Wednesday, October 19, 2016

More record heat today, but relief is on the way

I know it is October and it should be Fall, but Mother Nature thinks we should still be in Summer in New Orleans!  We've had near record to record highs the last few days, and we could have another record today!  

An area of high pressure remains over the SE U.S. and this is keeping us hot and humid.  Today will have a mix of sun and clouds with a slight chance for rain.  Highs will be around 90, and that would break the record high of 89 set back in 1993.  Tonight will be partly cloudy, mild and muggy with patchy fog again.  Watch out for low visibilities.  Lows will be in the upper 60s north of the lake and mid 70s south.  

Thursday will be a transition day between the record heat and the return of Fall as a cold front heads our way.  It will be mostly cloudy, very warm and humid with spotty showers and storms.  Highs will be in the upper 80s.  The cold front will move through on Thursday Night/Friday Morning with isolated showers/storms.  It will turn a little cooler with lows in the lower 60s north and upper 60s south.

We will become clear, cooler and less humid on Friday in the wake of the cold front.  High pressure will build in during the day, and that will keep the weather nice through the weekend.  Highs will only be in the mid 70s.  Friday Night will be clear, much cooler and comfortable.  Lows north of the lake will be in the upper 40s, and south of the lake in the upper 50s!  How nice does that sound?!  You will be able to open your windows! 

Fall will return this weekend!!  It will be wonderful with sunny skies each day.  Highs will only be in the 70s.  Lows will be in the 40s north and 50s south.  It will be great weather to get outside!

For an detailed update on the tropics, click here.
For the latest marine forecast, click here.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Comparison between Hurricane Matthew's possible forecast track loop vs Hurricane Betsy's

Some of you have been calling to say that Matthew's forecast to do a loop in the Atlantic Ocean off the SE U.S. is the same as what Hurricane Betsy did back in 1965. Well...that is not true.

Betsy formed on August 27, 1965 just off the Leeward Islands. It quickly became a tropical storm on the same day, and then became a hurricane on August 29.  It made a few loops in its track with one north of Puerto Rico and a second north of the Bahamas.  There is a strong area of high pressure that was preventing Betsy from moving to the north, and that is what caused it to loop.  After the second loop, it then moved SW across the Bahamas, then turned west to move over far South Florida and then into the Gulf.  It eventually turned to the NW and quickly tracked right to New Orleans where it made landfall as a major hurricane on September 9th.

Hurricane Matthew formed in the Atlantic east of the Leeward Islands as a tropical storm on September 28. It quickly moved west into the Caribbean where it rapidly intensified into a Cat. 5 hurricane. The storm turned NW and then North to make a 1st landfall over the Western Tip of Haiti, then is crossed the Bahamas as a Cat. 4 hurricane and currently is just off the Florida East Coast as a Cat. 3. Matthew is forecast to stay off the Carolina Coast and turn SE and then SW and loop back around toward the Bahamas thanks to a strong area of high pressure over the NE U.S. and North Atlantic Ocean.

Are these two hurricane similar with their track/forecast track?  The answer is yes and no. Yes, because they are both being blocked by a large area of high pressure over the North Atlantic, and this is preventing them from moving to the north.

No, for a few reasons. One, they are in different times of year. Betsy was in September during the peak of hurricane season, and Matthew is occurring in October near the secondary peak of hurricane season. This makes a big difference since the water temps. are cooler in October, and we have more cold fronts and troughs moving across the Southern U.S. this time of year.  Whereas in September, you don't have the cold fronts moving as far south.

Two, Betsy's loop was much smaller and it was a much stronger hurricane when it looped and moved over the Bahamas.  Matthew forecast to be a weak tropical storm when it could move over the Bahamas.  Plus, Matthew's loop is MUCH larger, and it could loop over the same water it originally moved over as a Cat. 4. That means the water has been churned up and the up-welling would have cooled down the water temperatures.

Lastly, Betsy was able to move NW across the Gulf since it rode along the backside of the high pressure area, or path with the least resistance.  Matthew is forecast to stay to the south as a trough of low pressure and cold front will keep it from moving into the Northern Gulf - preventing it from coming to Louisiana. Actually, Matthew may be nothing more than a weak low or tropical depression by the time it gets to Bahamas, Florida Straits or Cuba.

Therefore, while the two systems may have done a loop, it is two WAY difference situations, conditions, strengths and time of year.  You can't really compare them and say they are similar because they really are not.

I hope that helps with you thinking that Matthew will follow the same path and strength Betsy did.  As always, I will continue to track Matthew and bring you the latest updates here and on my Twitter/Facebook pages.  -Dave

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Thursday Morning Matthew Update - forecast to get stronger as it moves along FL East Coast

Hurricane Matthew is moving NW through the Bahamas and heading toward the East Coast of Florida.  It is a Category 4 storm now, but it is forecast to get stronger this afternoon and tonight. 

The forecast track shows Matthew starting to impact South Florida this afternoon with tropical storm force winds and heavy rain.  Conditions will go downhill tonight as Matthew moves right along the Florida Coast.  It is possible that it could move inland on Friday Morning, if not sooner, near Cape Canaveral, FL.  The storm could also wobble and make multiple landfalls on Friday.  This is going to cause significant damage and surge flooding to the Florida Coast. 

