Tropical Storm developing off the South Carolina/Georgia coasts

A well-defined low pressure is located off the coast of South Carolina. This low pressure has continued to organize with increased shower and thunderstorm activity.

A Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm is likely to develop over the next few hours as the system continues to move west-northwest. The low has a 70% chance to develop into a Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm.

Tropical Storm Warnings are possible for the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia over the next few hours as the system makes landfall late Monday near the South Carolina/Georgia border. Models are in strong agreement the system will make landfall Monday evening just north of the Georgia/South Carolina line. The low pressure will then continue to move west-northwest into Georgia followed by a track into northeastern Alabama by mid-week.

Coastal areas will experience rough seas, rip currents, and beach erosion. The main concern moving inland will be heavy rainfall. 2-5″ of rain can be expected from southeastern South Carolina, eastern Georgia, north and west into central Georgia, and northeastern Alabama over the next 48-hours. Areas of heavy rain will also move into southern Tennessee over the next 48-hours.

Winds gusting up to 35 mph are possible as the system moves west-northwest across the Southeast. The strongest winds will be located near the coast but 30 mph wind gusts are expected across all of South Carolina, Georgia, northeastern Alabama, and southeastern Tennessee Monday night into Tuesday.

Tropical Depression Two develops off the North Carolina Coast

Tropical Depression Two (TD2) developed off the North Carolina Coast Monday. TD2 has winds of 35 mph and is moving northeast at 21 mph. TD2 is forecast to intensify throughout the day into Tropical Storm Bill with sustained winds of 50 mph by Tuesday morning.

The northeast movement will steer TD2 away from the United States coast. Impacts are forecast to be minimal for North Carolina and the East Coast. A few rain showers and storms are possible for coastal parts of North Carolina but the main impacts will be rough seas for North Carolina and the East Coast. If you have any beach plans, be aware of rip currents and follow all rules by local officials.

Muggy and Daytime Storminess in Atlanta in the Coming Days

5-day rainfall totals

Atlanta and the surrounding metro areas will experience muggy and wet conditions through the remainder of the weekend into mid-week. A surface high pressure will remain off the Southeast coast, while a closed mid-level low spins over the southern and central Plains. This pattern will favor southwesterly flow (winds coming from the southwest), which will maintain  a moisture-rich atmosphere across the Atlanta area. 

The closed low in the Plains will not come far enough eastward to provide much lift in the atmosphere over Atlanta. Also, no frontal boundaries will trek southward to provide much lift either. Thus, the primary lifting mechanism to support rainy and stormy weather will come from daytime heating each day. On most days, I expect that storms will fire earlier in the afternoon and begin to die out in the early evening. A few could last into the evening hours. 

The Weather Prediction Center currently has 5-day rainfall totals in Atlanta and across the metro between 0.25-0.75 inches. They have areas closer to the Appalachians in northern Georgia getting between 1-2 inches, thanks to orographic lift. Honestly though, totals could exceed those ranges in both places. With decent moisture in the atmosphere, Atlanta could find itself picking up a quick inch from any storm that develops and moves over the city. With that said, the more widespread precipitation will occur over the Mid-south, closer to the closed low.

5-day rainfall projections for the U.S.
5-day rainfall projections for the U.S.

Afternoon storms and more than average cloud-cover will keep daily highs below average most days. Even so, outdoor conditions will remain uncomfortable due to above average humidity. We’re used to it in the South, but if you’re anything like me, I still don’t like it.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

By the way, I’ll begin including much better maps, specifically made for Atlanta and surrounding areas very soon. I apologize for the less than stellar national maps in the meantime. 

Tropical development possible in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico over the next week or two

The official start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season began June 1st and the tropics appear to heat up by the end of the second week of June. All eyes are on the western Caribbean and southwestern Gulf of Mexico from late next week into the following week for tropical development. The timeframe to monitor is June 10th through June 15th.

Forecast models have consistently indicated the possibility of tropical development in this region for a few days, so this has heightened awareness of this possibility. Diving deeper into the setup, it does appear a favorable environment supports this idea as the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) transitions into a wetter phase over the Caribbean. The MJO in this phase would favor the development of thunderstorm activity over the Caribbean, lowering the surface pressure, which would have the possibility to further strengthen into a low pressure that could develop into a tropical cyclone. This is why the forecast models have indicated a setup favorable for tropical development is on the horizon. 

