Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summer Heat

This summer has already been much hotter than last summer. If you remember back to last year, we saw lots of rain across East Texas so that kept our temperatures from getting too high. In fact, we only hit 100 degrees once at the Angelina County Airport. This year, we have hit triple digits twice with more on the way. This kind of heat can be dangerous, especially to those who do not have air conditioning or fans to keep them cool. However, you can help. Every summer, KSWP does their "Feel the Chill" fan drive. During the months of August and September, you can donate fans and air conditioners for needy families. Drop off locations include the Walmart in Lufkin and Nacogdoches or you can drop them off at the KSWP studios. You can help keep East Texans cool during the heat of summer!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What is that in the Gulf?

For the past several days, there has been a blow up of thunderstorms in the Gulf of Mexico, just off the Louisiana coast. This feature is bringing rain to parts of southeast Texas and may bring some rain around our East Texas lakes area. But what is it? Well, it is NOT a tropical system, even though at times it looks like that. It is a weak upper level low, or a disturbance in the atmosphere. It's slowly drifting westward, but is bumping into the area of high pressure that brought us the 100 degree heat. On Thursday, this feature will be close enough to give us a shot at rain for Livingston, Woodville, and Jasper. For the rest of us, it will be a disturbance to our north that gives us a chance at rain. Keep your fingers crossed because we could sure use the rain.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Earthquake in California

A powerful earthquake rocked California today. Here is the latest from the Associated Press:

A strong earthquake shook Southern California on Tuesday, causing buildings to sway and triggering some precautionary evacuations. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The jolt was felt from Los Angeles to San Diego, and slightly in Las Vegas.

The 11:42 a.m. quake was initially estimated at 5.8 but was revised downward to magnitude-5.4, said seismologist Kate Hutton of the U.S. Geological Survey office in Pasadena. More than a dozen aftershocks quickly followed, the largest estimated at magnitude-3.8. Click here to read more!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Burn Bans

I was hoping we would not have to talk about these just yet, but with dry weather settling in, counties are beginning to be added to the burn ban list. We now have Houston and Sabine counties under the ban, meaning it is illegal to burn anything outside. Over time, if we do not see much rain, I have a feeling more of our counties will be added. Remember, you can always see the latest burn ban map by clicking the weather tap at the top of the page.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Finally Cracking the Century Mark

It's official !! Today was the hottest day of the year so far as the Angelina County Airport hit 100 degrees for the first time this year. Not only did it hit 100 degrees, but it exceeded the century mark as we topped out at 102. The record for this day was 105, set back in 1934. So while no records were set, we did finally crack the triple digit mark. Nacogdoches topped out at 100 for the second straight day.

While it was certainly hot here, it was even hotter in the northern part of the state. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport hit 105 this afternoon, while Waco came in at 103. Look for the heat to hold its grip on us as a ridge of high pressure continues to stay put over the Southern Plains for the next couple of days.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Heat Advisory Through 7pm Monday

The hottest temperatures of the year so far will be with us this weekend and last into early next week. With triple digit heat in place and heat indices ranging from 103-108° the next few afternoons, it will be dangerously hot in the afternoon hours.

As a result of the hot weather, the National Weather Service out of Shereveport has put our central and northern counties under a "Heat Advisory" that runs from 12pm Sunday through 7pm Monday evening.

This means heat index values could stay above 105 for a period of three hours or more, leading to a high threat for heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

The counties under the Heat Advisory include Angelina, Nacogdoches, San Augustine, Sabine, Shelby, Cherokee, Anderson, Rusk, and Panola counties.

I want to emphasize that although our southern counties are not under a Heat Advisory, it will be just as hot in these areas as well. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated.

Also, if you cannot run your air conditioners due to high electric costs, please find a friend or relative to stay with. Also, consider going to the malls, movie theaters, or other public venues to cool off, especially between the hours of 2-6pm.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Photos from Dolly

Photos courtesy of Associated Press

Video of Hurricane Dolly

Dolly Update 4:00 PM

From the National Hurricane Center:


Dolly Now a Category 2 Hurricane!

