About Tyler Eliasen

Tyler Eliasen joined the FOX 13 team as a meteorologist in July 2017. You can see him during weekend evening newscasts and filling in during the week.

Ophelia Soon To Be Our 10th Hurricane Of The Season

Tropical Storm Ophelia continues to get organized and will soon become our 10th hurricane of 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. Sea-surface temperatures in this part of the Atlantic Ocean aren’t incredibly warm, but upper-level winds are favorable for slow intensification.

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Ophelia will head east-northeast over the next few days and eventually make more of a northward turn through the weekend. It is currently forecast to stay west of Portugal this weekend, before bringing gusty winds and rain to Ireland early next week.

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It has been a season for the record books so far. Through today, October 11th, we’ve had 15 named storms – 9 of which have been hurricanes, and 5 of those 9 became major hurricanes (category 3 or higher). On average through this date, we only have 9 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes.

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To add to that, the 9 hurricanes we’ve had this season have been consecutive – Franklin to Nate. The last time we had 9 or more back to back hurricanes was 1893!

This season has been remarkable in so many ways and there’s still another 50 days to go before it’s over. Let’s hope it stays quiet until then.

Hurricane Nate Strengthens; Races Towards The Central Gulf Coast

Nate became the 9th consecutive hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic season Friday night. According to Dr. Klotzbach of Colorado State University this is the most consecutive hurricanes in the Atlantic since 1893. Nate continues to intensify over the warm Gulf of Mexico with a defined central dense overcast. An eye may be forming Saturday morning. Upper level winds favor further intensification too, and Nate is now projected to make landfall in southern Mississippi late Saturday evening as a category 2 hurricane. As of 11 AM, max sustained winds are at 90 mph as Nate races north-northwest at 26 mph. The only saving grace for Nate is that there is not much time left before landfall for long-term further strengthening. Hurricane Hunters are out there non stop. Data shows the strongest winds are felt east of its center. Hurricane force winds only extend out 25 miles from the center. This spares New Orleans from the worst wind. Spin up tornadoes are likely through Sunday morning in the right northeast quadrant. Tropical storm conditions will reach the Tennessee Valley by Sunday night. Nate will become a depression by Monday and bring a stream of steady rain through the Northeast through early Tuesday.

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Nate will bring life threatening storm surge to the central Gulf coast. The greatest storm surge will be near landfall and to areas just east. This includes coastal Mississippi, Alabama, and the western Florida Panhandle. Here is a breakdown of the significant storm surge threat as of the 11 AM advisory from the National Hurricane Center:

Mouth of the Mississippi River to the Mississippi/Alabama border-7
to 11 feet
Mississippi/Alabama border to the Alabama/Florida border, including
Mobile Bay-6 to 9 feet
Morgan City, Louisiana to the mouth of the Mississippi River-4 to
6 feet
Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line-4 to 6
feet
Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass, Florida-2 to 4 feet
Indian Pass to Crystal River, Florida-1 to 3 feet

Gulfport and Biloxi are especially vulnerable to coastal flooding. A storm surge of 12-15 feet is possible here.These areas are no stranger to big coastal flooding events from hurricanes, including Katrina in 2005 and Camile in 1969.

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Nate will also bring freshwater flooding to the U.S. It is a fast mover, though. While southeast Louisiana will see 1-4″+, southern Alabama could pick up 6-10 inches of rain. The potential for heavy rain moves through the Tennessee Valley Sunday and the Northeast Monday. The graphic below is courtesy NOAA. It shows possible rainfall totals through Tuesday morning.

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Nate Strengthening; Central Gulf Coast Bracing For Direct Impact

Tropical Storm Nate has been back out over open water today and slowly getting better organized. At 8pm Friday, the storm was located about 90 miles NE of Cozumel and racing NNW at 22 mph. It will slide past the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula and into the southern Gulf tonight.

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The storm still lacks an inner core, but there is still plenty of time for one to develop. If and when that happens, the environment is favorable for rapid intensification to occur – which the National Hurricane Center made note of in their afternoon discussion. As of now, the NHC is expecting Nate to become a hurricane before making landfall on the LA/MS coast late Saturday night.

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Nate will bring with it the full gamut of impacts that you would expect with a land-falling tropical system.

Heavy Rain:

Nate is a rather fast-moving system, so freshwater flooding is likely to be less of an issue than coastal flooding due to storm surge along the Gulf Coast. 3-6″ with isolated amounts of 10 inches is possible from the central Gulf Coast states into the eastern Tennessee Valley and southern Appalachians through this weekend. This may result in flash flooding in some areas.

