Featured in The Cattleman
March 24, 2016

PRETTY AND NOT-SO-PRETTY PICTURES

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Want to see a beautiful pin-up picture? If you are a Texas rancher or a Midwestern farmer, prepare to feast your eyes.

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this is beautiful if you are a Texas rancher or Midwestern farmer.

There is another, less beautiful picture making the rounds. A number of tropical depressions have flared up in the Atlantic and one has finally decided to develop into Tropical Storm Hermine. It may sound like Harry Potter’s buddy, but this is a storm with a chance to cause some heavy flooding. As Louisiana has shown, the unusually hot Atlantic created extremely rainy tropical storms. Even without high winds, these wet storms can cause major flood damage.

 

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A Troop of Tropical disturbances – From Category 3 Hurricane Gaston to the rains off of Africa, the Atlantic is swarming. Source: National Hurricane Center

As the Browning World Climate Bulletin has noted, the Atlantic Ocean has been unusually hot this year, especially off the shores of North America. The energy from the heat is the fuel for tropical storm formation. Right now the Gulf of Mexico is like spilled gasoline and even normal storms can light it up into strong storms. Hurricanes can form when the waters are 82°F and currently most of the Gulf is between 85° (Texas) and 89°F (Florida). Indeed, the regions temperatures from June through the middle of July were the hottest measured since record-keeping began in 1982. This has energized heavy rains through the West and Central Gulf states. (East Texas cattle had to learn to dog-paddle.) Prevailing winds then carried the moisture to the Midwest. The result has been great for pastures and crops, but enough is enough!

 

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Fortunately for water-logged areas in Louisiana and East Texas, Hermine is expected to head for a Florida vacation. This puts the Sunshine state at a severe risk of flooding even if the winds are not terribly strong. The storm is then expected to create between two to ten inches of rain across the state and up the Southeastern Coast. It even threatens to turn back and visit the New England coast.

As the first map showed, while Texas and the Midwest have enjoyed abundant moisture, the Southeast and Massachusetts are very dry. Many of them will welcome the rain.

Don’t expect the flurry of rain and storms to end. We haven’t even reached the middle of the Atlantic Hurricane Season! More soggy excitement is on its way.

Evelyn Browning Garriss is part of Browning Media which publishes the Browning World Climate Bulletin™ that has provided accurate regional climate information and forecasts for over 40 years. The information in the Bulletin provides useful information for ranchers and others to help them plan months in advance for changing conditions. TSCRA members are entitled to a 20% discount off the normal subscription price. Please visit http://browningclimate.com/customer-panel/new-subscription and choose your type of subscription. At checkout put in the Coupon Code TSCRA816 and you will receive a 20% discount.