All posts by Tommy Cason

Certified Storm Spotter, Software Engineer

Hurricane Michael – Gulf Shores, Alabama

Hurricane Michael has become a major hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120mph.  At the time of this writing, we are an hour away from the next official NHC advisory, however, there are many indications from the current hurricane hunter mission to suggest that Michael could be a Catagory Four hurricane now, or overnight.

In Gulf Shores and nearby areas, the surf is up and the winds are gradually increasing.  Michael is expected to move to the northeast of its current location, however, a more westward landfall from the current track is not out of the question.  Having said that, at this time our staff does not anticipate hurricane conditions in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area, but full anticipate sustained tropical storm conditions.  (Winds 35-50mph).

This photo depicts the surf on west beach in Gulf Shores on October 9th, in Gulf Shores.

Local Update

Previous models have had Alberto to the west of the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area, which would have meant significant rainfall, coastal flooding, wind concerns, and isolated tornadoes.  Two things have happened.  First, while the center of circulation has started to “wrap” it has drawn in dry air, which impedes development.  Second, Alberto has stayed farther east than initially expected, over lower SST’s (sea surface temperature) and thus, the estimated landfall is between Pensacola and Panama City.

For Gulf Shores, currently, we will be looking at a couple of windy days with patchy strong rain, but currently no real threat other than the very real life-threatening issue of rip currents.

Coastal Impact – Alberto

Tropical Storm Alberto is moving slowly into the Gulf of Mexico.  Our most recent model runs have Alberto entering the GoM on Saturday and experiencing less shear.  The system could and probably will become more organized over the open waters of the gulf.   We expect Tropical Storm warnings to be issued by Saturday evening, and possibly a Hurricane Watch for our coastal region.

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Very Dangerous Situation

The westwardly track that we have been monitoring continues.  We have been looking at the High and the Low (Cold Front), coming across the south eastern regions.  In short, our models trend westward.  We do expect a shift north but perhaps not as soon as popular media depicts.

TAKE ACTION NOW  

We can not stress how dangerous this storm system is.  With sustained 185 mile per hour winds, and shoving up to 20 feet of water over the coast.  We can add inland storms, lightning, tornados.  If you are in a low lying or coastal area...  LEAVE NOW.  ALL OTHERS, TAKE STEPS TO SECURE  YOURSELVES AND YOUR PROPERTY.  Houses can be re-built. 

Along the Northern Gulf Coast, there could be impacts as well.

Potential Cyclone Three

This should become Tropical Storm Cindy over the next several hours. The wind field is around 220 miles from the center of circulation and should remain just at or below Tropical Storm strength. Estimated area of impact will be in western Louisiana/Eastern Texas. This system has a wide reach and will, to varying degrees, impact the entire northern Gulf of Mexico areas. Coastal flooding, high surf and winds, and heavy rain can be expected. As the system moves closer, flash flooding from rainfall remains a very real threat.

Please observe your local, state, and NHC advisories, and take appropriate action for your area.

Possible Sub-tropical Storm Ana

An area of low pressure off the eastern seaboard near Georgia and the Carolinas is on the verge of becoming the seasons first named storm.  While acquiring more tropical characteristics before landfall most likely in the Carolinas, if Ana forms, she is not expected to reach hurricane status at this time.   Those along the eastern Seaboard should monitor the situation and could expect to see tropical storm conditions in the next few days.  This system will not affect our primary area, the Northern Coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

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Please review seasonal preparedness information one post down.

Area of Interest has gotten more “interesting”

Invest 96L is showing signs of life.  The dry air that it had been battling is all but gone.  Our models suggest at a Gulf of Mexico solution, but at this time, it is too early to tell.  As the system treks over the Caribbean and Hispaniola, it could deteriorate rapidly  amid the mountainous regions of the islands.  Alternatively, it could miss the brunt of the islands and slip into the GoM and have plenty of running room.

Having said that, this system still faces some challenges for development in terms of moderate wind shear and a packet of dry air remains just north of the system.  Chances are, we will see a Low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico by next week.

Forecast for next week.
Forecast for next week.