Thursday, October 3, 2013
Tropical Storm Karen, which formed Thursday morning in the Gulf of Mexico near the Yucatan peninsula, is headed for the Carolinas, according to nearly all the weather models.
But the exact track of what's left of Karen will play a huge role in determining how much of an impact is felt in the Charlotte region.
There are a couple things that seem reasonably certain, however:
1. The precipitation from Karen will arrive in Charlotte late Sunday and continue into early Monday afternoon.
2. Several weeks of dry weather will put a limit on any flooding potential in the region.
Otherwise, there are a lot of unknowns.
The National Hurricane Center expects Karen to rapidly reach hurricane strength by Friday morning, then weaken as it approaches the Gulf Coast. The weakening will be due to wind shear and an intrusion of some dry air from Mexico.
But Karen likely will be a strong tropical storm, possibly with 60 to 70 mph winds, when it makes landfall early Sunday somewhere between the Florida panhandle and extreme eastern Louisiana.
The National Hurricane Center's official forecast track carries the storm northeast, along an advancing cold front, across Georgia and the western Carolinas, a short distance west of Charlotte. But the GFS model forecasts a more easterly track.
If the GFS were to verify, the heaviest rain and the threat of severe storms would remain east of Charlotte. But the Hurricane Center's track would put Charlotte, and the area east of southeast of the city, in the bulls eye.
At the minimum, the Monday morning commute in Charlotte will be soggy.
Posted by Steve Lyttle at 11:17 AM