Hurricane Florence Trudges Along

Hurricane Florence is moving slowly towards North Carolina. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is moving at northwest at 6 mph 5.2 knots 9.7 km/h. It has winds of 90 mph 78 knots 145 km/h with gusts as high as 113 mph 98 knots 182 km/h. That makes Florence a Category 1 hurricane. It is a large hurricane with hurricane force winds extending up to 80 miles 70 nautical miles 129 kilometers, while tropical storm force winds extend up to 195 miles 170 nautical miles 314 kilometers. A large hurricane is very dangerous as they can produce large storm surge and waves.

Looking at the wind swath map, the entire Coastal North Carolina and parts of South Carolina are experiencing tropical storm force winds. Some areas in Coastal North Carolina are seeing hurricane force winds. If Florence makes landfall with 90 mph winds, the highest wind on land is going to be 77 mph 67 knots 124 km/h with gusts as high as 116 mph 101 knots 187 km/h. Many areas will likely see 50 to 70 mph 44 to 61 knots 80 to 113 km/h with gusts as high as 75 to 105 mph 65 to 91 knots 121 to 169 km/h. The biggest question is where does Florence go ultimately.

It is the latest forecast track from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance for Florence. It is a heat map using points within 300 mile/480 kilometers radius. It is more circular, which suggests that Florence could linger for the next several days over land. That is going to be very bad as winds, storm surge, waves, and heavy rain are going to persist. Storm surge is getting much high as Florence gets closer. The Neuse River at Oriental, North Carolina gauge is setting high water of nearly 9 feet/2.7 meters!

It is only getting higher. I would not be surprised to see storm surge approaching 20 feet/6.1 meters or higher. Storm surge is very dangerous. That is why people evacuate from water and hide from the wind. To make matters worse, heavy rain is falling. Heavy rain leads to flooding, which kills like storm surge. It is very destructive. Case in point, Harvey. Let’s take a look at the rainfall total forecast. They are from EURO, GFS, Canadian, and German (ICON). The forecast models are from Weather.US. They are all seven day rainfall total forecast.

The forecast models have 29 to 38 inches/73.7 centimeters to 96.5 centimeters of rain. GFS has the lowest, while EURO has the highest. The NHC is forecasting 40 inches/101.6 centimeters of rain of rain. I would not be surprised if some areas see 50 inches/127 centimeters of rain. Some areas have gotten over 12 inches/30.5 centimeters of rain already! 50 inches does not sound so off.

Here is what I think will happen.
-Florence is making landfall somewhere in North Carolina.
-Landfall time is looking to be Friday morning.
-Strong winds, storm surge, and heavy rain will be the main problem from Florence.
-Main headline for Florence will likely be massive flooding.
-Record rainfall is likely with Florence.

It is going to be a long night for North Carolina with Florence. It is going to be one brutal hurricane for them.

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Furious Florence And Future Kirk?

Hurricane Florence is getting ever so closer to the Southeastern US. Subtropical Storm Joyce recently formed in the Eastern Atlantic. We now have Florence, Helene, Isaac, and Joyce. Invest 95L could become Kirk. If Kirk forms, we would have five storms at once. Before I talk about the latest, ten years ago today, Hurricane Ike was getting closer to the Texas Coast as a large Category 2 hurricane. I will focus on Florence and Invest 95L as they are closest to land.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has Florence with 110 mph 96 knots 177 km/h winds with gusts as high as 138 mph 120 knots 222 km/h. It has central pressure of 957 millibars. Just because Florence is no longer a major hurricane does not make it any less dangerous. In some ways, it is more dangerous as it gets larger. People might think that Florence is no longer dangerous as it is no longer a major hurricane. It has hurricane force winds extending up to 80 miles 70 nautical miles 129 kilometers and tropical storm force winds extending up to 195 miles 170 nautical miles 314 kilometers. Hurricane that go further north, tend to get larger. I think Florence could have hurricane force winds extending up to 125 miles 109 nautical miles 201 kilometers and tropical storm force winds extending up to 250 miles 217 nautical miles 402 kilometers before landfall.

Here is the latest forecast track from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance for Florence and Invest 95L. It is a heat map using points within 300 mile/480 kilometers radius. I have included Ensemble Prediction Systems generated from a previous forecast cycle along with the latest.