The area of thunderstorms over the Caribbean late next week will be over warm waters. Water temperatures are favorable for the development and strengthening of tropical cyclones in this region. In the Gulf of Mexico, water temperatures have risen into the 80s. Water temperatures this warm will support tropical activity. As the area of thunderstorms, and associated lower pressures, moves into the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. It will have the opportunity to develop into a tropical cyclone due to the warm waters and forecasted lower wind shear. Wind shear, while great for severe thunderstorms, is not idea for tropical systems, so the lower wind shear over the Gulf will help assist in tropical development by mid-June. 

Looking back on the history of June tropical systems, this is an area that has “spawned” tropical cyclones, so this setup and timeframe will need to be monitored closely. Another concern is, if a system develops in the western Caribbean or southwestern Gulf of Mexico, it has a higher probability of impacting the United States. These systems typically move into the Gulf States. All interests from Texas to Florida should keep an eye on the forecast over the coming days. 

There is still high uncertainty in this setup and the forecast is fluid. It is no guarantee that a tropical system will develop but the setup does raise eyebrows. Keep checking back for updates. 

How to protect your furry loved ones as the temperatures continue to climb

Temperatures have been warm to hot for a good chunk of the lower-48 at some point this season and everyone will experience the summer-like heat over the coming weeks. With the summer heat, comes summer time off and many like to spend their time outdoors with their furry loved ones.

It is important to remember, as the temperatures climb, you need to protect your pets from the heat. It is easy to forget how quickly pavement heats up during the warm months. When temperatures climb into the mid-80s, your pets are already a danger when walking them on concrete and asphalt. The temperature of paved surfaces climbs between 105 to 130-degrees when air temperatures are in the mid-80s. Add an additional 10-degrees to the air temperatures (mid-9os) and those pavement temperatures climb between 140 to 155-degrees! Temperatures this hot on pavement will quickly burn the paws of your furry loved ones in just seconds.

The reason pavement temperatures are hotter than the air temperature is because these surfaces absorb heat fast compared to grassy surfaces. It is safest to walk your furry loved ones in the grass as temperatures continue to climb.

There is a test you can do to check the heat of the pavement to determine if it is too hot for paws. Touch the pavement with the back of your hand for 7-seconds. If the temperature of the pavement is hot on your hand, it is too hot for your pets. It is also important to remember to bring your pets inside or provide them with adequate shelter as temperatures continue to climb, and ensure your furry loved ones have plenty of water.

Subtropical system may develop in Atlantic

A broad area of low pressure northeast of Bermuda, in the North Atlantic, has a chance to develop into a subtropical system as it moves west-southwest over the next few days. The area of low pressure will begin to strengthen as it moves into a favorable environment with less wind shear and warmer ocean temperatures.

This environment may allow for a brief window of intensification into a subtropical system, possibly becoming the first subtropical storm of the season. The National Hurricane Center gives this broad area of low pressure a 90% chance for development into a subtropical system over the next five days.

If this system develops, it would become Ana. ‘Ana’ is expected to eventually turn north, moving into cooler waters and an atmosphere with high wind shear. This will quickly weaken ‘Ana’ and keep the system from impacting the U.S. Keep in mind, the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1st.

Summer-like heat this week for the eastern-half of the country

A pattern change in the upper-levels of the atmosphere will deliver the first true taste of summer to a good chunk of the country east of the Mississippi River. A potent upper-level ridge will build and intensify over the Southeast this week, with is grip extending north into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

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Ridges typically lead to relatively dry and warm to hot temperatures as sinking air occurs beneath the ridge. This will be no different this week. The ridge will build across the eastern-half of the country through the week, which will send temperatures well above average. Temperatures will run a good ten to twenty degrees above average, with some areas flirting with record high temperatures.

Notice the images below, show the ridge building and intensifying from the beginning of the week, into mid-week, and into late week. This means temperatures will continue to climb and reach the hottest levels by the end of the week when the ridge is at its strongest. The ridge is depicted by the white-ish/pink-ish colors surging north across the East Coast.

Ridge early week
Ridge mid-week
Ridge late week

Temperatures early week will be warm, but the hottest temperatures will begin Wednesday and continue into Saturday for the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast. Widespread 80s and 90s can be expected.

Wednesday forecast high temperatures
Thursday forecast high temperatures
Friday forecast high temperatures
Saturday forecast high temperatures

While rain chances will remain low, humidity will be high which will lead to a few areas seeing heat indices climb into the 100s across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Friday and Saturday. Make sure you’re staying hydrated, and never leave the pets and kiddos in the cars. The ridge does appear to shift west late-weekend into the following week, which will allow temperatures to slowly decrease a few degrees.

