Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav moving quickly towards coast

Update 8:19 PM...Tuned in to watch Anderson Cooper on CNN from downtown New Orleans, and they were knocked off the air as the first heavy rain band from Gustav moved in. I understand a tornado warning is in effect for some of the southern Parishes closest to the Gulf. Rain bands will continue to increase in aerial coverage and intensity tonight. The bad weather is moving in much quicker than expected as Gustav continues to churn along at 18mph. The main causeway to New Orleans was closed at 7pm tonight. Those who have not left now must ride out this very dangerous storm.
Gustav in the last hour edging closer to the mouth of the Mississippi River

Hurricane Warnings are in effect for the Mississippi and Louisiana coastlines tonight as Gustav races towards the coast. We expect the storm to cross the coast near Grand Isle with a surge of 10-14 feet. Evacuations and preparations are being rushed to completion at this hour. Forecasters still expect the storm to increase once again in strength just prior to landfall. If the storm continues on this speed it will become less likely that intensification will occur. Hurricane force winds are expected to spread across the coast in outer rain bands beginning as early as tonight.

• Heavy rain and thunderstorms were occurring across central and southern Florida all day along the eastern fringe of the storm.

• Oil production in the Gulf has been halted. The region produces up to 25% of all US oil.

• A curfew will go into effect in New Orleans at sunset tonight. 2000 Army National Guard troops are in the city to help enforce the curfew and prevent looting.
• Canada has already sent an Air Force transport aircraft with supplies to Louisiana from CFB Trenton today.

New Orleans Evacuated

Infrared image of Gustav north of Cuba this morning...Courtesy NOAA NHC
Almost three years to the day, it is deja vu all over again. Hurricane Gustav, a major category three storm, is bearing down on the Louisiana coast this morning. This storm lost some of its punch overnight after hammering the western tip of Cuba with driving rains and powerful winds. While numerous deaths occurred in Jamaica and Haiti, so far none were reported in Cuba. Hundreds of thousands of people continue to flee New Orleans this morning packing highways as they head north and west away from the city. Mandatory evacuations are in place with hundreds of buses and scores of aircraft transporting people away. 1750 National Guard Troops have been placed in the city to enforce curfews and prevent looting. Mayor Nagin has informed anybody that stays behind that they will have no services. The message is "Get the heck out now!"
Forecasters expect Gustav to make landfall late Monday as a category 4 storm. A wall of water preceding the storm (strom surge may be over 18 feet with Gustav) is expected to send Lake Ponchatrain and the Mississippi over there banks once again.
Next Update this afternoon around 2pm...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gustav a Major Hurricane

8:00PM Update: Gustav is a very dangerous hurricane this evening. The storm had increased in strength rapidly, and is now a Category 4 with 150mph winds. The storm is on the Cuban Coast near Los Palacios. Winds and rain in the region have been fierce. The storm is expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico overnight and could become a Cat 5. A Hurricane Watch is in effect from the Florida/Alabama border west to the Texas border. Best estimates at this time put landfall into Louisiana by Monday night or Tuesday warning. Evacuations have been ongoing all day with traffic jammed onto area Interstates for miles. It has been orderly so far and continues to be more organized than last time. Next full update will be in the morning.
Use the HurricaneCity link on the left for all up to date information.

Major Hurricane Gustav this morning.
Top: Photo of Traffic moving north on I-10 evacuating New Orleans early this morning.

Hurricane Gustav has become a major hurricane overnight with 120 mph winds and a pressure drop of 24mb in 24 hours. It is a Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale as the storm heads towards the Isle of Youth and western Cuba. All interests in the Gulf of Mexico from the Florida Panhandle to Texas are beginning to prepare for the storms arrival by late Monday. Evacuations have been ordered in the Parishes around New Orleans. New Orleans itself had not ordered an evacuation yet but all residents are being encouraged to leave. The evacuation order could come at any time. Forecasters expect Gustav to become a category 4 and then weaken slightly as the storm approaches the coast. On this path the storm would move inland southwest of New Orleans near Grand Isle, Louisiana or near Lafayette. This would send a devastating storm surge up the Mississippi Delta towards New Orleans, and severely test the new levee system that was put in place after Katrina in 2005.

