Saturday, July 30, 2011

Don - The "Tropical Storm" that Wasn't....

The above visible satellite image shows the remains of Don near Laredo, TX at 10am CDT. The system fell apart very rapidly literally as it came on shore yesterday evening along the Texas coast South of Corpus Christi.  The radar image below shows what little rain is even left in association with the system this morning:

The rapid demise of Don was a real disappointment (and one of fastest perhaps in history).  As you can't help but know if you read this blog very often, this region is in an extreme drought, and hopes were high that Don would help alleviate some of that pain.

So, what went wrong with Don?  Waters in the Gulf of Mexico were plenty warm enough to support further growth and intensification, but conditions above the surface level were less than ideal.  Dry air was being filtered into the Western edge of the system by a layer of Northerly winds several thousand feet off of the surface.  This effectively limited the development of Don before he made landfall, and once that landfall was made on the semi-arid (thanks to the drought) shores of South Padre Island, the system diminished rapidly.

The image below shows the life cycle of Don from Google Earth.  The first 3 storm icons are wrong - they should be green "Tropical Storm" icons like most of the rest (Don was "born" a Tropical Storm - he was never initially classified as a Tropical Depression).  I have added the 4pm CDT position notations and the points at which there was any change in wind speed:

Oh well... better luck next time, Texas.  This was a great opportunity to get some decent rain without a lot of potential wind damage - and it sure is sad to see such an opportunity lost...

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