Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Isaac's aim still at Florida

2:30 p.m. update: The latest National Hurricane Center update has some interesting twists. It was issued at 11 a..m. and downgrades Isaac's expected intensity when it hits Florida next week -- down to Category 1 status, with 80 to 85 mph winds.

Perhaps the biggest change at 11 a.m. was the uncertainty. It seemed as if the NHC's meteorologist were more certain of Isaac's track and intensity with the 5 a.m. advisory. Now one of the computer models predicts Isaac will be so weakened by a trip over the Dominican Republic that it will not respond to the atmospheric weakness and will drift westward into the Gulf of Mexico.

But the overall consensus still points to Florida. And forecasters say the intensity prediction, in effect, is a guess. It all depends on whether the storm crosses a lot of land before approaching Florida.

By the way, most computer tracks take the remnants into the Carolinas next Tuesday and Wednesday.

I'll be watching for the next update at 5 p.m.  It also will be interesting to see what the National Weather Service's office in Greer says about next week, in its mid-afternoon update.

Earlier post (9:30 a.m.): Tropical Storm Isaac would get secondary attention most years, but it was the lead story on many network newscasts Wednesday morning, and for good reason.

Computer models are nearly unanimous in predicting Isaac will be over or near Florida by next Monday morning -- just in time for the start of the Republican National Convention. And it is expected to be a hurricane, possible Category 2, when that happens.

And if you extend the storm track a bit, and take into account the possible atmospheric steering patterns next week, it would appear as if the Carolinas will be in the path of Isaac's remnants.

First for the facts.

At 8 a.m., Isaac was a rather weak tropical storm, with top winds of 45 mph. It was centered about 200 miles east of the island of Guadeloupe, in the Lesser Antilles. Isaac was moving west at 19 mph and is expected to strengthen Wednesday and Thursday.

Tropical storm warnings are posted for the Lesser Antilles and for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (both the U.S. and British). A hurricane watch is up for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. And a tropical storm watch is hoisted on the north coast of the Dominican Republic.

The computers predict Isaac will strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane and cross part of the Dominican Republic, then pass over eastern Cuba. At that point, it will be Sunday night, and Isaac is then forecast to move into the very warm waters of the Florida Straits and approach the Keys with 90 mph winds.

Some computer models take Isaac up the Gulf Coast, providing a direct threat to the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Other models predict the storm will cross the center of the Sunshine State. And others take Isaac up the Atlantic coast.

To me, a bigger question is the effect of the mountainous Dominican Republic (10,000-foot peaks) on the storm. Those mountains could turn Isaac into tropical road kill.  Then again, if the expected hurricane brushes past the island of Hispaniola, watch out!

I heard the mayor of Tampa talking this morning about evacuations and calling off the convention, which must be a horror scenario to Republican Party officials.  But that kind of talk is very premature.  A lot can happen between now and then.

What about the Carolinas?:  Oh, yes, there's that issue.

By the time Isaac reaches Florida, it will be sucked north by a weakness between high pressure in the Atlantic and another system to the west. The storm will be moving generally northward. If you draw some lines, that takes the remnants across South Carolina and North Carolina next Tuesday and Wednesday.

In 2004, Hurricane Frances struck Florida and curved north, bringing a record-setting tornado outbreak to South Carolina, and some twisters into the Charlotte region. Frances also produced incredible flooding in the North Carolina mountains.

I noticed this morning that the local National Weather Service office is starting to take notice. In his morning discussion, meteorologist Neil Dixon mentioned the possibility that tropical rainfall could move into the western Carolinas sometime Tuesday.

And what about 96L?   You might remember the other cluster of storms, following about 1,000 miles behind Isaac.  It's still there, and it'll probably become a tropical storm sometime Wednesday afternoon.

However, all the computer models take that system northwest through the Atlantic, then curve it northward -- far, far east of the United States.

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Hype -
As usual you are making a huge deal over nothing. Yes, it may rain in Tampa on Monday/Tuesday.

A week from now you'll be spewing the same nonsense about Charlotte.

Komodoman said...

Anon @9:24

1) At what point in reading this article did you begin to understand it was a weather forecast?

2) Once you realized that Mr. Lyttle was writing about what MAY happen, did you begin to understand that is what a forecast entails?

3) What "hype" did Mr. Lyttle insert into this article? In fact, he even says talk of a Tampa evacuation is "very premature".

ncdave77 said...

Thanks Komodoman - someone (same guy?) always pops up and complains about Steve's simple reporting of a weather forecast. I see neither hype nor panic.. just a heads up. Steve doesn't make the forecasts.

