Sep 3, 2011

DAY 94

Tropical Storm Lee has now become our 12th named storm of the Atlantic Season.  Lee has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, a central pressure of 1000 mb, and is moving slowly to the north at 5 mph. He is still being sheared from the west, with all of the convection being located off to one side of the storm. Lee is also drawing dry Texas air into his core, which is limiting his organization a bit.

Lee still has a small chance of becoming a hurricane before making landfall in Louisiana, but the dry air and shear will be tough to overcome. The Hurricane Center has Lee making landfall on Saturday night near Terrebonne Parrish as a tropical storm. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for all of the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama coastline. 

The first tiny rain showers associated with Lee was felt in Louisiana on Thursday, and the rain has gradually increased since then. Light rain has fallen there all day today. They may start to feel a sustained wind field in Louisiana early tomorrow morning, but inland flooding will be the main issue at Tropical Storm Lee hovers in the area for several more days.

They are expecting 10 to 15 inches in Lousiana. This will be a very gradual accumulation, as we have seen only small amounts of rainfall thus far.

Hurricane Katia is becoming more interesting by the day. She is still listed as a weak hurricane with sustained winds of 75 mph, and a pressure of 988 mb. Her forward progress is gradually slowing as she moves northwest now at 12 mph. The wind shear has become obvious in her appearance. The messy looking part to the northeast of the nice circular part of her is the section that is being pushed away by wind shear. These conditions will likely persist for several more days, meaning that Katia will struggle to build a clean hurricane structure.

The National Hurricane Center is no longer forecasting Katia to become a major hurricane. The best she could do over the next 3 or 4 days is Cat 2, but even that is going to be difficult. The real interesting part about Katia has been her heading. She is likely going to start freaking people out in the southeastern US. Katia is going to start making a more westward track in couple of days, and start heading directly for the North Florida coast. But Katia is still expected to get caught up in one of those sweeping troughs and make a right turn back out to sea just before impacting the US. The Sub-Tropical Ridge has been showing the ability to rebound very quickly as of late however, which means Katia might still have a few tricks up her sleeve. Another wild card is that we are not quite sure how she might interact will Tropical Storm Lee.

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