Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ida Over Mobile Bay

Tropical Storm Ida made its first U.S. landfall this morning at 6:40 a.m. Eastern on Dauphin Island, Alabama with maximum sustained winds of 45mph. Now the center of circulation is over Mobile Bay about 25 miles south of Mobile, AL. Movement of the storm is to the Northeast at 9 mph, and the center of Ida should move over mainland Alabama this morning. As Ida gets caught up in a mid- and upper-level trough moving into the Eastern U.S. today, it will take a sharp turn to the east. Ida's remnants will produce rainfall totals of 3-6" over much of the Southeastern U.S. into the southern Mid-Atlantic through Thursday. Isolated totals of 8" are possible, especially in the Carolinas.
Ida made landfall as a Tropical Storm, and November landfalling hurricanes are rare. In fact, there have only been five hurricanes to make a U.S. landfall (at hurricane strength) in the month of November. Here are the ones with a record:
Hurricane Kate (1985)
Hurricane #6 (1935)
Hurricane #14 (1916)
Hurricane #8 (1861)
The 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season will officially end November 30. Here's where we stand right now:
9 named storms, 3 became hurricanes (Bill, Fred, & Ida), 2 were major (Bill-Cat 4, Fred-Cat 3)
Average season:
10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 2-3 major
So far as the number of named storms go, we've been average. But El Nino has produced wind shear in the Tropics that frequently disrupted tropical systems just as they were really strengthening. That might account for the below-average number of hurricanes this season. Systems were simply not able to maintain their organization long enough to strengthen to hurricane status, and thus remained weaker.

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