Hurricane PreparednessLafayetteWeather

Late Summer Cold Front?! Tracking Major Hurricane Irma.

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Happy Friday All!

Great weekend on the way for Acadiana! Temperatures in the upper 80s to near 90 for afternoon high temperatures and overnight lows in the upper 60s to lower 70s. A few isolated pop-up thunderstorms possible in the late afternoon hours, but most locations will stay dry.

Then….COOL SNAP! Cold front on the way late Tuesday into Wednesday, which will increase our rain chances before and along the passage of the front.

All eyes are on the tropics, but let’s enjoy some brief good news! Nearly unanimous agreement between our reliable forecast models for an unusually stout cold front to pass through Acadiana next Wednesday.

Temperatures 5-15+ degrees below average! High temperatures in the upper 70s and overnight lows in the low 60s?! Some models suggest upper 50s possible for some locations in Allen, Evangeline, Rapides, and St Landry Parishes next Thursday-Friday mornings. I’ll take it! Our average high temperatures for the first week of September are in the low 90s with average low temperatures in the low 70s.

Ultimately, this cold front will play a role in the steering of Major Hurricane Irma in the longer range. We want a stronger, more progressive front to help weaken the “Bermuda Ridge” off the Eastern Seaboard. A weaker high pressure system off of the east coast would lead to a larger potential for Irma to “recurve” off the east coast. Unfortunately, we won’t know the nitty-gritty details of the strength & progressiveness of this front for 4-5 more days. Stay tuned.

In the tropics…

After a brief “eyewall replacement cycle” overnight last night and a momentary downgrade to a Category 2 Hurricane, #Irma is back to business as usual with another round of rapid intensification this afternoon. Back to a Category 3 Hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph.

These ups-and-downs of intensification will continue over the next 5 days, but Irma will likely remain a powerful hurricane throughout its lifetime. Favorable conditions lie ahead of the hurricane with minimal dry air, little wind shear, and increasingly warm sea-surface temperatures to the west. Additional intensification appears likely.

If you have any vacation plans or if you live in the eastern Caribbean, pay very close attention to the forecast. Forecast models have trended towards impacts possible by Tuesday-Thursday of next week for the Lesser Antilles, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. The system could make a very close approach or pass just north of the islands as a powerful hurricane.

Then the big question arises…Where will it go from there? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is like throwing a dart at a dart board at this point with potential tracks from “out to sea” to the Gulf of Mexico possible at this point. Any specific path is anything but certain at this point.

Forecast models have extremely poor consistency and reliability past 5 days future, so there is a large amount of uncertainty if Irma will ever pose a threat to the United States. The system could turn out to sea, and dodge the U.S. completely! This system is definitely something to continue to monitor closely. If the system was ever to threaten the continental United States, Irma is still 8-10 days away.

One thing to watch over the next few days will be how forecast models trend in strength and speed of an unusually strong cold front moving into the Central United States next Wednesday-Friday. The progressiveness & strength of that cold front could be the pivotal factor in where Irma eventually threatens in the long term. Weaker & quicker-moving front = more substantial threat to the United States(especially the East Coast). Stay tuned for updates.