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System Could Bring Heavy Rain to Southeast U.S.

A weather system over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico could bring heavy rain to the southeastern U.S. this week.  An upper level low over the eastern Gulf of Mexico could transfer enough kinetic energy down to the lower troposphere to spin up a low at the surface.  Air flowing around the eastern side of the low is contributing to upper level divergence over Florida.  The divergence enhanced rising motion over Florida and rain fell over parts of the southern and central portions of that state.

The weather system is forecast to move slowly northward during the next several days.  The Sea Surface Temperatures in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico are 24°C to 26°C.  There is enough energy in the upper levels of the water to support the formation of a tropical cyclone.  The upper level low will create southerly winds which will cause moderate vertical wind shear.  The shear will inhibit development, although those winds could contribute to upper level divergence to the east of the weather system.  Upper level divergence could allow the surface pressure to decrease and a low pressure system could form at the surface.  The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a special Tropical Weather Outlook on Sunday afternoon on the weather system.  NHC indicated the probability was 40% that a tropical or subtropical cyclone could form during the next five days.

Guidance from numerical models suggest that the weather system will move slowly northward over the eastern Gulf of Mexico during the next few days.  Counterclockwise rotation around the low will transport moist air northward on the eastern side of the low.  The moist air combined with upper level divergence will create the potential for locally heavy rainfall over the southeastern U.S.  Heavy rain could result in floods in some locations.

Hurricane Nate Brings Gusty Winds and Surge to Mississippi Coast

Hurricane Nate brought gusty winds, heavy rain and a storm surge to the coast of Mississippi on Saturday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Hurricane Nate was located at latitude 29.9°N and longitude 89.1°W which put it about 35 miles (60 km) south-southwest of Biloxi, Mississippi.  Nate was moving toward the north at 20 m.p.h. (32 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 85 m.p.h. (140 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 983 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from the mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama/Florida border.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the portion of the coast from Grand Isle, Louisiana to the mouth of the Pearl River, for New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain and for the coast from the Alabama/Florida border to Indian Pass, Florida.

Some drier air wrapped into the western side of Hurricane Nate on Saturday afternoon.  In addition an upper level trough approaching Nate from the west produced southwesterly winds which caused vertical wind shear.  The drier air and shear caused the circulation of Hurricane Nate to become asymmetrical.  The stronger winds are occurring in the eastern half of the circulation.  The winds are weaker in the western side of the hurricane.  The bands of showers and thunderstorms are also occurring in the eastern half of Hurricane Nate.  Very little rain was falling on the western side of the hurricane.

The partial eyewall north of the center of Hurricane Nate was moving over the coast of Mississippi from Pascagoula to Gulfport.  Strong gusty winds and heavy rain were falling on that section of the coast.  Winds blowing water toward the coast were pushing a storm surge onto the coast.  A water level gauge at a NOAA laboratory in Pascagoula, Mississippi was reporting a storm surge of 6.75 feet (2.06 meters).  The highest surges were occurring in Mississippi, but there were also storm surges on the coast of Alabama and Florida.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were dropping heavy rain over southeastern Mississippi, southwestern and central Alabama and northwestern Florida.  Brief tornadoes spun up in some of the thunderstorms on Saturday.

Hurricane Nate will move inland over southeastern Mississippi during the overnight hours.  Nate will weaken after it moves inland, but it will continue to bring gusty winds as it spins down.  There is a strong flow of moist air from the south and heavy rain will continue to fall east of the track of Hurricane Nate.  Places west of the track will experience weaker winds and will receive little rain.  Locations west of a line from New Orleans to Hattiesburg to Meridian,  Mississippi could see little minimal impacts from Nate.  Nate will cross over west central Alabama on Sunday morning.  It will continue to move toward the north-northeast and the remnants of Nate could reach eastern Tennessee on Sunday night.  Areas of heavy rain will fall over northwestern Florida, Alabama, northern Georgia, eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina.  Fresh water flooding could occur in some of those areas.  Tornadoes could develop in the rainbands again on Sunday afternoon.

