Thursday Afternoon Weather Update

Hurricane Laura has finally been downgraded to a tropical storm, nearly 12 hours after making landfall. The storm continues to wreck havoc across the Lower Mississippi River Valley, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph and higher gusts.

Help is on the way, as seen in this video this morning by Hurricane Chaser Ed Piotrowski.

Do you remember the radar I pointed out along the coast yesterday in one of my posts? I had circled it on that image. I share it again below. Again, this image is from yesterday.

Well, the radar didn’t hold up so well…. In the radar’s defense, this was a cat 4.

A closer view. That’s gonna require more than a little bit of duct tape….

There has been some criticism from some folks who think the storm surge wasn’t as bad as forecast. The problem is that the surge came inland in a very remote area (thank goodness), where there are no reliable sensors to show how high the water got. The sensors that have been showing some data indicate that the surge was 9 feet… and that was miles from the center! The surge was no doubt several feet higher than that near the eye.

We also always hear critics of the wind speeds. Keep in mind, the maximum sustained winds are just that, the maximum sustained winds. Those are often confined to a very narrow region within the eyewall of the hurricane. Believe me, there were plenty of 100+ mph winds covering very large amounts of real-estate. As the hours carry on today, more and more scenes of damage will be revealed. Today, it’s more accessing and trying to get through the wind and rain that is still occurring.

There is another area to watch out in the southern Atlantic. It could become our next named storm sometime early next week. If that happens, the storm will be “Nana.” Now how could a storm with that name possibly be any trouble, right? (ha)

As for Laura’s effects on our region, it continues to look like we still have a severe storm risk, though that risk should be much greater to our west, especially back over toward West Tennessee. We should see one to two inches of rain and gusty winds. The main effects should arrive Friday night. My concern has decreased a bit, due to the more northerly track of the system that is now expected. Still, we can’t let our guard down and if that track shifts back to the south, my concern will increase once again. I honestly don’t anticipate that, though.

The Storm Prediction Center has placed our region in the slight risk for severe storms for Friday afternoon and night.

In other news, the severe weather threat for the Northeast is, unfortunately, developing. You may hear about some of those storms later today. A line of very strong to severe storms is moving toward some major metropolitan areas, including New York City. Tornado watches and warnings are being issued for those areas at this hour.

Current radar, with New York circled.

Tomorrow, a significant severe weather threat is likely to evolve for the Chicago area.

At this hour, we have one thunderstorm that is developing along the western edge of the plateau. It is moving north, northeast. More isolated activity is expected as we go through the day.

It’s a busy weather week! Let’s all stay safe! I’ll be keeping an eye on it all for you!

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