2015 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON

Today NOAA issued their 2015 Hurricane forecast for the Atlantic Basin which begins June 1st, and as expected they are calling for a below normal season. El Nino is alive and well, and expected to continue, if not strengthen, over the summer. The presence of an El Nino historically diminishes the ability for storms to form over the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. The official forecast calls for a 70% chance of a below normal season with 6-11 named storms, 3-6 hurricanes and 0-2 major hurricanes.

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In the typical hurricane season not much develops before August and September when we usually hit our peak. Not to say that something will not develop beforehand, but that is usually how things work out.

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If we do see any development in June it would normally take place in the Gulf of Mexico with the most likely area being in the northeast Gulf. Development can also take place along the Southeast coast, but it is less likely.

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Even though we are looking at the very good possibility of a quieter than normal season it only takes one storm to make it a memorable season. 1992 was one such year where the total storm count was well below normal with only 7 named storms, 4 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane. Unfortunately that one major hurricane happened to be Andrew, one of the most destructive hurricanes on record.

EARLY LOOK AT MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

Memorial Day, or as we like to say “the unofficial start to summer”, is fast approaching. Along with Memorial Day this week brings many graduation ceremonies and parties to north Georgia. So will the weather cooperate? Well that depends on what day that you are interested in.

Once again this afternoon we should see showers and t-showers developing although maybe not as numerous as yesterday. Still a few could be strong to severe with the main threat being from lightning, small hail and gusty winds.

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Our next chance of rain will come Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning as an upper level disturbance traverses the Southeast. This too could lead to a few strong to severe storms, so if you have outdoor plans Wednesday night just be aware.

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Once we get through Wednesday evening it should be smooth sailing right into the weekend. Look for warm sunny days and fair mild nights through Saturday. Highs will remain in the mid 80s with lows in the low to mid 60s. Along with the sunny skies the humidity will also lower by Thursday making it feel more comfortable for all the weekend activities.

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The next chance of rain returns by Sunday and Monday in the form of isolated or “pop-up” showers during the afternoon and evening. These will be nothing more than garden variety showers that will pose more of a nuisance than a threat.JEFF4

So all in all it’s looking like a great holiday weekend to be out and about enjoying the “unofficial start to summer”!

STORMS FOR NORTH GEORGIA THIS WEEKEND

High pressure building in behind a cold front that moved in late Tuesday will give us a break in the heat and humidity heading into the weekend.

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Unfortunately for your weekend plans it looks like rain will return in the form of afternoon showers and t-showers beginning on Friday.

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Considering that we haven’t had much rain across north Georgia so far this month the rain will be a welcomed site for many whose gardens and lawns are getting quite dry. Severe weather will once again break out today across much of Texas and the southern Plains, and that system will be responsible for bringing the showers back to our area beginning Friday afternoon.

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The pattern will not only continue through the weekend but should hold into next week as well.

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EARLY SEASON TROPICAL STORM?

It wouldn’t be totally out of the question for us to see a tropical-like system developing by mid-week off the east coast of Florida that could head toward the Georgia and South Carolina coast by Wednesday. The official start to the hurricane season is not until June 1st but there have been early storms that have developed in the past. Usually these storms are classified as sub-tropical, but they can become a tropical storm if they strengthen. Another aspect is that the storm needs to have a warm core to be classified as tropical. This is something that can be inherent within the air mass where the storm develops, or the core can warm as thunderstorms multiply in a strengthening cold core storm. This particular storm does have a warm core so it wouldn’t be out of the question to see it named a tropical storm if it can strengthen. If it does then it would be named Ana.

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The last time we had a storm in May was in 2012 when two storms formed: Alberto & Beryl. Alberto formed into a tropical storm on May 19th and Beryl formed on may 27th. Below is a look at the initial 5 day track maps for both.

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Prior to that in 2007 Andrea formed but never reached tropical storm status but instead was classified as sub-tropical.

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So what can we expect here in Georgia if Ana does indeed form. Right now it appears that the coast will get the brunt of the storm with high winds, heavy rain and dangerous surf that could cause beach erosion and minor coastal flooding. Here in north Georgia we probably won’t see much, but one computer model does bring some rain to Athens, Covington and Eatonton so we will have to keep an eye on it as it develops in the Bahamas during the next 24 hours.