Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Tropical Storm Julia Might Be Sneakiest, Weirdest Tropical Storm Ever

Satellite photo of Tropical Storm Julia forming
over northeastern Florida Tuesday afternoon,
confounding just about every forecaster and tropical
storm expert. 
UPDATE: During the day Wednesday, the center of Tropical Storm Julia jumped to a position just a bit off the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia.

Which means, that unlike earlier estimations, it won't oddly live its entire life inland. In other words the pesky little storm was continuing to be unpredictable.

Julia weakened to a tropical depression Wednesday night, but will still cause heavy rain along the southeastern coast as its remnants meander a little offshore.


Early yesterday morning, I mentioned in passing a weak disturbance off the coast of Florida that would never amount to anything.

By the end of the day it had confounded forecasters and experts by becoming Tropical Storm Julia. 

The storm produced, and is still producing winds of 40 mph along the U.S. southeast coast, along with torrential rains.

The tropical storm unexpectedly formed even though winds high over head were strong enough that they would normally preclude such a system from forming.

Much weirder, Tropical Storm Julia formed while just inland in northeastern Florida.

Virtually always, tropical storms form over the water, where the feed of the warm moisture in the late summer oceans. They never form over land, where there's too much friction from the rough terrain to help spin up these things.

Not Julia. It formed barely inland. Turns out it formed over very low country, and was close enough to nearby ocean water to feed off that warm moisture and form into Tropical Storm Julia.

The forecast track of Julia takes it further inland this morning and will eventually dissipate over Georgia. Before it does, it will continue to dump heavy rain over mostly coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina. There's definitely a flood threat there.

If the forecast direction of Julia  holds, it will be something I've never seen before: A tropical storm that spent its entire existence inland. Some tropical storms have formed over land in the past, like the notoriously destructive Hurricane Agnes in 1972, but I've never seen one stay over land through its entire life.

Julia is a very, very, very weird tropical storm.

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