Thursday, October 3, 2013

Potential Problems on the Gulf Coast

With a deep trough and a blast of cold air moving into Utah, we'd normally spend some time talking about the snow outlook (some mountain snow, with some flakes at bench levels, but not enough for turns yet in the mountains), but more serious issues are potentially in play along the Gulf Coast.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC), a National Weather Service forecast center that remains in operation for the protection of lives and property, has issued a hurricane watch for the central Gulf Coast from eastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.  Apparently a government shutdown can't stop Mother Nature.

Source: National Hurricane Center
Karen is currently a tropical storm with 50 knot winds just north of the Yucatan Peninsula, but is expected to intensify over the next 2-3 days.  It's unclear if she will make landfall at tropical storm or hurricane, as suggested by the NHC discussion below.

Source: NHC
The current forecast probabilities puts the highest odds on Karen attaining tropical storm or category 1 hurricane strength just off the Gulf Coast (1 AM Sat) and then weakening prior to landfall.  As things look now, the odds of  Karen attaining major hurricane status (category 3 or higher) are low.

We have already mentioned that the government shutdown is occurring at a time of year when the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States remain vulnerable to hurricanes (see Insanity Prevails).  Thus, even if she approaches the coast as "merely" a tropical storm, Karen is likely to stir both the Gulf waters and the political waters.

Disclosure: The author receives federal funding from the National Weather Service's Collaborative Science, Technology, and Applied Research (C-STAR) Program.

No comments:

Post a Comment