a Gulf storm late in the weekend or early next week. It’s too early to know who will be impacted and how strong the system will become. Lets all keep an eye on trends, and if this turns into a risk for our local weather, I will post plenty of updates on the blog as well as TV and social media.

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.

Richard Scott
WVUA Chief Meteorologist
rscott@wvua23.com
Twitter: RichardWVUA23
Facebook: WVUA23RichardScott

Local Forecast Update… Tuesday 4:25pm #alwx @wvua23

7 Day Forecast - Offset Lows - PM.png

Good Tuesday afternoon! It has turned out to be a hot summer day, with highs reaching the lower 90s across west and central Alabama. A few spotty storms have developed over west Alabama, but most of the state is dry. The risk of any one spot getting rained on this afternoon is less than 20%. Temperatures will gradually cool into the 80s this evening and lower to middle 70s after midnight.

A weak disturbance will move across Alabama on Wednesday, sparking the development of a few scattered afternoon and evening storms. The risk of rain is only at 30%, so most of the state will remain dry. As that wave moves to our west, an upper air ridge will build into the area from the east on Thursday through the weekend. We can expect hot temperatures, with low rain chances. The risk of rain each afternoon is only at 10%, so if you get a cooling shower, consider yourself lucky. Heat index will approach 100 each afternoon on Thursday through Sunday.

In the tropics, we have Tropical Storm Gaston, with winds at 65mph, according to the 5pm advisory. That storm is in the eastern Atlantic and will turn out to sea, not impacting land. What was Fiona has died out to the east of Bermuda. Also, there’s a tropical wave near the Lesser Antilles, which we’re watching carefully.

Below is a post I made a little earlier this afternoon on the tropical wave that may have some impact on the US… Still lots of uncertainties.

Untitled

Let me start by warning you… You are going to see lots of crazy “forecasts” of some big central Gulf Coast hurricane in a week from now. Please pay attention to the source. If it’s not your local meteorologist or from the National Hurricane Center, then don’t pay attention to the post. We are having a hard time fighting people that are trying to scare you to get page views and ad revenue by a format called “click bait.” I’m here to tell you what we know and what we don’t know and not to scare you. If there comes a time where urgency is needed, then you will hear it from me.

Here’s what we know: There is a tropical wave nearing the northern Lesser Antilles this evening. Hurricane Hunters have been in the disturbance and did not find a closed circulation established yet. For now, it is only a tropical wave, not a storm or hurricane. The system is fighting dry air, which is basically choking it and preventing rapid development. The model plots above continue to indicate a west northwest movement towards south Florida by the weekend and maybe into the Gulf of Mexico late in the weekend and early next week.

Unfortunately, our computer models are in an incredible disagreement, which leads to low confidence. This also means that anyone claiming they know what is going to happen 7 days out is just guessing. We don’t know at this time where the feature will end up or if it will even develop. We will know that in the next few days, but not at this moment. Let me show you an example of our two most reliable global models below.  To the right is the GFS, valid next Tuesday morning. That model has nothing in the Gulf or the west Atlantic. This means the GFS suggests the tropical wave does NOT develop. To the left is the EURO or the ECMWF, valid for next Tuesday morning. That model has a major hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Until both of these models can agree, somewhat, this is an incredibly challenging forecast. Fortunately, we have 5 to 7 days to watch it. Again, if there is a risk to the US and more specifically, our local weather, I will let you know about and warn you days in advance. E

Based on the forecasted upper air pattern, if something does indeed develop, there’s a fair chance it impacts Florida and moves into the Gulf of mexico. I do expect the system to struggle over the next 36 to 48 hours, as some dry air will continue to get absorbed into the system. Once we get into the Friday, Saturday time frame, the environment may become favorable for development.

There’s just too much speculation and too many questions at the moment to give you an impact area and intensity. Keep checking back with us for updates.

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.

Richard Scott
WVUA Chief Meteorologist
rscott@wvua23.com
Twitter: RichardWVUA23
Facebook: WVUA23RichardScott

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 17,709 other followers