You saw some signs of the Hurricane through Mobile and along I-10, but the wind damage was mostly limited to trees and outdoor signs. As I drove down I-110 into Biloxi, plenty of blue roof s were still evident. But when you dropped off 110 into Highway 90, it was a different world. The destruction along the beach is indescribable. Quite a bit of debris has been removed, but that does not hide the fact that everything back to the surge line is virtually scoured away.
Just west of Biloxi, I came upon the hotel that Brian Peters and I stayed in with the ABC crew on the Saturday night before the hurricane. It was the Comfort Suites on Beach Blvd., directly across from the ocean, at an elevation of about 14 feet. We knew that it would not be safe with the expected storm surge. We had a second floor room on the east side of the building, about two or three rooms from the ocean. I stopped and looked at the building. Both floors were completely swept through by the storm surge. All of the walls and framing were gone. Only the concrete walls that separated the rooms were left. That meant that the storm surge was probably on the order of thirty feet there. Can you imagine that? Katrina was the Category Three hurricane with the Category Five storm surge.
J.B. Elliott is speaking now... doing a great job sharing information and pictures from some of the great Alabama tornado outbreaks in the 1970s, including the April 3-4, 1974 "Superoutbreak" and the April 4, 1977 Smithfield F5 in the northern part of Birmingham.
He is showing some great old slides now from his days at the National Weather Office in the 70s.
Quite a shock this morning when we discovered there were NO DOUGHNUTS available at the symposium this year! Thanks to Mike Brown who managed to find a bag of doughnuts for J.B.
There won't be a map discussion video this afternoon due to other commitments plus I don't have the portability with my recording setup that James has. Looking forward to participating in a reading program at Fultondale Elementary late this morning. But I'll be back Saturday and Sunday mornings with map discussions.
A period of relative tranquil weather is in store for us over the next several days. Cooler, drier air has moved into the southeastern US overnight so look for temperatures today to top out around 60 degrees. The air will be dry, so we're setting up for good raditional cooling tonight with temperatures expected to bottom out around freezing - a bit cooler in those normally colder valley locations.
Saturday and Sunday look like beautiful days as afternoon highs recover well into the 60s with a good supply of sunshine. A weak disturbance slides down the eastern side of the ridge on Monday and may bring some clouds to the area. Chances for any rain are very slim with limited moisture.
Tuesday and Wednesday will be twins as the ridge pattern keeps us mild and dry. The next good chance for rain will come late Wednesday and into Thursday as a strong short wave ejects from the southern Rockies. This system will butt up against the ridge so the best dynamics are expected to remain well north of Alabama. Nevertheless, a front will move into the area washing out as the main upper system support moves quickly toward the northeast.
GFS once again hinting at a strong weather system about two weeks out, but that's just something to watch and not put a great deal of faith in yet.
Certainly hope you will be able to get out and enjoy the good weather over the weekend. It's been a busy week for me, so I plan to put my feet up and get in some good reading for at least part of the weekend. Reading between the lines, that sounds like some serious napping!!