Archive for the ‘Tropical activity in the Atlantic’ Category

Sandy Alert – There Is No Shame In Evacuating!

What concerns me most is the number of people who will not address and act upon hurricane Sandy’s threat maturely. As a man who grew up in an environment where “being a man” meant being able to handle, support, protect, and defend – I can identify with the need to have it “together” in these types of situations. It was hard for me on the morning of 8-23-1992 to “order” my wife, two children, father-in-law, and mother-in-law into my van so that we could evacuate our two homes (separated by less than a mile) in Homestead, Florida to escape approaching hurricane Andrew. But, when we returned 3 days later we were thanking the Great Guy In the Sky that we were not there when the storm hit. It would have been a most traumatic experience and could have been deadly. Our house was a total loss and my in-laws’ house was severely damaged but not beyond repair. There are people today of all ages still suffering post traumatic stress syndrome over that hurricane of 20 years ago. Admittedly, the aftermath and rebuilding processes were extraordinarily difficult but we were together and healthy and I had very good insurance and did not lose my job. Thousands of people lost both their dwellings and their jobs! We had much for which to be grateful.

But, sometimes, in an attempt to handle, support, protect, and defend – people (men in particular, I think) tend to make macho decisions that they later regret – if they live to experience regret. One example is: Failing to evacuate dangerous areas that are subject to flooding, landslides, storm surges, etc. Believe me – there is no disgrace in fleeing in such circumstance. Sure, one wants to stay and protect his/her home and the “things” within it but such a mindset can backfire resulting in fatal consequences. Take my word for it, “things” can be replaced in time but once you lose your life of worse, that of a loved one – there is no going back or rebirth back into this dimension.

 Hurricane Sandy is a storm that has it all. Oh sure, it’s not a category 5 storm as was Andrew but it is a huge storm taking up an area more than the size of Texas one and one-half times! And – it has a strong pressure gradient. It has a very long fetch (distance of water over which the wind blows) which increases significantly the potential height of the storm surge.

 Just because the winds are within the category 1 range, remember that slight increases can cause exponential increases in the potential force. In fact, doubling the wind velocity quadruples the air’s potential force upon a surface that it strikes at right angles.  Early on in my teaching career it because quite apparent to me that most people assume that doubling the velocity simply doubles the force.  But that is far from true.  For example, an 80 mile per hour wind has FOUR TIMES the potential force of a 40 mile per hour wind. So DON’T think to yourself, “I know I can deal with a 40 mile per hour wind; in fact I and my dwelling can deal with one that is 80 miles per hour because that is just two times that of a “40.” YOU WOULD BE VERY, VERY WRONG! If you are interested in more on this subject, including an equation – go here:

https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/tag/wind-velocity-relative-to-force/

 A great deal of precipitation over land is expected with Sandy – so much that many of the drainage systems, both natural and man-made, will not be able to handle it. Trees will be less stable because of saturation of the soil and rock into which their roots are anchored. Combined with the wind force, many will come down. Unhealthy trees will snap. Mother Nature WILL do a great amount of pruning. Electricity will be cut off due to line damage from falling debris and flooding. Water pressure may drop or reduce to zero. Even modern gravity-feed systems require boosting due to the effects of friction and that usually requires electricity. If you have an electric pump with a well and no emergency generator, you could be out of luck. If your toilet is relatively modern you will still need about 1.6 gallons per flush. “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down” might become your rule of thumb even if you have a lot of water stored (as in a tub that doesn’t slowly leak at the drain).

 Since much moisture will be drawn in by the storm from off the Atlantic and much cold air will be drawn down from the north, there is a very strong chance for SNOW with this storm.

 The bottom line, in my opinion is – If you are in the path of Sandy and:

  1. in a storm surge zone – evacuate.
  2. in a wooded area with big trees so close to your home that upon falling they are likely to do structural damage – evacuate.
  3. upon a hillside or mountainside where your area or an area above or below you has been stripped of most vegetation – evacuate.  Slides are a real danger in these cases.
  4. in a region that can easily flood  – evacuate.
  5. in a neighborhood where there is a lot of loose matter that could easily become damaging airborne projectiles – evacuate.
  6. in a mobile home or R.V. – evacuate.
  7. in a dwelling where, when you look out a front window you are looking down a street that is at right angles to your street – evacuate. The Venturi Effect can channel much higher winds and debris right into your dwelling!
  8. in any kind of a topographic restriction such as a narrow valley between two hills or mountains – evacuate for the same reason as in item 7.
  9. NOT prepared for many days without water service and/or electricity – evacuate.
  1. in an evacuation zone – evacuate!
  2. one who feels as though fleeing is a cowardly act – engage in a very quick but thorough attitude adjustment and ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION.

