Climate and Agriculture in the Southeast

If you’re not watching the tropics, you should be

It’s headed towards the peak of the hurricane season, and it’s probably no surprise that the Atlantic tropical season is starting to heat up. This week is the anniversary of both Hurricane Andrew in 1992 (the 25th!) and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  (Note that Andrew was in an El Niño year, which is why an “A” hurricane was so late in the season).

Today the remains of Harvey have reconstituted into an official tropical depression and may reach hurricane status before the storm drifts over coastal Texas later this week, bringing extremely heavy rains to areas that are already saturated from earlier wet conditions.  That means massive flooding could come to the area, especially if Harvey moves as slowly as some models suggest.  I use a general rule that the amount of rain that falls is approximately equal to 100 divided by the forward speed of the storm, so that if a storm is moving at 20 miles per hour it might drop 5 inches at any one spot, but if it is moving at only 5 mph, then it could drop 20 inches before moseying on. And some of the models are predicting that Harvey could make a loop and come back and hit the area a second time, adding insult to injury.  Where it goes after that is not certain, but at least some of the models have it heading into AL and GA, so if you in that area, you need to keep watch.

In addition to Harvey, the loose collection of thunderstorms associated with Investigation 92L are dropping rain on Florida now and more is expected in the next few days. As that storm moves off the Florida peninsula and to the northeast, it could also develop into a storm that could bring rain to the Atlantic coastline. I don’t think it will have much wind associated with it, but rain could still be a problem.

Down the pike, there are two areas in the eastern Atlantic that are also looking promising for development in the next week or so.  Obviously, that is a long ways off yet, but it will definitely be something to keep an eye on once Harvey is out of the picture. You can get information from the National Hurricane Center at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov (or http://www.spaghettimodels.com for geeky hurricane fanatics).