"But seeing they could not See; hearing they could not Hear"
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"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".

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tropical Activity Records Broken - Local Minimum Rainfall Stretch Record in Jeopardy

(Images -3 included- show: Tropical storm tracks in the Caribbean (Richard is the red-line), all tracks so far this season, and tabulated numerical stats on storms so far)
SYNOPSIS: High pressure continues over the east 1/3 of the U.S. and is centered over North Carolina this morning. Low pressure over the Southern and Central Plains will once again give rise to the possibility of strong to severe level thunderstorms today and tonight over much of that region west of the Mississippi River from Iowa south to all but West Texas today. High pressure continues south into the north-central Caribbean and across much of the Gulf Of Mexico. Tropical Storm Richard moving slowly to the west or WNW and may skim across Honduras as it approaches them (See TROPICS).
LOCALLY THIS WEEKEND: Pleasant and quite warm west of US-1. If you liked Friday then expect more of the same. With the wind remaining from the east over night, it only got down to 75F on my porch in Cape Canaveral with the added influence of the still warm Atlantic Ocean water temperatures. There could be a few showers over S .Florida, but further north we pretty much remain dry as high pressure to the north and cooling ocean temperatures induce an afternoon easterly, subsident sea breeze across the state. The coast will be most pleasant and nicely warm, but not exceedingly so by any means. Warmest temperatures will be west of I-95 toward the west side of the state.  Melbourne could be flirting with the record high temperature for the date on Tuesday; the record high for them today is 89F set in 2006. I do not think they will reach that today given the easterly flow generously intact, but it could be close around 3pm.
Surface high pressure will continue well east  into the Atlantic as the low pressure now in the Plains will enter the Dixie region Sunday and strengthen northward. Further east and southward though, progression of any weather activity associated with the low will be blocked of further eastward penetration and over Florida due to the anticyclone (high pressure) over the state and well into the Atlantic. Sounds like summer doesn't it? No cold fronts and warm afternoon temperatures. (minus the chance of rain we'd have in the summer)
EARLY NEXT WEEK: Wet weather does not look as possible as hoped it would be yesterday because the high pressure will remain intact across Florida and the east and northeast Gulf of Mexico. This will be affecting the future track of Richard (see TROPICS). Best chance of rain at this point appears to be late Tuesday and/or Wednesday. See data concerning prolonged periods of non-measureable rainfall in Melbourne below.
TROPICS: Richard is going to have a hard time reaching hurricane strength status before making a land fall near or south of Belize due to the fact it will be brushing the coast of Honduras, if not passing directly over them, prior to the time it gets further west. See the forecast track at the time of this writing in the included image. As noted yesterday, the storm is still engaged in battle with drier air to its north accompanied by wind shear. Hard to envision the system re-emerging into the Gulf as other than a remnant circulation considering its small, disorganized stature at this time. And even if it does remain as a depression, it now appears more likely that any remaining moisture will be shunted around the high pressure over the Florida peninsula and into the Deep South or maybe the western Florida Panhandle as it encounters more shear. It is interesting to note that the National Hurricane Center is keeping one eye open on two areas well out in the open Atlantic. Plenty of time to see what, if anything, becomes of them. The GFS, as well as the Canadian model (more so in previous runs)...are developing a storm out there well into next week sometime.
According to the National Hurricane Center:
– Hurricanes Igor and Julia both reached Category 4 status simultaneously, marking the first time that has happened in 84 years.
– The last time two Cat 4s were spinning at the same time was on Sept. 16, 1926, when Hurricane No. 4 (that's how they were named back then) and the Great Miami Hurricane were in existence
.– Another indicator of how rare this is: Two major hurricanes (Category 3 and higher) have been in existence simultaneously only nine times since 1900, with the most recent instance being with Floyd and Gert in 1999.
– With sustained winds of 135 mph, Julia became the most intense hurricane so far east in the Atlantic. 
According to Jeff Masters, chief meteorologist of Weather Underground
– With Julia, this year has now seen four Category 4 hurricanes emerge by 5 a.m. on Sept. 15, the earliest that has happened since record keeping started in the mid-1800s.(In 1999, Hurricane Gert, the fourth Cat 4 of that season, also formed on Sept. 15 — but three hours later than Julia.)
– The emergence of Tropical Storm Karl, the 11th named storm of the season,  made this a busy year to date at that time. The only years more active that early in the season were 2005, 1995, 1936 and 1933.
– All of this year's four Category 4 storms emerged in just twenty days, which is the shortest time span for that to happen. The previous record was 24 days in 1999, according to Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University
We are in a dry period right now, no doubt about it. Consider the top 5 periods of consecutive days receiving non-measurable rainfall, with time stretches ending in the dates noted below - :
#5 - 22 Days ending on March 13, 2009
#4 - 23 Days ending on March 11, 1951
#3 - 26 Days ending on June 3, 1953
#2 - 26 Days ending on May 10, 2009 (note that there was the # 5 22 day period previous to this a couple of months earlier of the same year); and,
#1 - 29 Days ending on May 16, 2002
The last day of measurable rain in Cape Canaveral and Melbourne was Thursday, October 5 of this year, which would make today the 18th day of rainfall equal to or less than a trace (less than 0.01"). Canaveral had 0.07"  on that date from a cluster of large clouds that moved in from the North Side of the Cape late in the afternoon of that day. No where else other than Brevard (which is in a Severe Drought already) did rain fall over Central Florida that day. Sort of a cruel twist of irony. As of the latest official record made by the the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), counties further north up the coast as well as counties further west have done nothing but dry up. As such, the region of 'drought' (at various levels) is expanding from east to west and up the coast. The southern 1/3 of the peninsula is drought free and West Central Florida over toward Tampa is now "Abnormally Dry".
Special thanks extended to the Melbourne NWS Office from providing the rainfall data to me this morning.

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