Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"On the Topic of Tropics.."

Got a postcard from Time-Warner announcing sporadic disruption of internet in my home area over the next few weeks, most of it occurring from 12am through 6am. Imagine what I woke up to at 1am today...The Great Disconnect. Hence my delayed post, which for today I've focused on what most meteorologists in the southeast are keeping an eye on: tropical activity. Heat and drought issues have had their time in the spotlight to date...time to step aside and let the big dogs run and play.


Statistically, 'tis that time of August where tropical Atlantic activity starts to stretch like a bloodhound awakening from an afternoon's nap on a sunlit porch. Up and at 'em, Saddle Pals. Sitting here awaiting the 11am EDT updates on both Tropical Storm Dean and Tropical Depression #5 (which could become "Erin", albeit briefly before hitting Texas.

Infrared imagery helps tell the story of areas of high cloud tops and strong convection, with the red TD5 clearly visible off the Texas coast...exactly where it's heading...and exactly where they've had waaaaay too much rain. Corpus Christi alone has had a rainfall surplus of over 15" so far this year...with this system promising a good 4-8" more.

Because I usually work the pre-dawn morning shift, I basically never get to use 'visible' radars, which show a lot more 3-D detail thanks to the sun. Above is TD5 from this morning, showing nice little explosions of thunderstorms poking through the dome of clouds.

The 'vis' shot of "Dean" far out in the Atlantic might not be impressive...nice overall form, little signs of just happens to be a little bugger for now, in terms of covered real estate.

"Dean's" path should keep in heading west-northwest right through the Antilles Arc islands Friday (as a Cat 1 'cane), just north of Barbados, and very close to St. Lucia. Traversing to the south of Puerto Rico, Dominica, and Cuba, "Dean" is forecast to reach a Cat 3 level, making it an even more serious storm. Keep in mind those countries have some quite mountainous terrain, which can a) interact with the storm and weaken it, and b) create devastating flooding and mudsliding in those countries.

Assuming it holds together (very likely), "Dean" should be poised to enter the Gulf of Mexico sometime Monday...needless to say this one bears watching. At this time there is no forecast impact on our Carolina weather...but we all find these systems intriguing, knowing full well how they can greatly impact us.

Toodles for always, click on pics to enlarge.

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