First a word on general media’s handling of something. You all know how I feel about the media these days. It may be opinion, but it’s pretty accurate opinion when I say that there is so much unnecessary hype out there. This is not about information folks. It’s about hype. If you want to inform people, you don’t tell them a week in advance as the most important news story of the day that we could possibly see history by having 2 hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico at the same time, for the first time in recorded history. That doesn’t accomplish anything other than getting people in a frenzy. I’m going to shorten this by suggesting that you google the phrase “two hurricanes gulf of mexico” and reading some of the headlines, even as of just a few hours ago, which now have had to back away from the “two hurricanes” hype since that’s not going to happen, and still push things like “unprecedented back to back threats target Louisiana”, when even that may still not be quite how it unfolds. I’m not going to downplay the potential impact of Marco, which will likely bring some flooding to New Oreleans, that city whose brilliant designers thought it was a great idea to put an entire city below sea level next to a hurricane-breeding bathtub. Marco’s center may never actually make a full landfall, certainly not as a hurricane, as wind shear, as the meteorologists on this blog had predicted, is doing a number on that storm as it approaches. Granted, you don’t need a powerful storm from a wind standpoint for it to be dangerous. Even tropical depressions that don’t make landfall can cause serious flooding. But my point here isn’t that, it’s that we’re getting a firsthand example again of putting the unnecessary “expectation” in the public’s collective heads that this was going to be one of two hurricanes. It’s not. It simply is not. So now while people are stuck thinking these headlines from 5 days ago are still true, will they actually have known the struggle that Laura has been going through trying to stay together as a tropical storm while traversing the mountainous terrain of the Greater Antilles? Probably not, because it’s all about what it’s going to do later. I get that. And I don’t have a problem with warning people in advance about possibilities either. That’s part of what we, as meteorologists, should be doing, albeit responsibly. And I think the responsible thing at this point, now that we know that there is no such thing as a “double hurricane” or a “fujiwara megastorm” (or do some of us still not?), is to focus on what both of these systems are doing, and what we know they will do, and what we know they may do, from a level-headed meteorological standpoint. Yes, it’s quite possible that Laura may organize itself and intensify rather quickly once in the Gulf of Mexico and even become a major hurricane that threatens the Gulf Coast. But will it be Louisiana? Its center could very well never touch that state, although that would still not take the threat away from the state either. But we may have to shift focus to the Upper Texas Coast too, and what if Laura took a more unexpected turn north sooner. Would we have to possibly talk about an impact east of Louisiana? Yes we have wonderful technology and ability to predict weather, but it doesn’t always quite go as expected. We’ve even seen that locally with 3 short-range model failures in the last week alone trying to predict the coverage and severity of thunderstorms in our region. The focus on weather news needs to shift away from far fetched potentials to more responsible advising. Wrong way: “Two hurricanes could be in the Gulf next week – first time ever!” Right way: “There is the potential for two tropical systems to impact portions of the Gulf Coast in several days. All residents should monitor the progress of these systems and be ready to take action if directed to do so.” I realize that the second statement doesn’t carry the excitement and isn’t as “sexy” as the first one, but it’s the right way to say it. Oh, by the way, are you people getting ready for the day-before-election-day asteroid? I mean, it’ll be the first time ever that an asteroid has a 0.1% chance of hitting Earth the day before a presidential election! 😉
DAYS 1-5 (AUGUST 24-28)
We’ve reached the last full week of August, and there’s a variety of weather on the menu, from some heat and humidity to thunderstorms to a taste of fall, and maybe even some tropical remnants. While the drought continues, we do at least have a few more opportunities to get at least some relief, even though I still believe we’re in it for a longer term. Time will tell. But coming back to the more immediate, it will be a very warm and humid start to the week today, and like yesterday, we’ll once again have to watch for the development of showers and thunderstorms. While short range forecasts have not been stellar at times the last several days, I do feel that today’s activity will end up a little less potent than yesterday with a little less energy available to fire the storms. Regardless, any storms that form can still be strong, produce gusty winds and brief flooding, frequent lightning and again some hail, so we should be on the look-out for that threat today. Tuesday, that warm and humid air mass will still be in place to start, but a strong cold front is going to cut into it and trigger more showers and storms as it cuts across the region, with timing mostly during afternoon and evening. There will be the potential for some severe weather with these storms. Behind this front will come a refreshing Canadian air mass for Wednesday, which will boldly tell you that autumn is not that far away. A warm front will approach on Thursday, bringing clouds back into the region. I still think the daylight hours will stay mainly dry, but some shower activity may occur by evening or at night as the front crosses the region. Friday ends up warmer and more humid, with some clouds lingering about, and possibly thickening up again later as remnant moisture from one or both tropical systems finds its way into the jet stream and makes a run for the Northeast. It remains to be seen how impactful that moisture will be here, but that will be something to watch during the week.
TODAY: Partly sunny. Scattered showers and thunderstorms this afternoon. Any thunderstorms may contain gusty wind, torrential rain, frequent lightning, and small hail. Highs 83-90. Dew point middle to upper 60s. Wind variable 5-15 MPH.
TONIGHT: Partly cloudy. Patchy fog. Lows 63-70. Dew point lower to middle 60s. Wind variable 5-15 MPH.
TUESDAY: Mostly sunny morning. Variably cloudy afternoon with showers and thunderstorms likely from northwest to southeast. Any thunderstorms may be strong to severe with potential damaging wind and isolated instances of large hail. Highs 82-89. Dew point middle 60s. Wind SW 5-15 MPH with higher gusts.
TUESDAY NIGHT: Clearing. Lows 55-62. Dew point falling to upper 40s. Wind NW 5-15 MPH, higher gusts.
WEDNESDAY: Sun and passing clouds. Highs 72-79. Dew point falling through 40s. Wind NW 10-20 MPH.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Clear except patchy ground fog in low elevations. Lows 47-54. Dew point lower to middle 40s. Wind NW diminishing to under 10 MPH.
THURSDAY: Sun gives way to clouds. Highs 75-82. Dew point upper 40s to lower 50s. Wind variable 5-15 MPH.
THURSDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy. Chance of showers. Lows 60-67. Dew point rising through 50s. Wind variable up to 10 MPH becoming SW.
FRIDAY: Variably cloudy. Late-day or nighttime showers or rain possible. Highs 77-84. Dew point rising into 60s. Wind SW to S 5-15 MPH.
DAYS 6-10 (AUGUST 29 – SEPTEMBER 2)
A disturbance will be moving across the region August 29 with a shower and thunderstorm threat and possibly some enhanced rainfall, depending on remnant moisture from tropical systems. High pressure builds in with cooler/drier weather August 30-31 with a fabulous end to the month of August and meteorological summer. September gets underway with high pressure overhead then shifting offshore producing fair weather and a warming trend. Timing of next system is uncertain but may end up with a shower threat before the end of this period.
DAYS 11-15 (SEPTEMBER 3-7)
High pressure offshore strengthens early in the period with above normal temperatures but some risk of a few showers and thunderstorms as well. A frontal boundary in the region may continue the chance for showers at times thereafter.