Tracking the Storms in the Tropics

About half of Wisconsin this past week experienced some rainy conditions thanks to the remains of what once was Hurricane Gustav. Totals from the southern third of the Wisconsin River Valley, to Madison, and Racine ranged from only a few hundredths of an inch in Wisconsin Rapids to as much as nearly 2" in Milwaukee, with the highest tally of 3.14" in Kenosha. For this part of the state, the rain certainly put a dent in the dry conditions that we have experienced as of late. However, from Wausau on north, we're still searching for some appreciable rain. The reason we missed out was simple. The cold front which came through last Tuesday, was well to our east and the remains of Gustav pulled northeast right along it. Secondly, high pressure was pushing drier air across the northern tier of Wisconsin, causing the rain to literally dry out before overspreading our region. Will any more tropical storms or hurricanes bring some wet weather relief our way? Right now it appears doubtful, at least for the next week to 10 days. At the moment, there is just one storm that we're continuing to track, Hurricane Ike.

At one point Ike had maximum winds of 145 mph, which is an extremely dangerous Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Since reaching its peak intensity, it has settled back to winds between 100 and 135 mph. Time will tell if Ike can how strong Ike will be getting, but it appears the atmospheric conditions along and ahead of the storm should be at least favorable to keep it a major hurricane (which is Category 3 or higher). The other main aspect of course is where Ike is headed. Indications are that central and western Cuba will experience the brunt of Ike through Tuesday, with this hurricane re-emerging over the Central Gulf of Mexico during mid-week.  Florida looks to be spared from the future impacts of this storm, but the same cannot be said for the central and western Gulf Coast which may have this storm approaching by the end of the week. Of course for the most up to date information, here is the link the National Hurricane Center.

Back here in Central Wisconsin, it is likely now that Wausau, Rhinelander, Eagle River and Medford will escape reaching 90 degrees this summer. As previously mentioned, this last occurred in Wausau in 2004. Overall, it was a relatively warm summer, and it went from wet in June to dry by August. Not ideal for the farmers and gardeners out there, but it wasn't terrible. So now we begin to turn toward autumn, with all the spectacular colorful leaves, crisp days, frosty mornings and unfortunately shorter daylight hours. Enjoy the mild weather while it lasts, as we all know what awaits us in just another 2 or 3 months.

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