05/27/2018

Storm Potential Tonight and Memorial Day

We saw a couple severe thunderstorms and many more strong storms earlier in the day.   As the sun sets on Sunday and rises on Memorial Day, we don't lose our storm chance. 

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Satellite/radar from today shows the unsettled atmosphere over us today that sparked our storms.  Alberto is spinning up the rain you see in Georgia/South Carolina. With fronts to our north and west and the system southeast of here, our warm and humid air mass is locked in.  That means storms will still be possible tonight and tomorrow. 

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Tonight's storms continue to move south, so the higher threat for storms the rest of this evening will be along and south of the Kentucky parkways.  The atmosphere supports rain/storm pop-ups until midnight. 

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Much like Saturday and Sunday, Monday morning should be dry and partly cloudy.   Also like Saturday and Sunday, storms will start to pop up during the early afternoon on Monday. 

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That storm chance continues until after sunset, just like the last several days.  The areal coverage of the storms doesn't look impressive here, but the forecast models have been under-doing our storm chances all weekend, so I expect to see a few more storms than what this shows. 

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Most of you will stay dry Monday, but not all of you.  AdvanceTrack shows less than 1/10" of rain even for those of you who see storms Monday. 

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We stay hot and humid, too, for Memorial Day.  High temperatures will climb into the upper 80s with dewpoints in the upper 60s and low 70s.  On WDRB News at 10 tonight, I'll track these storm chances for you hour-by-hour to help you plan your holiday.

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-Hannah Strong

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Severe Threat Posted Ahead of Alberto

Say hello to Subtropical Storm Alberto. It is the first named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. In order to be a tropical storm, it needs to have winds of at least 39 mph and stay below 73 mph. It is expected to intensity, but does not look like it will make it to 74 mph. 

What's with the "sub' in front? 

It means it is similar to a tropical cyclone, but as you may have guessed, it is different as well. They are usually a cold core storm in the upper troposphere and the maximum winds generally occur far from the center of the low. It is also usually disorganized with a less symmetric wind field. You can kind of see this when you look at Alberto and compare it to other typical warm core tropical systems. 

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It is expected to strengthen before it makes landfall at the Floridabama shore Tuesday morning. It will begin to rapidly weaken after that, because tropical systems DO NOT like land. They need warm ocean water to survive. 
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The remnants will then make a bee-line for the Ohio River Valley and arrive to our neck of the woods around Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. We will continue to feel the impacts through the end of the week.
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SEVERE THREAT: 

With tropical systems, there is usually a severe threat. Alberto's remnants will bring heavy rain, flash flooding potential, and strong winds. They also typically bring (at least one) brief and weaker tornadoes, particularly on the NE side of the tropical depression. 

The Storm Prediction Center currently has a marginal risk issued for our SE counties for Tuesday only. This would likely be for late in the day. Nothing has been issued for Wednesday yet, but I think it is inevitable we have a storm risk issued for then as well. 

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As Alberto's remnants move northward, it will be weakening, but there will be ample low level wind energy. Notice the mid-level winds during the afternoon on Wednesday, certainly enough for a few brief spin ups, which are common in the wake of a tropical system. 

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Timing: 

We have already discussed the timing quite a bit in this blog, but below are Advancetrak graphic to give you a better picture of the timing of the showers and storms. It will also show you the coverage. This is certainly our best chance at more than just pop up showers and storms in a while. It is not a 100% chance, but a decent shot for a lot of us to see widespread and heavy rain. 

Storms will arrive mainly late on Tuesday.. 

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And continue through Wednesday overnight. At this time, it appears the axis of heaviest rain will be in western KY. 
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Strongest storms will be in the afternoon on Wednesday, because we will be on the NE side of the low. 
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Showers and some storms will continue into Thursday. 

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And we will still feel impacts into Friday! 
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Tropical system are notorious for re-curving and changing direction. We will be keeping an eye and pulse on this system for the next several days and keep you posted! Be sure to check back! 

As for what's to come for your Memorial Day - be sure to check in with Hannah tonight on WDRB News! I will also have more for you bright and early on WDRB in the Morning from 5-9 am and 11:30-12:30 pm! I hope you can join us! 

Let's connect! The links to my social media pages are below! 

