Archive for August, 2011

Another 100 Degree Day
August 31, 2011

The meteorological summer is coming to an end today!  Maybe we’re going to really transition into Fall.  Of course, the common theme during 2011 has been the 100 degree heat.

Fort Smith added another 100 degree day today.  That brings the total to 48.  It looks like Thursday will feature another 100 degree day in Fort Smith, but do you think we will make a run at the 54 days?

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

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Tropical Trouble In The Gulf?
August 31, 2011

After a quiet season so far in the Gulf of Mexico, computer models are hinting that we could heat up…and quickly. One of the trends I’ve been noticing over the past couple of days is that models have something forming in the Gulf this Friday and into the weekend. The biggest difference, when comparing the computer models, would be just exactly where it’s heading. Models are completely split…The NAM (currently) has the storm forming, then moving towards the TX/LA border and then hugging the coast as it slowly moves westward. The GFS (currently) has the storm moving towards the Panhandle of Florida and then right up the East Coast, bringing very heavy rains to many areas flooded from Hurricane Irene. Best case scenario would be that IF something does form in the Gulf, that it will remain weak and move into Texas…bringing much needed rainfall to drought-stricken areas. We’ll keep you updated on this possible development over the next couple of days.

NAM 06 Z Model Run (Saturday Morning):

GFS 06 Z Model Run (Late Saturday Into Sunday)

Matt Devitt

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Tropical Storm Katia
August 30, 2011

After all of the craziness Irene brought to the east coast, we’re now watching another tropical system in the Atlantic.  Keep in mind the peak of the hurricane season is September, so this is the time we start to see more and more tropical systems developing.

Katia is a tropical storm with winds around 60 mph.  More organization is expected over the next 24 hours as Katia develops into a hurricane.

While the track takes Katia toward the United States, the long-range models try to steer her back out to see away from the East coast.  We’ll keep an eye on Katia closely as she strengthens!

Katia replaces Katrina in the list of storms.  The name Katrina was retired after the catastrophic storm hit the United States 6 years ago!

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

8:15 AM Update – 20% Isolated T’Storms Today / Tonight
August 30, 2011

Over the past couple of hours, showers and storms have been moving across Central Oklahoma and are currently across Eastern Oklahoma. They are traveling East at 20-30 mph and will move into our area over the next couple of hours. If you are lucky enough to find yourself under one of these isolated storms, expect brief heavy rain and a couple rumbles of thunder are possible. Severe weather is not expected, however, storms could briefly become str0ng. Slim rain chances will continue into tonight but should wind down by Wednesday. Here is the current radar image as of 8:15 AM:

Matt Devitt

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

Could The End Of Summer Be In Sight?
August 29, 2011

Finally the computer models are showing a light at the end of the hot tunnel. The latest data is showing a strong cold front slicing in on Saturday providing a round of thunderstorms before lower humidity and cooler weather arrives in time for Labor Day. Highs could be in the 80s area wide for a couple of days. Will it be the end of the summer weather? Probably not, but the end is getting much closer. In the mean time, 2011 will go down as the hottest summer ever recorded in Fort Smith. Northwest Arkansas will go down as one of the hottest, but some of the dust bowl years in the 1930s were a little hotter.

Ross Ellet

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7:45 AM Update – Scattered Showers/T’Storms Moving Out…
August 29, 2011

Early this morning scattered showers and thunderstorms impacted both Northwest Arkansas as well as Fort Smith / River Valley. There was no severe weather, however, rainfall amounts on average were around a tenth to quarter of an inch…A couple isolated locations received just shy of 3/4 inch of rain. Rain chances will continue to go down as storms roll out of our area. For the afternoon, expect more sunshine (in comparison to this morning), with high temperatures rebounding into the 90s.

Matt Devitt

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

Another 100 Degree Day
August 28, 2011

The mercury on the thermometer reminded us today that summer isn’t over yet. Highs across the area came within a few degrees of the record highs in both the river valley and northwest Arkansas. Fort Smith inched a little closer to the all time highest number of 100 degree days in a year with 47 days…just a week shy of the all time record. More warm temperatures will be around for the next several days. However, there is a chance a few scattered showers and storms could develop after midnight tonight going into Monday morning. Late next week, a tropical wave will move overhead which will lower the temperature but increase the humidity and rain chances.

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

Irene Makes Landfall As Strong Cat 1 Hurricane – NYC In Projected Path
August 27, 2011

As Hurricane Irene continues to barrel along the East Coast, bringing very heavy rain, storm surge, damaging winds, and even isolated tornadoes, she did quite a number on North Carolina when she made landfall this (Saturday) morning. Dr. Jeff Masters, a great meteorologist for Weather Underground (wunderground.com) wrote a great summary on Hurricane Irene. Some of his blog is posted below:

Hurricane Irene Landfall

“Hurricane Irene roared ashore over Cape Lookout, North Carolina at 7:30 am this morning. The Cedar Island Ferry Terminal measured sustained winds of 90 mph, gusting to 110 mph at 7:19am, and a trained spotter on Atlantic Beach measured sustained winds of 85 mph, gusting to 101 mph at 10:35 am. The Hurricane Hunters measured 80 mph winds over water at the time of landfall. Winds at the Cape Lookout, North Carolina buoy, which the eye passed directly over, peaked at 67 mph as Irene made landfall.