The heat map for Florence is getting more circular, which is concerning. Florence could make landfall somewhere in South Carolina or North Carolina. It suggests that Florence is going to slow down after it makes landfall. It looks to linger over the area after landfall. As for landfall time, Florence is probably going to make landfall sometimes on Friday morning. The slower motion of Florence is lower confidence because forecast models cannot predict where Florence will go. In regards to Invest 95L, it looks to be making landfall on South Texas sometimes on Friday. Too early to tell for this one at this time. Since Florence is getting larger and forecasted to slow down, storm surge is going to be a serious problem.

Some areas could see easily 15 feet/4.6 meters storm surge. I would not be surprised if some areas see over 20 feet/6.1 meters storm surge. If anyone is in a storm surge area, they need to evacuate. Storm surge kills! Most people die from storm surge in hurricanes and tropical cyclones. The deadliest tropical cyclone known is the 1970 Bhola Cyclone, which claimed 1.1 million people in present day Bangladesh, then East Pakistan on November 12, 1970. The tropical cyclone produced up to 33 feet/10 meters storm surge on the Ganges Delta. Most of the death were from deadly storm surge and epidemic following the tropical cyclone. Proof that storm surge kills. It also does not have to be a strong major hurricane to produce deadly and monsterous storm surge. Ike and Sandy produce high storm surge despite not being major hurricanes. They produced deadly storm surge because they were large storms and the geography is more conducive to deadly storm surge, which is also the case for Coastal Bangladesh. As Florence getting closer and water rising, many are asking how strong will Florence be.

Most intensity forecast models for Florence show it will be maintaining Category 2. One has it re-intensifying into Category 3 hurricane. I would not be srurprised if Florence does intensify into a Category 3 before landfall. As for Invest 95L, a couple forecast models have it intensifying into a tropical storm. I would not be surprised if 95L becomes Kirk by Thursday.

Rainfall is another concern, especially for Florence. They are from EURO, GFS, Canadian, and German (ICON). The forecast models are from Weather.US. They are all seven day rainfall total forecast.

The EURO has nearly 40 inches/101.6 centimeters of rain. The GFS has 33 inches/83.8 centimeters of rain. The Canadian has nearly 22 inches/55.9 centimeters of rain. The ICON has 28 inches/71.2 centimeters of rain. The EURO has the heaviest rainfall forecast. Previously, the GFS had some high rainfall forecast totals as high as 77 inches/195.6 centimeters in 7 days! The National Hurricane Center forecasts rainfall on par with Mitch and Harvey. They forecasted over 40 inches/101.6 centimeters of rain. That is very chilling to read that. Not often you see that for sure. I would not be surprised if some areas get over 50 inches of rain once it is all over.

The rainfall forecast for Invest 95L is not as high as it has been previously. The EURO has 6 inches/15.2 centimeters of rain. The GFS has 5 inches/12.7 centimeters of rain. The Canadian has nearly 7 inches/17.8 centimeters of rain. The ICON has over 10 inches/25.4 centimeters of rain. The forecast models are all over the place for Invest 95L. The forecast models assume that 95L does not become Kirk. If it became Kirk, I suspect the forecast models are going to change.

Here is what I think will happen.
-Florence could intensify into a Category 3 hurricane.
-Florence is looking to affect South Carolina and North Carolina the most.
-Strong winds, storm surge, and heavy rain will be the main problem from Florence.
-Main headline for Florence will likely be massive flooding.
-Invest 95L is likely to become Kirk by Thursday.

Furious Florence And Future Joyce?

The tropics are heating up and it is very concerning. Before I look at the tropics, let’s take a moment to reflect what happened on this day. Seventeen years ago today, America was attacked on September 11, 2001. Four airplanes hijacked by Al-Qaeda terrorists flew them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. A fourth hijacked airplane crashed near Shanksville. Nearly 3,000 people were killed on that tragic day. Many more have become ill and some have died from toxic dust and smoke exposure from the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Currently, there is Florence and Invest 95L, which maybe Joyce. Florence has 140 mph 122 knots 225 km/h winds with gusts as high as 175 mph 152 knots 282 km/h. It has central pressure of 946 millibars. Florence is a large hurricane and getting larger. It has hurricane force winds extending up to 60 miles 52 nautical miles 97 kilometers and tropical storm force winds extending up to 175 miles 152 nautical miles 282 kilometers. I would not be surprised if Florence is a large hurricane as it gets closer to the US. Hurricane that go further north, tend to get larger.

Here is the latest forecast track from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance. It is a heat map using points within 300 mile/480 kilometers radius.

