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Stormy... Tropics... Coastal U Seasonal Forecast Update

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Updated: 8/15/2013 12:23 am
Our stormier times have arrived.  It took a while but storms fired Wed. evening as an upper level disturbance ignited the sea breeze near the I-95 corridor. 2-3" of rain fell across parts of Duval Co. as well as many other areas near I-95 from Brunswick to near Palatka.  A few trees were uprooted by strong winds.  Click ** here ** to see storm photos -- lots of lightning pics!  The photo below is from Justin Favere, Jax Beach.
Expect widespread storms to fire again Thu., Fri. & Sat.  Storms will produce periods of very heavy rain & frequent lightning.  A few storms could also produce strong winds.
Helping with the heavy rain set-up will be tropical moisture surging north from the Caribbean.  The result could be 6"+ rainfall totals for some spots through Sat.!

The wave in the NW Caribbean continues to push northwest but will be meeting some resistence as it emerges into the Gulf of Mexico by Fri. into the weekend.  The resistance will be in the form of wind shear over the Northern Gulf, & it just looks like that shear will overwhelm the wave -- for the most part.  Still, the wave could gain enough organization to become a depression or even a tropical storm.  Eventual movement should be north toward the Central Gulf coast well west of the First Coast.
But this is the start of a more active period in the tropics with t.d.# 5 which could become "Erin" in the far E. Atlantic.  While it looks like this tropical cyclone will struggle on its transit west across the Atlantic, additional waves will have at least some potential to develop as the waves move west off Africa during the next couple weeks.

Speaking of the I mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago...Coastal University has jumped into the seasonal hurricane forecasting business (circus?).  Coastal has just issued an update:
           CONWAY, S.C. – The most likely scenario for the remainder of the 2013 hurricane season is that at least one major hurricane is predicted to make landfall on the East Coast and none is projected for the Gulf Coast, according to the latest predictions released today by the HUGO Hurricane Landfall Outlook Program, a new hurricane model system developed by scientists at Coastal Carolina University.
            “It will be busier than normal on the East Coast, with one, possibly two, major hurricanes likely to make landfall,” said Len Pietrafesa, one of the lead scientists on the HUGO team. “The Gulf Coast will not see as much action as usual in terms of hurricanes making landfall, according to our outlook.” The factors that are used in the probabilistic scheme were updated in July and early August and the changes in those factors accounted for the changes in several of the prediction probabilities.
            Two to four major hurricanes are expected to form.  

Category               April Outlook            June Outlook            July Outlook      August Outlook Historical Average
TS                            14 (13-15)             16 (14-18)               15 (14-17)         16 (15-18)             11.0
NH                             7 (6-8)                  8 (6-9)                  8 (6-9)               8 (7-9)                  6.2
MH                             3 (3-4)                 3 (3-4)                   3 (3-4)               3 (2-4)                  2.7
ECLF                           1,2,0                   1,0,2                      1,2,0                  1,2,0                   0.65
GMLF                          1,2,0                    1,2,0                      1,2,0                  0,1,2                  0.95

TS = named storms per season; NH = number of hurricanes; MH = major hurricanes (category 3 or higher); ECLF = number of landfall hurricanes on the Atlantic seaboard; GMLF = number of landfall hurricanes along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The number of landfalls is given as a probability in order of decreasing likelihood in three stages: most likely, second most likely and third most likely.
            The Hurricane Genesis and Outlook (HUGO) project was established recently by CCU’s College of Coastal & Marine Systems Science. The new model differs from most other hurricane prediction instruments in that it offers landfall probability information. In addition to the seasonal outlook, the model system will predict the track and intensity of any incoming hurricane five days away from landfall. This latter capability will reduce the “cone of uncertainty” and provide much improved information to emergency management officials in their logistical planning in the event of evacuations.
            The HUGO hurricane seasonal outlook model is based on calculations of 22 climatological factors encompassing oceanic, atmospheric and terrestrial activity. The model also considers detailed statistical data from previous Atlantic hurricanes going back to 1950, a methodology that has produced highly accurate track predictions in hindcasting tests conducted by the team at CCU.
            HUGO outlook reports are issued beginning in April and are updated periodically during the season as new data becomes available from NOAA and other organizations.
            The new model was developed by a group of climatological scholars of international standing led by Pietrafesa, former chair of the National Hurricane Center External Advisory Panel and now a member of the faculty of CCU’s School of Coastal & Marine Systems Science. Other members of the CCU team are Shaowu Bao, a computational, deterministic numerical modeler specializing in meteorology and oceanography; Tingzhunag Yan, a meteorological oceanographer with a background in statistical modeling of climate and weather systems; and Paul Gayes, director of the School of Coastal & Marine Systems Science.

Click ** here ** for more info.

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