Storm Surge:

Life-threatening storm surge flooding is likely along portions of
the northern Gulf Coast. The hardest hit areas will depend on the exact track of Nate as it comes ashore, but right now the highest storm surge numbers are projected to be in coastal Mississippi. Places like Gulfport and Biloxi are all too familiar with devastating storm surge thanks to benchmark storms like Katrina (2005) and Camille (1969). Current projections have 10-12’+ of storm surge in these areas. A storm surge of even 4-6′ may stretch as far east as Pensacola, FL.

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Tornado Threat:

Land-falling tropical systems are notorious for quick-moving, weak tornadoes and Nate will be no different. Tornadoes in tropical systems are most often found in the northeastern quadrant of the storm, so in the case of Nate, that puts areas from extreme SE Mississippi through the Florida Panhandle and much of south Alabama at highest risk.

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We’ll be monitoring the progress of Nate through the weekend, so be sure to check back here for updates.

Nate Headed North; Yucatan Peninsula Up Next; Central Gulf Coast This Weekend

As of 8pm Thursday, Tropical Storm Nate was located near the coast of Honduras. Sustained winds were at 40 mph. The system has been battling some wind shear today, as well as land interaction with Central America, but it will once again move into open water in the western Caribbean late tonight. Further organization is strengthening is likely over the next 24 hours.

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Heavy rains have fallen across parts of Nicaragua and Honduras. Flash flooding and mud slides remain a possibility in these areas over the next day or so.

Up next is the Yucatan Peninsula. Nate is forecast to be near hurricane intensity when it approaches the Yucatan late Friday, bringing direct
impacts from wind, storm surge, and heavy rainfall. A tropical storm
warning and a hurricane watch are in effect for a portion of this
area.

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Over the last 24 hours models have come into much better agreement regarding Nate’s track into the U.S. this weekend. The 12Z Euro run today actually fell more into line with the GFS, which all along has indicated a weaker storm tracking further west into Louisiana. While there are still some questions in regard to intensity, the National Hurricane Center is still expecting Nate to become a hurricane in the Gulf before making landfall along the central Gulf coast late Saturday night/early Sunday morning. Those along the Louisiana coast, eastward into the Florida Panhandle, should monitor the progress of Nate closely as we head into the weekend.

Other than churned up seas along Florida’s west coast and breezy SSE winds, Nate will have no direct impacts across the Florida Peninsula. However, scattered showers and storms are in the forecast through the weekend.

Soon-To-Be Nate Headed For Gulf This Weekend

At 5pm Wednesday, Tropical Depression 16 was located just off the coast of Nicaragua in the western Caribbean and was moving NW at 7 mph. This system is expected to become Tropical Storm Nate within the next 24 hours.

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Through the end of the work week, Nate will head north, past the Yucatan Peninsula, and into the southern Gulf by early Saturday. Other than some land interaction with Central America, there isn’t a lot working against this system in the short-term. Water temperatures are in the mid 80s and upper-level winds are favorable for further strengthening over the next 2-3 days. Nate is currently forecast to become a hurricane by Saturday afternoon and move into the Panhandle on Sunday.

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There has been a pretty wide-spread between our two most reliable models, the GFS and Euro so far. The GFS currently favors a faster moving, weaker system, tracking further west into Louisiana. The Euro has been insisting on a stronger storm, tracking further east into the Florida Panhandle. The differences between the two are understandable, given the fact that this is still a fairly weak system. Over the next day or two, we can expect to see better agreement between the two as the storm develops further.

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A track further west would greatly reduce impacts in the Tampa bay area, while a track further east would bring storm surge, heavy rain and the possibility of tornadoes. Stay with us over the next few days as we fine tune the forecast over the next few days.

 

Weak Low Moving Near Florida This Weekend; Tropical Development Possible

As we get set to close out the work week, we’re watching an area of disturbed weather central Cuba. The National Hurricane Center is currently giving this a 50% chance of development over the next few days as it moves northward and eventually up the east coast of Florida.

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A weak area of low pressure is likely to form through the day on Friday as this disturbance moves over the Florida Straits. Any time you have an area of low pressure in a favorable environment over very warm water, it has to be watched closely. That being said, even if we do see something develop, it would likely be weak with minimal impacts. The one thing we can count on though is increased rain chances across most of the state through the weekend and into early next week. Rain totals will be on the order of 1-3″ across a lot of Central and South Florida, with isolated higher amounts possible especially in South Florida.

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We’re getting into the time of year when ‘homegrown’ activity in the Gulf of Mexico and Western Caribbean become more prevalent. Fitting into that mold, many models as of late have hinted at lowering pressure across the western Caribbean late next week. It’s something you’ll hear us talk more about as we get closer to that time frame, but for now it is just reminder that hurricane season is not over and we need to stay prepared. Hopefully we’ll get through the next few weeks unscathed and we’ll be home free, as things quiet down greatly in November.

Maria Ready To Race Out To Sea; Looking Ahead To October

Overnight Tuesday into early Wednesday, Maria brought tropical storm conditions to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The storm stayed about 150 miles offshore as it passed by, but large swells created dangerous rip currents and a storm surge of 2-4′, which in some cases resulted in minor coastal flooding.