Dolly is less than 30 miles east of Brownsville and is slowly getting ready to make landfall. The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center has upgraded the storm to category 2 status, with sustained winds now at 100 mph and wind gusts higher than that. The movement is to the northwest at 7 mph and it looks like the eye of the hurricane will move slightly north of Brownsville, moving over South Padre Island. Flooding is a growing concern because of the slow movement. Over 12 inches of rain could fall before the storm weakens and moves west. As reports of damage come in to the weather center, we will pass them on here in the Blog. Stay tuned!

Dolly Update 8:45 AM

Hurricane Dolly is slowly moving towards Brownsville this morning. Landfall is expected by noon. The latest data from the Hurricane Hunters indicates that Dolly is trying to strengthen before the eye moves over land. Winds have now reached 95 mph with gusts over 100 mph. There is a very small window where she could become a category 2 right before landfall. The flooding is a big concern with over a foot of rain is expected in a 24 hour period. Tornadoes have also been reported in the outer rain bands, which is typical in a tropical system. Below are several links to some webcams near the storm.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dolly Update 10 PM

As of the 10 PM advisory, hurricane Dolly is still a category one storm with winds up to 81 mph. She continues to slow down, moving northwest at about 9 mph. Landfall is still expected on Wednesday but at her current speed, landfall make take a while. This will tend to lead to flooding rains, which seems to be the main threat with this hurricane. If you remember back to Tropical Storm Allison, her slow movement caused a devastating flood in southeast Texas. I do not think it will be as bad as Allison, but up to a foot of rainfall is possible.

Once again, the only impact from Dolly here in East Texas will be some outer rain bands leading to scattered storms developing through the day on Wednesday. I hope you receive some rain because by the weekend, the rain goes away and we turn up the heat. Stay with KTRE for the latest on Hurricane Dolly.

The Good and the Bad with Dolly

As Hurricane Dolly pushes towards south Texas, one of the biggest concerns for that area is not the wind or the storm surge. It is the potential for flash flooding as up to 10 inches of rain could fall in the valley of south Texas. This could lead to many high water rescues and flooded homes. The flip side is that this kind of rain would break the extreme drought that currently exist in that part of the state. The map to your left shows that from the Brazos Valley, to Austin, south towards Brownsville is under an exceptional drought. So the rain will help the local farmers but it will come at a price. Hopefully, Dolly will not move too slow but flooding is going to be a big concern come Wednesday.

Hurricane Dolly

As anticipated, Dolly has now become a category one hurricane, with winds sustained at 75 mph. Pressure continues dropping and more strengthening is possible through the night. The outer rain bands are already effecting much of the Texas coast and tropical storm force winds will begin to blow this evening from Corpus Christi, southward to Brownsville. Landfall is still expected around midday on Wednesday near the mouth of the Rio Grande.

For us here in East Texas, I am still only expecting scattered, tropical showers from the outer rain bands. Some of the rain could be heavy at times but the bulk of the rain will stay to our south, closer to the circulation. We will continue tracking Dolly and will have updates later this evening.

Dolly Soon to Become a Hurricane

Early this afternoon, Dolly is on the verge of becoming a category one hurricane. The winds with the latest advisory are up to 70 mph. To be classifies as a hurricane, the winds have to be 74 mph or higher so she is really close. The satellite imagery of the storm looks very good. She has good outflow, a symmetrical shape, and the hint of an eye wall trying to form. My guess is that Dolly will be a hurricane by the 4 PM advisory later today.

Dolly is slowing down some, which all the computer models had been forecasting. Movement is to the northwest at 12 mph, but will more than likely slow to under 10 mph this evening. Landfall is still expected somewhere near Brownsville on Wednesday morning. However, that could change if the storms takes a jog north or slows down even more. The worse part of a hurricane is the northeast quadrant so even with the center of the storm near Brownsville, the winds and storm surge will go all the way north to Corpus Christi.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dolly Update 10:00 PM

Slowly but surely, Dolly is showing signs of better organization late Monday evening. Still just a tropical storm, but she should become a hurricane sometime on Tuesday. Dolly took a westward jog this evening, however, is expected to move back to a west northwest motion. Also, the forward speed should slow to less than 10 mph so it will take some time for Dolly to move ashore. We still expected landfall near the city of Brownsville so keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Even if Dolly is not a major hurricane, she will probably still cause some damage along the southern Texas coast.

