Archive for the ‘Caribbean Weather’ Tag

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.

IRENE – 8-21-2011 SPAGHETTI CHART

THIS IS A TIME-SENSITIVE POSTING SUBMITTED 8-21-2011 AFTER 11 PM EASTERN TIME.

IT IS NOW OUT OF DATE.  PLEASE CLICK ON THE BLOG TAB AT THE TOP LEFT OF THIS PAGE AND SCROLL DOWN TO LOOK FOR A MORE RECENT REPORT ON THIS STORM WHICH IS NOW A SERIOUS HURRICANE (posted 8-22-2011 near midnight EDT).

Invest (investigation) 97L (or 97AL) has become Tropical Storm Irene.  My concerns for Florida remain and it looks to me as though the east coast is the part of Florida most likely to be influenced by the system.  If it does skirt the coast at least that region will be subjected to the left-hand leading quadrant which is almost always less powerful than the right-hand leading quadrant.  Based upon my observation of the ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting) model  – it now looks as though South Carolina could very well be the landfall site.  Of course many changes can occur over the next few days and much depends upon the movement and strength of a trough dipping down over the Eastern U.S.A.  One of my favorite sources, Dr. Jeff Masters wrote yesterday:

“The best model for predicting the timing and strength of such troughs over the past two years has been the ECMWF (European Center model).  The European Center does not permit public display of tropical storm positions from their hurricane tracking module of their model, so we are unable to put ECMWF forecasts on our computer model forecast page that plots positions from the other major models.  Remember that a 7-day forecast by even our best model will be off by an average of over 700 miles, so it is too early to tell what part of the U.S. might be most at risk from a strike by 97L. This weekend would be a good time to go over your hurricane preparation.”

In the future, if you wish to view the ECMWF model loops go to the right of this page and under the heading of  “Tropical Weather” click on the link to Penn. State U. Models Page.  Scroll down until you find it.

Here is Jonathan Vigh’s spaghetti chart effort releases at 8 pm Eastern Time, 8-21-2011.

TWO LEFT CLICKS WILL ENLARGE THIS FULLY FOR YOU

TROPICAL SYSTEM 91L. A 5 DAY PLUS FORECAST BY THE GFDL MODEL.

THANKS TO PENN STATE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY FOR THIS GRAPHIC.

 Left clicks on this graphic should enlarge it for you.

THIS IS A TIME-SENSITIVE POSTING SUBMITTED 7-30-2011 LATE EVENING.

This is the GFDL model’s forecast for system 91L 126 hours from the 2 PM Eastern time release (today 7-30-2011).  Note that it is shown to be north of Eastern Cuba.  I calculate the forecast time to be 5.25 days (or 5 days and 6 hours) beyond the release time.  That would be Thursday, August 4 at 8 PM Eastern time.  This, of course is a forecast loaded with unknowns and fickle variables so one should not consider it a “given.”  The GFDL model (Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory) has impressed me over the last few years.  I’m posting this now so that perhaps on Thursday night you might want to check to see how close it is.  This posting is not intended to alarm anyone needlessly.  If you are in a position where you like to plan ahead and are potentially in the path of tropical systems from the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, I advise you to pay close attention to forecasts available to you.  It is my opinion that the Weather Channel on television does a great job covering tropical weather and I highly recommend it as a source.   Also, on the right hand margin of this page under Miscellaneous/Other you will find a link to the on-line Weather Channel.  I also highly recommend the tropical weather blog of Dr. Jeff Masters.  Here is a link:  http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/article.html

The Hurricane Season for 2011 Has Begun

Radar Loop of Tropical Storm Fay's Florida Visit - YOU MUST CLICK ON TO ACTIVATE.

By the time you read this, May of 2011 will have ended and the Northern Hemisphere Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico hurricane season will have begun.  The following link will take you to a summary of the NOAA outlook for this season:

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20110519_atlantichurricaneoutlook.html

Please be prepared if you live in hurricane territory.

The loop above illustrates nicely that a tropical system does not have to be a hurricane in order to cause significant problems including fatalities.  TO ACTIVATE YOU MUST LEFT CLICK ON THE IMAGE.  Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the 2008 storm:  Tropical Storm Fay was a tropical storm and the sixth named storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. Fay formed from a vigorous tropical wave on August 15 over the Dominican Republic. It passed over the island of Hispaniola, into the Gulf of Gonâve, across the island of Cuba, and made landfall on the Florida Keys late in the afternoon of August 18 before veering into the Gulf of Mexico. It again made landfall near Naples, Florida, in the early hours of August 19 and progressed northeast through the Florida peninsula, emerging into the Atlantic Ocean near Melbourne on August 20. Extensive flooding took place in parts of Florida as a result of its slow movement. On August 21, it made landfall again near New Smyrna Beach, Florida, moving due west across the Panhandle, crossing Gainesville and Panama City, Florida. As it zigzagged from water to land, it became the first storm in recorded history to make landfall in Florida four times.   Thirty-six deaths were blamed on Fay.  The storm also resulted in one of the most prolific tropical cyclone related tornado outbreaks on record. A total of 81 tornadoes touched down across five states, three of which were rated as EF2. Damage from Fay was heavy, estimated at $560 million.

