Update on Gulf Tropical Wave

September 12th, 2014 at 8:51 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather

modA disorganized tropical low is now entering the Gulf of Mexico near Fort Myers, FL. This feature is significantly sheared by strong winds in the upper levels. The atmospheric moisture is also rather dry. The National Hurricane Center is predicting a 20% chance of development over the weekend. There is a slightly higher 30% chance of development early next week as it heads west over the Gulf. While water temperatures are very warm, a hostile upper environment will make any development slow to occur. There is a reasonable chance that the tropical moisture from this wave could get pulled into our area early next week, increasing rain chances.

Tropical Storm Edouard is in the open waters of the Atlantic. This system will gradually strengthen over the weekend. It’s not expected to impact any land areas in the extended forecast.


Tracking Disturbance Moving Into Gulf

September 12th, 2014 at 1:31 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather
Tropical Disturbance Models

Tropical Disturbance Models

Mobile (WALA) – A tropical disturbance labeled as investigation 92L that is moving west over the Florida Peninsula will soon be in the Gulf of Mexico. Once there, the system will have warm 86°+ water to work with, but strong upper-level wind shear should hamper it’s development.

Because of that, the National Hurricane Center is keeping the risk of this system developing into a full-blown tropical system low, 30% for the next five days.

Regardless of what it ultimately becomes it will have essentially the same impact on the Gulf Coast: rain. The system should continue due west in the Gulf through the weekend before beginning to turn north due to a front moving down to the Gulf Coast. That front will likely grab the tropical moisture increasing our rain chances for several days. Accumulation models are forecasting a possible 2″-4″ of rain especially for our coastal areas.

So the bottom line for 92L is not to worry about a hurricane, strong winds, or storm surge just make sure you’re ready for some rain.

 


Tropics: Atlantic Quiet… Eastern Pacific Active…

September 10th, 2014 at 3:17 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather
Mobile (WALA) – Mother nature has a way of balancing things out. We’ve seen that this year with the hurricane season across the Atlantic and the Pacific.
Historical 2014 Historical 2014-2
In the Atlantic we’ve had four named storms; three off the east coast of the U.S. and Dolly which made landfall on the east coast of Mexico.
It’s been another story in the Eastern Pacific where there have 15 named storms. It’s been very busy and continues to be with the 15th named storm, Odile forming today.
Odile is forecast to become a Category 2 hurricane and make landfall near Cabo San Lucas on the Baja Peninsula of Mexico. That could draw more moisture up into the desert southwest.
So why is it so busy in the Pacific, but so quiet in the Atlantic? In the tropical Atlantic the water temperatures are below normal, which doesn’t help tropical formation. As you can guess the water temperatures across the Eastern Pacific are quite warm and can easily sustain and strengthen tropical systems.
Another big factor limiting storms in the Atlantic has been strong wind shear in the upper levels of the atmosphere. Strong wind shear rips the tops off of developing tropical systems.
Meanwhile, in the Pacific, wind shear has been low, especially over the areas of the warmest water temperatures creating a “hot spot” for tropical formation southwest of Mexico.
We don’t see any major changes in these conditions in the Atlantic or the Pacific as we get closer to the end of hurricane season.

Now is the Busiest Party of Hurricane Season… What Gives?

September 3rd, 2014 at 4:37 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather
Tropical Satellite

Tropical Satellite

Peak of the Season?

We know September is the busiest month of hurricane season. One-third of all named storms occur during this month. We have had Dolly, which quickly flared up in the Southwestern Gulf and moved into Mexico, but across the rest of the tropics it is extremely quiet for this time of year.

 

 

 

Water Temperatures

Water Temperatures

 

Limiting Factors

It’s quiet because the tropical waves coming off of Africa continue to run into several problems. The first one is, the water temperatures, which are colder than normal.

 

 

 

Dry Air

Dry Air

 

 

There is also dry air across much of the tropical Atlantic. Tropical systems need a lot of moisture, and it just isn’t there.

