Monday, September 22, 2008

The Seasons of Change..............

As of 10:44am Central Time, we said good bye to the Summer of 2008. It is at this time we experience the Autumnal Equinox marking the beginning of Fall. Today the sun’s direct rays hit the Earth at the Equator and continue to move south until the first day of winter, when they begin to move back to the north. The sun will set today at the North Pole and will not rise until the first day of spring 2009, leaving the North Pole with six months of darkness. At the same time, the sun will rise at the South Pole and not set until the first day of spring. Another interesting fact, places along the Arctic Circle will lose around 15 minutes of daylight per day until the first day of winter, when the sun will set and not rise for nearly 24 hours. At the same time, places near the equator in the northern hemisphere will lose only a few seconds of daylight per day until the first day of winter. This is all caused by the 23.5° tilt to the Earth’s axis, which leads to the seasons we see throughout the year. If the Earth did not have this tilt, we would have no seasons on Earth and the weather would be, well, kind of boring. So nights are getting longer, temperatures will begin to drop, and it won’t be long before winter is knocking on our door.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Mendoza Line.........

We have been rather busy in the weather office so I have not have time to keep everyone up to date on my big weight loss plan. I have now moved south of the Mendoza Line weighing in at 198 pounds, that’s 28 pounds I have lost since starting the Atkins Diet back in late July. Only 23 pounds left until I reach my goal of 175 pounds. During this time I have not deprived myself of great tasting food. Be sure to join me this week on “In The Kitchen” this Friday when I will be cooking one of my favorite meals I have prepared while living this lifestyle.

Cool Dry Air Moves In.....

No your eye’s are not deceiving you, our local weather net sites this morning were reporting temperatures in the upper 40s. Most of East Texas woke up this morning with temperatures in the low to mid 50s, a refreshing change from the muggy 70s we have been waking up to the past few weeks. This week’s weather looks to be near perfect with dry conditions and highs in the low 80s.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Latest On Ike............................

Hurricane Ike promises to bring wild weather to East Texas Saturday into Early Sunday. The current forecast track has Ike crossing the central part of East Texas Saturday Afternoon. The large wind field associated Hurricane Ike will bring widespread strong gusty winds and possible power outages. There is also a good chance that Ike will produce isolated tornadoes across East Texas Friday Night into most of Saturday. The good news, if any, is the fact Ike will begin to move rapidly through East Texas. This will keep total rainfall amounts much lower than they could be, mainly 2 to 4 inches with a few isolated spots in our eastern counties nearing 6 inches.
Ike is having a hard time developing this afternoon due to its unique structure. Ike actually has two areas of wind maxima, eyewalls, with winds near 100mph. It’s the outer wind maxima that is inhibiting the inner eye to strengthen to level we would expect with low sea level pressure Ike has, around28.00” of mercury. Also, this second eyewall is helping spread out Ike’s wind field. Tropical storm force winds extend nearly 300 mile from the center this afternoon. So as Ike approaches the coast early Saturday morning, up here in East Texas we will begin to fell tropical storm force winds.
The possibility of tornadoes with Ike will be greater than we see with most tropical systems. With Ike’s large circulation, there will be a great deal of wind shear, winds blowing at different speeds and directions, over a large area of Texas. It is this wind shear which causes the storms to spin as they develop in the outer rain bands, making tornadoes a distinct possibility. Past hurricanes with wind fields this large have been prolific tornado producers. Hurricane Beulah (1967) produced 117 tornadoes with five of them being an F-3 in strength and one an F-4 but I doubt we will see this many because of the rapid movement. We will all have to monitor this situation very closely through the weekend.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ike Changes His Mind.......

Hurricane Ike continues to spin in the Atlantic near the Bahamas this morning as a strong category four storm. Ike is expected to make landfall as a strong category 4 storm with top winds near 145 mph along the Cuban coast Monday morning. Latest long range computer models do not bring as strong of a trough as we were forecasting last week across the Plains States and this could be some bad news. Ike is now expected to move across most of the Gulf and could make landfall anywhere from Houston to Panama City. I still look for Ike to turn north and miss the Texas Coast but, we will have to watch Ike closely because last Thursday it looked very likely that he would turn north and maybe miss the US East Coast. Stay Tuned……………………….

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Peak of Hurricane Season

The peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season is nearing and on cue, the tropics are heating up. After Hurricane Gustav hit the Louisiana Coast this week, three more tropical systems threaten the East Coast over the next week. The first threat is tropical storm Hanna. Hanna has been struggling over the past few days, once a category 1 hurricane. Hanna looks to intensify once again to a category 1 hurricane by Saturday before skirting the East Coast this weekend. Hanna could stay just off shore causing hurricane strength winds along most of the East Coast this weekend. Now Hanna will only be a minimal hurricane with top winds of 75 mph to 80 mph.

Ike on the other hand, is a dangerous category 4 storm this morning with top winds of 145 mph. Ike will be entering an area of cooler waters thanks to Hanna, causing the storm to weaken to a strong category 2 or 3 storm. Once Ike crosses the patch of cooler water, he should once again strengthen to a category 4 storm with top winds of 140 mph. Ike will have to be watched closely because he is forecast to move towards the East Coast of Florida as a very dangerous storm. Long range computer forecast models are hinting at a fairly strong cold front moving into the Midwest next Thursday. There is a chance this front could cause Ike to turn more to the north and then northeast, having him miss the US. Let’s all hope and pray this is the case.

And then there is Josephine. Josephine is having trouble gaining strength and it is doubtful she will ever make hurricane strength. Ike has stirred up some cooler waters from the depths of the Atlantic. It is this cooler water that Josephine will have to cross, along with some wind shear, causing Josephine to struggle in her development. Current forecast models continue to send Josephine out into the central Atlantic.