Dolly Update 4:00 PM

Tropical Storm Dolly continues spinning in the southwest Gulf of Mexico. She does not look that good on satellite as dry air from the Yucatan is keeping storms from forming in the southeast corner of the circulation. However, as she pulls away from land, that should change and then Dolly is expected to become a category one hurricane. Landfall is still projected to be just north of Brownsville, but it seems like the computer models keep moving slightly northward with the track. So in the end, it could hit closer to Corpus Christi than Brownsville. Either way, south Texas is going to get a lot of rain, winds, and high surf.
For East Texas, the only impact from Dolly we will see is a higher chance for rain on Wednesday. Other than that, all the action will be well south of us. Tune in tonight at 5, 6, and 10 for the latest on Tropical Storm Dolly.

Dolly Update 12:40 PM

Dolly is showing signs of organizing this early afternoon. The center of circulation is easily seen on visible satellite with storms starting to wrap around it. The conditions are very good for Dolly to become a hurricane soon. The winds in the upper levels are very light so wind shear is almost zero and the sea surface temperatures are a few degrees above normal. So the next 24 hours will be interesting to see what happens.
As for the track, the Hurricane Center bumped the official track slightly north, with a possible landfall just north of Brownsville. A hurricane watch has been posted for the lower Texas coast, from Brownsville to Port O'Connor. A tropical storm watch extends as far north as San Luis Pass, just west of Galveston. I agree that the lower Texas coast will see the highest impact from Dolly.

Dolly Update 9:20 AM

Tropical Storm Dolly has crossed the Yucatan this morning and is showing signs of beginning to gain strength. The biggest problem with the storm is that the center of circulation is poorly defined and could be forming farther north than expected. Once this circulation becomes established, Dolly should organize quickly. More than likely, she will become a category one hurricane by Tuesday.

The big question is where does Dolly make landfall? Current forecasts show a possible landfall near Brownsville late Wednesday night. However, the spread between all the computer models show possible hits from Corpus Christi to the northern border of Mexico. So the uncertainty is high on where she could go. How does that effect us here in East Texas? Well, if the storm hit closer to Corpus, we would be closer to the storm and a have a better chance of getting some rain. If she hits south of Brownsville, we might not see any rain and stay hot. So our forecast this week hinges a lot on what Dolly does. I plan to have multiple updates here in the blog so check back often. Also, feel free to leave your comments below by clicking the comments link.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dolly Forms in Western Caribbean

Late this Sunday morning, Tropical Storm Dolly has formed in the western Caribbean Sea, approximately 230 miles to the southeast of Cozumel, Mexico. You can see this storm from the visible satellite perspective this morning. Hurricane Hunters were able to identify a closed low pressure center at the surface, allowing this wave to be upgraded to tropical storm force strength.

There are currently numerous Tropical Storm Warnings all up and down the eastern side of the Yucatan channel. Additional warnings will be posted as the system continues to get better organized.

This is the official forecast track from the National Hurricane Center. Do you remember us showing you the different computer model tracks from the past few days on our newscasts? If so, this matches up fairly well now that the system has strengthened into Tropical Storm Dolly. Right now, Dolly is expected to move over the Yucatan Peninsula on Monday, bringing some heavy rain, gusty winds, and possible mudslides. Depending on how long it stays over land will determine how much it weakens.

For us locally, we will be interested to see what happens when Dolly gets into the western Gulf of Mexico. Sea surface temperatures are plenty warm, and conditions are favorable for Dolly to strengthen once it re-emerges. This will be something to follow as it could have an impact on the Texas coast, and more importantly, our local weather by the middle part of the week. We will have more Blog updates daily on Dolly and make sure to check in once or twice a day for your latest forecast.

Hello Dolly!

