Sunday … Locally & The Tropics

Today a frontal boundary has set up just south of Baltimore. Warm, humid conditions are just south of this boundary or front. Moisture from the south has run up over the front into the cooler air, resulting in the clouds and periodic light rain and drizzle that the Baltimore area has received today.

High temperatures were only in the mid 70s north of the front and rain totals averaged only around a tenth of an inch. South of the front there was much more sunshine and temperatures were in the mid 80s.

The front will be in the area until mid week and that means that the region has a good chance to receive some much needed rain. As of 5:00pm Sunday BWI-Marshall was running 1.40″ short of rain for August, 3.17″ short since June 1 and 5.85″ short for the year.

In the tropics, hurricane Dean continues its’ rampage through the Caribbean. At 8:00pm Sunday the storm was about 70 miles west-southwest of Kingston, Jamaica, moving west at 20 mph. This is a category 4 storm with winds near 145 mph and higher gusts. Hurricane force winds extend 60 miles outward from the eye and have been lashing the south coast of Jamaica.

Earlier, at 5:00pm Sunday, the eye was 50 south of Kingston and the airport reported a sustained wind of 81 mph. The wind gauge stopped sending data after that report. The barometric pressure at that time was 29.29″ and started to rise afterward.

An unofficial observation of sustained winds of 100 mph came from Lionel Town in Jamaica this evening. Rainfall is expected to be in the 5-10 inche range in general with some areas likely to receive up to 20 inches.

As Dean moves westward toward the Yucatan of Mexico, the storm is expected to reach category 5 status with winds in excess of 155 mph. By the time to storm reaches the west coast of the Gulf of Mexico it is likely to be a category 2 or 3 storm.

Computer models are showing a little more divergence on where the storm will strike on the west Gulf coast. The consensus still puts the storm on the coast of Old Mexico, south of Texas but the spread among the models is a little wider so the south Texas coast is still vulnerable to at least some rain from the outer bands of the storm, if not some strong winds. One outlier model tracks to storm to near Galveston.

By the way, note on the wider view of the satellite picture above all of the cloud cover over parts of Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, streaming northeastward. This is what is left of Tropical Storm Erin. Some of that moisture will be pulled along and north of that frontal boundary in our region and play a part in producing some of the rain we need.

John Collins

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