Tropical Storm Irma Still Bringing Gusty Winds and Storm Surges to Southeast U.S.

Tropical Storm Irma was still bringing gusty winds, locally heavy rain and storm surges to parts of the Southeastern U.S. on Monday afternoon.  Gusty winds were blowing down trees and bringing down power lines in parts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.  Locally heavy rainfall resulted in the issuance of Flood Watches and Warnings for portions of those states.  Strong winds were blowing water toward the coast in northeastern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.  Storm surges caused flooding in Jacksonville, Florida and Savannah, Georgia.  The water level at Charleston, South Carolina was higher than it was during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Irma was located at latitude 31.5°N and longitude 84.0°W which put it about 10 miles (15 km) east of Albany, Georgia.  Irma was moving toward the north-northwest at 17 m.p.h.  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 985 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning remained in effect for the portion of the coast from Altamaha Sound to South Santee River.

The structure of Tropical Storm Irma evolved as it moved further inland.  Drier air wrapped around the  western side of the circulation.  Convergence between a large surface high north of Irma and the tropical storm produced heavy rain northeast of the center of circulation.  The heaviest rain fell over Georgia, South Carolina and the western half of North Carolina.  The northern edge of the rain shield was moving over Tennessee and southeast Kentucky.  The pressure difference between the high and Irma also generated strong winds in the eastern half of Irma’s circulation.  Those strong winds pushed water toward the coast in northern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.  The wind caused storm surges of up to 10 feet (3 meters) in some locations.  Water was reported in parts of downtown Jacksonville, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.

Tropical Storm Irma will continue to move toward the north-northwest and weaken.  The circulation of Irma is very large, and it will take a few more days to spin completely.  There could be stronger winds in the high elevations of Appalachian Mountains.  Locally heavy rain could also create the potential for floods in some valleys.  The storm surges along the coast should gradually subside as the wind speeds decrease.

Elsewhere, Hurricane Jose was moving northward east of the Bahamas.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Jose was located at latitude 31.5°N and longitude 84.0°W which put it about 555 miles (895 km) east of Nassau, Bahamas.  Jose was moving toward the north at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 973 mb.  Hurricane Jose is forecast to make a slow clockwise loop this week.  On it anticipated track Hurricane Jose could still be east of the Bahamas at the end of the week.

Hurricane Irma Makes Landfall on Marco Island, Florida

The center of Hurricane Irma made landfall on the coast at Marco Island, Florida on Sunday afternoon.  The Marco Island Emergency Operations Center reported a wind gust to 135 m.p.h. (217 km/h) when the northern portion of the eyewall passed over.  The airport at Naples, Florida reported sustained winds to 88 m.p.h. (142 km/h) and wind gusts to 135 m.p.h. (217 km/h).

At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Hurricane Irma was located at latitude 26.2°N and longitude 81.8°W which put it about 5 miles (10 km) north of Naples, Florida.  Irma was moving toward the north at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 110 m.p.h. (175 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 130 m.p.h. (210 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 938 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Fernandina Beach to Indian Pass, Florida including the Florida Keys and Lake Okeechobee.  A Hurricane Watch was in effect from Fernandina Beach, Florida to Edisto Beach, South Carolina.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Fernandina Beach, Florida to the South Santee River, South Carolina and from Indian Pass, Florida to the Okaloosa/Walton County line.  A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for Bimini and Grand Bahama Island.

The intensity of Hurricane Irma decreased gradually on Sunday.  The hurricane began to pull in some drier air over the southeastern U.S. into the west side of the circulation.  In addition an upper level trough over the eastern U.S. caused an increase in the vertical wind shear.  The drier air and increased shear also produced a more asymmetrical wind field around Hurricane Irma.  The area of stronger winds was much larger in the eastern half of the circulation than it was on the western half of the circulation.  Winds to hurricane force extended out 80 miles (130 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 220 miles (350 km) from the center.

