No way Jose. . .it’s time for Katia

What a time for me to move back to the East Coast. Since moving to College Park, I have experienced a hailstorm that covered the ground, an earthquake, and a hurricane moving up the coast. From what I can see. . .the DC metro had about 150,000 customers without power and the Baltimore area had over 700,000. Winds gusted to tropical storm force out here, but I think the saturated soil and persistence of the wind led to the many downed trees. Below are the recap maps for the DC/Baltimore metro area. Mt. Holly hasn’t posted anything for NJ just yet, but I’ll post those when available.

Irene gust map for MD/VA courtesy of LWX office.
Irene rainfall map for MD/VA courtesy of LWX office

The rainfall map above doesn’t do much justice to the rainfall totals experienced from this storm. The highest amount I saw was 20.40″ in Virginia Beach, VA, 20″ in Jacksonville, NC and 11.27″ in Freehold, NJ. The highest gust I saw on the Jersey shore was 71 mph, well before the eye moved inland around Little Egg Harbor, passing over Toms River then north to New York City. An amazing track and very lucky to have a storm that didn’t have the winds focused around the eye.

What is next? Jose formed and dissipated around Bermuda on 08/28/11. We now move on to Katia which is in the Eastern Atlantic

Meteosat visible image of Katia to the west of Africa.

Katia was named this morning at the 5 am EDT advisory from NHC. I busted on my forecast for no development in the Atlantic east of 50W. . .ah well, I’m not perfect. Anyway, the 12z track guidance (below) shows a general west to northwest motion during the next 3-5 days. 12z intensity guidance is in excellent agreement that Katia should grow into a rather powerful hurricane. I do worry that this storm could be an “S-curve” storm where it starts moving northwest, but then bends back to the left making a run close to the US East Coast by next week. My reasoning for this is due to the ridge/trough alignment in the Northern Hemisphere. I cannot tell you if this will happen as it is at least 10 days out, but the GFS ensemble package (below) does show what I’m worried about.

12z track guidance for Katia on 08/30/11
12z intensity guidance for Katia on 08/30/11
06z GFS ensemble forecasts for Katia on 08/30/11

A word of caution when looking at the GFS ensemble forecasts. . .this model WILL change its forecast numerous times in the next few days as the global weather pattern is sampled, so don’t focus on any one track. The reason I am posting it is because of the trend later on.

*Alert for the Gulf*

GOES-13 visible image of potential trouble for the Gulf of Mexico

The red circle outlined in the visible satellite image above is an area that will need to be watched over the next 3-5 days. Many of the global forecast models are developing what would become “Lee” in the Gulf and moving it very slowly towards the west-northwest later in the period. There are many possible outcomes, but I think it would be a good idea for the NW Gulf coast residents (TX-LA) to prepare for deteriorating weather by the weekend. If anything, an increase in rainfall would be good and is looking more likely.

I’ll have more on these two systems tomorrow. . .time permitting.

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