After a week of tracking this tropical wave, we now have tropical storm Dolly! She is heading towards the Yucatan and will be in the Gulf of Mexico by Monday. The latest computer model runs show the storm turning more west and heading into Mexico, south of Brownsville. Conditions should be good for Dolly to become a hurricane before landfall. Let me say this, even though it looks like this one will miss most of the Texas coast, things could easily change. Stay tuned to KTRE for the latest and do not forget to check out the Hurricane Center by clicking on the weather tab at the top of your screen. More updates later today.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cristobal Has Formed Off Carolina Coast

We have a brand new Tropical Storm that formed off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina this afternoon. Since we are on our third named storm for the season, it has the "C" name which is Cristobal.

It currently has winds of 40 mph, and is moving off to the northeast at 5 to 10 mph. The biggest threats along the Atlantic coast will be coastal beach erosion from the high waves along with very heavy rainfall. The areas most affected will be the coastal counties stretching from Charleston, SC, farther north to Wilmington and Cape Hatteras, NC.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tropical Depression #3 Forms

As of 10 PM Friday night, tropical depression number 3 is born. This area of low pressure is just off the coast of South Carolina and will be slowly working its way up the east coast. Over the weekend, the system is expected to become a tropical storm and will be given the name Cristobal. As of right now, it is not expected to become a hurricane. The main impacts of this storm will be high surf on the Carolina's coastline and some rain. The worst of the storm will stay off shore. Head over to the Hurricane Center on the weather page to get the latest on the tropics. I still think we will have number 4 in the Caribbean by Saturday or Sunday. Stay tuned!

Which Storm will Form First?

There is a lot going on in the tropics. Bertha has strengthened back into a hurricane this afternoon but is only a problem for shipping channels in the Atlantic. One tropical wave is bringing flooding rains to parts of Central America. An area of low pressure off the Georgia coast is trying to organize into a tropical system. It is bringing lots of rain to that part of the east coast. There is a chance this thing could become a depression or tropical storm, but because it is too close to land, I doubt it will reach hurricane status. I know the residents in the Carolina's need to watch this system very closely.
Now onto our Caribbean disturbance. We first talked about this feature on Sunday when it was in the Atlantic. All signs pointed to this wave become a tropical system. However, because it was moving so fast and there was lots of wind shear on the north side of it, it never developed....until now! The wave and area of low pressure are now in the central Caribbean. Hurricane Hunters are flying into this system on a regular basis so the Hurricane Center is thinking it could develop soon. It is moving west northwest at about 15 mph. Conditions are becoming very favorable in front of it so I expect this to become Cristobal over the weekend.

So why are we making a big deal out of this? The long range, computer models are forecasting this feature to moving into the Yucatan by Monday, then into the western Gulf of Mexico by Tuesday or Wednesday. Where it goes from there is any one's guess but this could impact our forecast for next week. If moisture from the storm heads north into the Texas coast, we could some nice rain. If it heads into south Texas or Mexico, we will stay hot and dry. The bottom line is we need to watch this system very closely through the weekend. We will probably have a better handle on it by Monday. If you have any questions or comments, click the comments link below.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Air Quality Alerts

Growing up in the big city of Fort Worth, when the summer heat settled in, we had to worry about something else....Air Quality. Whenever the winds were calm and temperatures were high, ozone action days would be in place. This happens a lot not only in the DFW area but in most big cities in Texas and the country. Today, I was kind of surprise to see an Air Quality Alert for Tyler and Longview. Yet the graphic to your left shows it. These are issued when ozone levels move into an unhealthy category, which can become a problem for kids, the elderly, and those with allergy problems. They also advise on cutting down traveling and not mowing your yard during certain hours. Since we do not have the amount of traffic or people here in Lufkin/Nacogdoches, air quality is usually not a problem. I just wanted you to be aware if you travel to Tyler, Houston, or the DFW area. For more information, click the link below.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Good Bye Bertha, Hello Cristobal?

Out in the tropics, Bertha continues to pull away from the island of Bermuda and the east coast. Bertha will go down in the record books for the longest lasting tropical system during the month of July. Thankfully, the U.S. coast did not have to deal with Bertha. Closer to home, there is an area of low pressure off the west coast of Florida. It formed off an old cold front boundary but because it is too close to land, it probably won't amount to more than a rain maker for Florida. Farther south towards the Lesser Antilles, this is where our next storm could come from. It is the red circle with the number 2 above it on the graphic in the top left.