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-Katie McGraw 

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05/26/2018

Sub-Tropical Storm Alberto Update

Alberto is a Sub-Tropical Storm, the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season.  The fact that it is a tropical storm means sustained winds are between 39 mph and 73 mph.  You may have not seen the "sub" at the beginning before.  Here's a definition from the National Hurricane Center of a subtropical cyclone:

"A non-frontal low-pressure system that has characteristics of both tropical and extratropical cyclones. Like tropical cyclones, they are non-frontal, synoptic-scale cyclones that originate over tropical or subtropical waters, and have a closed surface wind circulation about a well-defined center. In addition, they have organized moderate to deep convection, but lack a central dense overcast. Unlike tropical cyclones, subtropical cyclones derive a significant proportion of their energy from baroclinic sources, and are generally cold-core in the upper troposphere, often being associated with an upper-level low or trough. In comparison to tropical cyclones, these systems generally have a radius of maximum winds occurring relatively far from the center (usually greater than 60 n mi), and generally have a less symmetric wind field and distribution of convection."

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Alberto threatens the Gulf coast states with heavy rain, gusty wind, storm surge, inland flooding, and isolated tornadoes/water spouts.  The remnants of this system will make it to Kentuckiana, but it will not carry the same threats by the time it gets here. 

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We will see breezy and rainy conditions Wednesday and Thursday.  Alberto will be a weak low pressure (not a tropical storm) when it gets here, but it will still bring an inch or two of rain.  We expect higher rain totals south and smaller amounts north since this system is moving up from the south. 

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Below is text discussion from the National Hurricane Center's latest update issued at 5 PM Eastern:

Before departing the storm, the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft flew near the low-level cloud swirl that became apparent in visible satellite imagery over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico late this morning. Data from the plane indicate that the center had reformed in that location and that the pressure had fallen to 999 mb. The aircraft did not sample the area to the east of the new center, but based on recent satellite classifications and surface observations the initial intensity remains 35 kt for this advisory.

The primary mechanism for intensification appears to be a shortwave trough moving southeastward into the larger negatively tilted trough over the eastern Gulf, which should cause a cutoff low to form during the next 24 hours. This is expected to result in deepening of Alberto while it moves generally northward over the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday and Sunday night. The shear is forecast to decrease as Alberto become co-located with the upper-level low and the system could transition to a more tropical cyclone-like structure before landfall. The NHC intensity forecast once again calls for steady strengthening through 36 h, but shows little strengthening after that time due to the possibility of dry air intrusion.

The system has moved generally northward during the past 24 hours, however, the reformation of the center today makes the initial motion estimate more uncertain than normal. Alberto should move northward to north-northeastward tonight, and then turn north-northwestward and decelerate on Sunday and Sunday night as it moves around the eastern side of the trough/cutoff low. The dynamical models remain in good agreement on this scenario but have shifted eastward once again. The interpolated guidance models lie a bit west of the model fields due to the more northwestward 1800 UTC initial position of Alberto. As a result, the NHC track is along the eastern edge of the guidance envelope as a compromise between the ECMWF/GFS model fields and trackers.

The new NHC track forecast has required the issuance of a Tropical Storm Warning for a portion of the west coast of Florida and a Tropical Storm Warning for a portion of the northern Gulf Coast.

KEY MESSAGES:

1. Regardless of its exact track and intensity, Alberto is expected to produce heavy rainfall and flash flooding over western Cuba, southern Florida and the Florida Keys. Rainfall and flooding potential will increase across the central U.S. Gulf Coast region and over much of the southeastern United States beginning Sunday and will continue into next week.

2. Tropical-storm-force winds and hazardous storm surge are possible along portions of the central and eastern U.S. Gulf Coast beginning on Sunday, including areas well east of the track of Alberto's center. Residents in the warning and watch areas are encouraged not to focus on the details of the forecast track of Alberto and should follow any guidance given by their local government officials.

3. Dangerous surf and rip current conditions will likely spread northward along the eastern and northern Gulf Coast through Monday.

They also updated a Tropical Storm Watch in Florida and Alabama to a Tropical Storm Warning as the confidence grows in where Alberto will make landfall.  Watch for updates on my social media pages using the links below. 

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-Hannah Strong

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UPDATE: Memorial Day Weekend Forecast

There is an upper level disturbance that will cross over Kentuckiana today. This will increase our storm potential starting today and will continue through the weekend. It will not rain all day, every day though. There will be some dry time too. 

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Today: 

A few stray showers are possible during the first half of the day. In fact, we have already seen a few this morning. They fell apart as quickly as they developed - perfect examples of pulse type showers. 

