Quite a few tornado reports across the southeast, as well as thunderstorm damage. Here’s the regional view …
… and zoomed in to the Savannah GA and South Carolina Lowcountry …
Storm Reports last 24 hrs
TSTM WND GST
TSTM WND DMG
HIGH SUST WINDS
NON-TSTM WND DMG
MARINE TSTM WIND
NON-TSTM WND GST
NON-TSTM WND GST
Reports from across the US yesterday (6am, 5 April to 6am, 6 April)
Some potential for more thunderstorms today, some may be pretty strong so keep your weather radios on this afternoon -and if you don’t have one, get one! Apps, etc. aren’t always as timely, and a good SAME radio can be had for about $30.
Today the much weakened system will be pushing east across Georgia/South Carolina and will be moving offshore this evening. It has lost a lot of energy but might still cause some strong thunderstorms, so keep your weather radios armed.
And of course the Ukraine thing grinds on. Hard to know what to say about that, the level of propaganda all around is insane, and there is virtually no reliable information in the public realm. So trust no one, and stay tuned … I suspect we are in that dangerous period where things are moving to a new equilibrium, but the people who don’t want or realize that may act to blow up (literally in this case) that trend. Perhaps by early April we will know.
There is a strong cold front sweeping through Georgia this evening, that will push our spring weather offshore for a couple days. The contrast in air (cold dry vs warm moist) is a good combination for very gusty winds, some thunderstorms, and maybe a weak tornado or two. Right on the coast the potential isn’t as high, but those on the GA coast (including down by Brunswick/Golden Isles) up through Charleston should keep the weather radios on just in case. Here’s the radar and warnings just before 4pm Sunday …
The orange hash is a tornado watch, the solid yellow lines mark out severe thunderstorm warnings, and the red box near Albany GA is a tornado warning, the radar indicated something rotating out there …
Update: at 5:15pm, tornado watch (watch means tornadoes are possible) until 10pm tonight for the coast. No active tornado warnings (warning means an actual tornado has been sighted or radar indicated). Here’s the updated radar and warnings (yellow boxes are severe thunderstorm warnings, hash orange is tornado watch area):
A strong cold front is running into unusually warm and moist air in the midwest, and whenever contrasting air masses collide you get severe weather … here is the radar and current warnings as of 6am this morning (Saturday):
The Alabama/Tennessee/North Georgia northwards into Ohio/West Virginia can expect to see thunderstorms today from this system, but for those in coastal Georgia, South Carolina, and North Florida, it should have lost a lot of energy and only a few rumbles are expected. Will post again if that changes.
For those of you on on the Georgia Coast and South Carolina Lowcountry a storm system is brewing up that threatens some gusty winds and coastal flooding. In fact, if the forecast holds, the water levels at the Fort Pulaski gauge are predicted to be in the top five water levels in the last 80 years, beating the October 2015 storm for the number four spot (10.6 is forecast for around 10am Saturday; the October 2015 storm reached 10.43 feet above MLLW). Here is the tide forecast for this weekend …
These water levels are about two feet lower than the modern records of 12.6 feet set by hurricanes Irma (2017) or Matthew (2016), so while high, and the usual coastal places that flood will see water, that couple of feet makes a difference given the low terrain. And while the wind will be a bit gusty, nowhere near dangerous levels, so don’t use those storms as reference points!
Tides tonight should also be quite high, into the moderate flood stage. There are several reasons for this. First, the moon is near new, so the pull of the sun and moon are lined up creating higher tides. Second, the winds have been blowing onshore, so that “stacks up” water in the marshes – water levels have been running about a foot above normal. The storm, a fairly classic nor’easter like system forming out of a frontal system, is currently (Friday Morning) over the Gulf, but by Saturday morning will be just offshore …
This will mess with the Rock and Roll Marathon in Savannah, with temperatures at race time in the upper 40’s (good you’re running) and 80% chance of rain showers (not so good). The entire coast from Jacksonville up to the other side of Charleston will see impacts … the weather service office in Charleston has a briefing up at this link. To be clear, aside for folks in the usual places that flood with higher than normal tides this will just be a cold, wet, windy day, but if you do live on the water it may get uncomfortably high.
There is a messy storm system crossing the US, and it is reaching the Georgia/South Carolina coast this afternoon. Here’s the 8am radar, and a tornado warning in the BigBend of Florida …
As has been the case with these things lately, the focus of the potential for the most severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes are in South Carolina, right now looks like between Hampton and Charleston, but everybody especially east of I-95 in Georgia and SC should keep their weather radio’s on this afternoon.
Only one tropical system of interest, Hurricane Rick (EP17) should hit the west coast of Mexico Monday (more below), but there are two big non-tropical storm systems impacting the US today. Here is the TAFB surface analysis this morning, showing Hurricane Rick off of Mexico, the tangled fronts and low pressure in the middle of the country, and the big Pacific storm system starting to stream moisture into California …
Two areas are of concern in the US – the first is in the middle of the country, where a complex system is likely to produce some strong thunderstorms today. But the big Pacific storm (just under the label in the upper left of this graphic) has been getting media attention with the usual breathless headlines like “Atmospheric river, high winds to wallop California and Pacific Northwest” and talk of “Bomb Cyclones.” The terms “Atmospheric River” and “Bomb Cyclone” both have specific meanings and really aren’t necessarily scary or destructive unless you say them in the right tone of voice.