BUT DON’T EVACUATE IF THE STORM IS UPON YOU UNLESS YOU FEEL THAT THE MOVE IS ACTUALLY SAFER THAN STAYING.

2011 Hurricane Season Comments – Tonie Toney (Cloudman23)

left click image to enlarge

Since I began this site on August 24 2008, it’s been averaging about 12 “hits” per hour. So, I’m not setting the Internet world on fire. I’m sure that many of my “followers” are either friends and neighbors, family, or former students.  Of course a number of people reach this site as a consequence of a search term that blends with something I’ve discussed.

 This is my first posting in over three months. That might be strange for a site devoted mostly to tropical meteorology but those who know me understand that I devote most of my tropical weather attention to those systems that cause alarm to folks in Central Florida where I now reside.

The six month long official hurricane season whose last day was November 30 was an active one but not for Central Florida. There were some storms in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf that caused concern but, if you have been following this site you have no doubt noticed that I ignored most of them. I choose to refrain from alarming anyone unnecessarily when I deduce that a storm in question is not likely to bother us.  On the other hand, the National Weather Service errs on the side of caution and consequently the “coverage” was vigorous and reports were easily obtained through the media.  Though I think that the media does a good job, generally speaking, I am inclined to suspect that they are spectacularizing their reports. There were times when it appeared that a storm would be coming our way here in West-Central Florida but my information and gut-level feelings indicated a very low probability.  SPECIAL NOTE: It appears that in using “spectacularizing” I’ve used a word whose acceptance is debatable; it appears to be a mere colloquialism but that fits me well.

This year’s hurricane season was very active! An average northern hemisphere Atlantic/Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico season has 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes.

 For the 2011 season there were 19 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes.

But for the U.S.A. specifically – the season was unusually timid. In his summary of the season, Dr. Jeff Masters (one of my important sources) wrote: “Only two named storms made landfall, Tropical Storm Lee, which hit Louisiana with 60 mph winds, and Hurricane Irene, which hit North Carolina on August 27 with 85 mph winds, and made two additional landfalls in New Jersey and New York the next day.” By the time tropical storm Don reached Texas it had weakened to a tropical depression.  There seems to be general agreement that favorable steering currents were the principle reason for our good fortune in the U.S.

I made no entries concerning Irene, in spite of the scare in New York because we were being flooded with media information and for those with cable or satellite, the Weather Channel was right on top of things. Since it wasn’t threatening our Central Florida region I held back in the wake of such comprehensive coverage.

The way our season luckily turned out has indeed caused me some considerable concern over the tendency that we humans have toward complacency. In the 6+ years I’ve lived in Citrus County, Florida there have been no tropical systems of any severe nature but the year before I arrived, 2004, was a busy one with Jeanne, Ivan, Frances, and Charlie. None of those named storms were strong enough to create a county-wide wake-up call. Some people were without power for a few days but the storms did not create events comparable to those which reverberate in our heads for years to follow – like Andrew, for example, which destroyed my home (in Homestead, Florida) in 1992.

I have heard tales of real estate agents in the area boasting that Citrus County possesses some sort of special immunity for whatever reason. I refute that notion absolutely. There is nothing about the environment that affords it the luxury of special protection other than the high sand ridges that minimize storm surge potential for those who live far enough inland from the Gulf. For example, my house sits at an elevation of 55′ above mean sea level so I don’t anticipate storm surge events. However, high water from heavy rains is a distinct possibility.

In any event I urge you who live in my area to NOT ignore the fact that you live in hurricane country. There are so many things about hurricanes that should not be discounted. For example, doubling the wind velocity actually quadruples it’s potential force. So a 60 mph wind has four times the ability to do harm compared to a 30 mph wind. Here is a link to a site which I put together regarding “hurricane misconceptions.” http://ztechzone.net/learningzone/science/science55/hurricanes.html

Coming next:  My Christmas Greeting and Reflections.

“GULF OF MEXICO DEVELOPMENT POSSIBLE LATE THIS WEEK” – 8-30-2011

Shortly before noon Eastern Daylight Time today (8-30-2011) Dr. Jeff Masters published this statement:

“Gulf of Mexico development possible late this week”

“Several of our best computer models for predicting formation of tropical cyclones, the GFS and ECMWF, are predicting that an upper level pressure interacting with a tropical wave now over the the Western Caribbean could combine to spawn a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico late this week or early next week. The formation location is likely to be off the coast of Louisiana or Texas, but the track of the system is hard to predict at this point.” (end quote) –

 Though this is far too early to tell, here is a six day look into the ECMWF model’s “take” on our tropical weather. It was released at 8 pm EDT, 8-29-2011 and projects out six days (144 hours).

