AL93 (Invest projected to impact Florida), Sat 26 Aug

TLDR: There is a disturbance near the Yucatan peninsula that the global models are forecasting to become a tropical system over the next couple of days as it moves towards Florida. Probably a depression, likely a Tropical Storm, outside chance a weak hurricane. For coastal Georgia and the South Carolina Lowcountry, either way looks like nothing dangerous, just rain and maybe breezy, but depending on timing higher than normal tides. We should have a better picture by Monday morning, with Wedesday the big day for Florida, overnight and Thursday points north.

As of Saturday Morning, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) gives invest area AL93 a 60% chance of becoming a depression in the next 48 hours, and a 90% chance within the next week. Right now it is forecast to sit near the Yucatan Peninsula for the next couple of days before heading north towards the Florida Panhandle. That said, my guess is advisories will start by Monday at the latest if trends continue even if it hasn’t reached depression status. Why? Because there isn’t much time before it impacts Florida and they need time to raise watches and warnings, and it might trigger some evacuations of very low lying areas right on the coast.

Here is what the track models look like this morning. The usual suspects (US GFS, European ECM, and Canada’s CMC) aren’t lined up too tight but they all have AL93 becoming a tropical storm over the Gulf and landing somewhere in Northwest Florida:

click any image to enlarge.

Of course the track line is just one piece of the puzzle that only tells you (sort of) “where”; the other bigger question is “how bad.” Here is the TAOS/TC impact swath using the GFS model as a guide:

This model is probably overestimating the extent of the wind field, but this scenario would trigger widespread light damage (trees down, power outages, that sort of thing) across a wide swath of Florida and Southwest Georgia.

It’s still pretty early for a forecast, but as of today here’s what it looks like: Right on the coast near landfall, depending on the intensity, storm surges of a couple of feet above normal high tides can be expected. I wouldn’t expect widespread evacuations, but there will be disruptions across Florida. There will be power outages, trees down, mobile homes in particular are vulnerable. This kind of system can spawn a tornado or two, so depending on the exact track parts of Florida and Southwest Georgia might get a few of those, certainly warnings.

For Coastal Georgia and the Low Country (or Lowcountry if you prefer) of South Carolina, by far the most likely impacts no matter the exact track and intensity are rain and maybe some gusty winds, nothing worse than we’ve had already this summer during thunderstorms, only of a bit longer duration. In Savannah, starting Wednesday morning through Thursday afternoon look rainy and gusty; expect that about 6 to 8 hours earlier towards Brunswick, and six or so hours later up towards Charleston. The only real concern for those areas are the high tides – spring tides associated with the Full Moon are coming up this week, so several days of sustained wind out of the east can add a couple of feet to already high water levels, so the usual areas that flood can anticipate that. No need to panic over that, again we’ll know more by Monday so if that looks likely time to prepare. Again, it’s worth revisiting your hurricane plan (link to FEMA), but otherwise this is something to watch but nothing to get super worried over. On my scale, it is “hazardous but not dangerous with a little common sense.”

This weekend happens to be a pre-planned “tax free hurricane supplies” weekend in Florida, so if you are willing to brave the hordes of mindless shoppers and need something, grab it before the insanity really starts. Well, more insanity, we are talking about Florida 😛 …

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  1. Thank you for this more realistic look at AL93. If we are only relying on the weather reports, we will need to lay in supplies for “the big one”. I am all about being prepared, but really appreciate the common sense approach you take. I don’t want to dig into my supply of Vienna Sausages too early in hurricane season!

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