The hurricane hunters are scheduled to fly into the system this afternoon. It has been able to maintain flares up of convection around the wave but there has been no evidence of a closed, surface circulation. If they find one, then our next tropical system will be born. The next question is will effect us? Right now, it is impossible to say. Since the storm has not developed, many of the main, global computer models don't even show this system. The image to the left show the hurricane models that are trying to forecast for something that is not there. However, with this feature as far south as it is, my gut tells me it will stay in the Caribbean and move into Central America. We will continue tracking because you never know what could happen. Take Bertha as an example. When she formed, the forecast called for a sooner turn to the north and never becoming a hurricane. She managed to become a category 3 hurricane and did not turn north until days later.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday's Rain Totals

Considering it is summer, I think most of us will take any rain mother nature gives us. Some places received a lot of rain on Monday, including some of our weather watchers. At the airports, Lufkin got an even 2 inches, and in Nacogdoches .67 inches. Not too bad for East Texas but other parts of the state could use our rain. You don't have to travel far to the west before you reach burn ban counties. In the Brazos Valley, they keep adding more and more counties to the burn ban list. That won't happen here unless we hit a long dry spell. Remember, you can see the latest burn ban map by clicking the link under the weather tab at the top of the page.

Weather Update 6:35 PM

The National Weather Service in Shreveport has placed Angelina county under an areal flood advisory until 8:15 PM. This storm has dropped over 1.50" in under an hour at the Angelina County Airport. Minor flooding could occur near creeks and rivers. Also, be careful driving. Remember, if you come across a road that has water over it, Turn Around, Don't Drown. The storm will continue heading towards Lake Sam Rayburn so if you live near the lake, prepare now for heavy rain, lighting, and gusty winds.

Weather Update 5:40 PM

Strong storms are moving into Lufkin from the west. Blinding rain, gusty winds, and some lightning can be expected. Overall, this storm has remained below severe limits but it is still very dangerous. Move indoors and stay there until the storm has passed. The rain is extremely heavy here at the KTRE studios, so I would not drive in this storm. The good news is that some spots could get over .50" of rain, which we need. We will continue tracking these storms as they push southeast at about 20 mph.

The Next Hurricane???

Tropical Storm Bertha continues slowly churning up the waters of the western Atlantic. The forecast calls for her to finally push eastward and begin to dissipate. As we say goodbye, we turn our attention to a strong, tropical wave that is east of the Lesser Antilles. The National Hurricane Center is giving this feature an over 50% chance of developing, and I agree. A lot of the global models are developing this system in the next day or two. The environment ahead of the wave is very good. Low wind shear and warm ocean water should help get this thing started. If it becomes a tropical storm, the next name on the list is Cristobal.
Since the storm has not formed yet, it is impossible to predict where it could hit. The general motion will be west northwest, placing the system in the Caribbean. From there, we do not know. After watching Bertha go from nothing to a category 3 hurricane so quickly, anything is possible. The computer models are not great in forecasting the intensity of tropical systems. The bottom line is that anything can, and will, happen so we need to be aware and prepared. Remember, it only takes one.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Little Relief on the Way

It has been a very hot, July weekend across East Texas as temperatures flirted with the triple digit mark. There is some temporary relief on the way as a July cool front will bring in some clouds and rain showers. That should help cool things off just a bit.

Tonight, we are watching a broken line of storms move into Anderson, Cherokee, and Nacogdoches counties. The stronger storms are located in northwestern Nacogdoches county around the Trawick, Looneyville, and Cushing communities. Most of these storms will tend to weaken as they move into a more stable environment; however, those of you that do get wet tonight could see anywhere from a quarter to one half inch of rain.

If you don't see any rain tonight, don't worry, because we have another chance coming up on Monday.

The chance of rain on Monday will be due to a July cool front inching its way into East Texas. It is this front which has triggered the storms to our north today. With the cool front draped across the area tomorrow, we should see scattered showers and storms develop across the Piney Woods. We get a double bonus as we not only get the rain, but also cooler temperatures. Don't get used to it, though, because we will be heating up by mid-week.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hot Weekend!