Hurricane Irma will gradually weaken as it moves northward over Florida.  Irma is a large hurricane and it will spin down slowly.  Hurricane Irma will move steadily northward.  Irma is forecast to still be a hurricane when the center moves near Tampa and Central Florida.  Hurricane Irma is capable of causing widespread significant wind damage.  Isolated tornadoes could develop in thunderstorms in the outer rainbands.  Hurricane Irma will produce storm surges over a long section of the coast.  There was not much surge on the west coast of Florida on Sunday afternoon, because the winds were blowing the water away from the coast.  However, after the center moves north of an area, the wind will blow from the opposite direction and the water will rise quickly at the coast.  A station on the coast near Naples, Florida reported a water rise of six feet (two meters) in less than two hours after the center of Hurricane passed to the east.  Easterly winds on the eastern fringe of Hurricane Irma were blowing the water toward the coast and there were water rises from Miami, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina.  Strong southwesterly winds were still causing storm surges in the Florida Keys.  Hurricane Irma will also drop heavy rain over a prolonged period and it could cause freshwater flooding of rivers and streams.

Elsewhere over the tropical Atlantic Hurricane Jose moved away from the northern Leeward Islands on Sunday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT om Sunday the center of Hurricane Jose was located at latitude 22.8°N and longitude 66.9°W which put it about 285 miles (455 km) east-northeast of Grand Turk Island.  Jose was moving toward northwest at 16 m.p.h. (26 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 140 m.p.h. (225 km/h).  Hurricane Jose is forecast to stall over the tropical Atlantic east of the Bahamas and it could make a long slow loop during the next week.

Tropical Storm Harvey Moves Into Louisiana, Irma Strengthens Quickly

Tropical Storm Harvey finally moved into Louisiana on Wednesday after lingering for several days over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.  Harvey weakened to a tropical depression after it moved inland.  At the same time a new tropical storm named Irma strengthened quickly over the eastern Atlantic Ocean.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Depression Harvey was located at latitude 31.7°N and longitude 92.3°W which put it about 30 miles (50 km) north-northeast of Alexandria, Louisiana.  Harvey was moving toward the north-northeast at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 998 mb.

After dropping record rainfall and causing destructive floods of parts of southeastern Texas and western Louisiana, Tropical Depression Harvey finally started to move steadily toward the north-northeast on Wednesday.  Harvey was still producing heavy rain over parts of western Louisiana, but the fact that it was moving should limit the total rainfall at any location.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms on the far eastern periphery of Harvey’s circulation were also dropping heavy rain.  Some of those thunderstorms were strong enough to approach severe criteria.  Tropical Depression Harvey is forecast to move toward the Ohio River Valley during the next several days and it will bring windy, wet weather to the Middle Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys.  Rain associated with the circulation of Tropical Depression Harvey could also reach the Mid-Atlantic States later this week.

At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Storm Irma was located at latitude 16.4°N and longitude 32.2°W which put it about 545 miles (875 km) west of the Cabo Verde Islands.  Irma was moving toward the west at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 999 mb.

The circulation of Tropical Storm Irma organized quickly on Wednesday.  Numerous bands of showers and thunderstorms formed and began to revolve around a well organized center of circulation.  Thunderstorms in the core of Irma generated well developed upper level divergence which pumped away mass in all direction.  There were occasional satellite images which hinted that an eye could be forming at the center of Tropical Storm Irma.

Tropical Storm Irma will be moving through an environment that will be favorable for intensification.  Irma will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  The upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  Irma is likely to become a hurricane on Thursday and it could intensify rapidly if an eye forms.  Tropical Storm Irma is forecast to become a major hurricane and it could become one of the big classic Cape Verde hurricanes.

A strong subtropical high to the north of Irma is steering the tropical storm toward the west and a general westerly motion is forecast to continue for the next few days.  There is more divergence in the model guidance after a few days and the future track of Irma when it nears the Lesser Antilles is more uncertain.  Tropical Storm Irma has the potential to become a big dangerous hurricane and it will need to be watched carefully.