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By mid-afternoon, showers and storms become more numerous. The coverage looks to be best today, but they are still hit or miss. To be completely honest, the data has pulled back just a hair compared to yesterday. 

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They will likely be scattered storms and will continue through the evening. The best chance looks to be in our eastern counties. Organized severe weather is not expected, but there could be heavy downpours with any storm, gusty winds and frequent lightning.  Storms will start to taper off through the overnight hours. 

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Sunday: 

After the storms overnight, Sunday morning looks to start off mainly dry, with a mix of sun and clouds. Temps in the 60s and low 70s. 
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There is still a chance for some shower and storms to develop on Sunday, but the coverage looks to be a little less than today. These will be heat driven showers and storms. 
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They are most likely from 2-8 pm. 

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Memorial Day: 

The chance for rain is not zero, but it is fairly isolated to scattered. I have upped the chance for rain, just slightly, compared to yesterday's forecast and blog. It is now a 30% chance for showers and storms. 

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This will be mainly in the afternoon and evening and also looks to be most likely in our southern counties in central and southern KY. 
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Showers will wrap up Monday night into Tuesday morning. On Tuesday, we will be turning our attention to Alberto. It looks like it will impact us by mid-week, bringing a better chance for rain for more people. 

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Sticky Icky 

It will be sticky and warm too this weekend.  Once dew points reach the low 70s, the humidity becomes very noticeable and is considered "miserable" on our muggy meter. Today we are "steamy". Tomorrow and Monday I think we will be feeling "miserable".

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Highs will be in the mid to upper 80s, but with higher dew points, it will feel warmer - like the mid to low 90s. Hello unofficial summer! 

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We will be making subtle changes to the forecast the entire weekend and give you hour by hour details. Be sure to join us this evening on WDRB News and yours truly tomorrow from 6-9 am! See you then! You can also find me on social media! The links to my pages are below! 

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-Katie McGraw 

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05/25/2018

Shower and Storm Outlook for Holiday Weekend

We have been dry the last few days, but as humidity increases, shower and storm chances will return - just in time for Memorial Day Weekend.  It will be sticky and warm too. Highs will be nearing 90 and feel like the low 90s.  Once dew points reach the upper 60s and low 70s, the humidity becomes very noticeable and is considered "miserable" on our muggy meter.

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There is a weak warm front and upper level disturbance that will slowly make its way toward Kentuckiana, increasing moisture (dew points) over the next day. This will increase our storm potential starting today and will continue through the weekend. It will not rain all day, every day though. There will be some dry time too. 

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Today: 

There is an air quality alert in effect until midnight. Limit outdoor time, especially if you have young kids, are elderly or have breathing problems. Most of the day will be dry, but late afternoon and evening we could see a stray shower/storm or two. 
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This will continue through this evening and tonight. Lows will be in the low 70s. 
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Saturday: 

The morning looks to be dry. By mid-afternoon, showers and storms return. The coverage looks to be best on Saturday. So keep that in mind for your outdoor plans. They will still be hit or miss. 
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These scattered storms will continue through the evening. Organized severe weather is not expected at this time, but there could be heavy downpours with any storm, gusty winds and frequent lightning. 
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Storms will start to taper off by Saturday night. 
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Sunday: 

Like Saturday, Sunday morning looks mainly dry. There is still a chance for some shower and storm activity on Sunday, but the coverage looks to be a little less. 

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You have a better chance to dodge showers on Sunday. 

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Memorial Day: 

The same goes for Monday and perhaps an even better chance to stay dry compared to Sunday. 

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The chance for rain is not zero, but it is fairly isolated.

We will also be turning our attention to a new system that will be churning in the Gulf of Mexico at this time. It could impact us by mid-week, bringing a better chance for rain. 

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We will be making subtle changes to the forecast the entire weekend and give you hour by hour details. Be sure to join Marc this evening and yours truly this weekend from 6-9 am! See you then! You can also find me on social media! The links to my pages are below! 

Katie McGraw's Facebook Page

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-Katie McGraw 

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05/24/2018

NOAA's 2018 Hurricane Season Outlook

SUMMARY:

For the upcoming 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30,  NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a 75-percent chance that it will be near- or above-normal.

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OUTLOOK DETAILS:

Forecasters predict a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season for the upcoming hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to November 30.

