All further updates on Tropical Depression 13 ( and soon to be Tropical Storm Lee possibly) can be found at the top of the homepage of KBTX.com.
Thursday Night Update
After investigating our Gulf system, Hurricane Hunters have found a low level circulation associated with these showers and thunderstorms. That is good enough to classify this as a tropical system -- therefore Tropical Depression 13 is born this evening with maximum sustained winds of 35mph.
As stated earlier this afternoon, it seems that the models picked up on this signature as well and fell into line with each other a little bit better. That being said here is the official forecast path and time line thoughts for this system to strengthen as we head into the weekend:
Important to note that the official forecast path has Tropical Depression 13 becoming a Tropical Storm which most likely will be named Lee. Cone of Uncertainty does extend into East Texas but at this time the Brazos Valley is not expected to see much in the way of rain with this system. Tropical systems do like to wiggle and wobble so we will continue to monitor Tropical Depression 13 closely. For now no need to cancel any Labor Day or Aggie Gameday plans here in the Brazos Valley, but be sure to keep the fact that a Tropical Depression and most likely soon to be Tropical Storm is out there and that the forecast path is subject to change.
Thursday Afternoon Update
Latest model data is starting to pour in this afternoon and our confidence is growing a bit more about just how this tropical wave will play out heading into your Labor Day Weekend.
Still waiting on word from the National Hurricane Center, however, would be willing to bet that hurricane hunters did not find a close area of circulation with this system. (Should that change, an update will be posted) That being said, I wouldn't give it more than tomorrow afternoon before we have at least a tropical depression in the Gulf working towards our next named Tropical Storm.
This system is scheduled to bring A LOT of rain where it makes impact. Unfortunately, it looks like the Brazos Valley is going to miss out on most -- if not all -- of the rain this system will bring. Computer models are starting to come into better agreement with what we brought to you around midday today -- this storm forms, hangs out over the coast of Louisiana and then gets picked up by a cold front Monday or so of next week and shifts it's moisture to the north and east.
So that leads to this: rain chances will stay at 20% or less over the weekend, which again unfortunately is what we need most. Below is an idea of how much rain will fall over the next 4-5 days across the United States. Be sure to keep an eye out because as it seems, Louisiana and place like New Orleans look like they are about to get WAY more rain than they actually need.
As for our forecast, it does contain wind. Being in close proximity to this system -- especially if it really gains strength while around Louisiana -- and with a deep high pressure off to our west, northeast winds over the weekend (especially Sunday and Labor Day Monday) look to be sustained around 15-25mph with higher gusts at times. That will increase the fire danger -- so something to watch out for with those holiday and gameday BBQs.
As a close 2nd place prize for not getting the rain, it looks like this system will at least help drive in cooler temperatures. The GFS extended forecast is now advertising lows in the 60s and highs in the upper 80s to low 90s by the beginning of next week. Something to watch for as well, and something that will be welcomed after coming off the heels of the hottest month ever recorded in Bryan / College Station. More to come on that a little later...
Thursday Midday Update
Quick update for you here at the lunch hour. Hurricane Hunters are being sent into the area of interest in the Gulf of Mexico shortly to investigate and see if there is an area of closed circulation and to gather a bit more data so we can hopefully understand bit more with where this system will go and what it could become.
The National Hurricane Center has also now upped the chance for this system to become something tropical (most likely a depression) over the next 48 hours to a 80% shot. This looks likely to happen by Friday afternoon at the latest.
As of all indications, growing a bit more confident in this system moving northwards towards the Louisiana coast. Many computer models move the system this way and then stall it just off the coast. Should that happen there is growing concern that this will in fact become Tropical Storm Lee and if it sits and stalls long enough it could very well even become Hurricane Lee before starting to move again.
Looking into the upper levels of the atmosphere -- aka the steering flow that would move this storm -- our Pinpoint Forecast supports this scenario. With high pressure moving off to the east and another area of high pressure setting up over the Rocky Mountains, that would basically cause a blocking pattern and leave this system sitting offshore in the Gulf. The only feature that looks like it could move this system is a cold front due to swing through on Monday. Logically this should move the disturbance / Tropical Storm / Hurricane to the north and east, however there are still many forecast models holding onto the idea of this moving west at that point along the Texas Coast -- which would then have a wetter impact on our weather here at home.
Another update will be out in a few hours after data is sent back from hurricane hunters later this afternoon.
