Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ida's effect on Memphis metro weather

Hurricane Ida has become a strong category 2 storm as it enters the southern Gulf of Mexico this afternoon, packing 100 mph wind as it passes east of Cancun. Forecast tracks and strength are complicated by several factors including upper-level low pressure over the northwestern Gulf, an approaching trough that will move into the southeastern U.S., and shear and cooler water over the northern Gulf.

Forecast models seem to be handling the resultant storm somewhat differently. It will continue to bear watching, but the net effect appears to be that portions of the Gulf Coast, most likely southern AL and MS, a part of the FL Panhandle, and possibly southeastern LA, could see minimal hurricane force wind, plenty of rain, and some storm surge flooding. We'll continue to monitor. Stay up to date by visiting the MWN Tropical Weather page.

As for the effects on Mid-South weather, I believe the Memphis metro area itself will see little effect other than increased wind (breezy conditions of 15-20 mph) Monday night through Tuesday night, cloudy conditions during this period, and slight chances of rain. In fact, these conditions are more a result of an upper-level low that will be moving into the area, southerly flow ahead of it bringing in upper-level moisture, and the interaction of that low and the approaching Gulf storm that will bring the windy conditions. Check the MWN Forecast for the latest expected conditions in the metro area.

Areas southeast of the metro, particularly northeast Mississippi and points further south and east will see a much higher chance of rain and fairly breezy conditions.

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