For Florence, it is looking more likely to hit either North Carolina or South Carolina. One forecast model has Florence going back to the Atlantic. It is looking more and more that Florence is going to hit North Carolina or South Carolina. The circular pattern over North Carolina is concerning because Florence may stall out. That means that heavy rain and flooding is more likely for North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. The most concerning part is that near the center at night. There could core rain near the center of the low pressure. Core rains dump very heavy rain over a short time at night. Examples of core rain are 1921 Thrall Flood, Camille (1969), Claudette (1979), and Allison (2001).

For Invest 95L, it is looking to hit Texas sometimes this week. One forecast model has it going to Louisiana. It is rather early to tell as it has not developed yet. Regardless if 95L develops or not, heavy rain will be the main problem for Texas. Texas has been getting heavy rain lately, especially along the Upper Texas Coast. The next question is how strong will Florence and 95L be.

Most intensity forecast models keep Florence as a Category 4 hurricane. One has Florence as a Category 5 hurricane. I would not be surprised if Florence becomes a Category 5 hurricane. Most intensity forecast keep Florence as a major hurricane up to landfall.

As for Invest 95L, most forecast models have it intensifying into a tropical storm, especially within a couple of days from now. Since 95L is forecasted to go over the Gulf Of Mexico, I would not be surprised if it becomes a hurricane. Texas has seen tropical storms rapidly intensify into hurricanes like the Freeport Hurricane (1932), Humberto (2007), and Harvey (2017). I am not suggest 95L will become a hurricane, but just pointing out hurricane history is not too kind to Texas.

Rainfall is another concern. They are from EURO, GFS, Canadian, and German (ICON). The forecast models are from Weather.US. They are all seven day rainfall total forecast.

The EURO has 45 inches/114.3 centimeters of rain. The GFS has 62 inches/157.5 centimeters of rain! It is lower, but still very high! North Carolina has 15 to 25 inches/38.1 centimeters to 63.5 centimeters of rain, which is still heavy. The Canadian has 25 inches/63.5 centimeters of rain. Like the GFS, it is over the ocean. The ICON has 41 inches/104.4 centimeters of rain. The trend with these forecast models is heavier. The EURO have heaviest rain along the coast. The GFS has the heaviest rain offshore with heaviest over land in Coastal South Carolina and North Carolina. The Canadian has the heaviest rain over North Carolina and Virginia. The ICON has the heaviest rain along Coastal North Carolina and Virginia. The heavy rain is very concerning and can lead to massive flooding similar to Harvey.

Invest 95L rainfall forecast is all over the place. The EURO has over 9 inches/22.9 centimeters of rain northeast of Corpus Christi. The GFS has 5 inches/12.7 centimeters south of Houston. The Canadian has nearly 7 inches/17.8 centimeters of rain along the Central Coast of Texas. The ICON has over 11 inches/27.9 centimeters of rain south of Houston. The rainfall forecast is all over the place for 95L. When 95L gets closer, the forecast model should be more confident on rainfall amount and where it may fall.

Here is what I think will happen.
-Florence could intensify into a Category 5 hurricane.
-Florence is looking to affect North Carolina the most.
-Strong winds, storm surge, and heavy rain will be the main problem from Florence.
-Invest 95L is likely to become Joyce later this week.
-Texas could see more heavy rain and possibly flooding from Invest 95L or Joyce.

The Tropics Are Heating Up

Today is what is the peak date for the Atlantic Hurricane Season. No doubt today with Florence, Isaac, Helene, and Invest 95L, which maybe Joyce. 95L is an area of thunderstorms over the Caribbean south of Cuba. Tomorrow is September 11, which is the 17th anniversary of the devastating terrorist attacks in New York, Arlington, and Shanksville. It claimed 3,000 lives and reduced the World Trade Center to a smoldering and toxic rubble and left the Pentagon burning shooting out toxic smoke. I will be focusing on Florence as it is most likely to pose a threat to America. Invest 95L was declared earlier today, so there is not a lot of forecast models for it yet.

As of 11:00 PM AST from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Florence has 140 mph 122 knots 225 km/h winds with gusts as high as 175 mph 152 knots 282 km/h. The central pressure is 944 millibars. It is a medium sized hurricane with hurricane force winds extending up to 40 miles 35 nautical miles 64 kilometers and tropical storm force winds extending up to 150 miles 130 nautical miles 241 kilometers.

The forecast intensity shows Florence being a Category 4 hurricane.

I think Florence will be a Category 5 hurricane. Here is why from NOAA-Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential and Weather Maps-Maximum Potential Hurricane Intensity.

