As I watch Hermine push towards Oklahoma this afternoon I'm reminded about an interesting event that unfolded in the Central United states back in 2007. First off, I want to bring back a bit of weather 101. We know that the warm waters of the Gulf and Atlantic provide the necessary energy for tropical cyclones. Therefore, tropical cyclones weaken rapidly as they move inland.
An event unfolded back in 2007 that proves there is still much to be learned regarding the science of meteorology. Tropical Storm Erin surprisingly re-intensified over central Oklahoma on August 19 causing widespread damage to the region. Seven people drowned because of the flooding associated with this re-intensification. Furthermore, the storm spawned several tornadoes throughout the region. Other than the deadly Galveston Hurricane of 1900, Erin became only the second tropical system-on record-to bring tropical storm force winds to that particular area. Winds in Watonga, Oklahoma topped 80 mph at one point.
Some great studies were carried out on this event thanks to a highly dense network of surface observation stations in that area; such a network is know as a mesonet. It is believed that anticedent rainfall helped to create the tropically moist environment conducive to redevelopment. While it is unlikely that such a re-strengthening will take place with Hermine, I'm sure some meteorologists in Oklahoma have Erin on their minds today.
Fox 6 Meteorologist