The 2001 Atlantic Hurricane Season had started off quietly as the first few days did not bring any significant activity. However, as with 1995, a storm named Allison would quickly develop during the first week of the season, and make landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast of the United States.
The 2001 Allison would be more of a tropical storm, but it would end up bringing heavy rains to Southeastern Texas and Louisiana. The storm brought the heaviest rains Louisiana has seen in many years, and helped put a halt to the drought conditions that had been plaguing the Bayou State for the past several years.
Allison also spawned Tornadoes in parts of Texas as well as lightning that in turn, sparked an oil refinery fire near New Orleans, Louisiana.
A couple weeks ago, the 2001 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season got off to a flying start as Hurricane Adolph became the most powerful Eastern Pacific Hurricane in the month of may as it reached Category Four strength with 140 mph winds. However, the 2001 Atlantic Hurricane Season was beginning to get itself going after many weeks of hearing predictions of how normal a season it would be.
Starting out quietly, the Atlantic Basin so nothing in the way of serious activity for the first few days. However, that would change on the afternoon of June 4th as forecasters noticed an area of disturbed weather developing in the Gulf of Mexico. This made them very anxious since the Gulf of Mexico is the prime area for development during the early days of every Atlantic Hurricane Season.
Water temperatures in the Gulf are well over 80 degrees, which is essential for tropical development. During the day on Tuesday, June 5th, 2001, the disturbance became more ominous as it acquired more tropical characteristics, and developed a low level circulation. The late afternoon report from the National Hurricane Center made it official, there was the first tropical storm of the 2001 Atlantic Hurricane Season, and its name was Allison.
The storm had caught many including the folks here at Hurricaneville off guard since it was only the fifth full day of the new hurricane season. It was pumping in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, and that resulted in over 8 inches of rain to the Houston, Texas area. That was only the beginning though as Allison came ashore early Wednesday morning, June 6th 2001.
Although it would lose its tropical characteristics rapidly, Allison still maintained a strong circulation due to weak shearing winds aloft, and most importantly, it wasn't going anywhere either as weak upper level winds made it difficult for it to move anywhere. As a result, the remnants of Allison brought heavy rains over a period of several days in Louisiana and Texas. As of the time of this report, the storm tallied approximately 18 inches of rain in Louisiana's state capital of Baton Rouge, and 12 inches in Houston, Texas.
However, things didn't stop there with Allison. While Allison dissipated, its circulation still remained strong and remarkably well organized. The storm also had a wealth of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico to draw upon. In addition, the worse thing that was happening was that, if Allison was moving at all, it was moving slowly and retrograding back toward the Gulf of Mexico, which wasn't good news at all. That meant more rain for Southeastern Texas, which by Sunday, June 11th, 2001, had portions that received some 36 inches of rain from the tropical system.
Finally, a system coming out of the Rockies was able to pick up what was left of the circulation that was once Allison, and carry it eastward. However, that meant that other states in the Southeast, and the Mid-Atlantic, would receive the brunt of the rain now from Allison's remnants. Gulf Coast States from Mississippi to Florida received torrential rainfall while the Carolinas, which are still recovering from the mess caused by Hurricane Floyd in September, 1999.By this time, Allison, or what was left of it, became the costliest tropical storm on record as it produced some $2 billion dollars in damage. It had also killed some 22 people in Texas and Louisiana, but there was still more to come. Parts of Pennsylvania, which had received heavy rains last August, and still have nightmares from the devastating remnants of Hurricane Agnes in 1972, received some 9 inches of rain in parts of Bucks and Montgomery counties during the weekend of June 16, 2001. Allison's remains finally left for good as it departed out to sea, but not before it had vanquished some 50 lives and caused some $4 billion dollars in damage.
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