Thursday Morning Update
Tropical development in the Gulf is looking more likely as the latest data streams in. In fact, The National Hurricane Center now gives our disturbance a 70% chance of becoming something tropical in nature over the next two days. Here is their 7am wording for this system:
A TROUGH OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED OVER THE CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO IS PRODUCING A LARGE AREA OF CLOUDINESS AND THUNDERSTORMS AND GUSTY WINDS MAINLY ON ITS EAST SIDE. UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE CURRENTLY UNFAVORABLE FOR DEVELOPMENT. HOWEVER...CONDITIONS ARE FORECAST TO BECOME MORE CONDUCIVE LATER TODAY...AND THE SYSTEM COULD BECOME A TROPICAL DEPRESSION DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO. THIS SYSTEM HAS A HIGH CHANCE...70 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT MOVES SLOWLY NORTHWESTWARD. INTERESTS ALONG THE ENTIRE NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO COAST SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS DISTURBANCE.
Because of the uncertainty of system and the poor forecast model handling of it, an Air Force Recon Hurricane Hunter plane will be sent in to this disturbance around 1pm today to try an collect more data.
With that, things are slowly coming together for a more consistent forecast. The bad news this morning is that with this system still being so poorly organized, forecast models are ALL still having a hard time determining how this system will develop and where it will go. Here is an early morning look at those models. It is important to remember that each line represents a different forecast model and it is normally typical for a least a few of them to group together and come to a similar conclusion. Instead, we have this:
So as you can see, at this point if you handed a 2 year old an etch-a-sketch you could probably get about the same idea as to what will happen with this system. Also important to mention that these forecast models are predicting anything from just a big batch of rain to some saying a tropical storm will develop, to even a few predicting this will sit over open, warm Gulf waters long enough to become a category 1 hurricane. Nothing set in stone as all of these models are still basically trying to predict a ghost out there. Again, until a closed circulation actually develops, these models will most likely continue to perform poorly and inconsistently.
Yesterday afternoon, I gave you an early look at our Pinpoint Forecast Model that you see everyday during the weather which had first impacts landing around Louisiana. That is still my current thinking. Let me show you a couple images from this morning's run:
With that in mind, it is still clear as mud what happens after that. Notice that there is sign of a circulation forming on the Pinpoint Forecast which indicated that it too thinks something of a tropical nature will form.
Heading into this weekend, as things look now, a 20% chance at a few scattered showers / storms will hold in the forecast. Most indications show the bulk of the rain missing the Brazos Valley FOR NOW, but as this system nears land there are signs that it will be quite breezy this weekend -- specifically Sunday and Monday. As the winds kick up, if the track of this system stays east and south that will also pull in much drier air to the area. Dry air, this current drought and breezy winds gusting upwards of 25mph only means that you will have to take EXTREME caution while BBQing for Aggie Gameday on Sunday and Labor Day Monday.
Another look and more on what hurricane hunters find after their flight coming your way later this afternoon.
Wednesday Afternoon Update
Good news and more convoluted news for you this afternoon.
The good news is that the National Hurricane Center has officially deemed this disturbance in the Caribbean -- moving towards The Gulf of Mexico -- Invest 93L. That will help with using more resources to put out those computer models we have talked so much about. This disturbance also now carries a 30% chance of becoming a tropical system over the next 48 hours.
Speaking of the computers, STILL about as clear as mud as to where this disturbance / maybe future depression / maybe future tropical storm will go. Here is the latest compilation from this afternoon -- each line represents a different long range model's forecast:
Overall, until these computers can't get a good grip on the development of this system and the steering pattern that will influence it, we still have a mess to try and forecast with.
For what it is worth, the Pinpoint Forecast Model that we show you each night on air, started to give it's suggestion on this system with the latest run output around noon today. Another model to throw into the ring -- but a model that we hang our hat on (most days) since it is made specifically for KBTX and the Brazos Valley. Notice by noon on Friday, the pinpoint has heavy rains moving onshore around Louisiana with a broad circulation just south of the Louisiana / Texas border. Again, just one more suggestion to consider (which would still shed some hope on one hand and a deal of doubt on the other for rain chances over the holiday weekend here at home)
The ride has only just begun. Another update headed your way Thursday morning.
Wednesday Morning Update
Hear that? That is the sound of every meteorologist from Texas to Alabama gnashing their teeth trying to make sense out of a still senseless forecast this morning. As more details stream in about the tropical wave we are watching in the Northern Caribbean, each computer model's run has a completely different solution and path that the one prior to it. But in the mean time, here is what we can tell you:
--The National Hurricane Center, as of 7am this morning, still has only a 10% chance of tropical development from this disturbance over the next two days. That percentage could become higher, however as of now confidence is low that this would become a tropical depression or tropical storm before Friday.