The water where Florence is and probably where it will go is warm. It has plenty of warm and deep water to work with. The Maximum Potential Hurricane Intensity (MPI) supports a Category 5 hurricane if conditions are near perfect. This is despite the fact that Florence is likely to run into UW-CIMSS-Wind Shear. The wind shear is not that strong and since Florence is well structured and organized, it should have little effect.

The biggest question is where does Florence go? That is on everyone’s mind right now. The forecast paths are from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance.

I have the latest forecast track and ensemble from a previous forecast cycle. The consensus on both forecast models including the ensembles using the heat map within 300 mile/480 kilometers radius from the point show that North Carolina is most likely to have Florence making landfall later this week. What is most concerning is once it is over land, Florence could slow down and stall out. This leads to heavy rain and dangerous flooding. Hurricane Harvey lingered over Texas dumping heavy rain over a large area leading to massive flooding. Here are rainfall forecast models from Weather.US. They are EURO, GFS, Canadian, and German (ICON). They are all seven day rainfall total forecast.

The forecast models all agree that heavy rain will fall over North Carolina. Two have heavy rain over Virginia. The EURO has 19 inches/48.3 centimeters of rain. The GFS has (drum rolls please) 77 inches/195.6 centimeters of rain! Thankfully, that is over the ocean. North Carolina has 15 to 20 inches/38.1 centimeters to 50.8 centimeters of rain, which is still heavy. The Canadian has 39 inches/99 centimeters of rain. Like the GFS, it is over the ocean. The ICON has 29 inches/74 centimeters of rain. The 77 inches of rainfall forecast from GFS is assuming that Florence is stalled out over the ocean. If Florence was to stall out over land and 77 inches of rain did fall, it would be heavier than Harvey. I have never seen such high rainfall forecasts. The last time I saw something that high high was from Harvey. Some forecast models I saw had up to 70 inches/177.8 centimeters of rain over Texas!

The rainfall forecast does include Texas. They are all over the place in terms of rainfall forecast for the next 7 days. The EURO has 19 inches of rain west of Corpus Christi. The GFS has 5 inches/12.7 centimeters. The Canadian has 12 inches/30.5 centimeters of rain over Houston area. The ICON has 15 inches of rain northeast of Corpus Christi. This suggests at this point, the heaviest rain will be in South Texas depending on how organized Invest 95L. If it is not as organized, the heaviest rain would be east of the center and Southeast Texas would get the heaviest rain from 95L.

Here is what I think will happen.
-Florence could intensify into a Category 5 hurricane.
-Florence is looking to affect North Carolina the most.
-Strong winds, storm surge, and heavy rain will be the main problem from Florence.
-Deadly flooding will probably be main headline if Florence stalls out.
-Regardless if Invest 95L is Joyce or not, Texas could see more heavy rain this week to early next week.

More Rain Tonight?

The tropical wave is now over Texas. It is a disorganized system, so it is hard to predict where the rain will be tonight. Let’s look at High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR), North American Mesoscale Forecast System (NAM), Regional Model (RGEM), and Weather Research and Forecast (WRF-ARW, and WRF-NMM). They are at 0900Z or 4:00 AM CDT.

The HRRR has heavy rain mostly west and southwest of Houston. The NAM has heavy rain over Matagorda Bay and east of Houston. The RGEM has an axis of heavy rain from Corpus Christi area to East Texas. The WRF-ARW has the heavy rain over Matagorda Bay. The WRF-NMM has heavy rain south of San Antonio. This shows that forecasting where heavy rain will fall tonight is all over the place with this tropical wave.

Looking at the most recent Doppler radar mosaic, there is heavy rain over East Texas and Southwest Louisiana. It is not really active right now.

However, with tropical moisture, thunderstorms tend to form at night, especially near the center of the low pressure system. They are called core rains and they can dump heavy rain in a short time. Harvey, Allison, Claudette, and Thrall 1921 Flood were core rain events as flooding rain fell at night. This system is disorganized, so it will be hard to tell where it will exactly form. Some forecast models want the heavy rain over Matagorda Bay, while some have it over Southeast Texas.

Many are wondering what is the forecasted rain amount. The rainfall forecast models are from GFS, Canadian, EURO, ICON, and Weather Prediction Center (WPC). They are all 7 day rainfall total forecast.

The GFS has 4 inches of rain over Galveston Bay. The area of heaviest rain is east of Houston.

The Canadian has nearly 11 inches of rain just north of Houston. The largest area of heavy rain is north of Houston.

The EURO has backed down on nearly 30 inches of rain. It has nearly 15 inches of rain south of San Antonio. There is a large area of heavy rain southwest of Houston.