Storm surge damage from Irene

The storm surge and wave action from Irene is likely to cause the greatest damage, and this will be a historic coastal flooding event for many regions of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. A storm surge of 8.5 feet was reported this morning in North Harlow, NC, and three feet in New Bern, NC. Significant wave heights (the average height of the largest 1/3 of the waves) reached 27 feet at Onslow Bay, NC this morning, and wave heights along the New Jersey shore Sunday morning during the time of high tide are expected to be 15 – 20 feet. A storm surge of 3 – 6 feet is expected near Atlantic City, NJ Sunday morning, during the time of high tide. With 15 – 20 foot waves expected on top of this storm surge, there will be tremendous damage to the coast and low-lying structures. Storm surge is also a major concern for New York City. The latest NWS forecast is calling for a 5 – 8 foot storm surge in New York Harbor, which would easily top the flood walls protecting the south end of Manhattan if the storm surge occurs at high tide. High tide is near 8 am Sunday morning. A research storm surge model run by SUNY Stonybrook predicts that water levels at The Battery at the south end of Manhattan will peak at 2.2 meters above Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) at high tide Sunday morning, which would be about six inches below the top of the flood wall (which is 5 feet above mean sea level.) Waves on top of the surge would likely spill over the top of the floodwall in this scenario, and cause some flooding in southern Manhattan. Storm surge heights of up to eight feet are predicted in Western Long Island Sound, and 3 – 6 feet along much of the New England coast from New York to Massachusetts. This is going to be a damaging coastal flooding event for this stretch of coast, though perhaps not as damaging as the one New Jersey will experience.

Inland flooding damage from Irene

 
Inland flash flooding and river flooding from torrential rains are a major concern. Latest radar-estimated rainfall amounts in North Carolina already exceed ten inches in some locations. A 100 mile-wide swath of 8+ inches of rain will likely fall from Eastern North Carolina northwards along the coast, through New York City, and into Vermont and New Hampshire during the next two days. Destructive river flooding will be a significant danger from New Jersey northwards to Southeast New York, where soils are saturated and run-off will be the greatest.

Lady Liberty not in danger from Irene

 
The Statue of Liberty is not vulnerable to a storm surge, since the good lady stands atop a 65-foot high foundation and 89-foot high granite pedestal. However, the 305′ height of the lady’s torch above the foundation means the statue will experience winds a full Saffir-Simpson category higher than winds at the surface. The statue is rated to survive a wind load of 58 psf, which is roughly equivalent to 120 mph winds (Category 3 hurricane). However, a mid-strength Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds will be able to generate 120 mph winds at a height of 300 feet, and would theoretically be capable of toppling the Statue of Liberty. Winds from Irene should stay below 80 mph at 300 feet, and not pose a threat to the Statue of Liberty.

Tornadoes

 
Two tornadoes were reported in coastal North Carolina last night. One tornado destroyed 2 homes and damaged 6 others in Columbia, with several minor injuries, and the other hit Belhaven, damaging multiple trailers. We might see five or ten tornadoes from Irene over the next two days, but the atmosphere is not unstable enough for Irene to generate as many tornadoes as we’re used to seeing from a landfalling hurricane.
Insurance company AIR-Worldwide is estimating that insured damages from Irene in the U.S. will be $1.5 – $6 billion. They estimate losses in the Caribbean at $0.5 – $1.1 billion from Irene, 60% in the Bahamas.”

Here is the current (7:00 PM) project path, which would put the heart of the storm either near or just to the east of New York City:

(CLICK ON IMAGE TO ZOOM IN)

(CLICK ON IMAGE TO ANIMATE)

Matt Devitt

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

Irene Has Weakened To A Cat 2 Storm
August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene has weakened through the day today. It is still a strong category 2 hurricane and expected to weaken slightly as it moves up the coast. The storm’s projected path remains on track. Irene will hit the Outer Banks of North Carolina overnight tonight and early tomorrow. It will impact the New York City Metro area during the day on Sunday.

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather

Friday Tropical Update – Hurricane Irene Heading Towards East Coast
August 26, 2011

Irene, currently a strong category 2 hurricane, continues to move North across the open waters of the Atlantic..heading right towards the East Coast of the United States. Irene  over the past couple of hours has gone through fluctuations in strength but currently winds are around 110 mph with gusts between 125 – 140 mph. One interesting observation to note…mininum pressures are fairly low considering winds are around Cat 2 / Cat 3 strength (942-945 mb)…Strengthening is in the forecast over the next 24 hours, however, Irene will be battling some moderate wind shear and dry air aloft…These variables will prevent Irene from becoming a VERY powerful hurricane. Even with that said, Irene becoming a major hurricane once again is possible as her first landfall would have the storm impacting North Carolina on Saturday (with the Outer Banks receiving the heaviest rain and strongest winds).

Once Irene passes through the Carolinas it will ride up the coast on Sunday, impacting heavily populated cities including Philly, New York City, and Boston (just to name a few). Flooding rains, storm surge, and strong winds could pose a huge problem all over the East Coast this weekend…Preparations are currently underway across the entire area but the big question is…WILL it be enough?

 

Matt Devitt

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”