TODAY: Going to try to leave it brief today for the locals. Latest on Lee is that the storm was drifting north at 5 mph or so...and latest radar animations show that Lee is doing that as well as perhaps taken a dogleg to the west. Rain has moved into far Eastern Texas as a result. Although dry air has been getting entrained (pulled in toward) into Lee from Texas, the storm is creating a bit of its own moisture field as it has gained a bit in organization. The very broad wind field over the Gulf is taking in the highest heat energy residing to the south and east of the central area of Lee shown in orange above, of which there might be actually two if one goes up a few thousand feet. Lee seems to be feeding off the heat energy and, like a chimney, is spewing its ashes and soot over the far reaches of the Gulf (divergence aloft), and most of the Northern Gulf Coast communities as fuel keeps being supplied from the Gulf (convergence). The storm can not move at this time far from the source due to high pressure now located to the NE through North of the storm...there is very little shear to inhibit or rather tear down the chimney..so the Chimney Sweeps are in high demand to keep the embers burning. Looks like they are doing a good job too.
Per the latest NHC forecast and model consensus, Lee could linger well into Monday before making a painfully slow move toward the North then eventually NNE-NE as a frontal boundary of unseasonably strong proportions swoops into the Central and Southern Plains states. All of the models have Lee eventually succumbing to this trough and finally breaking down and being stretched out toward the NE with time. All of them that is, except the NAM...which insists Lee will maintain itself..likely do a loop, then head back toward the breeding grounds.
In closing with Lee, the main point to realize is that it will likely never be a classic looking tropical system, but regardless, the effects from the storm could be significant from Coastal Lousiana to the Florida Panhandle..extending north to Mississippi, SE Arkanas, East half of Tennessee, W-NW Georgia mountains, and the Appalachians of North Carolina , Virginia, and West Virgina. It still as a frontal boundary to interact with assuming it does head toward the NNE-NE. That being...remember all of the wind and heat energy shown in the first image over the Gulf which could at least be partially escorted with the system once it lifts north (under the huge and popular assumption that it will). But how much will be left behind? Looks like a lot will be.
The water further south remains untainted by up-welling of cooler waters underneath.
IN SUMMARY: If there was a lesson to be learned from Irene, NOW is the time to consider the future plans Lee might have in store for the mountainous areas and those downstream of rivers/ogrges in the interior/mountainous/hilly areas of the SE and mid-Atlantic.
LONGER RANGE FOR FLORIDA: Going into this week the forecasts are calling for increasing rain chances as soon as Sunday. So far, that appears to be feasible. Beyond Sunday or Monday (when they might decrease a bit)...it becomes increasingly uncertain since much will be contingent upon the future path of Lee.
The GFS has been very consistent though with regard to total rainfall over the next 6 days, with highest totals being near SE Florida in Dade, Broward, and Southern Palm Beach Counties, with another area along the Barrier Islands of Brevard. (Nothing like the rainfall totals that will continue to occur along the Northern Gulf Coast and along the future track of by then Post-Lee ,which will likely be addressed as "Tropical Depression Lee" for quite a while...so might as well get used to it now).
It is not completely certain if even half of that rainfall over Florida will even be from thunderstorms. Reason being, very warm mid-level air is forecast to wrap around the system..decreasing low level lapse rates...it'll probably be fifty fifty..with most of the rainfall in those locations due to near east coast sea breeze convergence in the noon-sunset time frames. Moisture is never forecast to be far removed from Central Florida and never over far South Florida. Only the North Half of the state might have a few days of respite from rain chances as we head toward Thursday..but even that might be relatively short lived in the scheme of things once Lee is fully out of the picture and a new page can be turned on the day by day calendar for September.