The more accurate term for “Bomb Cyclone” is “Explosive Cyclogenesis.” There is in fact a technical definition, that a storm decreases in minimal surface pressure by at least (24 sin φ/ sin 60°) mb in 24 hours, where φ represents latitude in degrees. I never liked the term “bomb” as being overly dramatic, but it has been in used in meteorology for a long time. They do have the potential to cause a lot of damage – the one approaching the Pacific Northwest has winds of hurricane force and higher. In addition, a second phenomena called an atmospheric river (AR in NWS abbreviations) is setting up over California today. That stream of moisture will drop a lot of rain there, which has the potential to cause flash flooding and over a foot of snow at higher elevations since in combination with the approaching cold fronts (the saw-toothed lines in the upper left of the above map) there will be a big temperature drop because, well, WINTER IS COMING! This year there is another factor, the large burn scars from this year’s wild fires. That means the vegetation that normally helps slow down or hold back rain is gone, so the potential for epic mudslides is present. You can get accurate and relatively drama free (and totally advertising free since you already paid for it!) reporting on all this at the National Weather Service web site (link). The short range weather discussion is always a good place to check for the “big picture” …
For those in Mexico, here is the damage swath expected from Rick:
NHC’s Key Messages regarding Hurricane Rick caution that as is typical for landfalls in Mexico, inland flash flooding and mudslides in the mountains are always a risk with this storm in addition to the threat of storm surge and wind on the immediate shoreline.
There’s lots of doom stalking the earth, but mostly of the “humans are their own worst enemy” variety. There is only one active tropical cyclone – Hurricane Felicia, off the west coast of Mexico and headed out into open water. The invest area in the Atlantic is nothing to worry about, probably just a bored forecaster. There is a more serious threat potentially developing in the West Pacific that some of the models forecast to be a major storm impacting Okinawa in four or five days before heading towards Mainland China. There has been bad flooding in Germany, and in the western US heat and wild fires continue to be a problem. And the usual scattering of earthquakes, including a swarm on the California/Nevada border, and a half dozen or so volcanoes spewing ash, but none causing significant damage. Here’s a map of natural doom:
In the “doing it to ourselves” category the SARS-COV-2 pandemic continues to do a slow burn through the population lacking natural or artificial (vaccinated) antibodies. It’s hard to get a solid handle on just how dangerous some of the new variants are. The majority of infections are now the notorious “Delta” variant (B.1.617.2 – here’s more about variants then you want to know). It does seem to have a much higher transmission rate – the variants making the rounds last year and this spring had an R of around 2, “Delta” is probably well over 3. What that means is that for the original virus, one person would infect on average two other people. “Delta” seems that one infected person can infect between 3 and 4 people. Of course that doesn’t tell you anything about the consequences of being infected – as we know, a lot of people are asymptomatic, others crash. The statistics don’t seem to indicate that conclusively, but the virus seems to be spreading within younger populations. Of course, that can be an artifact of testing bias, and that a lot of older people have had more of an opportunity to be vaccinated (or survived the virus). The research papers I’ve seen are mixed; some indicate that existing antibodies/vaccines aren’t as effective, some say it’s no big deal. The truth is probably both 😛 – there is some reduction, but it’s not increasing mortality.
The media is of course excited about Delta. For Chatham County, Georgia (Savannah Area) a reporter was breathlessly saying the community transmission index “doubled since the end of June!” Technically true, it has gone from 50 to 98 between June 30 and July 14, but let’s put that in perspective: In January it was over 600 … so while the trend isn’t great as “delta” moves into the area with both cases and CTI, this isn’t something to freak out over. If you have natural or artificial antibodies, you’re in good shape. If you don’t and are an adult, you should get vaccinated unless you have a solid health reason that makes it risky. It’s as safe as any other vaccines out there (which are pretty safe all things considered).
There are a lot of unsettling geopolitical developments that do not bode well for the upcoming weeks. The situation in South Africa is out of control. This has huge implications across southern Africa, as some of the logistics and food distribution facilities looted the last few days are essential not just in South Africa but across the region. There is unrest in Cuba – how much is natural, and how much astro-turf from Miami, and where it is going is debatable. Haiti continues to be in turmoil, and the web of involvement in President Moise continues to expand. NATO continues the risky game of “poke the bear”, conducting provocative exercises across the Black Sea at the risk of goading the somewhat unstable Ukrainian regime in to taking another action in Eastern Ukraine that will result in Russia being forced to respond.
But at least Brittany now has her own lawyer now, so that’s nice.
NHC is still tracking Elsa as a tropical storm, but there have been no tropical storm force sustained winds in the last few hours. The center is over southwest Georgia now, and rain bands are being pushed up in to Georgia and soon SC … here is the regional radar composite:
And here is the GOES East satellite view:
Nothing has changed with respect to the potential hazards this evening – if anything, the wind damage risk is probably lower from the middle GA coast northward to Charleston. Still some chance for heavy rains, but I suspect totals will be under 3″ in most places. That can still cause some flooding (especially with saturated soils) so be careful if you have to go out in the storm path (and don’t if you can avoid it).
There are scattered reports of damage across North Florida, including a couple of tornado reports. In Georgia there was a radar indicated tornado in Bulloch County Georgia (Statesboro) and a funnel cloud seen from the same thunderstorm cell near Portal (Candler County). The low level velocity tracks are showing rotation, so there is definitely the potential for additional tornadic activity, and there is a watch in effect, so keep your weather radios armed. Otherwise, the earlier advice and forecasts are holding up well … see you in the morning!