Claudette was officially downgraded to a tropical depression because the highest sustained winds dropped below 40 mph. The nasty weather will continue today, however, as the system spreads across Georgia, the Carolinas, and the northern part of Florida.
Damaging weather from Claudette has come in strong bands. Flooding was intense in some areas from intense thunderstorms tracking over the same spots. More than 10 inches of rain fell in a number of locations from southeast Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.
Winds gusted to an estimated 81 mph at the Pensacola airport yesterday when Claudette was at peak strength, and flooding was reported in a number of areas across the Southeast.
Flooding from heavy rain, power outages from gusty winds, and isolated tornadoes will continue to be a threat until the bad weather with the system moves into the Atlantic tomorrow.
Claudette is forecast to reintensify as it nears the North Carolina coast, so warnings are in effect there.
Claudette has been a comma-shaped storm from the get-go. Somewhat hostile upper-level winds pushed all the weather off to the east side of the circulation. The tail of the comma was made up of a series of bands of damaging weather.
Part of that tail will swing toward South Florida today, but it will be a very weak version. The effect will be to add moisture to the atmosphere and counteract the drying effects of the Saharan Dust, which has made the skies murky but dry the last couple days. As the dust mixes out, the sky will become bluer, but the chance of afternoon thunderstorms will increase due to the added moisture.
Surges of dust from Africa are forecast to continue to stream across the Atlantic for the foreseeable future. That should keep the tropical Atlantic calm for now. We’ll still have watch for renegade systems like Ana, Bill, and Claudette farther north, but there are no obvious candidates for development at the current time.
The train of disturbances moving off Africa is already well established however, so we’ll have to keep an eye on the southern latitudes if there is a break in the dust. Normally, the Saharan Dust season lasts through July at least.
No tropical development is expected this week.