Thursday, July 12, 2012

60% of Nation In an Official Drought

Sixty percent of the Contiguous United States (CONUS) is now under an official drought, characterized by D1-D4 conditions or worse. Another 20% of the nation is approaching drought conditions. That 20% is shown in yellow.

We are in the worst drought in recorded history since the Drought Monitor has been working (12 years). I, for one, can confirm that my lawn is either an unhealthy dark green or brown. So, is there any relief in sight?

Total precipitation off the 12z GFS. I apologize for how much of an eyesore it is.
The total precipitation counts off the 12z GFS until hour 384 show good rains heading for the Southeast and Gulf Coast in a good show of an El Nino pattern. However, there looks to be something of a continued lack of good precipitation over the Great Lakes and Midwest, where only a couple inches at most are anticipated.

Total Precipitation off the 0z FIM
Total precipitation values off the 0z FIM earlier today indicate a similar situation to the GFS is being shown, with heavy precipitation in the Southeast, but fairly little precipitation in the Midwest and Great Lakes.

All in all, the models seem to like the idea of a wet Southeast and dry Midwest, which could spell disaster for countless crops already suffering in that area.


Emilia Regains Major Hurricane Status

Hurricane Emilia has regained major hurricane strength in the East Pacific today as she battles her way westward.

Emilia is currently a Category 3 hurricane with maximum wind speeds of 115 MPH and a minimum central pressure reading of 960 millibars. Satellite imagery shows Emilia with a defined eye and strong core that appears to be stronger on the western flank than the east, where the eye seems to be leaning. This lack of a western flank concerns me and leads me to believe that Emilia could be on a weakening trend. If the eye does happen to be pulled more eastward and pulls into whatever force is causing the eastern portion of the system to deteriorate, the hurricane could simply die out.

Upper level winds are not too favorable for hurricane development and sustainability, with shear of roughly 20 knots present in the storm's vicinity. Both factors could be contributing to a loss on the eastern side.

Models predict Emilia to continue on a westward motion and weaken with time. However, after this unexpected strengthening, there is some more wiggle room for the storm to do whatever it wants.