Oct 3, 2013

Some Quick thoughts on Tropical Storm Karen

The 11th named tropical cyclone of the season has formed over the Southeastern Gulf of Mexico - Karen. It was located about 500 miles south of the Mouth of the Mississippi River with maximum winds of 60 mph, and moving toward the northwest at around 13 mph. Karen is forecast to turn north and slow down over the next 24-36 hours as well as strengthen to a hurricane during this time. By Sunday, forecast environmental conditions will become unfavorable as the storm nears the U.S. Gulf Coast and some weakening is expected. Nonetheless Tropical Storm and Hurricane Watches have been posted for the Northern Gulf Coast.

(Current position and wind radii + Watches)
The forecast track of Karen (map below) has it nearing the Central Gulf Coast by early Saturday morning, October 5th and then making landfall over the western Florida Panhandle by Saturday afternoon.
(Official NHC forecast track for Karen)

Forecast model consensus is in fairly good agreement on the expected track of Karen. After landfall the system will weaken into a tropical depression and move a bit more quickly toward the northeast during Sunday through Monday of next week as it begins to interact with an expansive non-tropical area of low pressure that will extend from the Great Lakes to the Lower Mississippi Valley states. The remnants of Karen and this low pressure area will continue east and reach the East Coast of the U.S. by late Monday-Tuesday of next week. 

The early track guidance (map below and to the right) is clustering slightly to the east of the official NHC track forecast but again the early guidance is clustered around a landfall over the Florida Panhandle. 
(Early tropical cyclone guidance)

By early next week the interaction of Karen's remnants with the non-tropical low pressure area approaching from the west, could lead to widespread and potentially/possibly heavy rainfall for the Eastern States, especially from the Western Carolinas northward through the Mid-Atlantic States, Pennsylvania, interior central and eastern NY State and Western New England. I'll have more on this rain fall threat later today but I can say that there are numerous "signals" in the forecast data that favor some heavy rain for interior Eastern NY State and Western New England during early next week. How heavy? That is a question yet to be answered; then again we have been VERY dry as of late so any rain fall may actually be beneficial as long as its not EXCESSIVE.