Here is a link to Wikipedia’s coverage of that storm:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_Storm_Fay_%282008%29

Here is a link to my list of 23 Misconceptions About Hurricanes:

http://ztechzone.net/learningzone/science/science55/hurricanes.html

HURRICANE SEASON FOR 2010 HAS ENDED FOR THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE ATLANTIC.

 

Graphic courtesy of http://www.wunderground.com/

 

FOR THE RECORD:

The “official” hurricane season is 6 months long – beginning June 1 – ending November 30.

An Atlantic hurricane was observed on March 7, 1908.  That’s quite a number of days before June 1.

An Atlantic hurricane was observed December 31, 1954.  That’s quite a number of days after November 30.

The earliest hurricane to strike the United States since 1900 was Alma which struck northwest Florida on June 9, 1966 and the latest was near the end of the day on November 30, 1925 near Tampa, Florida.

Here is a wonderful hurricane season summary by Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground.  Dr. Masters is one of my primary resources when it comes to tropical weather.  At the end of his summary he links to the Klotzbach-Gray report which I have also linked you to below.  But – for those interested in the “season” I recommend reading the Master’s report first.

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1703

Here’s the link to the comprehensive summary of the 2010 Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean hurricane season by Philip J. Klotzbach and William Gray.  Gray is the renowned long-term forecaster from Colorado State University and Klotzbach, after a great deal of experience working with Gray, has taken over the primary responsibility.  It is in the PDF format:

http://hurricane.atmos.colostate.edu/Forecasts/2010/nov2010/nov2010.pdf

TROPICAL STORM PAULA NOW OVER WESTERN CUBA – 10-14-2010 A.M.

 

Left click to enlarge (which also may trigger motion).

 

Hopefully you are able to see the counterclockwise rotation of Paula in the radar loop above.  Computer models are in general agreement that this storm is not likely to survive much longer.  Most models have the storm continuing to turn to eventually head toward the southeast – but in a very weakened state.  A combination of shear aloft and movement over Cuba is likely to spell the end of her.  However, it is never safe to assume such predictions as Gospel truth.  Interests in the area (including South Florida) should remain alert.

 

98L Becomes Tropical Storm Paula

98L intensified to a tropical storm late yesterday.  This morning’s graphic below is from the National Hurricane Center for 7 am CDT.  Note that the weighted mean forecast path looks a bit like a backwards comma.  Following that is Jonathan Vigh’s compilation of computer model tracks in what is referred to often as a spaghetti chart.  This one is very busy but a quick glance will give you the general idea.

 

Two left clicks should enlarge to the fullest.

 

 

Two left clicks should enlarge to the fullest.

 

CLP-5 is a persistence model which, in my opinion, is not likely to represent the true path the storm takes.  The BAMS model considers where the storm is likely to travel IF it is moved mainly by shallow (lower level) forces.  In my opinion this is unlikely.

Tropical Low 98L – October 9, 2010

The graphic below shows this morning’s computer model forecast tracks for the low (98L) that is currently developing and under investigation in the Western Caribbean.

 

Two left clicks will enlarge to the fullest

 

TROPICAL DISTURBANCE – JULY 20, 2009

LEFT CLICK TO ENLARGE THIS IMAGE

LEFT CLICK TO ENLARGE THIS IMAGE

TIME SENSITIVE! – THIS WAS POSTED AROUND

11:30 PM EST

ON JULY 20, 2009.

A tropical disturbance (also known as a tropical wave) has moved over Barbados and is continuing on its general path toward a direction just a little north of west.  The image above is a color-enhanced infrared.  At the time of this posting, the National Hurricane Center is indicating that they do not expect development into a cyclonic system within the next 48 hours.  To be cyclonic there must be a closed rotation.  tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes rotate counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere (except in the higher levels of the storms).  For more information on cyclonic circulation in a hurricane go to this link:

https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/2008/09/09/hurricane-circulation-lesson-1/

My most trusted source, Dr. Jeff Masters, at this time expects the disturbance to be torn apart by upper level wind shear within the next few days.

To follow Dr. Masters’ reports, go to the following link:

http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=34442

Then, in the “Features” bar at the top, click on Tropical/Hurricane.

That will take you to his Wunderblog feature which usually appears on the right hand side of the page.

If you wish to see other posts on this web-log

but are unable,

please click on the “blog” tab

near the top of this page.