Hurricane/Tropical Storm KATIA and TS Lee 9/4/2011 5:30 am

Colleagues, TS/Hurricane KATIA once again has winds of 70 mph, but the forecasts still remains the same. And Tropical Storm Lee in the Gulf of Mexico is a rainmaker for Southern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and will be making landfall today. The scenario of over a week ago is playing out with a twist as described below. FORECAST: Tropical Storm KATIA continues to flirt with the formal status between a hurricane and tropical strom with no data that clearly defines her in either category. In this case it is a distinction without meaning. KATIA has winds again of 70 something mph as it moves NW at 11 mph about 500 miles East of the Southern Bahamas. By Monday afternoon it will be the East of Miami and North of Puerto Rico. By this time next week it will have passed to the East of North Carolina but only by 100 miles or so as a Category 2 Hurricane. It will bring some rain, high surf, rip currents, and near Tropical Storm force winds but not a repeat of a few weeks ago. Bermuda will feel nothing. It will be an uncomfortably close call for those who are still trying to recover from IRENE.

Tropical Storm LEE has been standing for the last 2 days with one foot on shore and one foot in the water. With winds of 45 mph and a Northward movement of only 2 mph, Lee is resisting making that life altering decision. But it must. New Orleans has begun to dry out and maybe Huston got a bit of rain, but this rain maker will be mostly making rain and local flooding up through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and western Florida through mid week. LEE will become extratropical and part of the long anticipated front as it moves into the mid Atlantic states and hits them with rain through the back door; but it will not be that bad. By tomorrow, LEE should have lost its Tropical Storm status.

DISCUSSION: This is a story of KATIA and LEE. Perhaps, I push the marriage, anthropomorphically speaking, too much, but these two storm's lives have become intertwined. From the very first forecast on KATIA, I anticipated this front, currently in the Midwest, could play a critical role in keeping KATIA from making landfall in the USA. At that time, I had no idea that LEE would even become, and that this same front would be what finally picks up LEE, makes it move, wrings out the water in it and guides it to the NE. In truth there are a series of short waves which are bit actors in this drama that are helping pave the way for this front to come in and make the final push to keep KATIA off shore of NC next weekend by further eroding the western extent of the Atlantic ridge which would otherwise guide it to a landfall.

I will be posting a blog on on STORM SURGE on Sunday. It is not what most people think it is, so I will explain it there.

The next blog will be on my trip to China, with pictures.

NEXT FORECAST: Tomorrow, Sunday

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Peter S. Ray

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