Thursday, September 23, 2010

Coming pattern change: Good or bad?

Meteorologists agree the weather pattern that has been locked over the Southeast since early to mid August is about to change.

That change will bring cooler weather and a good chance of rain to our area, starting later Saturday or Sunday. We need the rain desperately, and a lot of people are sick of the hot weather and looking for something cooler.

But will the change really be good for us?

Let's take a look at the pattern ...

Strong high pressure has been locked over the Southeast, but the computer models are predicting a changed situation -- high pressure over Texas, and another high over the Atlantic. In between, over the Southeast, will be a weakness in the atmosphere (a trough).

The problem is a weather system currently known as Invest 95L. That's the name given by the National Hurricane Center to an area of stormy weather it is investigating. On Thursday morning, that area was north of Colombia and drifting westward. Invest 95L probably will become a tropical depression later today, and most computer models predict it'll be a hurricane within a few days.

Then what?

It could plow into Belize or Mexico and dissipate -- or weaken so much that it never recovers. But some computer predictions show the storm being dragged northward, by that weakness in the atmosphere over the Southeast. Florida would be at risk, and if such a hurricane made landfall over the Florida Panhandle, its remnants could cause trouble in the western Carolinas.

I saw a report Wednesday from the Weather Channel, in which its meteorologists predict this changed pattern will put the Southeast at risk for the next couple weeks.

Something to remember ... tropical systems that make landfall around Pensacola often bring tornadoes and flooding thunderstorms to the western Carolinas as they move northward.

All of that is a lot of conjecture, and Invest 95L is still just a mass of showers and thunderstorms. But keep that in the back of your mind.


The National Hurricane Center uses that term for a system it is watching, for data-collecting reasons. The NHC says an "Invest" system isn't necessarily expected to become a tropical depression, tropical storm, or hurricane -- just a system it wants to study. But many "Invest" systems become organized storms. Systems are numbered in order, and the letter signifies the area it is in. The letter "L" is used for systems in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The letter "E" is used for systems in the eastern Pacific, off the coast of Mexico.


Jay Jackson said...

Thanks for the new term today "invest."

Brandon said...

Great stuff! This blog seems like it'll be a fun read!