Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Cup Runeth Over For Some

Look at the US Drought Monitor data from last Tuesday -- in particular, the bullseye over the Smoky Mountains.

I will post the new data once it updates, reflecting moisture from Fay.

The footprint of rainfall from Fay as the remnants push northeast over the mid-Atlantic is amazing.

The drought stricken area is really loving all this moisture.

Look at Tuesday's CoCoRaHS map, then look at this drought map above.

On Tuesday, western N. Carolina saw the bullseye of precipitation. The observer near Taylorsville said the rain fell so hard it was like a hydro-blaster hitting the roof!

An observer near Weaverville said it was the most rain ever recorded since being a CoCoRaHS volunteer.

I know that day will rank right up there with other memorable moments, such as a first date!! SERIOUSLY!! It is exciting stuff!

A Kannapolis observer said flooded roads and more rain coming -- a real CoCoRaHS day!

Tomorrow's maps will reflect more rain for the region, but the heavy rain core should shift up into Virginia.


Tropical Storm Gustav should once again achieve hurricane status today and could grow rapidly once it hits the straits between Jamaica and Cuba.

Forecasts take it into the Gulf of Mexico as a major hurricane and aim it somewhere between Houston and Mobile.

We all really need to keep an eye on this one!

Today's Lesson

Yesterday we talked about latent heat. It is important because it is a source for atmospheric energy.

To recap, energy leaves water through evaporation and is "hidden" or trapped in water vapor molecules.

These molecules get swept away by winds and become airborne in the atmosphere.

As the water vapor rises to high altitudes where the air is colder, the vapor changes into liquid and ice cloud particles.

During these processes, a ton of heat energy is released into the environment, serving as the fuel for the weather we see here on the ground. (i.e. hurricanes, thunderstorms, etc.)

Now you see the importance of the condensation-transportation-evaporation mechanism for the relocation of heat energy.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Chris. Your discussion begins to 'open the shroud of mystery' for those of us amatuers who don't understand the mechanics of storm development, particularly hurricanes. It is good you eventually put the technical discussion of "latent heat" & energy in the context of storm development to help keep us interested.