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BROWN GRASS AND LOW TIDES...

The devastation from Hurricane Ian’s crushing blow to Southwest Florida is still being measured, but the storm’s sheer force as it crashed into the coastline has already placed Ian in the upper echelon of hurricanes to strike the United States.


When Ian made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane just north of Sanibel Island, it produced maximum sustained winds of 150 mph and a minimum central pressure of 940 millibars.

Ian became the 37th major hurricane — a designation reserved for storms of Category 3 intensity or greater — to have ever struck the state of Florida, and just the 15th to be rated a Category 4 or higher. Records of hurricane intensity date back to 1851.

By measure of sustained winds at landfall, Ian is in an eight-way tie for the fifth-strongest storm to strike the United States. Over the past two years, two other storms pummeled the United States with winds up to 150 mph: Hurricane Ida, which just last year carved a path of destruction from Louisiana to New York, and Hurricane Laura, which also slammed into Louisiana and brought with it a 17-foot storm surge.

Ian’s central pressure of 940 millibars put it in 18th-place historically — edged out by recent major hurricanes like Hurricane Harvey (937 millibars), Hurricane Ida (931 millibars), Hurricane Katrina (920 millibars) and Hurricane Michael (919 millibars). When looking at Florida alone, Ian enters a 3-way tie for the fourth strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the state by maximum sustained winds, surpassed in order by the Labor Day Hurricane (185 mph), 1992′s Hurricane Andrew (165 mph) and 2018′s Hurricane Michael (160 mph).


The deadliest storm in the modern record to strike Florida was the Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928, which is estimated to have killed at least 2,500 people, with some estimates taking the death toll markedly higher, according to the National Weather Service.

Since 2000, the deadliest storms to have hit the state of Florida are Hurricane Irma, which killed 77 people when it made landfall in 2017; Hurricane Michael, which killed 50 people in 2020; Hurricane Frances, which killed 37 people in 2004 and Hurricane Charley, which killed 29, also in 2004.


FAR FAR AWAY IN A DISTANT GALAXY...

Far far away from SW Florida, the weather in the central Midwest has been sensational the last few days. Along with abundant sunshine conditions have featured Chilly nights and mild days. About you would expect for late September. Overall, readings the past 3 days have averaged below normal by 8-13 degrees.

For some of you, departures like that may be a bit cooler than you might like. For you, I've included a warming trend that sends temperatures near to several degrees above 70 in coming days. The EURO meteogram has this through Thursday of the coming week. I like the looks of that!

What's most unique about the forecast is the lack of rain. The central Midwest is locked into an extremely dry and storm free pattern that should continue for at least another 10 days. The national blend of models through October 11th (the next 10 days) shows no measurable rain anywhere in Iowa or Illinois. Take my word on it, that is very hard to do. If by chance it happens, it would run the streak of days with no measurable rain here in Dubuque to 22 days. We typically see rain about 1 out of every 3 or 4 days to give you some perspective on how rare such a stretch would be.

The plus side in the dryness (at least in my northern counties), is the harvest is well ahead of schedule with crops rapidly drying and conditions perfect for field work. Over the next 16 days, the GFS shows significant rainfall departures throughout the central Midwest.

To be honest, there's not much to get excited about in this ultra passive weather pattern. Until it breaks and we can get some moisture back into the flow, its more of the same for the foreseeable future. More brown grass and low tides for me. Let the good times continue and roll weather...TS

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