Tropical Storm Harvey’s Record Rains Continue Over Texas and Louisiana

The record setting rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey continued over southeastern Texas and Louisiana on Tuesday morning.  A rain gauge southeast of Houston near Mary’s Creek at Winding Road has measured 49.20 inches (125 cm) of rain from Tropical Storm Harvey as of 9:00 a.m. CDT on Tuesday.  This total sets a new record for the most rainfall from a tropical cyclone over the contiguous 48 states of the U.S.  The previous record was 48 inches (122 cm) dropped by Tropical Cyclone Amelia in 1978 over Medina, Texas.

At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Harvey was located at latitude 28.4°N and longitude 94.3°W which put it about 115 miles (185 km) south-southwest of Cameron, Louisiana.  Harvey was moving toward the north-northeast at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 997 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Port O’Connor, Texas to Morgan City, Louisiana.  A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the portion of the coast from Morgan City to Grand Isle, Louisiana.

The center of Tropical Storm Harvey moved back over the Gulf of Mexico late on Monday and it is currently over the northwestern Gulf.  Harvey is still producing heavy rain over southeastern Texas and parts of Louisiana.  There is still a well defined center and strong counterclockwise rotation in the lower levels of the atmosphere.  Dry air wrapped around the circulation of Harvey and there are mainly lighter showers near the center of the tropical storm.  There are several stronger bands of thunderstorms on the eastern periphery of the circulation.  Those bands are dropping heavier rain over eastern Louisiana and parts of Mississippi.  The strong counterclockwise rotation is transporting moist air over land.  Increased friction over the land is causing more convergence which is pushing the air upwards.  Stronger rising motion is generating areas of heavier rain over southeast Texas and southern Louisiana.  In addition, the land is warming during the day, which is making the lower atmosphere more unstable and contributing to the heaver rain.

Flood Watches and Warnings are in effect from Northwest Florida to Southeast Texas because of the potential for more heavy rain.  Tropical Storm Harvey is finally starting to move slowly toward the north-northeast.  It should make a landfall on the coast of Louisiana early on Wednesday.  Tropical Storm Harvey will weaken as it moves farther inland and it should move over the Lower Mississippi River Valley as a tropical depression late this week.  The rain over southeastern Texas and southern Louisiana should end once Harvey moves farther inland.

Elsewhere, a low pressure system designated Potential Tropical Cyclone Ten was bringing gusty winds and higher waves to portions of the Mid-Atlantic coast.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Potential Tropical Cyclone Ten was located at latitude 34.4°N and longitude 77.2°W which put it about 35 miles (60 km) west-southwest of Cape Lookout, North Carolina.  It was moving toward the northeast at 17 m.p.h. (28 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1006 mb.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect from Cape Lookout to Duck, North Carolina including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.  Potential Tropical Cyclone Ten is forecast to merge with a front and become a strong extratropical cyclone over the western Atlantic Ocean.

Tropical Depression Cindy Brings Stormy Weather to Southern U.S.

Tropical Depression Cindy brought stormy weather to parts of the southern U.S. on Thursday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Depression Cindy was located at latitude 33.1°N and 93.5°W which put it about 70 miles (115 km) southwest of Little Rock, Arkansas.  Cindy was moving toward the north-northeast at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 20 m.p.h. (30 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1000 mb.

Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall early on Thursday morning near the border between Texas and Louisiana.  Cindy moved steadily northward during the day and it was centered over southwestern Arkansas by Thursday night.  Broad counterclockwise rotation around Cindy transported warm and very humid air over the southern U.S.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms dropped locally heavy rain in some places.  Rivers and streams were above flood stage in several southern states.  Flash Flood Warnings and Flash Flood Watches were issued for portions of the southern U.S. and Ohio River Valley.  Several tornadoes formed in the bands of thunderstorms.  A tornado in Alabama caused property damage.  Southerly winds blowing toward the shore were still causing storm surges along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical Depression Cindy is forecast to move northeast toward the Ohio River Valley on Friday.  It will continue to produce locally heavy rain.  A slow moving cold front will approach the region from the west.  A band of stronger convergence could develop where the counterclockwise flow around Cindy interacts with the flow along the cold front.  Higher rainfall totals may occur where this interaction happens.  Wind shear created by the interacting weather systems could also create the potential for some tornadoes.  Tropical Depression Cindy could merge with the cold front during Friday night or Saturday.