Updates all weekend long and also check out this site for local coverage...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Katrina, Gustav and Hanna

Gustav this morning moving away from Jamaica towards Cuba

Lots to talk about this morning so here it goes. Today is the third anniversary of the worst storm this weather person has ever tracked. I have been plotting storms for over 25 years. Prior to Katrina we all measured storms by Camille in 1969. All that changed in 2005 when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, very close to where Camille had done so 36 years before. The storm all but destroyed the Mississippi Gulf Coast up to 1 mile inland as well as flooded New Orleans when the levees failed, with the loss of 1500 souls. You can read all my entries here

With that we come to 2008. Tropical Storm Gustav threatens to hit some of the same real estate that Katrina did. The storm is poised to hit the Louisiana coast by next Tuesday as a major hurricane. That is far off and there remains great uncertainty in the forecast, but officials are taking no chance. Evacuations could be ordered as early as Saturday morning. The death toll from Gustav has surpassed 20 in flooding and mudslides across Haiti. Jamaica was hit last night with heavy rain ans gusty winds. I was listening to Power106 in Kingston, Jamaica and it seemed that power outages and some downed trees were the worst damage at that time.

T.S. Hanna meanwhile is moving through the northern Caribbean far from land at this point but bears watching for impact on the east coast. There are at least two other areas that the National Hurricane Center are watching as 2008 begins to look a lot like 2005.

It is Labor Day weekend, be safe and enjoy the last long weekend of the summer. The weather looks awesome. Sunny and warm here in Ontario and Quebec.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Uneasy in the BIG Easy

The forecast does not look good for Louisiana

1:00PM Update: Tropical Storm Hanna has formed 300 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands. Hanna may threaten the Bahamas and the US Mainland from Florida to the Carolinas next week.

10:35am Update: A NOAA recon aircraft has reported that Gustav has intensified and now has 70mph winds. A Hurricane Warning is now in effect for Jamaica.

As we approach the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, concern is growing in New Orleans. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Centre in Coral Gables, Florida have been watching Tropical Storm Gustav reorganize south of Cuba overnight. Gustav is forecast to become a major hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend. The storm has already been blamed for several deaths in Haiti from flooding. Gustav is expected to approach the central Gulf Coast by Labor Day. New Orleans is so concerned that Mayor Ray Nagin has already declared a State of Emergency. There remains great concern that the levees, so badly damaged during Katrina, will not hold for another major strike.

Waiting in the wings once we are done with Gustav will be TD#8 which should become Hanna today. We are heading into the busiest month for hurricanes.

Last nights sunsets were spectacular in Ontario and Quebec. The great spectacle was a result of high clouds from the remains of Fay streaming north into our region. The weakening low pressure area is sending some scattered showers into our region today but will continue to weaken as she slides south of Ontario. The weekend looks spectacular to officially end another summer holiday season in Ontario.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fire and Ice

Gustav this afternoon.

My column this week in the Kemptville Advance was about the signs of fall. They are upon us, none more obvious then the maples that have begun to change color here in North Grenville. There is also the cool nights and the heavy dew. It was 6C in Kemptville this morning. So as I sit here listening to the Yankees and Red Sox and track hurricane Gustav as we approach Labor Day, all the signs are there, but I still can't believe it. What happened to summer? Oh my all the rain and clouds. Let's hope September is sunny and warm just like the last two years. I must tell you I am not prepared to say goodbye to a season that really never came.

I have a few interesting tidbits from the world of weather over the last 24 hours. It was hot in Saskatchewan yesterday, temperatures were in the mid 30's with a record 39.4C in Val Marie. That came ever so close to the all time record warm day recorded in Canada set in Yellowgrass, Sask. black on July 5, 1937 of 45C (113F). Another hot spot yesterday was 37C in Assiniboia, or 100F. Today, not so hot, it is down to 10C in Swift Current, and 16C in Assiniboia.

Meanwhile the cold airmass in the east has led to frost advisories across the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Temperatures will dip close to freezing tonight. Frost may also occur in parts of southern Quebec and the Green Mountains.

