Tropics Heat Up…Hot Week Ahead…Forecast Discussion 6:10 pm… #alwx @wvua23

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Hot weather will continue next week for west and central Alabama. Temperatures will top out in the mid 90s all week, with heat index values at or near 100. Rain coverage will be severely limited over the next few days, with only a brief shower or storm possible in the afternoon heat. Most spots across the state will remain rain free for the next few days.


The tropics are quite active this evening, with multiple systems across the Atlantic basin.


The most impressive storm at the moment is Hurricane Gaston, a category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Thankfully, this powerful storm is swinging out into the open ocean. This storm will have no impact on the United States or any other major land mass. 

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Next up, we have Tropical Depression EIGHT (TD 8), which is currently off the coast of the Carolinas. TD 8 is currently battling some strong shear, leaving its low level circulation exposed. This will prevent rapid organization, but it will likely slowly strengthen into a tropical storm over the next couple of days. It may have some impacts on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, but the biggest threat from this system will likely be heavy rains, and it also will not directly impact Alabama weather. 

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Here is the system that has been the talk of the weather community for several days now. Formerly Invest 99L has been upgraded to Tropical Depression NINE (TD 9) this evening, and is beginning to look a good bit more organized with robust convection near its now closed low level center. As we enter the tropical convection maximum overnight, it is likely we will see further organization and strengthening. This system has been quite the survivor making it through some very inhospitable conditions, but now, it is tracking into the low shear, warm water environment in the Gulf of Mexico, and will likely intensify a bit. As of the latest National Hurricane Center (NHC) update, TD 9 is forecast to become a strong tropical storm and make landfall in FLorida’s big bend. However, until this system becomes a bit more organized, uncertainty in the forecast track and intensity of TD 9 is high. This means that significant changes to this initial forecast are possible, especially within the next 48 hours. 

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This is a “Spaghetti Plot” for TD 9. Basically, it is just a large group  of model runs on one map. Each line on the map corresponds to a particular forecast model’s output for the location of TD 9 through time. A majority of these models are within the NHC’s forecast cone for TD 9, but not all. Because the spread of the models is high, and due to some of the curveballs TD 9 has thrown us over the past few days, its best for everyone along the Gulf Coast to pay close attention to TD 9. 

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I almost didn’t post this last image, but I know that because the social media hype will be strong with this storm, I want to explain why we shouldn’t be in “freak out mode” over this storm. This is a graph, similar to the spaghetti plots, that shows multiple model runs on one graph. This time, they don’t show position, but the forecast intensity of a tropical cyclone. The American model for hurricanes, the HWRF (on this graph as HWFI), has been a bit heavy handed with this storm to say the least, As you can see here on the graph it is showing a strong category 5 hurricane in 5 days. If you see a “forecast” picture on facebook or twitter of a massive hurricane in the gulf, it will likely be this model. This model is an outlier, and it appears right now that this is an incredibly unlikely scenario. A majority of the models keep this storm as either a tropical storm or a category one hurricane. The NHC tends to agree with that, forecasting a moderate Tropical Storm as this system’s maximum intensity.  

We will continue to monitor all of these tropical systems closely here at WVUA23, and will keep you up to date of any major changes that come to the forecast.

The Bottom Line:

  1. Heat and Humidity continue for West Alabama through at least next 7 days.
  2. Both Hurricane Gaston and TD 8 will have no direct impact on Alabama weather
  3. TD 9 will likely intensify into a tropical storm over the next few days.
  4. TD 9 track currently is east of Alabama, but those with interests over Gulf Coast should monitor closely.
  5. The forecast for TD9 has a high degree of uncertainty, and is subject to changes, particularly within the next 48 hours. 
  6. Have a reliable source for tropical storm information like WVUA23 or the National Hurricane Center.


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.

Alex Puckett

WVUA23 Weekend Weather Anchor



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