I just returned from giving a talk in Boston with Chief Meteorologist Kerrin Jeromin. We spoke on behalf of Fox44/Abc22 regarding Tropical Storm Irene last year and the broadcaster's role which we played. We talked about the pre-storm environment, our forecast, what actually happened, and how to learn from this storm to better communicate big events to the public in the future. All in all, it was a fantastic time, a great learning experience, and good opportunity to meet other broadcasters across the country. The conference was part of the American Meteorological Society.
Coming up later this week I'll dive into more details regarding what we learned at the conference and how we'll bring that back to the product we give you on TV and on-line every day.
Let's get into a couple of things happening locally and nationally. Today (Monday) the 27th of August, the National Weather Service is having a public announcement, via a press conference, of its Dual-Pol Radar. This is an upgrade to the existing radar network which is happening all across the country. Basically the radar is getting an upgrade to better differentiate between rain, snow, and ice. The radar will do a better job estimating rainfall rates to better forecast flash flooding. It will also be able to know the difference between hail and heavy rain, as well as freezing levels when forecasting in the winter.
The big story nationally is Isaac. As of 8 a.m. Monday the storm was located at 25.7N, 84.7W and moving WNW at 14 mph. The central pressure was 988 millibars or 29.18". The maximum sustained winds in the storm were 65 mph. As a reminder, we need winds to reach to 74 mph or greater. I believe this will happen later today (Monday) as Hurricane Isaac is born.
Here's the latest track. As of Monday morning the center of the storm was located to the southwest of Tampa, Florida. The storm is forecast to continue moving northwest toward the Gulf Coast states and make a landfall between New Orleans and Mobile, AL early Wednesday. The storm is projected to make landfall with sustained winds between 90 and 100 mph. The forecast models are in great agreement for the first 36 hours (until Tuesday night) then diverge Wednesday and Thursday. The intensity forecast also differs between forecast models, ranging from a category 1 storm to a cat 4! The water in the Gulf of Mexico is very warm, well into the 80s and the upper level winds are conducive for quick development Monday and Tuesday. Hurricanes like nice open areas of warm waters to grow. They also like fairly calm winds in the upper atmosphere. It looks like we'll have both in the next couple of days.
If the storm does make landfall near New Orleans, it will be seven years to the day after Katrina hit. We're also remembering the anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene in our area. This is a very active time in the tropics.
The annual peak in tropical storms and hurricanes peaks in early September. A secondary peak can be found just to the left of that, right around this time of year, late August. After Isaac there is another storm in the Atlantic which bears watching. The National Hurricane Center has placed a 30% chance of this storm developing into something more organized by Wednesday. You can always stay up to date with the latest here:
And just so you know, the impact to our region is very unclear right now. These storms lose a lot of strength when they move inland (in terms of wind) however the rain threat can last a while. There are long-range models that indicate moisture associated with Isaac will move into New England next Monday and Tuesday (Sept. 4/5) with an inch of rain possible, but it's very, very early to tell with this.
-Meteorologist Steve Glazier