Hurricane Gustav is hitting the south coast of Haiti at this hour. The storm has 75mph winds and is expected to move across that country and along the Cuban coast on Wednesday. Expect Gustav to become a major category three Hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico by Thursday. After that models have him all over the Gulf. All interests should pay close attention to the forecast of this very dangerous storm. There are three other areas of interest in parts of the Atlantic basin as we enter the most active time of the hurricane season.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fall is in the air

What a change in air mass overnight. When I went to sleep at around 11pm it was 26C in my house (after a high close to 30C Saturday and Sunday) and about 23C outdoors. Woke up to a howling wind at 3am and it was 14C outside and 17C inside, blanket weather. Some signs the seasons are changing, the dew is heavy every night now, it gets dark by 8pm, the trees are beginning to change color, I can't believe that! And lastly the squirrels on my property are gathering the acorns every morning. They have been so busy knocking them off the trees and gathering them up. I have never noticed so much activity by them in August before. Not sure what It means, but we better get ready, just in case.

Here is a Tropical Storm Fay update. The system has been downgraded to a tropical depression after saturating the southeast and Gulf coast states with rain. Over 25 inches fell in Melbourne Beach, Florida with 10-15 inches across the rest of the gulf region. Flooding is severe and widespread. Fay is expected to begin slowly drifting north. This morning she is located 75 miles south of Jackson, Mississippi. We can expect some rain from the remnants by Thursday. In the meantime a NOAA Recon plane is expected to fly into some disturbed weather near Jamaica today. A system is showing strong indications it will become Gustav within the next couple of days. Well we get rid of one and here comes the next storm!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Awesome Weekend Weather

With high pressure in place over eastern Ontario, the weekend is shaping up to be one of the best this summer. There is a chance of some showers along a cold front Sunday, but that should be later in the day. Most of the weekend will be sunny and dry. It is warm today close to 30C in many parts of the province. Kemptville is at 29C however one of my thermometers in the sun is reading 39C...ouch very warm. Not very accurate, however it is much warmer than it has been. Enjoy the weekend and be safe.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back among the connected

Sheriff Deputies patrol Central Florida in the wake of Fay

I will begin this entry with one line....I know better! I should have unplugged my computer and modem when Monday nights fierce thunderstorm moved into Kemptville. The storm was by far the most intense this summer, with incredible lightning in our area. One or two bolts....they scared the hell out of me, hit very close to my house, between me and KTC, and took out my cable. The surge ran up my cable wire right into my modem and computer and took out my network card. It continued into other parts of my electronic world but those items were far less important to me than my computer. Needless to say I was not happy, and a little embarrassed to boot. I should know better! Well thanks to the fine customer service from Cogeco, they are awesome compared to Bell, and Sigma Computers here in Kemptville (613-258-9716) I am back on line...among the living...or connected.

What did we miss? Well not much here. For the first time since May 8 or so, by my calculations, we are going to have 5 dry days in a row. Today will be sunny and 27C, close to 30C tomorrow. The only threat for showers comes late Sunday.

Tropical Storm Fay has been historic in places in Florida. The stubborn storm is crawling across Florida at less than 5mph. The system first came onshore near the Keys and has moved north towards Port St. Lucie and now across the state and just off the Atlantic coast near Daytona. It has taken all week to do this. Winds have been minimal in the 50-60mph range. Some tornadoes have caused isolated major damage. But the big weather story is the rain. Over 25 inches or 725mm or rain has soaked parts of east central Florida. A state of emergency in in effect in several counties with the National Guard performing numerous water rescues. The water just keeps rising. Until the storm decides where to go the area will keep getting drenched.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Traquil weather finally

Above: Lightning (bottom right) in Kemptville yesterday afternoon... Below:along with dark skies.

After yesterdays storms it will become very tranquil for the rest of this week. We need it! The storms yesterday were the worst this summer to date in Kemptville. The lightning was intense, winds were strong, hail fell, and over 25mm of rain in less than 90 minutes. Today is cool and dry and it will remain dry right into the weekend with a gradual warming trend.
Tropical Storm Fay has moved into south Florida this morning. I will post more details later.

