The National Weather Service has now extended the flash flood watches eastward to include Cookeville and Livingston. These flood watches run through Friday morning. Current radar shows that we have more rain developing to our south, moving north. The heaviest rain will fall west of Nashville with Harvey. Folks in Memphis are being asked to leave work early if they can, due to the potential for up to 8-10 inches or rain moving in on them this evening and overnight. Thankfully, we won’t see anything like that here.
I’ve circled an area in white, which is what we have to expect the rest of the afternoon and evening. So far, these storms have struggled to reach severe limits. The storms circled in red are what we have to watch out for later this evening and overnight. They would pose the greatest threat for wind damage. Notice all the tornado warnings around Memphis. That activity will stay in West TN.
Current watches and severe weather threat areas are shown below. A tornado watch has been issued for the yellow shaded counties until 8:00pm. We are right on the edge of the greatest tornado threat, so it needs to be watched closely.
Also, the Hurricane Center just identified Hurricane Irma in the eastern Atlantic. The storm has exploded from a weak tropical storm to a cat 2 hurricane. Rapid intensification is expected to continue and Irma is expected to become a major hurricane by this evening. She is no threat to land at this time, nor will she be for the next week or so. This is one of the fastest developing tropical systems many of us have ever seen. It’s definitely one to watch. Look at that eye!
As of this morning, Tropical Depression Harvey is centered over northern Louisiana and slowly moving north-northeast. On this track, the remnants of Harvey will be near Nashville by Friday morning. As we go through today, expect showers and isolated t-storms to develop. Winds will also begin picking up. By tonight, we should be seeing sustained winds of 15-20 mph, with gusts to around 30-40 mph. There remains a tornado threat, though it is quite low. The best chance for severe weather will be just to our southwest, over southern Middle TN, but that’s too close for comfort. I’ll keep an eye on it. Yesterday, it looked like the tornado threat would be the highest this afternoon, but it now looks like that threat will remain elevated from this afternoon through the overnight and into Friday morning. Everything begins to really wind down by Friday night. Expect lingering showers through the first half of the day Saturday, followed by a pleasant evening. I can’t imagine how crowded the Fair will be Saturday night, especially since the weather will be so much better by then.
Sunday and Monday look nice. If you have any outdoor plans for the Labor Day weekend, I’d save them for Sunday and Monday. Highs each day will be in the 70s, with overnight lows in the low to mid 50s. Might not be a bad idea to get in one last camping trip before summer unofficially ends?
By Tuesday of next week a strong cold front moves in and may bring some storms. But the big headline with this front is the colder air behind it. We will likely see overnight lows next week drop into the 40s! Daytime highs by Wednesday and Thursday will likely stay in the 60s.
In other weather news, we continue to monitor the tropics. There are still indications that another system will develop in the Gulf this weekend but it’s hard to say who it will affect or if it will even develop into a storm or be a depression. It should stay in the western Gulf through Labor Day. The concern is that, regardless of what it develops into, it could bring more rainfall to Texas and Louisiana, which is the last thing those folks need right now. Another system, Tropical Storm Irma, is out in the Atlantic and it is certainly one to watch. Irma is expected to become a major hurricane by Labor Day as it treks across the Atlantic and toward the Caribbean. Models this morning paint a frightening scenario of Irma eventually making it toward the Carolina coast as a cat 5 hurricane by September 10. That’s a long way off and models will change. I’ll keep you posted.
I’ll keep an eye on today’s weather and let you know if/when any watches or warnings are issued. The good news is that it looks like our expected rainfall totals will be in the 1-2″ category for the plateau, so no major flooding issues are anticipated at this time.
Here is a weatherTAP map of the current watches and severe weather risk areas:
It’s been a busy day in the weather department! You may have noticed that it has begun to rain outside. This is the first wave of moisture from Harvey to arrive. I circled an area of southern Mississippi because that will be moving our way tomorrow afternoon.
That circled red area is also under a tornado watch. The threat for tornadoes will be around here tomorrow afternoon.
Here are the threats for tomorrow. Hopefully, the worst of the weather will stay to our southwest, but it’s too close for comfort. I’ll be watching it for you all throughout the day.