The ICON has over 13 inches of rain near Aransas Pass. There is an area of 8 inches of rain west of Houston. Most of the heavy rain is over the Gulf Of Mexico.

The WPC has 10 inches of rain over an Matagorda Bay and Victoria. Houston area has 5 to 7 inches of rain.

The rainfall forecast is all over the place on where it will fall and even the amount. This is a very frustrating forecast. Regardless of forecast models, all forecast heavy rain will fall somewhere.

Here is what I think will happen.
-Someone will see heavy rain tonight.
-Not ruling out Houston area getting heavy rain tonight.
-Rainfall amounts could range from 5 to 10 inches of rain with isolated totals approaching and exceeding 15 inches.

The forecast models came from Weather.US, Tropical Tidbits, National Hurricane Center, and National Weather Service. Special thanks to all of them.

Invest 91L As This Weekend’s Rainmaker?

Invest 91L is over the Gulf of Mexico. Currently on satellite from CIMSS-Tropical Cyclones, it does not look too impressive.

Of course with tropical lows, they tend to fire up at night as they are warmer than the surrounding area. I would not be surprised to see a lot of thunderstorms come morning. As the time passes, where does Invest 91L go?

Most forecast models have it going towards South Texas or Mexico. There is a chance that it could go over Southeast Texas. If it goes into Mexico or South Texas, there is better chance for rain since the northeast side is the wettest as it is the “dirty” side of the tropical low. The intensity forecast models are split.

Some have Invest 91L as a tropical wave. Some have it intensifying into a tropical depression. Some have it becoming a tropical storm. If it becomes a tropical storm, it would be Beryl. Like I say, intensity forecast is not really reliable. At this point, I would be more concerned with the rain than some tropical storm developing.

Various forecast models have different rain amounts, which are from GFS, Canadian, EURO, and Weather Prediction Center (WPC). They are from Weather.US and Weather Prediction Center (WPC)-Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts (QPF). These are 7 day rainfall totals.

The GFS has the heaviest rain over Houston area. It forecasts up to 8 inches of rain. A large area of Southeast Texas has 3 to 6 inches of rain.

The Canadian forecasts rain amounts of up to 6 inches over Austin area and around Halletsville.

The EURO forcasts up to 20 inches of rain southeast of San Antonio. There is 10 inches south of Houston. The EURO is the wettest of the forecast models.

The WPC has up to 5 inches of rain over Southeast Texas. It is the driest of the forecast models.

All the forecast models have rain for Texas. The only difference is the amount. Some are very bullish, while others are not. The plus side is that it will put a dent on the drought in Texas.

Most areas in Texas are in a drought. The rains can alleviate the drought, which is a good thing. This also increases the risk for flooding, which is not good almost a year after Harvey ravaged Texas with epic rainfall.

I think Invest 91L will be more of a rain event this weekend. Tropical development is not likely, but cannot be ruled out. Regardless, Invest 91L needs to be watched as it could be more of a rain event that may cause flooding in some areas.

The forecast models came from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance. The GIS drought map is from United States Drought Monitor.

Irma Ravages Florida Part 2

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has Hurricane Irma is near Tampa and it is a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph 160 km/h 87 knot winds, which is on land 85 mph 136 km/h 74 knots. Gusts are as high as 128 mph 205 km/h 111 knots. Hurricane force winds are up to 150 miles 240 km 130 nautical miles across from northeast to southeast quadrant. Tropical force winds are up to 690 miles 1,104 km 600 nautical miles across from northwest to northeast quadrant. It is a large hurricane!

Tropical storm force winds are engulfing a large portion of Florida. It is even felt in Georgia and South Carolina! That is how large Irma is. Irma got large because it is over land, which disrupts the core. There is also a cold front. Those two make Irma larger as energy is spread out. The same reason why Ike got larger before making landfall on Texas in 2008.

Irma continues to get closer to Tampa. Here is the forecast model of where Irma will go. This is the latest heat map from various forecast models and GFS ensemble track guidance for Irma. The GFS goes up to 10 days.

Interesting to note there is not much of a consensus of where Irma will go. Interestingly, there appears to be some cluster where Irma will go in the next five days. Looks like Irma may end up over Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, and Illinois.

Here is what I think will happen.
-Tampa Bay Area will be ravaged by Irma.
-Storm surge and strong winds will be the main issue.
-Flooding from storm surge and heavy rain will be widespread.

The forecast models came from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance and National Hurricane Center, . Special thanks to all of them.