Anonymous said...

Steve is definitely my weather guy! I'd rather follow his posts any day than watch the guys on TV. Keep up the great work Steve! I look forward to your updates.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:24 = jdshaw

Same clown that consistently refers to Steve as "Mr. Hype" and Brad Panovich as "Panicovich." You're not fooling anyone dumb ace!

Anonymous said...

As a person who was born and raised in Miami (and have lived in Charlotte for 6 years)I don't understand why some people get bothered by weatherman advising us of these situations, whether it be hurricanes or snow, etc. Hurricanes are no joke and the more prepared you are the better. What happened to "better safe than sorry"?

BH said...

If you lived through Hugo in'89, you do understand that hurricanes are no joke-one was plenty for me.
So,yeah, it makes sense to take note of a long range forecast like this.

Anonymous said...

After living in South FL during a few hurricanes, including Andrew, trust me it's not always just a little hype!! And with part of my family still in S FL, I actually appreciate these updates!!

freddy said...

A hurricane giving a well-deserved smack-down on the GOP convention? Wow - there really IS a God!

Anonymous said...

Will the Republicans there take "Goberment" assistance during the storm?

Anonymous said...

10:15 - What raises the ire of people isn't that information about possible severe weather is being broadcast, it's the manner in which it is broadcast - and we're speaking mainly of the local TV stations. It is very common for all the local news teams to interrupt network programming and speak with extreme and hyperventilating words, and keep it up for hours on end. Channel 9 will not only interrupt ABC programming on channel 9, they will interrupt programming on channel 64 and carry the same hype on both channels.

Three or four years back, can't remember exactly, Panovich led WCNC's pannicked coverage of a storm for well over 3 hours. A storm that started in the foothills and rolled through Charlotte was covered inch by inch, all night long. When the storm moved from Gaston to Mecklenburg and got to the airport, Panovich went over the top. The station's airport cam showed the activity at the airport, and Panovich openly questioned why the FAA was allowing planes to take off and land in the storm; that all airport activity should cease. That sealed the deal for me. When a TV hack starts bloviating that the FAA doesn't know what it's doing, it's time to dismiss the TV hack out of hand.

Quite frankly, I think the TV stations are insulting our intelligence. If you tell me that a severe storm has broken out in Cleveland county, and it's moving east at 25 mph, then I know that in 2 hours the storm is going to be on top of me. I don't need the TV guy telling me every 5 minutes that the storm has moved 2 miles. I have a brain, I can do simple math and can figure out when I'm going to get hit. I also have a Weather Channel app on my phone so I can see what's happening anytime. And God forbid I go to my window, look out and see rain falling. But these TV hacks think that there is ONE, and ONLY ONE, way that citizens can know when it's storming outside, and that is for them to have 5 continuous hours of covering the storm.

Anonymous said...

J @ 10:15
You are sure right about Brad Panovich. He is the worst.

WBTV's Eric Thomas is a close second IMO.

Anonymous said...

And when there isn't sufficient coverage, the first thing the masses cry is "why weren't we better informed". No one is ever happy.

Anonymous said...

It's important to note that the projected path of the storm is from Accuweather - not the National Hurricane Center. Accuweather is notorious for hyping and is usually dead wrong.
"Isaac" is currently a weak storm and any projection or effect on Tampa is a pure guess at this point.
Yes - it does appear to be hype.

Anonymous said...

Never mind all the name calling, get ready to have the gas companies stick it to us!

Anonymous said...

I agree that TV weather has gone over-the-top with storm-tracker mentality. Bottom line, they have to recoup the dollars spent on weather gadgetry via ratings boosts/ad dollars so the false urgency is basically a cry for moola. I think severe thunderstorms/high winds/tornados and the like deserve breaking news status, but rain, simply rain? No.

Cedar Posts said...

Hype I don't see any here, on the other hand Al Roker was giving out Hurricane advice early this morning with a stern reminder not to use candles during a wind storm because they might blow over before they blow out.

Good advice if you are 5 years old or lack the common sense most people forget to use.

Anonymous said...

From what I can see, this storm will continue west into the Gulf and perhaps into northern Mexico

Anonymous said...

Came to read about weather and got treated to internet whiners. It's like free baseball. Hooray!

Anonymous said...

Holy sh*t, people.

"Hype" is not synonymous with "conjecture" or "prognostication."

Anonymous said...

conjecture and prognistication
are for FL only....
does not apply to dems

Anonymous said...

How gay can you be!? Who actually thinks that Steve is good? Also really?!!!!! The mountains of north Carolina?