“With the advances made in hardware and computing over the course of the last year, the ability of NOAA scientists to both predict the path of storms and warn Americans who may find themselves in harm’s way is unprecedented,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The devastating hurricane season of 2017 demonstrated the necessity for prompt and accurate hurricane forecasts.”

NOAA’s forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes. 

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The possibility of a weak El Nino developing, along with near-average sea-surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, are two of the factors driving this outlook. These factors are set upon a backdrop of atmospheric and oceanic conditions that are conducive to hurricane development and have been producing stronger Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995.

“NOAA’s observational and modeling enhancements for the 2018 season put us on the path to deliver the world’s best regional and global weather models,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction “These upgrades are key to improving hurricane track and intensity forecasts, allowing NOAA to deliver the best science and service to the nation.”


Video Credit: usweathergov

TECHNOLOGY & FORECASTING: 

NOAA’s suite of sophisticated technologies – from next-generation models and satellite data to new and improved forecast and graphical products – enable decision makers and the general public to take action before, during, and after hurricanes, helping to build a more “Weather-Ready Nation.” New tools available this year to assist in hurricane forecasts and communications include:

  • NOAA’s fleet of earth-observing satellites is more robust than ever with the successful launch of the GOES-17 satellite in March. This satellite, along with the GOES-16 satellite – now GOES-East – contribute to a comprehensive picture of weather throughout the Western Hemisphere, allowing forecasters to observe storms as they develop.

  • The new polar-orbiting satellite, NOAA-20, will join the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite and use a suite of sophisticated instruments to gather high-resolution data from around the globe to feed NOAA’s weather models, driving the 3-7 day weather forecast that is critical to preparedness and effective evacuations.

  • The National Weather Service will run a version of the Global Forecast System (called FV3 GFS) with a new dynamic core alongside the current GFS model – often referred to as the American model – during the 2018 season. This will mark the first dynamic core upgrade to NOAA's flagship weather model in more than 35 years, representing the first step in re-engineering NOAA’s models to provide the best possible science-based predictions for the nation.

  • NOAA’s hurricane-specific model – the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast system – will be upgraded to offer greater resolution than ever before, increasing model resolution from 1.2 miles to 0.9 miles (2 km to 1.5 km) near the center of a storm. Additionally, the Hurricanes in a Multi-scale Ocean coupled Non-hydrostatic model was first implemented in 2017 and will undergo upgrades for the 2018 season to include greater resolution, new physics and coupling with ocean models.

  • NOAA’s National Hurricane Center will make the Arrival Time of Tropical-Storm-Force Winds graphics operational for this hurricane season. One graphic displays the “earliest reasonable” arrival time of tropical-storm-force winds, at which point further preparedness activities could be hindered. A second graphic displays the “most-likely” arrival time of tropical-storm-force winds.

PLANNING AHEAD:

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"Preparing ahead of a disaster is the responsibility of all levels of government, the private sector and the public," said acting FEMA Deputy Administrator Daniel Kaniewski. "It only takes one storm to devastate a community so now is the time to prepare. Do you have adequate insurance, including flood insurance? Does your family have a communication and evacuation plan? Stay tuned to your local news and download the FEMA app to get alerts, and make sure you heed any warnings issued by local officials.”

NOAA will update the 2018 Atlantic seasonal outlook in early August, just prior to the peak of the season.

PACIFIC OUTLOOK:

In addition to the Atlantic hurricane outlook, NOAA also issued seasonal hurricane outlooks for the eastern and central Pacific basins. An 80 percent chance of a near- or above-normal season is predicted for both the eastern and central Pacific regions. The eastern Pacific outlook calls for a 70 percent probability of 14 to 20 named storms, of which 7 to 12 are expected to become hurricanes, including 3 to 7 major hurricanes. The central Pacific outlook calls for a 70 percent probability of 3 to 6 tropical cyclones, which includes tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes.

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-Katie McGraw 

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05/23/2018

When to Expect the First Named Tropical System

Hurricane season starts in just a little over one week, and we are tracking a low pressure moving toward the Gulf of Mexico.  The National Hurricane Center has steadily been increasing their chances over the last few days that this develops into a tropical disturbance of some sort.  Currently it is at 60% chance of formation.  If it does come together, it would be named Alberto. There are six lists of hurricane names that are cycled through.  However, the names of especially damaging storms are retired to avoid confusion when they are referred to in the future.  Each list starts with the letter "A" and works in order through the English alphabet, so the "A" storm is always the first named storm of the year.  The average date for the first named system in the Atlantic is July 9 (from NHC data 1966-2009). 

