As NorCal continues to swelter under hot and in some place record-breaking temperatures (locally as high as 110-115 in the northern Sac. Valley and 110 in the inland parts of the Bay Area), SoCal remains typically warm. The current heat and weak offshore flow will revert to a more onshore pattern this weekend, and cooler temperatures will prevail statewide. A monsoonal surge of uncertain proprotions is developing as far north as he central coast this PM, and will potentially bring some convective activity all the way to the coast as far north as Santa Barbara. More as this develops.
Tropical Storm Gustav, currently over Jamaica, is expected to accelerate to the N/NW and enter the central Gulf of Mexico while intensifying into a major hurricane. Current model track projections–rather incredibly and very ominously–are clustered around southeastern Louisiana and the New Orleans area. Gustav will likely be at least a catergory 2 hurricane at the point of landfall on the Gulf Coast, and possibly as strong as catergory 4. The New Orleans levee system has yet to totally recover from Hurricane Katrina, which devastated SE LA in 2005. If Gustav comes near NOLA, even as a catergory 2 storm, the damage could once again be incredible. What may be even more distressing, however, is what may follow Gustav. Tropical Storm Hannah, currently meandering over the SW Atlantic Ocean, is forecast to gradually strengthen into a hurricane and threaten the Bahamas (and possibly Florida) over the next 5 days. Some models are indicating that Hannah will make landfall in the Miami area next week as a catergory 2 or stronger storm–possibly a major hurricane. After that…there is a god chance that Hannah will move west across the Gulf of Mexico and turn north–potentially near Louisiana once again. The HWRF model, in particular, forecasts Gustav to hit NOLA as a cat. 2/3 storm on Monday and Hannah to hit NOLA, from a slightly different angle, as a cat. 3/4 storm later in the week.
And…a tropical storm appears to be developing in the Bay of Campeche.
And…a tropical storm may be developing in the Central Atlantic.
And…ominously once again…a very powerful tropical wave currently rolling off of the African continent is expected to developing into a Cape Verde storm–which often reach cat. 3 strength or higher–and possibly threaten the Carribbean and eventually the United States again by day 10.
We are going to be in for a very long two weeks, tropical weather-wise.