Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Revised Hurricane Forecast Calls for Lower Numbers But Caution Remains High

The angry ocean with waves up to 10 feet during the Storm with No Name back in May. We will be watching the ocean for tropical development more carefully since water temperatures are quickly warming up to 80 degrees or above. It will be a season where we can go from sunny to stormy in an instant.

Phil Klotzbach and Bill Gray have just come out with their new tropical season forecast for 2009 and it confirms what we have been talking about here on the weather blog. My updated forecast last week was for 10 named storms and 5 hurricanes which is slightly below average. Dr. Gray's team is calling for 11 named storms and 5 hurricanes with 2 hurricanes with wind speeds at 111 mph or greater. The big reasons for an even more optmistic forecast than this team released a few weeks ago which called for up to 14 named storms and 7 hurricanes all has to do with sea-surface temperatures. The Atlantic Ocean is experiencing some of its coolest water temperature readings since 1994 and at the same time the equatorial Pacific Ocean is quickly heating up to above average values which tells us to get ready for another full-fleged El Nino. The El Nino could develop into a fairly strong one by time the peak of our season arrives which would mean more wind shear and less tropical storm development.

But as we saw in 1992 when there were only 7 named storms in an El Nino we had one monster category five hurricane that hit South Florida...that is right HURRICANE ANDREW. This pattern also tells us to be ready for tropical systems to pop quickly in areas near the coastlines since that is where all the shallower, warmer water will be located. This pop-up hurricane pattern has become more prevalent over the past couple of seasons and this year we will have to be ready again. Instead of days to prepare, we may only have hours to get ready for hurricane conditions like we saw with Hurricane Humberto in Texas back in 2007. Be ready. Know your storm surge and evacuation zones by clicking on this link below.

If you live in St. Johns County make sure to click these links for critical information.


You just have to click on the map and it will detail the quickest way to evacuate. Staying alert and being ready to act will be extra important this season.

This afternoon be ready for some changes to the forecast. We have had such beautiful weather around the area with 4 consecutive days of dry weather after 17 days of tracking storms in at least some parts of the area. A few isolated storms will pop up from Interstate 75 into areas near Baker County by mid to late afternoon along the sea breeze front. The dewpoints are high enough now that even areas near the river could see a pop up storm, but for today at least most of the rain should stay from Starke westward. It must be June and after all this is the time of year now when thunderstorm season gets into full swing. At least we have enjoyed some incredible weather as you see above. Notice the pink sunset delight on Sunday evening with the waxing quarter moon adding to the skygazer's delight. Contrast that scene to what we saw last night. Tropical clouds heralding the return of humidity put a ring around that same moon telling us that thunderstorms will be returning to North Florida.

Meteorologists like taking a look at dewpoints or the true measure of humidity in the atmosphere to determine if thunderstorms will pop. The higher the dewpoints, the better chance of thunderstorms. Notice the big changes in the dewpoint charts from yesterday to today and this is one big reason why a few isolated thunderstorms are going to develop over the area this afternoon.

The pink areas show where the sultry humid weather was located yesterday. Notice South Florida and its dewpoints in the lower 70s compared to our dewpoints here at home closer to the lower 60s. This is why we stayed dry and they had some thunderstorms with tops up near 45,000 feet. This nice dry slug of comfortable air will be something we will be wishing for as soon as this afternoon as dewpoints rise back into the lower 70s. The dewpoint map below for this afternoon tells it all.

I think most of our widespread thunderstorms over the First Coast will hold off until Thursday and Friday with a drying trend this weekend. It does look like we will be able to save on those watering bills again. Make sure to check back here on the blog tomorrow for more on this, how much rain you can expect, and which areas of Florida are still in a drought. But without further adieu here are some incredible storm pictures from the Midwest that has been rocked over the past few days and more specifically the Lafayette, Indiana area. Saturday night I received some incredible reports and pictures and felt like I was there. Thanks for keeping me in the loop. Here is a picture sent in by Teri Trent with not one but two pileus caps spotted in the towering cumulus clouds. This was the first sign of severe weather.

These "hats on clouds" are a sign of strong updrafts and plenty of moisture and instability in the atmosphere. This means nature is close to its tipping point and it was as you can see below. Randy Rogers captured these wall clouds just east of Frankfort. These are some of the most impressive pictures of ominous clouds I have ever seen.



Justin said...

WOW Mike those are some wonderful pictures of the Wall Clouds that is for sure! My aunt took some great ones as well. I think I sent them to you already!

I to had some pictures sent to me Saturday night of the wall Cloud in Frankfort, Amazing that is for sure! The good news was no tornadoes where reported with that cell thank goodness!!

We was looking for some more severe weather to develop tonight however all the real unstable air mass stayed to our south. They where looking at Lifted Index of -7. Not to forget the South parts of Indiana are seeing large hail with there severe storms. Lafayette and the rest of our viewing area is going to be looking for some rain that could get heavy at times and then some possible light thundershowers. We did not see near as much daytime heating as we did last Saturday. We stayed cool and with and became more stable which really killed our severe chances! Still tomorrow we will wake with more rain do to that stationary front.

Over all we are doing good tonight! And everyone is safe from last Saturday!

Have a great one Mike and all the FL, bloggers!

Justin In Lafayette, IN

Anonymous said...

Nice post Mike, I have a friend who lives in Boca Raton Fl. she just had her Hurricane Shutters installed condo's windows, getting ready for the dreaded Hurricane Season.

My brother's area is still in need of rain.Very dry where he is.

Thank you for the info on my pic. I did not know those "hats" were called pileus caps. They were amazing to watch, I could see that the storms were headed near Frankfort! That cloud kept growing and growing.

Randy Roger's pics are very impressive! I am glad I was not anywhere near that wall cloud.

All take care, and have a wonderful day!

Teri in Laf. IN