I apologize for the lack of entries last night, I had intended on posting frequent updates, then lightning struck near my house and destroyed my modem.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Severe Thunderstorms move into region

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is in effect for all regions of Eastern Ontario with a Watch for Upstate NY. The line of severe weather is now into Ottawa. Heavy rain, hail and wind gusts to 120km/h are occurring. Rainfall of 20-30mm will occur with this front. A second line is moving east into the same above regions. Prepare now for these storms in Leeds Grenville and SD&G. The storms will affect the area till about 7pm. A tornado is not out of the alert, stay safe.

Thunderstorms moving into Ontario

A fast moving line of severe weather is moving south into eastern Ontario this afternoon. Expect severe weather anytime this afternoon as a sharp cold front slides into a very warm and unstable air mass. It is currently 28C here in Kemptville and we are expecting it to go down to 9C tonight. As the cold air invades the area storms are expected to develop. Some of the storms may have hail and strong winds. An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.

Check here for warnings and watches..

Tropical Storm Fay Update

Tropical Storm Fay this morning leaving Cuba.

As expected tropical storm Fay formed over the weekend south of Cuba and is now crossing the island nation. Heavy rains have produced flash floods, killing 5 people. A tropical storm warning is out for the south coast of Florida including Miami and the Florida Keys. A hurricane warning may be needed later today. As the storm moves back over the open waters of the Florida straits, Fay is expected to strengthen and could become a category 1 hurricane later today as she moves along the west coast of the sunshine state. The threat to the northeast coast of the US is gone as Fay has taken a more westerly track. She will however produce flash flooding from western Georgia into the Carolina's by Wednesday.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Isolated Thunderstorms in Ontario

A week upper air disturbance had been the catalyst for some heavy thunderstorms this afternoon along the St. Lawrence River from Kingston to the Quebec border. These storms may slide northward. They are isolated in nature, but producing very heavy rains and small hail. If travelling in the 416/401 area today be ready for changeable weather.

East Coast Hurricane?

Forecasters are growing more concerned that the area of low pressure near the Leeward Islands today could become a big threat to the eastern seaboard next week. Several computer models are suggesting the system, which should become Tropical Storm Fay this weekend, is going to move up towards the Carolina's and grow into a major hurricane. Anybody who is travelling to New England or the Eastern Seaboard next week should monitor the progress of this potential storm this weekend. Use the link on the left for hurricane information ( for all the latest updates. I will be following the progress this weekend and providing updates in later posts.

**I usually wait before posting on anything a computer model has to say a week or more out, but with all the travel too and from the east coast beaches at this time of year by residents of Ontario and Quebec, I thought it was important to sound the alarm.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fun on the Beach

Despite the weather in Nova Scotia, my two fav dogs returned home to their native land to enjoy some sand and sea. Both Rufus (bottom) and Ginger told me that it rained, but they did not care!!!
Thanks Annie for the pictures.

The best forecast in some time

While it is not an ideal forecast for outdoor activities, it is the best we have had in some time. The showers the last couple of days here in eastern Ontario have been hit and miss, and luckily more miss than anything here in Kemptville. It has been dry with some sun. I actually washed my car yesterday. For those who know me I am a neat freak, and I have been unable to wash my car since July 1, yep 6 weeks!

The upper level low has moved southeast off the mid-Atlantic coast, good for us. Some more unsettled weather will slip across our regions late today and again on the weekend, but the trend is for more sun than cloud and only a few scattered thunderstorms. It will be warming up as well, close top 80F (27C) by Monday...yeah!!!

Watching the tropical Atlantic, low pressure north of the Leeward Islands is showing signs of becoming a depression. A NOAA Recon aircraft will fly into the system today to check its intensity. We could be looking at Tropical Storm Fay by the weekend.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Storms miss Kemptville

The amazing photo above is of the upper level low spinning over our area and the Great Lakes. It looks like a Hurricane but thankfully is producing rain and some hail, but not much wind.

