Friday, October 4 Forecast Discussion

The major factor in the forecast for this weekend is Tropical Storm Karen and its exact path. One thing is certain, Karen will not be a hurricane at any point. All of the thunderstorm activity of Karen is now well to the east of the center of circulation, leaving it exposed. The wind shear over Karen is keeping storms from developing on the western side of the system, which is keeping Karen on a north-northwest track. The longer this track holds, the closer Karen will come to us. Models that have been forecasting a turn to the east are starting to come back to the west a bit, with a couple of models having Karen make a pass over us once it makes landfall Saturday.

There are really two scenarios I think at this point with Karen and both do spell some impacts for us. The first scenario is Karen maintains its north-northwest track, makes landfall in Louisiana, and re-curves through southern Mississippi, perhaps passing by Laurel and Waynesboro on Sunday morning/afternoon. This could mean additional rainfall for all of us with the added chance that any thunderstorms that would develop could become tornadic. The second scenario is that Karen glances Louisiana near Plaquemines Parish, re-curves along the Mississippi/Alabama coast, and heads inland near Mobile/Pensacola. This track spares us the most intense rainfall, however, we could end up being positioned in the primary inflow rain band to Karen which could get pulled further north with our approaching cold front, meaning more rain and the potential for tornadic thunderstorms.

Our severe threat is very minimal, and I cannot stress that enough, but a landfalling tropical system can produce just about all types of severe weather, so it does mean we need to be weather aware late Saturday through Sunday. The cold front approaching from the west will clear our area late Sunday night into Monday morning, leaving us very cool and dry for next week. Once the front passes, no rain is expected through next week with highs in the upper 70s and low 80s and overnight lows in the upper 40s and lower 50s.

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