Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Potential For Tropical Enhanced Rains On Monday

A tropical disturbance located near Cancun and the northeastern tip of the Yucatan is expected to push north and gradually northeastward towards the Gulf Coast over the next 48 hours, gradually making landfall somewhere between Southeast Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle. It is producing winds to tropical storm level already within the stronger thunderstorms that accompany it and within the last hour hurricane hunter aircraft have observed a full low pressure center, which makes it Tropical Storm Karen. Karen will track into the Gulf later today.

With modest wind shear and a warm ocean, there's a decent chance that this storm strengthens over the next 48 hours and it conceivably could reach hurricane intensity before its Gulf landfall.

Karen will not be a hurricane at this latitude, having a significant journey over land ahead of it to weaken the storm.  However, the rainfall and moisture that are associated with it will be pulled northwards towards us for Monday, yielding the potential for a heavy rain event that coincides with a frontal boundary approach.

With a front organizing to our west and slowly marching east this weekend, Karen's moisture will be entrenched along the front as the storm gets pulled northeast in a broad southwest flow. Those remnant rains from Karen will push northeast and cross the region on Monday and Monday night.  Modeling varies somewhat on specific track detail but as you can tell from the "spread" up above, many models suggest the center of low pressure with Karen will cross the region or cross near the region.

Typically, the heaviest rains in such a scenario fall to the west of where the low center tracks, but rain does fall for a fair chunk of the region in most remnant rainfall events that take such a track. The potential for a few inches of rain does exist, which if it places itself in Central Pennsylvania would be beneficial for them given the rainfall deficits that exist to our west.

As of now, it does not look like a significant flood event is likely on Monday but it does look like we will get at least some rain...with the potential for a heavy rain event if a more optimal track for heavy rain does ultimately materialize.  We will keep an eye on it over the next couple of days.