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Harvey Forecast: What Happens and What Comes Next

Harvey Forecast: What Happens and What Comes Next Read Transcript


Well, with us right now is Joe Bastardi.

He's the chief meteorologist with the weather bill

analytics.

And Joe, could you give us your take on this thing?

How come this thing stalled and dumped so much water?

Where'd it all come from?

Well, first of all, as far as the strength of the hurricane

at landfall, I believe it's the seventh strongest

to make landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast.

That area it made landfall in is notorious for major hurricanes.

In fact, I always tell the story of Indianola, Texas.

It was the greatest port on the Gulf Coast in the 1850s.

Two major hurricanes in a row hit it.

It's near where Port Lavaca is.

And down went Indianola.

And they never rebuilt it there again.

And that's how Galveston and Houston took over as the number

one port in the Gulf of Mexico.

That area between Corpus Christi and Galveston

is notorious for major hurricanes.

The last one to hit in there was 1970.

Hurricane Celia went in at Corpus Christi

and had winds to 161 miles an hour at Aransas Pass.

It was even stronger than this.

But Celia kept moving.

Kept moving west.

Carla, when Carla hit in '61, kept moving northwest.

This stalled.

And the reason it stalled is--

and I see storms stall all the time.

In fact, the most famous example of a storm stalling

was 1963 over eastern Cuba, Hurricane Flora.

Dumped 100 inches of rain at Santiago de Cuba in four days.

And Fidel Castro was accusing the United States

of monkeying with the weather to try

to destroy his island to get back at him for the Cuban

Missile Crisis.

This has happened back in '63.

So storms do stall.

You see crazy tracks all the time.

What happened here?

Well, of course, in our pre-season forecasts,

we were saying this is going to be a big year for hits

on the US coast.

Not way out in the Atlantic.

That they would going to try to intensify in,

close to the coast.

Why?

Because we recognize patterns this year

that are similar to years in the past.

So what happened is, storm gets into the Gulf,

like many storms in the Gulf, it goes from nothing

to a big storm in a very short period of time.

This is not unusual.

But when it got into Texas, it was

blocked by what happened with the jet stream.

We have an inordinate amount of cold air across the United

States right now.

So instead of having the usual region, the central part

the United States, that allows these storms to continue

moving west, northwest, had a big trough there.

And what did it do?

It stopped the storm from moving.

So the storm, sitting there.

And now, it's going to come back out over the water.

Fortunately, there's a lot of dry air around it

to inhibit intensification.

Unfortunately, it's getting back out of the water long enough,

so it may have a chance late Tuesday

and Wednesday before it comes back

on shore between Galveston and Port Arthur

to try to intensify again.

And this brings up something that is very, very unusual.

We've had so much rain around the Houston area.

Two feet of rain.

That water is trying to flow into Galveston Bay, of course.

Meanwhile, the southeast winds keep bringing water

into Galveston Bay from the Gulf of Mexico through the inlets.

There is a chance here--

it's something I'm worried about-- that this thing gets

east of Galveston.

The wind turns to the north across Galveston Bay,

and tries to drive the Bay into the city from behind.

So it's almost like a pincer movement.

That's another part of this storm.

We've been looking at this since last week,

and we've been saying-- we think this is going to loop.

And the reason I make that kind of forecast is my dad's

a meteorologist, and he taught me to go back and look

at past tracks.

And I'll tell you what, folks.

If you go back and look at some of the crazy things hurricanes

do, they're not so crazy.

They just respond to the atmosphere.

You would see why this did what it did.

You forecast back in May that the hurricane, the drought

would end this year.

And we'll start to see more of these destructive storms.

How did you find that out?

What was your clue?

It's very interesting.

A lot of the people pushing the global warming issue

don't realize that the warming is mainly

in the northern latitudes.

It's not in the tropics.

And what happens is that distorts the normal pressure

pattern across the globe and hurricanes--

to get big hurricanes, you need high pressure

across the north and lower pressure in the south.

If you have a very, very warm summers across North America

and in the Arctic region, a lot of times

the global wind oscillation, we call

it-- the mean sea level pressures-- are distorted.

So you can get small, compact storms that can intensify.

But if you notice the bigger ones,

like for even Floyd in '99, and Irene.

And even Katrina and Rita, as they came to the coast,

they went from 5s to 3s.

They weakened.

That wasn't happening when the earth was a little bit cooler.

Now I don't disagree with the idea

that the earth has warmed up a little bit.

But I think it's largely natural.

So I don't want to get into that.

But the result of that, no matter what's causing it,

may have had a negative impact on storms hitting the United

States instead of the hysteria that

goes-- oh, it's getting warmer so there are

going to be more hurricanes.

So that's something that's actually in our forecast.

If you go back and sign in our WeatherBELL site,

it will show you why we believed there

would be a different pressure pattern setting up

this year that was conducive to the United States getting hit.

Joe, thank you for your analysis.

It's right smack on.

We appreciate it.

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