We can still expect a couple inches of rain from this system, but much higher amounts will be to our west, around Nashville. Flash flood watches are now in effect for those areas. Notice the tornado watch for southern Mississippi. That is what we have to look out for tomorrow afternoon.
As if that weren’t enough, we now have Tropical Storm Irma out in the Atlantic. It was named today. And, perhaps most disturbing, models are now suggesting another tropical system will develop in the western Gulf and affect Texas by Labor Day. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen.
You all have a good evening and be careful driving home in the rain.
Tropical Storm Harvey has made his final landfall this morning near Port Arthur, which is near the Texas/Louisiana border. Port Arthur picked up an astonishing 12.5″ of rain just last night. While the rain has now ended in Houston, catastrophic flooding will continue for the rest of the week as rivers rise in response to the extreme rainfall. Many locations around Houston received four feet of rain over the past week, which is about what they would get in a year! These are never-before-seen rainfall totals for Texas and the economic impact will be felt for years to come.
The storm has not only made its final landfall but has picked up a little speed. He has been in no hurry to leave Texas but they are more than ready to see him go. The clouds you see outside right now are from Harvey and they will thicken as we go through the day. Rainfall will begin moving in by later this afternoon and especially overnight. Tomorrow, the center of Harvey moves into Middle Tennessee and this is when we’ll have to be on the lookout for isolated tornadoes. If they occur, they will be weak and short-lived. I expect tornado watches to be issued Thursday afternoon. Heavy rainfall will also be possible. The tornado threat will subside overnight Thursday but rainfall will continue, along with some gusty winds. That will persist through Friday. We should get the bulk of this bad weather out of here by Saturday evening, which could lead to a decent Sunday.
Incidentally, today is the anniversary of when the remnants of Katrina arrived in our area in 2005. We picked up an inch of rain from that storm, but it was moving quicker than Harvey is. We also had wind gusts to 40 mph, and I would expect that with Harvey as well. Katrina made its first landfall in south Florida as a cat 1 hurricane on Aug 25, 2005. The storm appeared to strengthen a bit after landfall, which is very rare (our first red flag that this was no ordinary storm). The hurricane finally dropped to tropical storm status just before finishing its trek across south Florida. At that point, all models indicated the weakened storm would get picked up by a front that was passing through the Southeast and move north into the panhandle of Florida as a cat 1 hurricane, at best. Instead, the storm took an odd turn to the southwest, which caused it to miss the front’s influence.
This left Katrina sitting out in the very warm Gulf waters and under conditions perfect for rapid intensification. By the 28th, winds reached an astonishing 175 mph! Then, the storm took a horrific turn toward the north-northwest, putting it on a collision course with New Orleans. Many thought this would be the Doomsday storm for New Orleans. It was a terrible storm but only because the levees couldn’t handle the flooding. A stalled tropical storm could have led to the same result. Katrina weakened to a cat 3 storm with winds of 125 mph at landfall and it tracked just to the east of New Orleans. Since it moved east of New Orleans, the worst wind, rain, and storm surge missed the city. Interestingly, Cat 5 Hurricane Camille in 1969 took nearly the same path, sparing New Orleans. Flooding from Katrina was at its worst in surrounding neighborhoods of the city, especially in the Ninth Ward area. The famous Bourbon Street area only had about a foot of flood water, as it is more above sea level than surrounding areas.
Recovery continues in New Orleans and will for years to come. Now, we watch a similar situation unfold with Houston, though lessons learned in Katrina will hopefully make things go a bit smoother for Houston. Sadly, a lot of the folks who left New Orleans after Katrina relocated to Houston.
As a side note, Katrina made landfall late Sunday night and I taught my first Intro to Meteorology class at Western Kentucky at 9:00 a.m. Monday morning. My first teaching assistantship as a grad student was off to a rowdy start! Need less to say, hurricanes were my first lesson! ha
I’ll be keeping an eye on Harvey’s remnants throughout the day today and tomorrow. Otherwise, enjoy this morning sunshine while it lasts!
Finally, today is exciting for me because my first weather article for the Fentress Courier comes out today! I’m anxious to see how folks like it….