Notice, in addition to the system in the Gulf of Mexico, the position northeast of Puerto Rico of what is currently Tropical Storm Katia.  Some are predicting that she will be of hurricane strength by the time 6 days pass.

 The error 6 days out can be enormous so take this for what it’s worth. I recommend your being mindful that the ECMWF has been doing well for the last couple of years. For instructions on viewing the model in animated form on WeatherUnderground.com, please use the following link:  https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/ecmwf-model-run-the-european-model/

  NOTE: ECMWF = European Center for Medium -Range Weather Forecast

Two left clicks will enlarge to the fullest.

Photo Of Irene From Space – 8-28-2011

The photo below is actually from a scan of the “full disk” of earth from the GOES-13 satellite.  I have cropped the original in order to concentrate upon Tropical Storm Irene.  Tropical Storm Jose also shows up in the image; it is very small.  To find it look for a small blob of clouds, bright white (about half the width of the state of Florida and located off the Carolinas  and next to Bermuda).  More information follows after the image.

TWO INDEPENDENT LEFT CLICKS WILL ENLARGE TO THE FULLEST.

– THANKS TO NOAA FOR THIS IMAGE –

TIME OF PHOTO – 2:45 pm Eastern Daylight Time

DATE – Sunday, August 28, 2011

ALTITUDE OF SATELLITE – about 22,300 miles

TIME NEEDED TO SCAN FULL DISK OF EARTH – about 26 minute

LINK TO MORE INFORMATION ON  SATELLITE IMAGE –  http://noaasis.noaa.gov/NOAASIS/ml/imager.html

OFFICIAL IRENE FORECAST – CONE OF UNCERTAINTY – FRIDAY 8 PM EDT

TWO LEFT CLICKS FOR TOTAL ENLARGEMENT

This is self-explanatory.  If you are anywhere within the cone of uncertainty please do not be careless in your thinking.  Stay alert, keep a clear head, and do not allow that epidemic disease, terminal uniqueness, to cause you to think that “it” always happens to the other guy (or gal).  Do not take any unnecessary chances.  Be patient, use common sense, and remember that this too shall pass.

My thoughts are with you.

For previous reports go to the blog tab near the upper left of the page and then scroll down.

ECMWF MODEL RUN – THE EUROPEAN MODEL

When the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecast model is running, here is my favorite site for viewing:

For a lot of different reasons, but mainly because I enjoy the insights of Dr. Jeff Masters in his weather blog, I use WeatherUnderground.com.  For future reference, a link to his blog is under the Blogroll category at the right margin of this page.  In fact, it’s the first listed.

For the ECMWF Model Run, click on the following link and then follow my instructions exactly:  NOTE:  YOU MIGHT WANT TO COPY THE INSTRUCTIONS BECAUSE ONCE YOU CLICK ON THE LINK THIS PAGE WILL BE GONE UNLESS YOU CLICK BACK –

 

http://www.wunderground.com/wundermap/

  1. At the upper left of the image, click on the “continent” tab.
  2. Scroll down the menu on the right margin and click in the box labeled “model data”.
  3. Another menu dropped down. Click on the “model” arrow and select ECMWF.
  4. Make sure the “map type” remains on MSL which stands for “mean sea level.”
  5. Click on the “forecast” arrow and wait patiently for the load.
  6. After it has loaded fully it should loop. If you want it to stop click on the button at “forecast.”

Though the European Model is not always right (none of them are) it has done the best job for the last two years in situations akin to this one with hurricane Irene.  The National Weather Service gives credence to this model though you will not see it indicated on the official spaghetti charts and such.  In fact, lately, the NWS official forecasts have been close to that of the ECMWF model runs or, if you please, the ECMWF model runs have been close to the official forecasts of the NWS.  To be sure, there will be times when there is little agreement – at which time I expect to lean toward the NWS advisories.

Forecast for Irene by the European Model – posted 8-24-2011

This posting is time-sensitive and is now out of date.  For step by step instructions on access to an animated loop of the most current ECMWF (“European”) model go to the following link:  https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/ecmwf-model-run-the-european-model/

Hurricane Irene is now a category 3 storm.