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Maria is a category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 mph as of 11am Wednesday. Thanks to a trough digging into the northeast, Maria will take a sharp right hand turn over the next 24 hours and begin moving rapidly to the east-northeast, out to sea. Subsequently, conditions along the east coast will slowly be improving.

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With Maria on its way out and Hurricane Lee bothering nobody but the fish in the open Atlantic, we finally have somewhat of a quiet period. That being said, it is still hurricane season and we’ll still be watching the tropics closely over the next month or so. Storms can and do often form during the month of October, before we see a sharp decline in activity in November. Unlike August and September, when we watch for tropical waves rolling off Africa, the month of October often favors more “homegrown” activity in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. There have already been some hints in our long-range modeling of lowering pressure in the western Caribbean over the next couple of weeks. For now though, we enjoy the relative lull in activity and hope it stays with us the rest of the season.

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It has been an incredibly active season thus far with 13 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes – already nearing or reaching the numbers put forth in many seasonal outlooks, with still two months left in the official hurricane season.

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Hurricane Maria To Edge Past North Carolina Coast By Midweek

On Sunday evening, Hurricane Maria is still a category 2 storm with max winds over 100 mph. It will continue to slowly weaken over the next couple days as moves north into an increasingly unfavorable environment with higher wind shear.

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Image below (wind shear) courtesy University of Wisconsin/NOAA.

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At this point, confidence is fairly high that Maria will ultimately get picked up and ushered out to sea mid-late week by a trough digging into the mid-Atlantic and northeast. That being said, the storm may pass within 100-200 miles of the Outer Banks of North Carolina before that happens and effects of the storm can be felt well away from the center. At the very least, high surf and gusty winds can be expected in the Outer Banks and a tropical storm watch has been issued for areas from Surf City northward to the North Carolina/Virginia border, including the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. A storm surge of 2-4 feet is possible from Cape Lookout to Duck including the sound side of the Outer Banks.

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Maria Makes Landfall In Puerto Rico

At 6:15 am Wednesday morning, Hurricane Maria made landfall on the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico near the city of Yabucoa. At landfall, Maria had sustained winds of 155 mph. It is the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico since 1932.

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After departing Puerto Rico later today, Maria will continue on a path that will take it north of the Dominican Republic, but very near the Turks & Caicos by Friday morning. Maria should weaken a bit over the next day or two, but will still be a dangerous major hurricane by the end of the week.

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The storm will stay well east of Florida, but hose along the east coast of the United States from North Carolina to New England should monitor the progress of Maria closely. Models have been pretty consistent in keeping the storm well offshore of the Carolinas; but at the very least some big swells can be expected early next week, especially along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We’ll keep you updated.

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Jose and Maria Chugging Along; Lee Limping Behind

The tropics remain hot as we close out the weekend. Tropical Depression Lee is on its last leg though, and fighting a losing battle with increasing wind shear. That should ultimately tear the system apart. That leaves Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Maria, both of which have been looking pretty healthy as of late.

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Jose will continue its trek north and remain a hurricane through at least Tuesday. It still looks like a close call for coastal New England, but as of now models are in pretty good agreement that it stays offshore.

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That being said, Jose is still likely to produce tropical storm force winds, large swells/dangerous rip currents, and quite a bit of rain. Expect accumulations of 3 to 5 inches over eastern Long Island, southern Rhode Island, and southeast Massachusetts, including Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket through Wednesday. Further south, accumulations of 1 to 3 inches are possible along the Mid Atlantic coast. This rainfall could cause isolated flash flooding in some areas. A Tropical Storm Watch is currently in effect for Fenwick Island to Sandy Hook, Delaware Bay South, East Rockaway Inlet to Plymouth, Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket.

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Hurricane Maria continues to intensify as it nears the Lesser Antilles. As of Sunday evening, it’s about 140 miles ENE of Barbados and moving WNW at 15 mph. Currently forecast to become a major hurricane by Tuesday afternoon, Maria poses a serious threat to some of the same areas that were hit very hard by Hurricane Irma. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica,St. Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, and Anguilla. Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic will likely see watches and warnings go into effect over the next day or two, and unfortunately it look as though they’ll be staring down the barrel of a major hurricane by the middle of the week.

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So far we’ve had pretty good model agreement with the eventual path of Maria as it nears the United States. Trends have been for the system to approach the Turks & Caicos and SE Bahamas by next weekend before making a turn to the north, and perhaps staying out to sea thereafter. That’s a comforting trend for the U.S., but as we know we can’t lend a ton credence to model output beyond 5-7 days. Early signs are good and there’s no cause for concern right now, but you’ll want to check back for updates throughout the week as we track Maria across the Caribbean.

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