Sunday, September 18, 2016

Julia The Weirdo Continues To Confuse Forecasters

Tropical Depression Julia was still a disorganized mess
off the Southeastern U.S. coast Sunday morning
but the weird little storm still has life in her.  
When last we left Tropical Storm Julia, we were remarking how weird it was that a cluster of thunderstorms that pretty much no chance of developing into a tropical storm did so.

And Julia did form into a tropical storm. Over land, which almost never happens. Over northeastern Florida, to be specific. Almost all tropical storms and hurricanes form over warm ocean water.

We thought Julia would live its entire short life over land, which would be unprecedented. But nope, she fooled us again, jumping to just offshore Georgia and dumping heavy rain on the coasts of that state and South Carolina.

Next, we were assured that strong upper level winds would tear Julia apart and it would be a nothing burger by now.

Wrong again!  Tropical Depression Julia, downgraded from a tropical storm a few days ago is still east of Georgia and South Carolina, just further offshore now, and showing signs of making a comeback.

Julia is still a disorganized mess, with those strong upper level winds keeping thunderstorms well away from its center. Tropical systems don't develop or get stronger when this kind of thing happens.  You want the powerful thunderstorms to fire up near the center of the storm.

Usually, when the upper level winds keep up, the thunderstorm production finally dies, and so does the wannabe tropical system.

Julia is still firing up thunderstorms, though. Persistent little devil. And now, those strong upper level winds might relax, and that would give Julia a chance to restrengthen. Also some signs point to Julia drifting north toward North Carolina.

Julia has confused and put eggs on the faces of just about every hurricane forecasters since she formed last week. I bet she will continue to do so. Which means anything could happen with Julia. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile Tropical Storm Karl is out there in the middle of the Atlantic. Unlike Julia, Karl's generally behaving, taking a very typical path from the west coast of Africa and traveling westward across the tropical Atlantic.

He's expected to be upgraded to a hurricane in a few days, which is not unusual for this type of system. It's also expected to recurve to the north, away from the East Coast. Again, this happens a lot.

However, a small number of forecast models nudge Karl a little closer to the East Coast eventually. Doubt that will happen, but it's worth keeping half an eye on anyway.

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