It is worth noting, that there has never been a hurricane like this in Florida, so you can't really compare it to any past storm!  The state is fearing the worst, but hoping for the best.  The last time a storm was this strong was back in 2007 with Hurricane Dean as it made landfall in Central America with 145 mph winds. The last major hurricane to hit Florida was Hurricane Wilma back in October of 2005 as a Cat. 3 with 120 mph winds, so Matthew will be much stronger at landfall. This would also end the drought of how long it has been since the last major hurricane hit the U.S. (Wilma 2005).

Matthew will then track back offshore near Jacksonville, FL and then move just off the GA, SC, and NC Coasts as a Cat. 2.  Hurricane conditions are expected there along with a large storm surge and plenty of coastal flooding. 

The latest forecast models continue to show Matthew curving back out to sea and then to the SE.  This is thanks to a weaker trough of low pressure.  This trough is not going to pull Matthew northward, and an area of high pressure will build in keeping Matthew off the SE U.S. Coast.  It is possible that Matthew will make a loop and head back out to sea.  

It is also possible for Matthew to turn back to the west, cross over South Florida as a tropical storm, and then into the Southern Gulf of Mexico.  It would then move toward the Yucatan Peninsula, and not be a threat to Louisiana.  It is also possible that this may no longer be much of a tropical system either, just a weak low.  Needless to say, we will keep an eye on it.  

Here is my latest video update on Matthew:

I will continue to have the latest with Matthew here and on my Facebook and Twitter feeds.  -Dave

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Wednesday Morning Hurricane Matthew Update

Hurricane Matthew is weaker this morning thanks to the terrain of Cuba and Haiti along with some moderate wind shear.  It is moving to the NNW now and will track through the Bahamas over the next 24-30 hours.  Matthew is forecast to strengthen over the very warm water and less wind shear over the Islands with 130 mph winds, or a Category 4 storm. 

Then Matthew is forecast to continue moving NW toward the East Coast of Florida.  At this time it could get very close to the coast, possibly less than 50 miles offshore as a Cat. 4 Hurricane. This would be close enough to cause some major problems to the coastal areas and even inland due to the large wind field.  The forecast models (GFS and Euro) are showing that it could even make a possible landfall along the coast near Cape Canaveral, FL on Friday Afternoon.  The current forecast track from NHC keeps Matthew just offshore FL at this time, but they have been inching the track closer to the coast.  Therefore, we will have to see if there will be any more shifts westward in the track.

Now the question is, where will Matthew go next?  The models agree that is will turn NE then E and stay just off the GA, SC and NC Coasts as of this morning.  The GFS and Euro now show a new trend of curving it out to the Atlantic, but then turning south, then back west toward the Bahamas and even Florida for another possible landfall next Tuesday through Thursday, October 11-13, possibly as a hurricane!

The reason for this possible loop is because of the trough of low pressure staying over the Midwest U.S., and it pushes the strong area of high pressure into the NE U.S. This would block Matthew from moving into the Carolinas and moving east vs. northeast into the New England area.  We will have to watch to see if this new trend continues over the next few days.  If it does, then Florida and the Bahamas will need to brace for a 2nd landfall.

This looping thing isn't uncommon...remember Ivan did this back in 2004! It made landfall on Gulf Shores, AL then moved over the Carolinas, back into the Atlantic, curved around to make a 2nd landfall over Northern Florida, crossed over the Northern Gulf of Mexico with a final landfall near Lake Charles, LA. What a mess!!

The models DO NOT show it going into the Gulf of Mexico at this time either. Matthew is not a threat to Louisiana.

If you are headed to Orlando for the Tulane vs Central Florida game on Friday at 7 PM, I would expect there to be at least tropical storm conditions in Orlando with 30-50+ mph winds and heavy rain.  I would say that it does not look good for that game, especially since the teams would not be able to have a warm-up for the game with the bad weather conditions. Tulane will make an announcement later today about what they plan on doing with the game.

If you are headed to the LSU game at Florida in Gainesville, the weather will be good for the 11 am kickoff.  It will be partly cloudy and a little breezy with temperatures around 80°. However, if you are arriving on Friday, expect tropical storm conditions in Gainesville with some heavy rain bands.  Fortunately, Univ. of Florida is more inland than Orlando, so they won't feel the worst of Matthew.  However, there could still be some wind damage and power outages around town on Saturday.

Here is my latest tropical update on Matthew:

Stay tuned to additional updates here and on my Facebook/Twitter feeds over the next few days. -Dave

Friday, September 30, 2016

A somewhat rare "Black Moon" occurs this Friday

Whoa...wait a minute?  Say what?  No, that isn't a typo! A somewhat unusual lunar event known as a Black Moon will occur this Friday, September 30th.

A Black Moon is when you have 2 new moons in one month. It is opposite to the more well known, Blue Moon when there are 2 full moons in one month.

Unfortunately, you will not be able to see the Black Moon since the Earth's facing side of the moon will be in its shadow. The last time we had a Black Moon was back in March of 2014.

According to NASA, "Black Moon" isn't even a scientific term. It also has been used to describe a month that doesn't have a full moon, or to describe a third full moon in a season that has four full moons.

By the way...there will not be a Blue Moon in 2017. The next one will be on January 31, 2018.