...2000 TO 2009 DECADE WEATHER REVIEW...
The past decade has been historic with respect to weather and hydrology impacts across the WFO New Orleans/Baton Rouge Forecast Area. Several all time climate records were set, tropical systems left their scars on the landscape and the Deep South was treated to a few snow days, including a rare white Christmas. The Mississippi river threatened to flood at times and drought parched the region through much of the decade. The following events, in chronological order, are some of the more memorable events of the
Past 10 years.
January 23 New Orleans Hail Storm...An isolated severe thunderstorm produced ping pong ball to golf ball sized hail in a large swath across the metro New Orleans area, causing extensive roof and vehicle damage. Monetary losses were assessed near one-half billion dollars.
August 30 All Time Record Heat at New Orleans...the single hottest day was established when Audubon Park reached 103 degrees.
Driest Year Ever...The new century ushered a severe drought that saw New Orleans International Airport only receiving 38.88 inches of annual rainfall.
June 21 Tropical Storm Allison...Although this storm actually moved into the upper Texas coast, its massive circulation brought bands of flooding tropical rains into eastern Louisiana. Several south Louisiana communities experienced extensive freshwater flooding.
A Hyperactive Tropical Season...The area was directly or indirectly affected by four tropical systems - Tropical Storm Bertha on August 5th, Tropical Storm Hanna on September 14th, Tropical Storm Isidore on September 26th and Hurricane Lili on October 3rd. Isidore was a powerful Category 4 hurricane that weakened over the Yucatan peninsula before moving north into Southeast Louisiana as a very large tropical storm. A pronounced storm surge caused flooding in the tidal lakes. A week later Hurricane Lili brought renewed surge flooding as it moved south of the Louisiana coast towards the Sabine River.
June 30 Tropical Storm Bill...An unusually strong and well formed tropical storm that attained near hurricane strength before moving ashore near Cocodrie, LA.
April 11 Easter Sunday Severe Weather...A squall line moved across the region and dumped large hail in New Orleans. New Orleans Lakefront Airport measured a wind gust to 60 mph.
April 25 Record Rainfall...A slow moving cold front produced flooding rains across the River Parishes into southern Mississippi.
August 12-18 Cool Snap...An out of season cold air mass provided a respite from air conditioning use for a week in the typically hottest time of the year. Night time lows were in the upper 50s in Southwest Mississippi and the upper Florida parishes while daytime Temperatures struggled to reach 80 during this stretch of cool Days. New Orleans only reached 79 on the 14th.
September Hurricane Ivan Pays Two Visits...The strongest storm of the 2004 season, Ivan would make landfall at Gulf Shores, AL on the 16th, but prompted evacuations as far west as southeast Louisiana. Ivan emerged off the upper Atlantic coast, circled southward and re-entered the gulf, making a second gulf coast landfall as a tropical storm in southwest Louisiana on the 24th.
October 8-10 tropical storm Matthew...Matthew moved into lower Terrebonne Parish the morning of the 10th, producing a flooding storm surge.
October record warmest and 2nd wettest...Only one cold front moved through the area in the month. Tropical rains from Matthew made October the 2nd wettest at New Orleans with 13.20 inches. Meanwhile, Baton Rouge finished with 9.02 inches for 7th wettest October.
November 23 Slidell Tornado...A late evening severe storm moved off Lake Pontchartrain and moved through the Bel Air subdivision in Slidell, across the street from the weather office. Numerous Homes were damaged and a few were destroyed.
December 25 White Christmas...A very rare snow event occurred in the New Orleans metro area. Chalmette was blanketed with 1 to 3 inches of snow, enough for citizens to erect snow men.
Infamous Hurricane Season...The largest weather event of the decade in the area, arguably the entire nation, was Hurricane Katrina. Making landfall on August 29th as a category 3 storm near Buras, La, record storm surge flooding wiped out entire communities along the Mississippi coast and southeast Louisiana. Bridges and interstate spans were washed away and property losses were at previously unattained monetary levels. Outfall canal levees failed in New Orleans causing extensive substantial flooding of about 80 percent of the city. Thousands of people were displaced long-term and nearly 1600 deaths were directly or indirectly attributed to Katrina. This remains the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. The region continues into recovery at the end of the decade. Prior to Katrina Hurricane Cindy made landfall near Grand Isle on July 4th weekend. After Katrina, Hurricane Rita moved through the gulf and made landfall as a category 3 hurricane in southwest Louisiana.