So far the news is good for Kemptville today. While we continue to be under the influence of that stubborn upper level low, most of the weather has remained either southeast or northwest of our region. Storms continue to develop and redevelop in the swirl that is this system and spin counterclockwise towards our region. They may occur at any time today and tomorrow. Where they have occurred, the amount of rainfall produced has been amazing. Places around Renfrew and the Ottawa Valley have reported very heavy rain. In upstate New York, parts of Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties have had over 75mm of rain in less than an hour today. Flooding was reported. That area as well as all of Vermont remains under a Flood Watch.
It was likely a similar type storm that produced flooding in Oxford Mills last Thursday night. I was away in Vermont, but one of our writers, Diana Fisher, provided me with the photo you see above. It rained for less than 20 minutes and produced serious flash flooding. I checked area weather stations and only found a few mm had fallen. It was much more over Oxford Mills, but I have no definite amount to report. If anyone out there in Oxford Mills has a rain gauge, give me a call here at The Advance.

Thank You!!! I have surpassed 10,000 hits and I thank you for every one of them.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

More Thunderstorms

Heavy thunderstorms begin to develop over Lake Champlain as the Port Kent ferry rolls in.

I just returned home from a short trip to Burlington, Vermont on the shores of Lake Champlain. The weather was, well, terrible, again. It rained each day, rather heavily with numerous severe thunderstorms. It has been the same old weather pattern for the better part of the last two months, with one upper level low after another spinning its way over the Great Lakes, and across the northeast. The persistent rain has saturated the soils in most of Vermont and northern New York as well as southern Quebec and parts of Ontario. Flooding has been a regular feature in Vermont and Quebec. While we were down in the US, flooding washed out several Vermont highways, damaged homes and cut power. Several counties have been declared federal disaster areas. At this hour we are under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch in Ontario while upstate New York and Vermont is under a Flash Flood Watch. Today's storms are expected to linger into Monday before ending late in the day. The potential exists in all regions for another 25-50mm of rain or 1-2 inches. More flooding is possible.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Tropical Storm Edouard along Gulf Coast

The most recent sat photo of Edouard nearing the Texas/Louisiana coast.

I have a few odds and ends to clear up on this Civic Holiday Monday in Ontario. It is a partly sunny and warmer day, but not without scattered showers again. This will be another unsettled week, with showers and thunderstorms each day till Friday at least.

First and the most important is Tropical Storm Edouard. The storm is moving along the Louisiana coast today and is expected to move into extreme southeast Texas on Tuesday. The storm may reach hurricane strength. In any event rough seas, coastal flooding and about 10 inches of rain are forecast for the area. This is the same region that was affected by both Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Showers and thunderstorms continued in rain ravaged Quebec and Ontario today. The rain in Quebec has turned deadly with two fatalities reported from the flash flooding in the eastern part of the province. Roads have been washed away and homes damaged. Flooding in Montreal on Saturday caused millions of dollars in damages. The heavy rain has also produced serious flooding in New Brunswick.

• Below are some photos I took of the historic Nascar race in Montreal this weekend. They show the second place car of Patrick Carpentier and the top photo is of the pace car leading the field past our vantage point in the rain. It was the first time a points paying event was held in the rain for any of the three major divisions of Nascar. Stock cars typically do not like rain!

The rain could hold off no longer! Lightning flashed just prior to the green flag and continued for hours.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Enough Rain Already!

My frustration with the summer of 2008 has reached the end. I just give up. I was so looking forward to the NASCAR Nationwide Series Race in Montreal this weekend and it, like many other things this year, became the victim of rain. Not only did it rain, but it was a bloody monsoon. The rain began just shortly after the green flag waved at around 3:45pm yesterday. For the first time in NASCAR history they switched to rain tires for a point paying event. They continued in the rain till it became an epic downpour and the race was called at lap 48 with Ron Fellows from Toronto winning. Quebec native Patrick Carpentier placed 2nd and Marcos Ambrose 3rd.

I sat in the pouring rain, wrapped in a green garbage bag, trying to keep the scanner and camera dry. While we were troopers, PJ and me, as were the drivers, crews and ESPN, we just had to give up when the shower turned to an Ark-like downpour. While Dorval measured 4.8mm of rain, radar estimates put the east end thunderstorm amounts from the race track north in the 30-50mm range. The rain caused flooding in the Anjou/St. Leonard area of Montreal with many homes flooded and both Highways 25 & 40 closed.

Flooding was also reported in the eastern Townships of Quebec, eastern Quebec around the Charlevoix region, and Vermont. The forecast today...rain. Unreal! Enough already.