Hurricane season on the Mississippi Gulf Coast
2017 has been a year of extreme weather, from flooding rains in South Mississippi to record breaking hurricanes. News 25’s Payton Malone traveled to our local National Weather Service office in Slidell and has the story.
It’s been an extremely active year for the tropics with the latest major storm being Hurricane Lee. While South Mississippi has dodged bullet after bullet, forecasters say there is still plenty of time left in the season and to not let your guard down. NWS Meteorologist Alek Krautmann said, “There have been five major hurricanes this season and that’s above average for number of major hurricanes we would expect. It looks like it will stay busy into October as well.”
With Hurricane Harvey tracking to the west of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Hurricane Irma tracking to the east, an accurate forecast of a storm is essential. One crucial method that meteorologists use to help track tropical systems is by launching weather balloons.
The weather balloons travel up to 20 miles into the atmosphere and are released all across the world at least twice a day and sometimes more frequently if a hurricane is threatening the U.S. mainland. “This weather information feeds our global weather models and those are updated again at least twice a day. Without the baseline information from the radiosonde it would be difficult to forecast the weather more than just a couple days, but with this baseline information from the atmosphere we’re able to go out a week plus into the future,” said Krautmann.
This hurricane season also brings new ways for forecasters to warn the public of potential storm impacts, including storm surge watches and warnings. NWS Meteorologist Robert Ricks said, “With those products we are looking at potential storm surge inundation mapping that is available to the public and it can show in general terms and simple terms what areas are most likely to be impacted by storm surge flooding.”