August 9th Baton Rouge High Winds...Thunderstorm wind gusts of 70 to 75 mph were measured in Baton Rouge and near Paincourtville.
February 13th Tornadoes in New Orleans...A pair of EF-2 rated tornadoes caused extensive damage along a path from Westwego on the west bank...the Carrollton section of uptown New Orleans and the Pontchartrain Park area in eastern portions of New Orleans. A hotel was heavily damaged in Westwego. An elderly woman lost her life when the temporary Katrina trailer where she resided was destroyed. Fourteen other injuries resulted from the tornadoes. This was the second tornado event in the U.S. to be rated with the new Enhanced Fujita (EF) intensity scale.
October 17th Van Cleave Tornado...An EF-2 tornado struck Van Cleave in Jackson County Mississippi. Several homes were damaged or destroyed.
March-April Mississippi River Flood...The Bonnet Carre Spillway was opened on April 10th for only the eighth time since its installation in 1931 to relieve a high flow event that started in early March. It was the first opening since 1997. Red River Landing above Baton Rouge had a stage of 60.68 feet on April 24th to set the third highest stage on record at that gage location.
September 1 Hurricane Gustav...This Caribbean Sea origin storm entered the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 3 hurricane and took aim at southeast Louisiana. Gustav made landfall on the lower Terrebonne coast near Cocodrie as a high end Category 2 storm. Gustav produced extensive wind damage in the greater Baton Rouge area and surge flooding in the lower parishes. A 91 mph peak wind gust was recorded at the Baton Rouge Airport, within one mph of the all time record set by Betsy in 1965.
September 10-13 Hurricane Ike...This powerful hurricane churned across the central Gulf of Mexico below the Louisiana coast before moving ashore along the upper Texas coast near Galveston.
December 11 South Louisiana and Mississippi Snow...The combination of favorable conditions produced a rare significant snow event. A large swath of 6 to 8 inches of snow accumulated from lower Livingston Parish, across Tangipahoa Parish into northwest St. Tammany and southwest Washington Parishes. Baton Rouge measured 3 inches and New Orleans had 1 inch. Some locations still had snow on the ground two mornings later.
June Hot and Dry...Drought conditions across the Gulf States contributed to a very hot June in the region. Baton Rouge recorded the third warmest June at 83.2 degrees; 0.59 inches of rainfall was the fourth driest. New Orleans averaged 83.3 degrees for fifth warmest June; 2.13 inches of monthly rain was the eighth driest June.
Wet October...Baton Rouge accumulated 12.82 inches of rain for the second wettest October on 21 rain days. Donaldsonville tallied 12.66 inches and Livingston measured 10.57 inches for the month. New Orleans at 5.97 inches recorded the sixth wettest October.
November 9-10 Hurricane Ida...This late season hurricane approached the Mississippi River delta before curving towards the Mobile Bay area and weakening to a tropical storm at landfall. Ida brought storm surges to the Louisiana and Mississippi Coast. This was the farthest west a tropical system made landfall so late in the season within the Gulf of Mexico.
December 4-5 Snow...The earliest snow event ever recorded in the area, snow amounts ranged from trace to 3 inches from Baton Rouge to central St. Tammany Parish into southwest Mississippi.
December Wettest Month on Record in New Orleans...A series of disturbances and Gulf of Mexico low pressure systems attributed to a moderate El Nino pattern produced many days of rain across the mid-gulf states. On December 18th, the New Orleans International Airport broke its all time monthly rainfall record, previously 21.18 inches of May 1995. The New Orleans area all time record, dating back to 1871, was surpassed on Christmas Eve, previously 25.11 inches measured in October 1937. Baton Rouge Regional Airport also recorded its second wettest December on record while McComb had its third wettest December.