Category Archives: Tropical Weather

Tropical Storm Karen forms

Tropical Storm Karen has formed; winds are 60 MPH and it’s moving NNW at 14 MPH. It’s located near the Yucatan Peninsula (roughly 500 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi per the Hurricane Center’s fix).

While the brunt of the storm will certainly be felt along the Gulf Coast, it’s not inconceivable that some residual effects may be felt in the Charleston area early next week, particularly if the storm leans toward the eastern side of the track forecast. Time will tell — my best advice is to keep an eye to the forecast especially given disagreement in the computer model solutions.

The tropics are getting interesting again

Hurricane season is not over yet. At a minimum, it seems likely that our next tropical depression (if not Tropical Storm Karen) will form near the Yucatan Peninsula very soon and track up toward the Gulf Coast by the weekend. Exact specifics are not something I can get into yet with any confidence, but I will say that if you have interests along the Gulf Coast this weekend into next week, it’s something to watch. Depending on the track, it is conceivable we could get some rain out of this in Charleston Sunday into Monday, but there is a pretty wide spread of solutions right now.

Follow @NHC_Atlantic on Twitter for advisory-by-advisory breakdown straight from the National Hurricane Center; @NWSCharlestonSC will have the best official information on local impacts (if any), and as always, I’ll be tweeting relevant, breaking Charleston-specific weather info over on @chswx.

Monitoring Chantal

I’ll be stepping up the pace of Chantal updates here on the blog as well as on social media; there are certainly enough signs in the model guidance that Chantal could have some sort of impact on our weather late this weekend into the first part of next week. Then again, it could not — it is just too early to call.

I definitely recommend following the National Hurricane Center on Twitter to get each advisory, and for official NWS information regarding local impacts, @NWSCharlestonSC is a must.

Andrea strengthened overnight

NEW: Tropical Storm Warning, Flash Flood Watch in effect.

Tropical Storm Andrea strengthened overnight; max sustained winds as of the 5am advisory are 60 MPH (with 70 MPH gusts) and it is now moving NNE at 13 MPH. The forecast track jogged left with the 5am advisory, but it isn’t enough to have significant impacts on our sensible weather.

Expect the weather to take a turn for the worse later this morning into this afternoon, with Andrea’s maximum impacts expected through Friday morning. Friday will then improve quite rapidly — we should have a decent Friday evening!

To stay weather-aware tonight, you’ll need a NOAA Weather Radio, comparable smartphone app, and other weather sources. Social media should be a supplement, not a sole source! Be prepared for possible brief power outages by keeping phones charged while you do have power, making sure you have flashlights with fresh batteries in accessible locations as power outage potential appears maximized overnight. Long-duration power outages are not likely, but there could be situation where the power is out for a few hours in sporadic instances.

Expect:

  • Potential for flash flooding — tropical systems are very efficient rainfall producers and streets can head underwater in a matter of minutes along the coast and in downtown Charleston. Some roads in West Ashley can be particularly vulnerable to flooding as well, including Wappoo Road, where water rescues were performed in the August 28 floods. High tide is at 7:28 PM.
  • Threat for isolated tornadoes — we’ll be in the right-front of the tropical system, always the most favorable area for isolated tornadoes to form. Don’t be surprised if a tornado watch is issued later today. Tornado threat will exist overnight — make sure your weather alert device can wake you!
  • Gusty winds to 40-50 MPH at times, strongest near the coast and in the coastal waters. Not a boat day!

The 8AM advisory will update Andrea’s position and intensity; 11AM is the next full advisory with a new track. Stay tuned…

Tropical Storm Andrea: First stab at impacts

Time to dust off the blog…tropical systems demand more than 140 characters.

At 11 PM, Tropical Storm Andrea has 40 MPH winds, a minimum pressure of 1002 millibars, and is now moving north a wee bit faster at 6 MPH. NHC has its center forecast to reach the Charleston area by Friday morning. A Tropical Storm Watch and a Flash Flood Watch are in effect.

It looks like we are going to be in for a bit of a rough ride starting tomorrow night. Start preparing for possible power outages (even 45 MPH winds can take out trees with soaked soils) and have several reliable ways to receive weather warnings. Don’t be shocked if tornado watches are issued later tomorrow — Charleston is forecast to be in the right-front quadrant of the storm Thursday night into Friday morning, which will enhance the risk of small spin-up tornadoes. Tornadoes are particularly dangerous at night so you need reliable ways to be woken up so you can get to safety, just in case.

If you live downtown — especially in the flood-prone parts of downtown — be thinking about where you’ll park your car tomorrow evening. Many streets won’t cut it with the combination of a new moon and strong onshore winds pushing water levels up — we could very well see coastal flooding due to tides. Rain on top of that would make things very hairy.

The silver lining to the series of clouds known as Andrea, though, is that the storm will be accelerating out of the area on Friday — by Friday evening, things should be a lot calmer. Andrea’s forecast fast movement will minimize rainfall (though 3-4″ looks like a solid forecast) and help mitigate an even worse flooding situation.