Below are the forecast high and low temperatures for a few select cities:

Atlanta, GA
Columbia, SC
Raleigh, NC
Chattanooga, TN
Richmond, VA

Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Tropical Outlook for the upcoming week

May 15th marks the first day of the National Hurricane Center (NHC) issuing routine tropical outlooks for the Gulf of Mexico, North Atlantic, and Caribbean Sea. The NHC is not expecting tropical cyclone formation during the next five days.

While the NHC is not forecasting any development of tropical cyclones over the next five days, numerical guidance has hinted at the possibility of tropical or subtropical development in the northern Gulf of Mexico in about seven days. The chances of this are low, but it is something to keep an eye on for the Gulf States. If a system were to develop, it would likely be unorganized and weak. However, May system can be efficient rain producers. This will be monitored over the coming days so keep checking back for updates.

Keep a close eye on the Gulf as May is growing increasingly tropically active

The Gulf of Mexico water temperatures continue to slowly increase as we move closer to Summer. Temperatures have risen into the 70s and 80s, which is a touch above average for the majority of the Gulf. The one exception is just off the coast of Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle where water temperatures are running a tad below average.

Overall, however, temperatures have recovered quite a bit from the February Arctic outbreak. The cold outbreak led to water temperatures significantly below average across the northwestern Gulf of Mexico to start Spring. This undoubtedly had a drastic impact on severe weather across the Plains. The water temperatures, as aforementioned however, have finally recovered.

This is a growing concern because we are just days away from the start of the Atlantic Hurricane season, which starts June 1st. Cold fronts that move south, will have the capability to stall over the norther and central Gulf of Mexico over the next couple of weeks, leading to the development of tropical cyclones.

Despite the official June start date, May cannot be slept on. In 2020, there were two preseason storms. Arthur developed in the middle of May while Bertha developed during the end of May. Over the past decade (2011-2020), ten preseason storms have developed, which is the most in modern record-keeping.

The 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season is forecast to be above average. This coming off the most active hurricane season on record with 30-named storms and 6 hurricanes hitting the United States. One of the most well-known and prestigious outlooks was released several weeks ago. Colorado State University announced its 2021 Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecast and is expecting an above average season with 17 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. A major hurricane is classified as a Category 3 or stronger. What is most concerning about the forecast is that experts anticipate an above average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the U.S. coastline and in the Caribbean. 

Heavy rain and storms leads to flash flooding this week in the South

Scattered to numerous storms are in the forecast for parts of the South and Southeast this as a cold front stalls then moves very slowly across the region. The cold front, paired with a few upper-level disturbances, will allow for several rounds of showers and storms across the region, leading to areas of excessive rainfall through mid-week.

The rain potential is concerning due to the slow moving nature of the cold front I) allowing numerous storms to move over the same areas, II) high amounts of atmospheric moisture allowing for heavy rainfall rates, and III) recent heavy rainfall across the region. The aforementioned variables will lead to a risk of flash flooding from Texas, east into Georgia.

Tuesday’s flood risk extends from western Texas, through the Mid-South, into Alabama. Spot areas of flash flooding are possible for these areas. A higher flood risk exists from central Texas, into southern Arkansas, northern and central Louisiana, into central Mississippi. If you live in a low-lying, flood-prone area, make sure you’re aware of your surroundings and stay up-to-date with the latest forecast. Never cross a roadway covered by water.

Tuesday’s flood risk

The flood risk continues on Wednesday but shifts farther south and east. The flood risk will extend from coastal Texas, through central and southern Louisiana, into southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, the Florida Panhandle, and southwestern Georgia.

Wednesday’s flood risk

While the rainfall amounts don’t look overly impressive, due to the rate at which the rain will fall, paired with the saturated grounds, flash flooding will be realized for parts of the region. Widespread rain accumulations of 2-3″ will fall from central Texas, east into Louisiana, southern Arkansas, Mississippi, central and southern Alabama, and southern Georgia. Isolated amounts up to 6″ are possible.

Rainfall forecast Southern Plains

Rainfall forecast Mid-South and Southeast

Rain will begin across the Southern Plains and Mid-South early-Tuesday and continue through Wednesday. The rain threat will shift into the Southeast late-Tuesday and continue into early-Thursday. While the flood risk is lower for the Carolinas, a good soaking is in the forecast with many areas picking up close to 1″.