 

 

 

Wind Shear

Wind Shear

 

Storms also need low wind shear, but there is strong wind shear across much of the Atlantic and right into the Caribbean.

So any storms trying to form farther out will have a difficult time reaching the Gulf of Mexico. For a storm to affect us it would likely take a system that develops or redevelops in the Gulf itself.

 

 

 

 

 

Quiet Continues?

There’s a lot of factors working against tropical systems even at the height of hurricane season and it’s likely these conditions will persist through the rest of hurricane season. Let’s keep our fingers crossed! It may well be a very quiet year!


September: A Month of Changes…

September 3rd, 2014 at 4:31 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather
Early September

Early September

 

 

Hot Start

We know September begins just like July and August left off; very hot and very humid. Temperatures average around 90 degrees for highs and 72 for morning lows and it can stay hot through a good bit of the month. The all-time September high of 101 was set on the 16th.

 

Late September

Late September

 

 

September Changes

But as we go through September there are changes and things will improve. Fall begins on the 22nd , around the time when we usually start having some fronts moving through. The average high drops to 84 by the end of the month and average morning lows to 63. The record September low, set on the 29th, is 42 degrees.

 

Heat Hiccups

Heat Hiccups

Fall Heat Hiccups

As we move through September big changes begin to occur in the second half of the month. The caveat here is that October is not necessarily cool, there’s always a few hiccups and the heat will come back once or twice. Record highs in October are above 90 for 16 of the 31 days and the all-time record is a sweltering 95 degrees.

We’ll be going through some changes during the next month and a half to two months, but generally they’re changes for the better as we move into fall.


Tropics are Quiet

September 3rd, 2014 at 4:27 pm by under Jason Smith - FOX10 Outdoors

Scattered storms are again showing up on radar, with locally heavy rainfall amounts across the panhandle. These storms are being generated by a weak upper level low over the Panhandle. Rain chances will decrease after 10pm. Scattered storm chances continue each day this week, especially in the afternoon. The rain is welcome for many, after an abnormally dry August. Daytime highs will remain slightly above average for the next seven days, with readings in the low 90s. There are no signs of any cooler air in the extended forecast.

Tropical Storm Dolly dissipated over the higher terrain of Mexico. There are no other areas of concern in the tropics.


FOX10 in China

August 27th, 2014 at 7:59 pm by under FOX10 News, Uncategorized

After 30 years at FOX10/WALA, I’ve seen and been a part of a lot of fascinating stories.

One involved a 1986 trip to China, where reporter Carolyn Martin and photographer Robbie Chandler covered Alabama Governor George Wallace traveling to Wuhan on a trade mission.

China wasn’t as developed or open to Westerners as it is now, which makes this documentary even more interesting.

While Carolyn covered the Governor, she also ventured out to communicate with the folks on the street and children in the classroom.

I think it’s great TV, and hope you agree.

 


Learning Lunch at USA C&W

August 21st, 2014 at 2:30 pm by under FOX10 News

My wife and I were happy to accept an invitation to a “learning lunch” at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital.  Actually called a “community lunch”, it’s an opportunity for the hospital to invite members of the community to find out more about the hospital and the advanced level of care it offers to our region.  We were in the company of USA President Dr. Tony Waldrop, Mobile County School Superintendent Martha Peek and many others to get a tour of the facility including its beautiful new wing.

It also gave us a chance to be present for the unveiling of a beautiful picture in the hospital’s board room of our daughter, Mary Kate and newest grandson, Sam and to brag about the wonderful care they received there!

Learning Lunch
Dr. Mary Kate and Sam


Summer Heat, Humidity

August 11th, 2014 at 2:14 pm by under FOX10 Stormtracker Weather

The summer pattern keeps rolling along here in mid August in the Deep South. We are seeing another hot and humid day. Afternoon temperatures were in the low 90’s again on this Monday. We are tracking storms popping up over central Mississippi. All the activity will be moving from the northwest to the southeast this evening. Rain chances remain scattered up until around midnight.