Welcome to summer in East Texas! We all expect it to get hot at some point, and that point is now. If you recall, we were spoiled last summer with all the rain and the fact that we only hit 100 degrees once. I believe this summer will be a little hotter. However, it is not the heat, but the humidity that really gets us. Since we are so close to the Texas coast, humidity levels stay high all summer. So when temperatures climb close to 100 degrees, it feels more like 110 degrees! That is the heat index value. The chart to the left shows you how we calculate it. Keep in mind that these readings are taken in the shade so if you are directly in the sun, 100 degrees will feel like 115 degrees! I urge you to be careful if you plan to be outdoors for extended periods of time. Drink lots of water and take frequent breaks. Just think, by September, maybe the first Fall cold front will arrive.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

City of Lufkin

Each month, the city of Lufkin does a program called City Hall Update. It features local officials, news from the city, and community events. It can be seen on cable channel 15 and on Consolidated TV service. You can also watch it online on their website,

Yours truly was an interview on this month's show and I wanted to thank Bill Cameron and host Yana Ogletree for having me on. We talked about my background, what we do here at KTRE, and much more. I hope you get a chance to check it out!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

NBC Buys Weather Channel

NBC Universal, the parent of the NBC network, has agreed to purchase The Weather Channel in a deal that should settle by the end of 2008. According to the Associated Press, NBC Universal will buy the 24-hour weather network for $3.5 billion. The purchase will include other assets from TWC, which is currently owned by Landmark Communications Inc., including the popular website. NBC Universal cites that there are no plans to make significant changes to The Weather Channel and its operations will continue at its Atlanta headquarters.

Insiders suggest that the largest influence this purchase will have is in 'cross-promotions'. In other words, when a major hurricane threatens the United States, don't be surprised to see well-known expert from The Weather Channel appearing on The Today Show. Weather updates during the Olympics and other sporting events with "...brought to you by The Weather Channel" may be common in the future as well. NBC Universal already owns a weather network, 'WeatherPLUS', which ironically was in competition with TWC. NBC Universal also owns the MSNBC and CNBC cable networks. The Weather Channel recently updated it's facilities to broadcast HD programming which is now available on many cable systems.

It's Not the Heat, but the Humidity

Summer is in full effect and it feels very warm outdoors. Daytime temperatures continue to warm well into the 90s, but it feels warmer than that. That is because of the humidity, or moisture, that is in the air. I like to show the dew point values, which indicated at what temperature the air has to be at for 100% saturation. The chart to the left shows you the range of dew points that we see here in East Texas. During the summer, we typically see these values in the 70s, making it feel gross outside. You factor that in with the 90 degree temps, and that leads to heat index values over 100! I don't know about you, but I cannot wait for that first fall cold front. Is it October yet???

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bertha Now Category 3 Hurricane!

This is an example of why forecasting tropical systems is very difficult. Late last week, we were tracking the tropical wave that would become Tropical Storm Bertha. Computer models showed the storm never really gaining strength and curving northward into the middle of the Atlantic. Now, Bertha is a major hurricane, category 3, with winds up to 115 mph! The storm is still heading west northwest, but it does look like it is trying to curve north. We still think the storm will stay away from the east coast of the United States, but the island of Bermuda could get hit hard. Also, as you can tell from above, the computer models are having a hard time with Bertha. In fact, some of the models take her north for a little while then turn her back east, towards the Carolinas. There is still a lot of uncertainty in the extended part of the forecast. The good news for us, she will not make it into the Gulf of Mexico.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Bertha Slowly Strengthening, Could Become a Hurricane

Tropical Storm Bertha has gained some strength this afternoon as winds have gone up from 50 mph to 60mph. At the same time, the surface pressure has dropped slightly from 1000mb to 998mb. When we observe tropical systems, there is typically a direct correlation between wind speeds and surface pressure. As pressure decreases, the wind speed increases and vice versa.

This is the satellite image taken from this afternoon. As you can see, Bertha has become better organized as there is a more concentrated area of showers and storms developing around the center of circulation. The heaviest convection is indicated by the yellow and orange colors. Those colors are indicative of the cloud tops. The colder the cloud tops, the brighter the color, and hence, the more showers and storms there are around the area of low pressure.

