"But seeing they could not See; hearing they could not Hear"
“The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the National Weather Service or affiliate/related organizations. Please consult .gov sites for official information”

"From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds." - Job 37:9.

"The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course".

Friday, November 5, 2010

Will the Discovery Launch Remain on "Go" ? Hurricane Tomas

(Images show location of the cold front at 6am based on surface wind shift; also shown is a colorized depiction of cold air intrusion from the NNW and jet stream level wind forecast wind for 2pm today)

TODAY: No surprises in store for Florida through Saturday. The cold front passed through most central, Central Florida around 4AM and is in progress of clearing Miami-Dade as I write. There were some clouds behind the front, but they have since cleared the area as noted by looking outside as the first glimpses of Friday morning are now visible. Drier air at all atmospheric levels will continue to infiltrate from the NW-NNW, courtesy of Canada, ahead of a large dome of high pressure now over the Central Plains and behind the departing low-mid level trough now passing off the U.S. East Coast.

At this time, Shuttle Launch is a "Go". Very cool and breezy weather conditions will rule the roost today under full sunshine, not unlike a typical January day after a generic cold frontal passage. Surface winds are strongest over the intracoastal where cold air is passing over and mixing with the warmer air just above the warm waters of the Banana and Indian Rivers which then cross the barrier islands.

I believe this 'wind situation' will be further aggravated after prolonged, full insolation by early afternoon is realized such, it will continue to be windy today. But will it be too windy for a launch? Apparently, that is not the line of thinking from the powers to be since launch is currently a "Go". It may be because these are not direct cross winds across the landing strip should a mission abort be required. I am personally concerned about the wind at 30,000 ft (jet stream level) being in the 100-125kt range from the SW (if direction matters that high aloft), as shown in the included forecast image for 2pm this afternoon. This has been a given in the forecast though for a day or two now, so apparently that is (nor has been) of no concern or factor in launch criteria. It's the surface wind speed and direction that are of factor should they need to abort back to KSC.

What will be the strength of the surface winds during the early afternoon hours once the affects of full insolation (heating with no blocking of sunshine due to clouds) is amassed. Mixing of mid-level winds to the surface could result in gusts in the 26mph range, at least...but it's going to come down to the final hour I fear.

And one more thing to consider, who says there won't be another 'technical difficulty'? These always seem to come up suspiciously. We'll see.

TONIGHT: Shiver my timbers...Brrrracious. Not turning the heat on, but the A/C is definitely out. Some might like open windows with a blanket for that matter, but I'd prefer to hold on to the last vestiges of summer as long as possible. Lows along the coast in the upper 40s do not seem unreasonable, colder inland of course and toward the west side of the state all the way down to Naples.

SATURDAY: Coldest day of this 'outbreak' (tongue in cheek). High temperature will flirt with 70 from the Cape and points south, more likely south of Vero. But keep in mind, given the lower sun angle at this time of year and the state of continued cold air advection at hand, the high temperature that will be recorded tomorrow won't be an all afternoon event. In reality, the high temperature for any one locale will only be sustained for less than an hour. For example, should the high temperature in Melbourne be 70F, that might be reached at 2:25pm and last for 10 minutes, whereas the official observation at 2pm could be 68F and then 67F the hour after. Best bet is to expect temperatures for the most part in the mid-60s when push comes to shove, with a rapid fall in the 5-6pm time frame.

SUNDAY: Already things get sticky for the intracoastal communities and south of Vero Beach along A1A. Believe it will be overnight that surface winds will veer more toward the N-NNE, which is essentially an onshore component that hugs the coast. That said, expect a tremendous temperature gradient (difference) between morning low temperatures felt in those areas from that which will be experienced to the as much as 10-15F degrees.

By late morning to noon temperatures will definitely be on the moderating trend and the dry air at lowest levels will be quickly modified by the much warmer air residing just above Atlantic waters. This will be initially beneficial, but as time passes and moisture levels increases....marine stratocumulus clouds could be advected on shore from the Cape south to Miami. In fact, the latest NAM introduces low end showers from West Palm south by day's end, which eventually work further north to the Cape overnight toward Monday morning.

MONDAY: In staying with persistence in regards to yesterday's line of thinking, Monday morning will be pleasantly comfortable east of I95, and expect to see patches of stratocumulus clouds. Now, if the NAM is to verify, there is a good chance of rain over east Brevard county on this day. I believe it is over done though, for a variety of (of many) will be alluded to under the "TROPICS". The GFS has indicated the lightest of possible rainfall that it can depict for the entire east coast south of Daytona for a number of days now beginning Monday, but it will probably just be some clouds making their presence known east of the state's spine.

TUESDAY-THURSDAY: Continued air mass modification as winds become more easterly and gradually abate. Lows in the mid-upper 60s and highs in the 80 degree range all locales. There will continue to be the ever-present possiblity of coastal sprinkles, but as noted yesterday, if they don't materialize by Monday evening they probably never will.

TROPICS: Hurricane Tomas approaching the passage between East Cuba and West Haiti as it intensifies. Rains are now impacting Haiti, and much more is to come. Tomas is forecast to make a passage just to the west of Haiti, but the worst of the storm will be over land. Some models actually intensify the storm while it is on its closest pass (assuming it doesn't move directly overhead). Winds wouldn't normally be too much a concern at it's current strength as far as wide spread devastation goes, but considering the structures in which earthquake survives reside in...anything above a moderate tropical storm is far from a 'sneeze'. Thus, winds and more so flash flooding and mudslides are chief concern beginning this afternoon and through all of Saturday and Sunday (at least).

Tomas's future? All of the models are assuming that the storm will continue to pass beyond Haiti and eastern Cuba on a general northward trek initially. But this does not put them out of the woods. Rains will continue to be pulled northward and across the land in a trailing moisture feed fashion. So, just exactly when all is said and done, in my mind, remains yet to be seen.

Now, as mentioned earlier above, what about the NAM? The 00z run was most disturbing. It showed that the storm would not be picked up by the trough now passing Florida and heading toward the Bahamas. As such, Tomas lingers south of Haiti for 84 hours at least. But keep in mind, this is the only model I saw that makes such a suggestion. It was also the only model that showed downright rain for East Brevard County on Monday as well.

Since the hurricane season began this year, I've noticed a continued tread for it to be overly aggressive from multiple angels of perspective. Whether this has always been the case or not, I cannot say that I've ever made such an observation, so perhaps this is something new to the model or purely enlightenment. Knowledge gained, more to attain.

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