IF YOU ARE WITHIN THE PUBLISHED CONE OF UNCERTAINTY IT WOULD BE FOOLISH TO IGNORE THIS STORM EVEN THOUGH YOU MIGHT NOT BE CLOSE TO WHERE IT IS CURRENTLY PREDICTED TO GO.  That is not just my opinion but also the opinion of National Weather Service forecasters.

TO FIND THE MOST RECENT CONE OF UNCERTAINTY DEPICTION, GO TO THE RIGHT-HAND MARGIN OF THIS PAGE AND UNDER “TROPICAL WEATHER” CLICK ON “NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER HOME.

The graphic that follows is a 72 hour (3 day) forecast position that originated at 0000 Greenwich Time on the 24th (which is 2000 hours on the 23rd EDT time – or 8 pm).   The path that this European Model predicts correspond closely with today’s official forecast track of the National Weather Service.

On this graphic, and most on this site, two independent left clicks will enlarge to the fullest.  The poorness of the resolution is due to considerable enlargement from the original.

2 LEFT CLICKS FOR FULL ENLARGEMENT

Early U.S. Landfall forecast for Irene by the European Model – 8-23-2011

 

 

 

 

This posting is time-sensitive and is now out of date.  For step by step instructions on access to an animated loop of the most current ECMWF (“European”) model go to the following link:  https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/ecmwf-model-run-the-european-model/

 

 

Mind you, I am not formally trained in forecasting.  I am conveying to you what I am deriving from others and when I include my personal opinion I try to make that clear.  Also, very small changes in course can make a huge change in the location of a storm’s landfall, particularly when it is so far out as is Irene this moment.  For example, I am in West-Central Florida, 17 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico but none-the-less, you can bet your sweet bippie that I’m on the alert.  SO IF YOU ARE WITHIN THE PUBLISHED CONE OF UNCERTAINTY IT WOULD BE FOOLISH TO IGNORE THIS STORM EVEN THOUGH YOU MIGHT NOT BE CLOSE TO WHERE IT IS CURRENTLY PREDICTED TO GO.  That is not just my opinion but also the opinion of National Weather Service forecasters.

TO FIND THE MOST RECENT CONE OF UNCERTAINTY DEPICTION, GO TO THE RIGHT-HAND MARGIN OF THIS PAGE AND UNDER “TROPICAL WEATHER” CLICK ON “NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER HOME.

Over the last two years the European Model has done the best at predicting the paths of tropical systems under these particular circumstances.  The graphic that follows is a 5 day forecast position that originated at 0000 Greenwich Time on the 23rd (which is 2000 hours on the 22nd EDT time – or 8 pm).  A lot can happen in 5 days so take this for what it’s worth.  This does correspond closely with determinations made by the National Weather Service today.

I will check the next run (they occur at 0000 and 1200 or twice a day – Greenwich Time) and if there is a significant change I will post it.

On this graphic, and most on this site, two independent left clicks will enlarge to the fullest.

IRENE – SPAGHETTI CHART – 8-22-2011 NEAR MIDNIGHT EDT

THIS IS A TIME-SENSITIVE POSTING SUBMITTED 8-22-2011 AFTER 11 PM EASTERN TIME.

 

 

Hurricane Irene is now of GREAT CONCERN to the Bahamas.  Based upon my observation of the ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting) model  – it now looks as though South Carolina or North Carolina could be the landfall site though the statistical mean mid-line continues to “windshield-wiper” to the east.

Here is Jonathan Vigh’s spaghetti chart effort releases at 8 pm Eastern Daylight Time, 8-22-2011.  The numbers along the forecast model tracks are “hours from the forecast release time.” OFCL is the designation for “official.”  The OFCL is remarkably close to the ECMWF model track which does not show on this graphic.  To observe it, go to my “Tropical Weather” links to the right of this page and click on “Penn. State U. Models Page.”

THIS IS NOW A SERIOUS CAT. 2  HURRICANE WITH POTENTIAL FOR STRENGTHENING.

Graphic courtesy of Jonathan Vigh, Colorado State University

– LEFT CLICK THE GRAPHIC TWICE FOR MAXIMUM ENLARGEMENT –

Irene Is Now a Hurricane – 8-22-2011

PLEASE NOTE – THIS IS A TIME-SENSITIVE POSTING

Below is the 11 am (Eastern Daylight Time) cone of uncertainty for hurricane Irene from the National Hurricane Center.  Remember, only minor shifts toward the west or east can change the complexion of things drastically.  Such changes are common – in fact, some meteorologists refer to resultant realignments of the spreading cone as “windshield wipering.”  Left click the image twice for full enlargement.

LEFT CLICK TWICE FOR FULL ENLARGEMENT