The Weekly Weather Take Sunday August 14, 2016

(Hot takes, cold takes, First Takes and Pardon my takes are all the rage right now.  The weekly take will recap the last week in the world of weather.  It will also feature a bit of a look ahead to the upcoming week.  Suggestions and feedback are welcome.  I hope to run this feature every Sunday - Zack Green)

Happy Sunday everyone.  After today there are only 3 Sunday's left without football until February.  High school football camps in Massachusetts open this week while college football is just 3 weeks away.  So while fall is rapidly approaching it is still the middle of August and the heat has been cranked up in Southern New England.  Rainfall made a welcome return to the region this week although we paid the price with oppressive humidity.  The drought expanded by Tuesday but we should see some improvement in areas next week.

Meanwhile in national news NOAA updated its seasonal hurricane forecast this week.  The forecast calls for the most active season since 2012 but it should fall well short of major seasons from 1995-2012.  A unnamed low pressure system in Louisiana dropped over 20" of rain.  That rain continues today and has resulted in historic and catastrophic flooding.  The Perseid meteor shower also peaked last week.

Last Week's Almanac
Here are the stats from the last week in Southern New England for the 4 major climate sites.  Information complied from http://w2.weather.gov/climate/xmacis.php?wfo=box
8.7-8.13 (created by Zack Green)
The drought monitor for last week was released Thursday but the data complied ended Tuesday.  As a result the drought expanded.
US Drought Monitor 8/9/2016
Many areas south of the Mass Pike and around Route 2 received several inches of rain from Wednesday through Saturday.  Multiple rounds of showers and thunderstorms have moved across the region.  Some places just south of Boston and in Southern ME/coastal NH missed out on much of the precipitation.
Rainfall 8 AM Sunday August 7 to 8 AM Sunday August 14 (image Weatherbell)
While this is not a drought buster it certainly helps.  Click here to watch the surface weather map loop from last Sunday to last night.  High pressure moved offshore and a ridge in the Atlantic extended itself into the Eastern United States.  That meant the source region for our atmosphere was the deep tropics.    That same pattern helped cause big time problems in Louisiana.

National Weather Headlines
The biggest story in weather this week can found in the Bayou.  Here is the satellite image from yesterday at 1215 EST.  It really does look like a healthy tropical system.  While tropical systems weaken when the hit land sometimes they don't if they are over the swamp land of South Florida or Louisiana (see Tropical Storm Fay 2008).  This system never had the winds to be considered a Tropical Storm but it probably could have been classified a Tropical Depression.
GOES Hurricane Sector Infrared Satellite 8/12/16 (image NOAA)
The storm hardly moved for days putting down rainfall totals greater than 20" as of 8 AM Sunday.
NWS observed precipitation 8 am August 11 to 8 am August 14, 2016 (image Weatherbell)
Click here for the news story and pictures of the flooding via ABC.  Now speaking of tropical cyclones NOAA issued its August update for the Atlantic Hurricane season.
image credit NOAA
So far we have 5 named storms, 2 Hurricanes and 0 major hurricanes.  The United States has not been hit by a "major hurricane" since Hurricane Wilma ripped across South Florida on October 24, 2005.  The Washington Post ran a nice feature on the problems this could cause when another major storm does indeed hit the coast.  I don't agree with the headline but the author didn't pick the headline an editor did.  Terrifying is a lame word to use.  It was terrifying in colonial times when major hurricanes struck with no warning and killed thousands of people at a time.  Its our job as meteorologists and emergency management coordinators to prepare people ahead of time for the next big storm.  If they don't listen and don't heed advice what can we do?

The definition of a major hurricane is also textbook.  Hurricanes Ike, Irene and Sandy all caused extensive to extreme damage but because the winds were not 115 mph they are not considered to be major hurricanes at landfall.  Ike was a major Hurricane in my opinion- no doubt about it.  Irene and Sandy were large powerful storms that hit major population centers but winds were not strong enough to be considered major no matter how much damage they did.

Irene and Sandy certainly did a number on Southern New England but they did not break a drought of our own.  It has been 25 years since a Hurricane has made landfall in our region.  Irene was definitely the closest 5 years ago as it had a pressure lower than Hurricane Bob did when it slammed ashore on August 19, 1991.  Bob however had much stronger winds and caused over a $1 billion in damage on Cape Cod.  I will post about the anniversary of Bob this week.  A quick look at the ocean temperatures in the Atlantic basin show plenty of fuel for any storms that form this season.
SST temps 2 AM Sunday August 14, 2016
The super warm Gulf of Mexico is certainly influencing the rainfall in Louisiana.  That heat will also be able to blow up any tropical systems that find there way into the Gulf over the next 2 months.  I expect the African waves to begin to spin up near the Cape Verde islands over the next 7-10 days.   The next named storm will be Fiona.

The Perseid meteor shower peaked Thursday-Friday night.  Here are some photos from Time.

A Look Ahead
More precipitation is in the forecast in the Eastern US.  Flooding rains appear likely in Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois early this week as the moisture in Louisiana works north.  In the Northeast we will see storms this afternoon and again on Tuesday/Wednesday.
WPC 7 day precipitation forecast 8 am Sunday 8/14 to 8 am Sunday 8/21
Thunderstorms appear likely Tuesday in the northeast.  The Upper Midwest could see some strong storms at the end of the week.  Temperatures will be more seasonable in the Northeast but still in the mid 80's.  Temps remain cooler in the Midwest with the rain and warm out west.  Follow along for daily updates during the week.

Thanks for reading
-Zack Green

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