Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

Bonnie Continues As Predicted

Graphic courtesy of Hurricane Alley - for 2 pm EDT 7-23-2010

In an attempt to provide you variety in the storm track presentations, I’ve used Hurricane Alley’s version for this afternoon.  Here is a link to their home page;

One of my primary sources, Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground posted the following at 4:40 pm EDT today (7-23-2010):

“The projected track will take Bonnie over the oil spill region, and the storm’s strong east to southeasterly winds will begin to affect the oil slick on Saturday morning. Assuming Bonnie doesn’t dissipate over the next day, the storm’s winds, coupled with a likely storm surge of 2 – 4 feet, will drive oil into a substantial area of the Louisiana marshlands. However, the current NHC forecast has Bonnie making landfall in Louisiana near 9pm CDT Saturday night. According to the latest tide information, this will be near the time of low tide. This will result in much less oil entering the Louisiana marshlands than occurred during Hurricane Alex in June. That storm brought a storm surge of 2 – 4 feet and sustained winds of 20 – 30 mph that lasted for several days, including several high tide cycles.”

A reference to Dr. Masters with a photograph is in the following outdated post from 2009:

Here is a link to the Weather Underground Tropical Page:



Those in or near South Florida including the Keys, in the Gulf of Mexico and on its shores should keep a very close watch on this weather system.  Of course the tragic oil pollution disaster will likely be rendered even more problematic by what appears to be on the way.

If you have been in the habit of examining forecast cones of uncertainty from the National Weather Service – this might look a little different to you this year.  There has been quite a debate over the straight black lines that heretofore have run through the cones, connecting the dots where the storms are projected to travel.   Notice, on this map, such a line does not appear.  Many meteorologists, myself included, believe that the lines have too often been mistaken as landfall predictions and that it has caused some people on the outer margins of the cones to have a false sense of security about where the storms might go.  My guess is that some (television, websites, web-logs) will choose to stick with the old style of depictions and others will prefer to leave that center line out.  I fall into the latter category.

Conditions have changed aloft such that wind shear has been reduced.  This favors intensification of the system.  Also, when air is heated from below, particularly if by warm water with high evaporation rates, intensification is favored.  This could happen as the system moves over elements of the Loop Current of the Gulf of Mexico.  What follows is a time sensitive forecast depiction of the Loop.

Courtesy National Centers for Environmental Prediction

97L could be the future Bonnie. It’s worth watching.



Though there are many uncertainties at this time, a system currently out there (7-20-2010) might turn into a tropical storm.  It would be named Bonnie should that occur.

The GFDI* model (orange line) takes the system decidedly north of the other models – it has gotten my attention for two reasons:

1.  I have been impressed by the GFDL* model’s accuracy over the last 4 years that I’ve been watching it (see note)

and –

2.  I live in Citrus County which is in West-Central Florida where the model suggests it might pay a visit.

*Special Note:  The GFDI and the GHMI models are, for all practical purposes, an “adjusted” GFDL.

If you live in Florida or plan to be traveling in Florida on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday (and maybe even Sunday) – I recommend that you keep an eye on reports on this system.

If you would like to view current GFDL animations here is a link to a tutorial which, in turn, provides a link to the model.

To see updated model plot comparisons I recommend going to

If anything is going on there will be a small “display” button to click on.


My press pot with hot water & coffee ready to plunge.

My family and friends have often heard me proclaim that coffee is my “drug of choice.”  It ‘s true.  I feel so very lucky in that regard.  To my knowledge, no one has ever been pulled over and charged for driving under the influence of coffee!

Last Autumn I had a delightful experience in a terrific restaurant in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. My wife and I were “double-dating” with friends who had  recommended the place.  Though the food was wonderful and I highly recommend the spot, it was the coffee that I’ll definitely not forget. This is because I had never had coffee prepared in a French press. Not only that, I had never heard of the device. I guess it’s fair to say that in-so-far as varied dining is concerned – this 70 (and a half)-year-old man hasn’t really gotten out and about much.

So, it was coffee from a French press along with the company of our friends that were my memorable experiences at the Knife and Fork on the “lower street” in downtown Spruce Pine. The waitress instructed me skillfully on how to use it and offered her advice for a “first-timer.” The French press is known by many names, including: press pot, coffee press, coffee plunger and сafetière à piston. They come in many sizes. An on-line search using the term, “French press,” will score many “hits.”  A You Tube search will show you probably more examples than you’d care to endure on how to use a French press.  I do not go to great pains like thermometers and grinders as shown in some of those You Tube demonstrations.  I use the K.I.S.S. guideline (keep it simple, stupid).  I don’t find that gourmet coffee is necessary and I don’t make a big performance out of the process.  I often use store-bought ground decaf coffee.

Therefore, it should be clear that I am not a coffee connoisseur. In fact, I am about as far-removed from that category as one can be. But I am a daily coffee drinker. Though I don’t prefer it – I even enjoy instant coffee. I regularly go so far as to drink “left-over” coffee brewed the previous day. I’ll store it in the refrigerator overnight and heat it in the microwave in the morning. I suspect this is simply because I deplore waste. I realize that this admission ruins any credibility I might have when it comes to making recommendations about coffee.  I do enjoy Cuban coffee – that’s a whole different dimension.  I like “cowboy coffee” too and recommend that you try it also, if for no other reason – just for fun. But the bottom line is this:  The best coffee I’ve ever had, at home and away from home, has been brewed in a French press. I won’t bother to try to offer advice on how to prepare French press coffee because there are too many variables – e.g.  your personality, the size of your press, your preferences regarding strength.

Mine (pictured at the beginning of this entry in front of the old coffee grinder) makes about a cup and a half of coffee and it’s just right for me. It was a gift from my youngest daughter, Lauren; she had heard me rave about the coffee I experienced at the Knife and Fork. It was a wonderful gift and I suggest that you consider one for yourself if you drink coffee.  Even if you don’t – it’s a wonderful way to serve coffee to guests.  Multi-cup French presses are available and easy to use.  To be sure it is a unique gift idea for any coffee drinker and bound to be most appreciated.  While you’re at it – if you happen to be anywhere near Spruce Pine – give the Knife and Fork a try.  I think you’ll be delighted.