Another round of strong/numerous afternoon storms are expected on Tuesday ahead of a weak cool front. This boundary should enter the forecast area on Wednesday and Thursday. We expect lower rain chances and slightly lower humidity by the middle of the week. This front is not expected to be a strong or as cool as the three record breaking fronts we saw in July.

Tropical weather is fairly quiet. We have one wave off the Cape Verdes that has a low chance of development over the next five days. It’s not currently a threat to the U.S.

Facebook: Meteorologist Jason Smith
Twitter: @JasonSmithFox10


Political Divide Widens

August 10th, 2014 at 3:27 pm by under FOX10 News, OnPolitix

UPDATE: I received word on Tuesday, August 12 that Congressman Byrne has agreed to co-sponsor this resolution.

The Pew Research Center recently published an essay about the American public’s political attitudes and values.

In this Thursday, July 24, 2014 photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, from Sudan, with her daughter Maya in her arms, in his Santa Marta residence, at the Vatican. Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman who refused to recant her Christian faith in the face of a death sentence, which was later overturned, left Europe on Thursday, July 31, 2014, for the United States, where she will make her new home. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, File)

AP Photo/L’Osservatore Romano, File

Evidence of the increasingly polarized public could be seen graphically by looking at a scale of political values over a period of 20 years, 1994 to 2014.  As the report described it, “Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades”.  As a result, more Democrats and Republicans see opposing parties as a threat to the nation’s well-being.  When it comes to political compromise, the study says liberals and conservatives define ideal political compromise as “one in which their side gets more of what it wants”.

This may be why there is such a political gulf between Democrats and Republicans over a seemingly innocuous resolution currently before the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

House Resolution 440 would congratulate Pope Francis on his election and recognize his “inspirational statements and actions”.  Introduced on December 11, 2013, it reads as follows:

RESOLUTION

Congratulating Pope Francis on his election and recognizing his

inspirational statements and actions.

 

Whereas on March 13, 2013, Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires,

        Argentina was elected Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church;

Whereas his election marked the first time a Pope from the Americas has been

        selected;

Whereas he is the first Jesuit to become Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church;

Whereas he took the papal name of Francis, becoming the first pope to take the

        name of St. Francis of Assisi, who was known for his devotion to

        humility and the poor;

Whereas he has demonstrated his humility by choosing not to live in the lavish

        Apostolic Palace, living instead with the clergy and lay people in the

        Vatican guesthouse;

Whereas on March 28, 2013, he broke from tradition during the washing of feet,

        when he washed the feet of 12 criminals, including two women, becoming

        the first pope to include women in the rite;

Whereas on November 6, he displayed his charity by caressing a man with severe

        disfigurement, drawing comparisons to the actions of his namesake, St.

        Francis, whose kiss of a leper forever changed his life by solidifying

        his commitment to the poorest among us;

Whereas when asked to describe himself during an interview with a Jesuit

        magazine, he replied “I am a sinner”;

Whereas his emphasis on humanitarian efforts to alleviate suffering serves as an

        inspiration to Congress and all Americans;

Whereas his humility, his commitment to economic justice and improving the lives

        of the poor, and his outreach to individuals from all walks of life have

        been universally praised and are living examples of Jesus Christ’s

        message; and

Whereas his call to end inequality has echoed across the globe and brought millions together in solidarity:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives congratulates Pope Francis on his election and recognizes his inspirational statements and actions.

 It turns out Democrats and Republicans can’t even agree on this.

203 Democrats, including Alabama’s Terri Sewell, have agreed to co-sponsor the resolution, but only 20 Republicans are willing to join them.

What could be so controversial?  For starters, it was sponsored by a Democrat from Connecticut, Rep. John Larson.

Bradley ByrneAlabama’s First District Congressman Bradley Byrne is not one of the 20 Republican co-sponsors.  “I don’t think this particular one has ever come on our radar,” said a member of his staff.  An offer to “check with the legislative team” about his position has produced silence, so far.

The Hill, which reports on Congress, opines that the Pope may be “too liberal” for Republicans.

Rep. Larson has asked House Speaker John Boehner to request a vote on the resolution.

Unless something changes though, it may not have a prayer.