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Joe’s Weather Blog: Horrendous Harvey + KC rain chances (FRI-8/25)

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Good morning…Hurricane Harvey is going to be the big ticket weather item for the next 5-7 days which is astounding since it’s only about 125 miles off the coast of Texas now…but this is a somewhat weird set-up for the storm. The steering currents will be essentially non-existent down there for days to come…this means the storm will be doing its dirty work along the eastern coast of Texas going through various transitions and raking the region with an astounding FEET of rain when things are all said and done.

In addition to that…there is a weak front heading this way on Sunday which will be increasing our rain chances here (not related to Harvey) and also in time…there are questions about where exactly Harvey ends up…we’re talking about a week from now…can it meander farther northwards…can it in the end spread rain towards MO/KS? That possibility can;t be discounted right now.


Forecast:

Today: Mostly sunny and pleasant with highs in the lower 80s

Tonight: Fair skies and cool with lows in the 60-65° range

Saturday: Partly cloudy and mild with highs 80-85°

Sunday: Chance of storms with highs in the 80-85°


Discussion:

Let’s start with the KC weather angle…

It’s been a beautiful last several days and today will be no exception. Our dew points are tolerable…and the air is rather mild overall. There is no real heat heading this way…as the unseasonably cool August continues. We’re running 5.3° below average for the month…and with all the rain we’ve received…this will be the wettest month of August in our weather history, going back to the 1880s..everything is about as green and lush as we can have it for this time of the year.

The next rain chance…odds favor mostly under 1″ or so…will come on Sunday AM as thunderstorms form Saturday up towards the I-80 corridor in IA/NE and move towards the SE. How they hold together coming into the area later Saturday night and Sunday AM will determine how much of the area gets moisture and how much rain we end up getting overall. It doesn’t look like a flooding scenario thankfully.

Next week looks to be below average almost every day with continued comfortable air…we’ll finish off August on a comfortable note.


Now onto Harvey…we’ll start with the basics.

Now the IR satellite…look for expanding areas of red on the pictures below showing the colder cloud tops…and also the small eye of the storm.

Now the forecast motion…it’s a weird one in a sense because this is going to be hugging the coastline as opposed to driving well inland…this is problematic for many reasons…especially from the total rain scenario as the storm may weaken somewhat because of land interaction…but not really fall apart.

This is going to be an especially long lasting rain event for eastern Texas…and that is not good at all. The devastating flooding scenario is expected to play out over the course of several days into next week.

The kicker is that there will be some areas that may end up with over 3 FEET of rain from this.

The USA as a whole has been incredibly lucky for more than 10 years in terms of NOT being affected by a major hurricane (winds over 110 MPH). Yesterday was the 4322 straight day without a MAJOR hurricane hit on US soil. You have to go back to Wilma in 2005.

Things in Texas have changed quite a bit this century too. Many new residents have moved to eastern TX…and have not got through something like this before.

If you just add that up above…it’s several million people.

IF Harvey strengthens more…let’s say to 125 MPH or so…it would be the strongest Hurricane to make landfall since Celia back in 1970.

It’s NOT as if Texas hasn’t been hit by a hurricane…it’s just this slow moving storm that is going to be a big issue on several fronts…

With the expected flooding and wind…comes power outages down there…this is what is expected at this point.

So aside from that…you might be wondering how this may affect you. One way may be the price of gas at the pump. There are a LOT of refineries down that way (especially towards NE TX and SW LA). Should workers have to be evacuated for any length of time…that wouldn’t be helpful to maintaining gas flow from that part of the country.

Hurricanes are known to crank out the rainfall…I thought this was an interesting piece of information showing the states with the highest rain totals strictly from a tropical system…notice MO/KS numbers and of course Texas with 4 FEET of rain from a storm named Amelia back in 1968.

It was a Tropical Storm but when the remnants got into the Hill Country it was nothing but bad news in the end for some areas…

via Wikipedia

So these storms produce lots of rain…which is a given in most cases.

You might think that the wind aspect of the storms is the biggest issue…but in reality it’s the surge of water on the coastline and the heavy rains/flooding that is the biggest killer in hurricanes.

A LOT to be tracking this weekend. IF you know anyone down that way and they are waffling for whatever reason about evacuating…urge them to do so…it’s not worth it…the flooding will be the biggest and most widespread issue…and assuming there is no power, potentially for days…a lot of generators are not going to last that long.

I’ll get a fresh blog update out tomorrow afternoon.

Joe

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