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Remembering Katrina and Watching The Tropics

29 Aug 2010, 11:14 am

Good Sunday to everyone logging on out there.

Katrina: 5 Years Later


Five years ago today a strong Hurricane Katrina made landfall around New Orleans. The above image is from NASA right about the time of landfall. Katrina was a Category 3 hurricane when it made landfall with winds of 125 mph, down from the furious 175 mph-Category 5 hurricane she was just the day before. By the time the storm moved out, Katrina killed more than 1,800 human lives and caused $125 billion in damages. Life has slowly been coming back to New Orleans since the storm, but this years oil spill did not help the regrowth. In fact, some officials have said that it could take the New Orleans area another 5 years to recover since the oil spill occurred. Life will never be the same, though, along the coast. The damage was devastating and eye opening — I remember watching the national TV crews camped out in New Orleans, all of the meteorologists being batted around in the wind before satellite feeds went down, and days and days of aftermath being aired on cable news, especially the conditions that occurred in the Superdome. Revisions to the levee systems are supposed to be completed within the next year or so that should help the city if another storm had New Orleans in the bulls eye. Hopefully we have nothing happen like what we had in 2005, all the way from Katrina to Wilma and a total of 28 storms by the end of the year.

Image above: Katrina-Flooded I-10/I-610/West End Blvd interchange in northwest New Orleans

Tropical Troubles

As we remember Katrina today, we must look at what is out in the tropics right now, as we have a couple storms that do bear monitoring.

Danielle


First, we start with Danielle, which should not be in our hair much longer. She has weakened this morning to a Category 1 hurricane, and is expected to start to fizzle out over the next couple days. The storm veered off to the east just in time and missed Bermuda, but higher wave action is expected in Bermuda and along the east coast of the United States over the next few days from Danielle.

Earl


As we put Danielle in the rear view mirror, we look at Earl, who was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane this morning. Earl is currently heading toward the northern Leeward Islands and may also affect Puerto Rico over the next few days (Hurricane Watches and Warnings are currently in place for these areas) before it curves off. Right now all the models have this storm scraping the eastern coastline, but hopefully staying off shore, by the second half of the week. They also having this become a Category 4 storm by the middle of the week. We can hope that since the storm is growing, the storm gets grabbed by the upper level winds and directed out to sea. I would expect, though, some heavier rains and some gusty winds along the east coast as we head toward the end of the week. Below is the ECMWF (European) model that shows Earl near Cape Cod by Thursday Night.

Fiona?

Besides Danielle and Earl, we are watching a disturbance east of Earl that has an 80% chance of becoming a tropical system within the next couple days. I would not be surprised if this becomes a Tropical Depression later today. At least one of the long range models, the European (ECMWF), has this storm eventually aiming towards Florida around Labor Day. This model does have some trouble at times as we look very far out, but is more accurate than some. Over the next few days is a good opportunity to make sure you are prepared for a tropical system if one were to aim your way, whether you are along the Atlantic coast or the Gulf coast. It only takes one storm to create billions in dollars of damage, as was evident with Katrina. We will continue to watch the tropics for you and bring you updates throughout the next coming days on how these storms may affect you, especially was we approach Labor Day weekend. Below is a look at the ECMWF model with possible landfall in Florida.

Hope you have a great day out there, and enjoy the nice weather that should be dominant across much of the nation for much of today!

D.J. Kayser from WeatherNation

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