Tropical Storm Cindy Nears Northwest Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Cindy neared the northwestern coast of the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday evening.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Storm Cindy was located at latitude 28.6°N and longitude 93.4°W which put it about 95 miles (150 km) south-southeast of Port Arthur, Texas.  Cindy was moving toward the north-northwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 992 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from San Luis Pass, Texas to Grand Isle, Louisiana.

Tropical Cyclone Cindy exhibits a hybrid structure in which a broad surface low pressure system is interacting with an upper low centered near the Upper Texas coast.  There is a distinct center of low pressure at the surface.  A band of showers and thunderstorms is northwest of the surface center.  Drier air in the middle and upper levels wraps around the southern and eastern sides of the center and there are no thunderstorms in those quadrants of the core of Tropical Storm Cindy.  A broad flow of moisture is producing bands of showers and thunderstorms in the outer portions of the eastern and northern sides of the circulation.

Tropical Storm Cindy is moving around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system centered over the Atlantic Ocean.  The subtropical high is steering Cindy toward the north-northwest.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Cindy will make landfall near the border between Texas and Louisiana on Thursday.  Cindy will turn toward the north and then the tropical storm will move northeastward on Friday.

Some locations will experience prolonged periods of rainfall and fresh water flooding will be possible in those area.  There could also be a storm surge of 3 to 6 feet (1 to 3 meters) near where the center makes landfall.  A few tornadoes could be spun up as rainbands move over the coast.

Tropical Depression Bill Bringing Rain to Arkansas and Missouri

Tropical Depression Bill continued its slow movement over the South Central U.S. on Thursday and it brought rain to Arkansas and southern Missouri.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Depression Bill was located at latitude 35.9°N and longitude 93.8°W which put it about 20 miles (30 km) east of Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Bill was moving toward the east-northeast at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 20 m.p.h. (30 km/h) and the minimum surface pressure was 1005 mb.

Even thought the center of Bill has been over land for more than 48 hours, it retains many of the characteristics of a tropical cyclone.  It has a well defined cyclonic circulation with a warm core in the middle troposphere and there is upper level divergence.  As a result, Bill is still officially classified as a tropical depression.

Bill is moving around the western end of a high pressure system centered over the Atlantic Ocean.  It should continue to move toward the east-northeast during the next several days.  On its anticipated track Bill will bring rain to northern Arkansas and southern Missouri on Friday.  It will move up the Ohio River Valley on Saturday and enhance the rainfall in those areas.  The circulation of the tropical depression could merge with a nearly stationary frontal boundary north of the Ohio River during the weekend.  Heavy rain falling on saturated ground could create the potential for flooding in some areas.

Tropical Depression Bill Crossing Red River Into Oklahoma

Tropical Depression Bill moved northward across north Texas on Wednesday and brought heavy rain to parts of Texas and Oklahoma.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Depression Bill was located at latitude 33.7°N and longitude 97.3°W which put it about 65 miles (105 km) north-northwest of Dallas, Texas.  Bill was moving toward the north at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h).  There were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) in some thunderstorms.  The minimum surface pressure was 999 mb.

Bill still has a well organized circulation at the surface and throughout the troposphere.  There is still a warm core in the middle troposphere and divergence in the upper levels.  The upper level divergence pumped out the same amount of mass as converged in the lower levels and the surface pressure remained constant on Wednesday.  Some drier air is wrapping around the southern part of the circulation and most of the rain is falling north and east of the center.  The slow movement of Bill has generated significant amounts of rain and flooding is occurring in some parts of Texas and Oklahoma.  A few thunderstorms have also produced damaging wind gusts.

Bill is expected to turn toward the northeast as is moves around the western end of a high pressure system centered off the southeast coast of the U.S.  It will move slowly across Oklahoma on Thursday and across Arkansas on Friday before moving up the Ohio River Valley during the weekend.