This 5.50 megabyte GIF shows a 15-hour infrared satellite loop of Hurricane Joaquin as it slammed the Bahamas between 5:15 AM and 8:15 PM EDT on Thursday. The hurricane is a category four on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale with sustained winds of 130 MPH, and it could strengthen a bit before weakening on Saturday. Joaquin is the strongest hurricane to hit the Bahamas since Floyd in 1999, which raked the island chain with sustained winds of 155 MPH.
While we’ve stressed over the eventual track of powerful Hurricane Joaquin over the next few days, a concerning number of people may not be aware that a significant—potentially devastating—flash flood event will take place with or without the hurricane coming close to land. Many spots could see more than a foot of rain this weekend.
Hurricane Joaquin is a category three hurricane tonight with 115 MPH winds, and all indications point toward further strengthening. The 11:00 PM advisory from the NHC says it’ll be a category four with 140 MPH winds by this time Thursday. There’s still a decent chance it could make landfall along the East Coast this weekend. We’re going to see a major flooding event regardless of Joaquin’s whereabouts—a potential landfall will only make things much worse.
The latest forecast for Hurricane Joaquin puts it on an unnerving path toward the East Coast, but the track is far from certain right now. This week was going to be a flooding nightmare anyway—the hurricane is just rubbing salt in the wound. You need to prepare now for a significant, potentially life-threatening weather event later this week and this weekend.
A complicated weather pattern will likely dump tons of rain on the East Coast later this week and this weekend. A wide range of possibilities could unfold—stretching from scattered showers to the unlikely event of a hurricane threatening land—so just about everyone who lives east of the Appalachian Mountains needs to watch the forecast closely.
Tropical Storm Joaquin formed in the western Atlantic Ocean this evening. The cone of uncertainty covers the coast from North Carolina to Connecticut, and there is considerable uncertainty in the storm’s future track. We have to watch this system very closely. I’ll have an update on Tuesday once the morning models roll in and we have a better idea of what’s going on.
Typhoon Dujuan crashed into Taiwan on Monday with winds equivalent to those of a category four hurricane. One weather station near the eye reported wind gusts of 153 MPH during the height of the storm. The typhoon also produced more than two feet of rain, forcing the evacuation of thousands for fear of landslides and flooding, closing schools and businesses, and even triggering a water outage for more than a million people in the Taipei area.
Last night, a destructive tornado tore through a community near Charleston, S.C., destroying homes and lofting debris tens of thousands of feet into the air. Tornadoes were not in the forecast last night—this happened largely by surprise. Owning a weather radio is your best defense against unexpected natural disasters like this.
All eyes gazed toward the Atlantic as brilliant white clouds billowed skyward, signaling the arrival of the long-awaited newcomer. The crowds rejoiced, and a voice shouted down: “Habemus precip!” And so it was. Rain in the southeast is a religious experience these days, and there’s going to be a lot of it hanging around through the weekend.
Today is the first day of astronomical fall. The days are growing noticeably shorter, the leaves are already changing, and the morning air is crisp and energizing. It’s the most wonderful time of the year (only for some of us!), so naturally, summer has to linger and screw it up. Most of the United States will see warmer-than-normal temperatures for the next week or two thanks to a jet stream that’s stuck in heat mode.
On the eve of astronomical fall (real fall began a few weeks ago), we look out across the United States from a satellite orbiting 22,326 miles above the equator and see...not much. It’s boring out there. It’ll stay abnormally warm across most of the country, with rain possible across several regions over the next five days. The heaviest rain will fall in the Plains and Carolinas between now and the weekend. Spots like central Nebraska and the coastal Carolinas could see several inches of rain by early next week.
The decaying remnants of a tropical depression will move through the desert southwest over the next couple of days, dragging with it enough tropical air that residents might think they woke up in southern Florida. This excess moisture will lead to very heavy rain that could easily produce flash flooding in vulnerable areas.
The accidental invention of the weather radar during World War II was one of the most important advances we’ve made in keeping people safe from severe storms. Today, the United States is covered by more than 150 Doppler radar sites, but there are some pretty dangerous gaps in that coverage. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) recently introduced a bill ordering the construction of new radar sites to cover some of the country’s most vulnerable cities, but the bill might be worded just cleverly enough that it applies to exactly one city, which is coincidentally the largest in Burr’s home state.
Are you ready for winter? There’s a chance of snow in the mountains of Wyoming today, and before you know it, everyone everywhere will start grumbling about the cold. The big question on everyone’s mind is what’s in store for us this winter, and El Niño will likely be a major player in the coming months. Most indications point to the chance that the abnormally warm water in the Pacific will have a significant effect on our weather here in the United States.
Not one to pass up low-hanging fruit, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon created a shockingly not-unfunny parody commercial making fun of The Weather Channel for planning to dump their reality shows and shift back to 100% live weather coverage in the near future. As the gruff announcer shouts: “Buckle up, buttercup, because WEATHER. IS. BACK!”
One of the biggest weather stories in recent years is the distinct lack of weather in much of the country—the drought is an ongoing, slow-motion disaster in the western United States, but abnormally dry conditions are starting to spread east. More than half of the United States is suffering from an unusual lack of rainfall, with much of the south and East Coast joining the west in their need for water.
With the exception of some much-needed showers and thunderstorms in the western U.S.—hopefully helping firefighters make progress against the raging wildfires—there’s almost no notable weather to speak of today. Enjoy this exceptionally beautiful day across much of the country. The heat will build back in through the week, though for most of us, it won’t be as intense or humid as it was before the blissful cold front swept through this weekend.
Tropical Storm Henri, a sad blob about 700 miles south of Newfoundland, is racing toward its demise in the North Atlantic. Our next chance at tropical development in the basin looks like it might come from the Cape Verde area, but as with every other system this year, it’ll struggle against wind shear and dry air if it manages to pull itself together.
Everyone remembers the weather fourteen years ago. Every remembrance story, every “where were you when” conversation, every newscast before the attacks mentions how the sky was a brilliant, deep shade of blue the morning the world turned upside down. However, had the sky not been as clear as it was that day—if the hurricane off the coast of New England hadn’t ricocheted toward Canada—it’s very possible that the weather could have permanently changed the course of both American and world history.