--Moisture is going to move northbound through the Gulf of Mexico. That should in turn bring a bit more cloud cover and temperatures just below the triple digit mark by Friday. Also, as of now, the best chance for some scattered shower / storm activity looks to fall on Friday afternoon at a 30% shot. (One of the details that has stayed relatively consistent over the past couple of days)
--This morning's models show this system moving into the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, meandering around the Gulf Coast State's (East Louisiana, Mississippi, & Alabama) before moving into the Florida Panhandle and getting carried up the East Coast by a cold front. This could be the worst case scenario for the Eastern Seaboard as they are trying to clean up and dry out from this past weekend's flooding caused by Hurricane Irene. This would also mean our rain chances look to almost completely fall off the map all together.
We'll continue to watch and wait for something to become even the slightest bit clear. It is important to stress again that these computer models have a hard time forecasting a tropical system simply because they are trying to guess what this system will actually turn into, if anything at all. Once this system shows signs of development, we will have a much better understanding on the path this potential rain and / or storm will take. For now, our confidence lies on the days that have circles around their rain chances. Stay tuned!
Tuesday Afternoon Update
If you read this mornings post, you may remember our conversation about The National Hurricane Center's observation of the tropical wave of interest in the Caribbean. If this is your first stop to the blog, 1) Welcome and 2) Here's what we were looking at this morning:
For now, we'll also be monitoring the National Hurricane Center (NHC) for an area of interest as this system evolves. The NHC has mentioned of the cuff that they are watching this as well, however nothing has been outlined for development, officially, as of Tuesday morning.
It took less than 12 hours for them to "officially" be watching this wave along, with all of us from Texas to Alabama. As of this afternoon's update, "there is a 10% chance of this system to become a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours." You may be thinking, "10%? That's all?" Well, yes...for now. Not much development is really forecasted by the models with this tropical wave over the next two days -- but don't be surprised as the updates come rolling in for that percentage to increase heading into Labor Day Weekend.
As the percentage will change, so will our forecast. It is important to note that the extended computer models are having a difficult time depicting this system because there is no actual depression or tropical storm formed to forecast for yet. As development continues to grow, so should our confidence in the forecast over the coming days ahead. Another update in store Wednesday morning.
We've been waiting for it all Summer long -- and it looks like that dreadful, awful, no good high pressure is finally going to release it's grip on the Brazos Valley and Texas and move off to a more favorable spot to bring possible relief to our backyard. That much needed relief looks like it could come any where from Thursday of this week, through Labor Day Weekend and possibly the beginning to middle of next week as well. One thing is for certain, temperatures below 100° and a CHANCE of rain is in the forecast for now. Here is the most current 7 day forecast:
Now, what's driving that chance for rain? This guy to your right. A tropical wave moving from the Caribbean to the Gulf of Mexico over the next couple of days. Over the weekend and into Monday morning, most of the extended forecast computer models that we look at was bringing this up towards the Texas Coast as just good, soaking rain chances for a stretch of days. Since Monday afternoon, however, these same computer model's consistency has been very poor and different from run to run. Some leave this as a simple rain maker, BUT put it anywhere from the Texas Coast to the Mississippi / Alabama Coast line. Others keep that same area focused on, BUT turn this into what could be our next Tropical Storm. One even brings this system to the Gulf Coast States east of Texas then eventually swing the system back towards the Coastal Bend of the state where it leaves it for a number of days to sit, spin and grow into a decent storm.
Mentioned earlier was the GFS computer model. This is one that is normally favored for extended forecasts in the United States. Here are just a few frames from one of this morning's runs that show decent moisture / rain and a developing system on Friday (picture 1) followed by the system sitting to our east and only bringing a slight chance of rain on Labor Day (picture 2) with a larger developing system sitting off the Texas Coast next Wednesday (picture 3)
Confused yet? It's a mixed and muddled forecast -- that's for sure. Be sure to stay tuned as we continue to tweak the forecast as the latest data streams into the News 3 Weather Center. For now, we'll also be monitoring the National Hurricane Center (NHC) for an area of interest as this system evolves. The NHC has mentioned of the cuff that they are watching this as well, however nothing has been outlined for development, officially, as of Tuesday morning.
Check back here on Wednesday as we'll be talking about any changes to the forecast (which I'm willing to go all in on that there will be plenty of). Cross your fingers in the mean time for soaking rains to finally grace the Brazos Valley again soon!