This is the best Bertha has looked in the past few days, which is why it has gained a little bit of strength.Tropical Storm Bertha will continue moving west and as it does so, will encounter some warmer sea surface temperatures. Warm waters often fuel these tropical systems, so with that scenario playing out, in combination with light upper level winds, look for Tropical Storm Bertha to possibly strengthen into a Category 1 Hurricane early this week.

When we look at the projected path of storms and the steering currents involved, we look at a plethora of computer models to see the most likely scenario of where the storm may head.
As you can see, these models take Bertha in a west-northwest direction over the next 2 to 3 days before they start to diverge in their own respective paths. Just like anything in weather, the farther you go out in time to forecast, the more uncertainty arises. The key will be when Bertha takes a northern turn. The earlier it happens, the better off everyone will be as it would completely avoid any landmasses. If it stays on its westward trajectory longer than the models expect, then that could pose problems to areas around Puerto Rico extending up to the Bahamas and Bermuda.

Friday, July 4, 2008

July 4th Activities in Your Community

Several of you may be heading out later this afternoon and evening to the many events going on across East Texas.

Here are some of the activities going on in your neighborhood.

Lufkin: From 1 to 4pm, the Annual Independence Day Celebration will be taking place at the Ellen Trout Zoo. There is no cost to get in and the fireworks extravaganza will get underway at 9:15 tonight.
Nacogdoches: Starting at 5pm this afternoon, Nacogdoches' Freedom Festival will get underway. It will include live musical entertainment, food, children's activities, and a whole lot more. The Freedom Festival will take place in downtown Nacogdoches at the Festival Plaza and run until 9:30 tonight.
Palestine: Music and fireworks will be held at Steven Bennett Park by Story Elementary starting at 7:30 this evening. This event will be hosted by the city of Palestine and the Community Chorus and Orchestra.
San Augustine: Festivities will be ongoing both today and tomorrow (July5th) at the downtown Museum just before 6 o'clock.
Crockett: Running all day long, Downtown Crockett will have plenty of daytime activities that include a parade. Festivities end with their fireworks show later on tonight.
Livingston: Starting at 1pm, a Kid Fest will get underway at Anniversary Park. Stay close by as later that night, things will conclude with a fireworks show.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tropical Activity

Hurricane season usually does not pick up until August, September, and October. However, we always have to keep our eyes on the tropics from June through November. Most hurricanes are born from tropical waves that come of the west coast of Africa. This afternoon, there is a very strong wave that has the potential to become a tropical storm in the coming days. If that happens, it will be given the name Bertha. What is unusual about this feature is that we normally do not see hurricanes form this far out in the Atlantic until we get further into the season.

So where will this storm go? The good news is most of the computer models show a gradual turn northward into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, far away from land. However, we will keep tracking this wave and you can to by heading over to our Live Doppler 9 Hurricane Center. Anytime hurricanes threaten, it is a great tool to track the storms and get life saving information.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Huntington Elementary Needs Your Help!

Big Lots is doing a nation wide contest that will award numerous schools money for new playgrounds. It is called Lots2Give. Here in East Texas, we have Huntington Elementary who is in the contest. They recently relocated their playground but during the process of moving it, it fell apart due to old age. So these kids are currently without a playground. However, you can help! Just click the link below and vote for Huntington Elementary. You can vote up to three times a day until July 22nd. Make sure to spread the word to your friends and family!

Click Here to Cast Your Vote for Huntington Elementary!!!

Updated July 4th Forecast

As I am making the forecast this afternoon, I notice a trend with the computer models. They are increasing the moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and thus increasing rain chances for July 4th. If you remember back to last week, we had a chance of storms every afternoon. Some days had more rain than others. This is the kind of weather pattern we are in again. So even though I have bumped up rain chances for Friday, there is a chance you may not see the rain. Right now, I think the best chance for storms will be from Groveton, to Livingston, to Jasper. Here in Lufkin and Nacogdoches, we may see one storm or two but hopefully it will not last long. As I said in my daily discussion, I would have a plan "B" ready to go if you plan to be outdoors on the 4th. The one time we do not want the rain, and we could get a lot. Stay tuned!