Sunday, July 31, 2011
July Goes out with a Bang & Keeping a Keen Eye on Emily
Sunday, July 31, 2011
I was shocked last night that our disturbance in the Atlantic was not named Emily. The thunderstorms have become better organized and with low wind shear explosive development is likely. Well I can stop worrying about it today because the hurricane hunters are on the way to confirm that we do have a tropical storm. This system should not take long to become the season's first hurricane. Puerto Rico will likely see hurricane conditions by the middle of the week before this storm swings farther west and northwest toward the Bahamas. Notice it is still over 2,000 miles away from Jacksonville as of early Sunday morning.
I have a feeling we will be talking about Emily not only this week but well into next week. This will be a long-lived tropical cyclone and the big question everybody is asking me at the grocery store is where this thing is heading. I of course always preface my answer with things can change especially with Emily so far from home and the upper-level patterns not set in stone. But here is the way it looks to play out right now. Let's start with my tropical graphic for next Saturday, August 6th.
Notice the latest model runs have a hurricane bearing down on not only on San Juan but Hispaniola and even the far southwestern Bahamas. We will have to see how it holds together after interacting with the land masses. I am thinking it will hold its own. How about the US? Well for a land-falling hurricane we look at the upper-levels and the wind along the East Coast the next 1-2 weeks looks like it will be primarily out of the southwest due to a mean trough of low pressure setting up. Hurricanes tend to follow the upper winds like hot air balloons.
This would mean we are home free right? Well not so fast. There is an indication of some ridging or high pressure briefly building in the East next weekend while the higher southwest winds lift away. This could actually cause Emily to stall out along the southeast coast as a weak pressure pattern takes hold. Another cold front reinforcing the mean trough is expected to swing to do the East Coast Swing by Monday the 8th of August and this could finally help send Emily out to sea for good. But again this is a long ways out and a lot can still change.
The good news is the two huge high pressures that have controlled our summer weather so far are not centered along the East Coast and connecting very well. There is a definite weakness and this should help us out! But until our weather team gives the all clear please monitor it closely with us. We know how fickle these storms can be. I still do think we will see plenty of good surf by late week with beach erosion becoming a concern. This is a good wake-up call that our real hurricane season is now here. Make sure you pick up your First Coast News tracking charts and supplies! Now is the time. In fact we have a hurricane special airing on Thursday night at 8 p.m. on NBC you will certainly not want to miss!
The tropics are not the only thing firing up on our Sunday. We will have the summer thunderstorms that were conspicuously absent on Saturday make a return today. Yes! What a great month it has been for rain with over 7 inches at Jacksonville International. The average is 5.97". Some spots have had over 10" and this has gone a long way to helping put a dent in the drought. July is not done bringing us rain just yet.
Today we will have thunderstorms covering 50% of the area this afternoon. These storms will be slow-movers and move from the north to the south and southwest. Brief flooding is possible. There could be an isolated strong storm as an area of low pressure interacts with sea breeze, river breeze, and thunderstorm boundaries across the area. Make sure to tune in for the latest on Live Doppler radar.
If you are going to the beach today I would not cancel plans. Most of the rain should stay to the West of A1A and this includes the St. Augustine Amphitheater where Selena Gomez plays tonight at 7 p.m. I know my daughters are excited! Get out and enjoy a nice evening!
Before the rain arrives we will once again have plenty of heat and humidity with highs near 90 beaches to the middle 90s inland with a heat index near 105-110! But I do have some good news! Congratulations, you have officially made it through the hottest part of the summer at least climatologically. I know my car air-conditioner has not keeping up very well with this heat even when it is on high blast!
But it will be okay because today's average high temperature in Jacksonville falls to 90 degrees and by the end of September we will fall to 83 but the humidity will still be a bear! I think you will really notice the difference by Mid-October when the first strong fronts from the North actually hold together and make it through the area. But we are now heading in the right direction so enjoy the hot weather while you can. Have a great day! Take care and I will see you soon.