Remember, just because a storm gets a name does not mean it will impact the United States.  Tropical systems are named to help avoid confusion.  In the past they were referenced by latitude/longitude which doesn't really help the public.  The World Meteorological Organization puts together the lists, so all sources use the same name for the same storm. 

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Michael Lowry, now a Strategic Planner for FEMA and formerly a hurricane specialist with The Weather Channel, tweeted, "Since 1960 the earliest forming named storm was Alex in 2016 (January 12th), and the latest forming storm was Arlene in 1967 (August 30th)."  He added that the first named storm occurring outside official hurricane season (June 1 - November 30) happens roughly every 4-5 years.  If this low pressure headed toward the Gulf were to become Alberto, it would be a little earlier than normal but certainly not unusual.

Below is the discussion from the National Hurricane Center released with this map above about potential development in the Atlantic this week:

For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:

  1. A broad surface low centered near the coast of northeastern Belize continues to produce a large area of cloudiness and showers extending from the northwestern Caribbean Sea across Cuba and into the Florida Straits. Little development is expected during the next couple of days due to strong upper-level winds and proximity to the Yucatan Peninsula. However, environmental conditions are then forecast to become more conducive for development, and a subtropical or tropical depression could form this weekend over the eastern or central Gulf of Mexico. Regardless of development, locally heavy rainfall is possible across western Cuba and the Cayman Islands during the next few days, and over much of Florida and the northern Gulf Coast during the weekend. For more information on the heavy rain threat, please see products issued by your local weather office. The next Special Tropical Weather Outlook on this system will be issued by 800 PM EDT.
    * Formation chance through 48 hours...low...near 0 percent.
    * Formation chance through 5 days...medium...60 percent.

Thursday, May 24, the National Hurricane Center will release their official outlook for this hurricane season. They will evaluate whether this season will be more or less active than average.  Watch the blog for updates on their outlook.

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-Hannah Strong

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Air Quality Alert Issued for Thursday

An Air Quality Alert has been issued by The NWS in Louisville, The Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

It is in effect for tomorrow from 7 am until 12 am for metro Louisville. This includes Jefferson, Bullitt, Oldham, Floyd, Clark Counties.

This is a CODE ORANGE, which means it only impacts some individuals. It is unhealthy for sensitive groups and they may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected.

Read more about the alert below. 

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Sensitive groups include: The elderly, children, persons with asthma or other breathing problems and persons with lung and heart disease.

People in these groups are advised to limit their outdoor activities to reduce their exposure to ozone and particulate pollution.
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For more information, visit the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District's website or the Indiana Department of Environmental Management at their website.

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-Katie McGraw 

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Holiday Weekend Sneaky Peek Shows Problems

From Jude Redfield...

    The dew point drop is on, but it will be brief. Dew points in the low 60s this morning fall into the 50s tonight and tomorrow. You might even be able to open the windows tonight. Jungle air races back for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Get ready to sweat!

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    Expect mostly cloudy skies at times this weekend, but temps will be on the warm side. This combined with sultry air makes it perfect to swim. Unfortunately some areas will experience more of the annoying pop up storms similar to what we've had over the last week. Some get drenched, some get not much or nothing at all. A pattern like this makes it difficult to have a plan set in stone right now. This means a game time decision Saturday-Monday. So far nothing suggests all day rain outs.

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    Locally heavy rain and frequent lightning will be the main hazards with the scattered weekend storms.

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    The greatest potential for coverage sets up in the afternoon and evening.

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    If you have outdoor plans my advice is to check in daily with the weather team. We are constantly monitoring new information to help lock in the most likely times for rain. -Jude Redfield-

05/22/2018

2 TIMES! You Have A Couple Chances To See The ISS Tonight...

Looking into the night sky and seeing the International Space Station fly overhead is mind-blowing! Just think, you are watching something that is 230 miles above you, flying at nearly 5 miles per second. If you've never taken the opportunity to check it out, it's worth a few minutes of your time.

How To View The International Space Station

The first pass will occur at 9:33 PM and lasts for 6 minutes. Look about 2/3rd's up in the horizon with a max height of 63 degrees...

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The second pass will occur at 11:10 PM and lasts for 5 minutes. This time you should look low with a max height of only 18 degrees...

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-Rick DeLuca

Rick

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