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After a Week Off…We’re Back!

Sorry about not having a Weather Fix for everyone last week. Due to circumstances beyond our control (and because one of our own is on maternity leave) we missed last week. And from here on out, our Weekly Weather Fix will come to you on Fridays!Fall Preview in Central Alabama

This week’s weather has been absolutely spectacular! From Tuesday-Thursday it felt more like late September than late August around here. The contributing factor was a upper-level trough of low pressure digging south. This brought in cooler, drier air for the middle of the work week. Here are the highs and lows for those three days:Tuesday: Low-62/High-83  Wednesday: Low-58/High-82  Thursday: Low-60/High 87Back to Normal for Us

It was fantastic while it lasted. On Friday we started to feel summer return, as the humidity in the morning was back, and rain chances increased. Rain chances will also be in the forecast for this weekend too. These rain chances will be driven mainly by an increase in moisture from the east coast and the upper level features changing.

Next week’s overall weather will be dependent on what Tropical Storm Erika does (see details below). The storm could either bring rain to central Alabama, or pull in some dry air for us. Either way, it looks like this tropical storm will have an impact on our weather.Tropics Starting to Heat Up

Over last weekend, Danny grew from a tropical storm into the first major hurricane (category three or greater) of the season. Danny looked very impressive on satellite images, and at one time had winds estimated in the 115 mph range. But as quickly as Danny strengthened, it just as quickly weakened. The storm ran into some harsh conditions, namely dry air and strong vertical wind shear and was quickly ripped apart. It was downgraded to a tropical depression on Monday, and later that day was downgraded again to a remnant low pressure area.

However, right behind Danny was Erika. Erika formed late on Monday night and became the 5th named storm of the 2015 season. Erika basically followed the same path that Danny did, but hasn’t reached hurricane strength yet (as of Friday morning). The official forecast from the National Hurricane center calls for Erika to make landfall in Hispaniola later today, continue moving northwest, and impact south Florida as a tropical storm. There is still a lot in Erika’s way, namely landmasses that do not help a tropical cyclone stay together, and strong vertical wind shear. Erika looks like a ragged storm already, and those two factors aren’t going to help. Of course, we’ll continue to keep you updated on Erika’s progress. If by a miracle it survives it’s trip and makes it into the Gulf of Mexico, it’s something we would have to watch. Until then, don’t be concerned about Erika.

This Week in Weather History

August 24, 1992 – Hurricane Andrew makes landfall on Elliot Key in south Florida with winds of 165 mph. Andrew was a category five storm at landfall and did extensive damage throughout south Florida. Andrew is the fourth strongest hurricane (based on minimum central pressure) ever in the Atlantic Basin.

August 25, 2005 – Katrina becomes a hurricane just before landfall in south Florida between Hallandale Beach and North Miami Beach. Maximum sustained winds at the time of landfall were near 80 mph. There were eleven fatalities in South Florida, including four by falling trees. More than 1.3 million customers lost electrical services, and preliminary insured loss estimates ranged from $600 million to $2 billion in the state of Florida.

August 26, 1883 – Krakatoa Volcano exploded in the East Indies. The explosion was heard more than 2500 miles away, and every barograph around the world recorded the passage of the air wave, up to seven times. Giant waves, 125 feet high and traveling 300 mph, devastated everything in their path, hurling ashore coral blocks weighing up to 900 tons, and killing more than 36,000 persons. Volcanic ash was carried around the globe in thirteen days producing blue and green suns in the tropics, and then vivid red sunsets in higher latitudes. The temperature of the earth was lowered one degree for the next two years, finally recovering to normal by 1888. 

August 28, 1959 – Lieutenant Colonel William Rankin bailed out of his plane at a height of 46,000 feet into a violent thunderstorm, and lived to write about the 45 minute journey (which normally would have been a thirteen minute descent). He described it as one of the most bizarre and painful experiences imaginable.

August 29, 2005 – Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Plaquemines Parish in southeastern Louisiana early on the 29th with maximum sustained winds near 125 mph, a strong category-three, and the third most-intense landfalling hurricane in U.S. history. The center of the hurricane passed just east of New Orleans, where winds gusted over 100 mph. Widespread devastation and unprecedented flooding occurred, submerging at least 80 percent of the city as levees failed. Farther east, powerful winds and a devastating storm surge of 20-30 feet raked the Mississippi coastline, including Gulfport and Biloxi, where Gulf of Mexico floodwaters spread several miles inland. Rainfall amounts of 8-10 inches were common along and to the east of the storm’s path. Katrina weakened to a tropical storm as it tracked northward through Mississippi and gradually lost its identity as it moved into the Tennessee Valley on the 30th.

*Historical weather information provided by WeatherForYou.com

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