Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Remains of Tropical Storm Erika and note about Hurricane Katrina: August 29, Update A

This morning the NHC officially declared Tropical Storm Erika a remnant 'low' and have stopped issuing advisories on her. This means that she does not a have a closed circulation anymore (i.e. the winds aren't all going in a circle around in a central point). She still has winds of ~30-35mph (last known central pressure was 1011mb) and was moving WNW along the northern coast of Cuba at ~22mph. She is still generating rain, and quite a lot of it, as you can see in the latest IR satellite image:

There is still a small chance that she will re-develop, primarily because she still has some circulation in the lower half of the troposphere, and because that circulation is centered just off the coast, over water temperatures of 30-31 deg C (exceedingly warm!!), and she is heading to a region between Florida and Cuba where the upper ~150m of the water column is warmer than 26 deg C (exceedingly deep warm water). If her circulation was a bit weaker or if she was more directly over Cuba, then I would not be thinking this. So, still worth keeping an eye on her for another day at least. 

Interacting with the island of Hispaniola was a mixed bag really. Yes, it did reduce her intensity... but unfortunately over 20 people lost their lives in the flooding that occurred on Hispaniola. With a storm it is not the wind, but rather the flooding on land (storm surge, overflowing rivers, breaking levees, mudslides etc) that is usually the largest reason for loss of life. 

As you know, today is the 10 year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, where lives were also lost from the flooding that followed. There are numerous stories in the media this week about what happened and the recovery process, but perhaps the best interactive site I've seen with then and now photos is, appropriately, from New Orleans The Times-Picayune website: Do check it out if you haven't seen this site already.

And I think that will be all for today folks. I will be back tomorrow to wrap up Erika or give another update (hopefully the former!).


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DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

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