Friday, May 22, 2009

Why have we received so much rain?

Have any of you wondered why it has been so dreary this last few days? Chances are: you have. The continuing presence of a low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico has led to an increase it overall areal coverage of precipitation in our area. And unlike most convection/precipitation that moves into our area, it does so by moving from the west toward the east (roughly). Typically, these systems that affect us do not have the same effect as a stationary--or partially stationary--low pressure that has brought rain the past five days. 

The Savannah International Airport reports that today we have seen 1.61" so far. That's not incredible; however, combined with other totals in that range for the past few days, that adds icing on the cake--a cake that already has four inches in the past week. 

I am sure most of you have seen the low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico and pondered the idea of a tropical low pressure system. Though the prospect did look promising earlier this week, that did not materialize. In fact, the subtropical low pressure was consumed by a mid- and upper-level low pressure and forecasters at the National Hurricane Center lost hope entirely (or lost hope in the lightest sense as most of the meteorologists and "hurricane specialists" did not want to spend hours tracking a potentially deadly and mass hysteria-creating cyclone that would accompany that task). The above picture shows the low centered in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico.

The "feeder bands" have wreaked havoc on parts of Florida. Flooding has been isolated in east-central parts of the Sunshine State. Some of you may know of the Daytona Beach International Speedway. That facility has be inendated with rain, excessive rain that is, and the precipitation has gone so far as to overflow the drainage pools and impact the tunnel of Turn One of the speedway. The event, so far, has been marked as the most flooding of any system in certain areas and the fourth most signficiant (quantitatively with rain totals) of any weather system in Florida's history since records were started. The governor, Charlie Christ, has declared a state of emergency for eleven Florida counties including Brevard, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Lake, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, and Volusia. The governor is currently in south Florida for a Memorial Day party and has not yet had a chance to survey completely the flood ravaged areas. 

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