Katia, Lee, and Labor Day
After 106 hours, power was restored to my neighborhood last night. That is the longest I've ever been without power and it brought up an interesting question. Would you rather face a Hurricane like Irene or a winter nor'easter? Most people answered a Hurricane because there was nothing to shovel and the weather was warm so no one had to leave their home. I actually cringe when I hear that response because Irene was nowhere near the strongest winds we could face in a hurricane. Structural damage was limited to trees falling on homes. In a category 1 or 2 hurricane there would be more damage to homes and businesses and people would be without power for longer.
I see government officials are complaining about the long process of getting power restored. Its a natural disaster that hit nearly the entire east coast. Crews have been brought in from Michigan and Canada. There were just too many trees down for a rapid response. It does get old and frustrating sitting without power but the utility crews are working 16 hour shifts and working as fast as they can.
Scenes like these played out all over the commonwealth. Now a lot of people want to know where Katia will go. More on Katia and Lee in the tropics discussion below.
The weather for today and tomorrow is awesome for the start of Labor Day weekend. Highs today will reach the lower 80's with mostly sunny skies. Tonight is nice with temperatures dipping into only the lower 60's. For September that's not bad at all. Tomorrow will be nice, a transition day of sorts. By late in the day some areas north and west will have a slight chance of a thunderstorm as a cold front approaches on Sunday. Highs remain in the low 80's. Sunday and Monday will feature a thunderstorm threat, but as of now it looks like scattered showers is most likely. Some areas will see thunderstorms and some will not, the details on who gets what will be worked out later today and tomorrow.
Tropical Depression 13 is likely to become Tropical Storm Lee (or Maria) today. It probably already should be named looking at the observations and considering some of the storms the NHC has named this season (many never would have been named in the past). Lee will slowly creep northeast towards Louisiana and may complete a loop and drop some serious flooding rains in Dixie. Some areas may see 20 inches of rain. Where TD13 goes after moving inland (eventually) is a concern. The remains of the system may cause further flooding in the northeast. Here is the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) rainfall forecast for the next 5 days. Notice the rainfall in Vermont...not good
The question everyone wants answered right now is whether or not Hurricane Katia will hit us. If you asked me yesterday I would have favored an out to sea track. However, given the latest with Lee and the westward trend of Katia, this may be something interesting for the East Coast. One must nail the forecast for Lee (Katia) to get the forecast right for Katia (Lee). As you saw with Irene this is no small feat. Katia is forecast to strengthen to a major Hurricane in 4-5 days. I agree, as climatology favors a strengthening Hurricane. Katia is on the verge of taking a track somewhat similar to Isabel of 2003 or Fran of 1996. Both of those storms impacted North Carolina with devastating effects. There is a chance Katia is more like Edouard of 1996 or Juan of 2003 as well. Juan hit Halifax as a strong Category 2 hurricane and is considered among Canada's worst Hurricanes. Edouard brought 90 mph wind gusts to Nantucket. Its days away and will not impact land with the exception of high waves until it nears the east coast. At this point everyone from Miami to Maine should keep an eye on Katia. I'm in agreement with the National Hurricane Center on the track
Katia should ride along the ridge for the next 5 days. With more model information we'll be able to narrow down the track and be more specific. The storm will re-curve somewhere between Bermuda and the east coast, the question is where, when, and how strong.