Archive for the ‘Hurricane season’ Tag

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:

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:

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




Graphic courtesy of



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.

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:

AFRICAN LOWS 8-27-2010

For those of you who might be “old school” (like me) and enjoy surface pressure plots, I’m posting this current one that shows a line of lows over Northern Africa and Saudi Arabia – all of which are slowly migrating toward the west – which is typical for this time of year.  I’ve marked the cores of these lows in red. They are hot and dry but as soon as they move over the Atlantic they characteristically sweep up great amounts of moisture through evaporation.  Paradoxically, the addition of water vapor lowers the pressure and because of that the systems usually “deepen.”  Increasing winds make waves which increases the water surface for evaporation and whitecaps with bursting bubbles produces ejection filaments which break apart by gravity and cause even more surface to be available for evaporation.  During this phase of the hurricane season for some of these it’s “off to the races” as  tropical cyclonic systems evolve and track across the Atlantic.  Typically, the warmer the water, the higher the evaporation rates and the stronger the storms become.   NOTE:  Remember, the more water vapor in the air the less it weighs per unit volume – therefore the lower the pressure upon the surface. The opportunity for intensification is great because of the great length of ocean over which they can travel.  Once this happens – as long as they are over warm water about the only thing that can make them fade involves the air aloft (its temperature, velocity, and flow pattern).

Atlantic Hurricane Season – Please Be Alert – 8-19-2010

We are entering the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season.  If you have not been influence by tropical activity thus far this year you might be under the impression that it’s an inactive season.  That would not be true.  Statistically, it has been about average to date. Though we cannot “plan the future” I feel strongly that we should plan “FOR” certain eventualities in the future.  I urge you to be prepared and alert in the event that a tropical system comes your way.

The following statement in “blue” was taken Verbatim Thursday morning (8-19-2010) from the Dr. Jeff Masters web-log found at

“The GFS, NOGAPS, and ECMWF models continue to predict that a tropical storm will form between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands sometime in the period 3 – 6 days from now. There is an area of disturbed weather south of the Cape Verdes Islands, but there is no obvious organization to the cloud pattern. Wind shear is a hefty 20 – 30 knots in the region, and the disturbance is a 1 – 2 day journey away from reaching a lower shear area where development can occur. Preliminary indications are that if a storm did develop in this region, it would track west-northwest and pass well to the northeast of the Lesser Antilles Islands 7 – 8 days from now. However, 7-day forecasts of a storm that hasn’t even formed yet are not to be trusted.”

I have taken the liberty of trimming the latest full disc color satellite image down to a manageable size where you can still easily find Florida and thus look across the Atlantic to see the area of disturbed weather off Africa to which Dr. Masters refers. Two independent left clicks on this image will enlarge it fully. This image was taken from a distance over three earth diameters away from the surface yet there is considerable detail.  I hope you enjoy it.


The most recent Atlantic disturbance has evolved into a tropical storm.  Here is Colin’s general forecast track released at 5 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time on Tuesday, August 3, 2010. Left click on the image to enlarge.


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

Hurricanes and the Gulf Oil Slick

*Note about the illustration (above) at the end of this posting.

The effect of a hurricane (or hurricanes) upon the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has countless people concerned. Also, some have wondered how the oil might effect a hurricane. NOAA addresses both topics in the following recent publication (PDF format) answering the following questions:

What will the hurricane do to the oil slick in the Gulf?

What will happen to a hurricane that runs through this oil slick?

Here is a link to the PDF file from NOAA.

hurricane fact sheet_Layout 1

Initially, I had planned to write on the subject myself, sharing my “notions” about interrelationships between the spill and hurricanes. However, I recently read the splendid treatment on the subject by Dr. Jeff Masters and it was clear to me that I’d simply be repeating, in one way or another, much of what he had written – and doubtfully as comprehensively. Rather than walk that thin line between “being a bystander who conveys the ideas of another” and “plagarism”, I’ll simply link you to his recent work published in the WeatherUnderground website. It is in two parts:

What would a hurricane do to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill?

How oil might affect a hurricane .

More links:

*With apologies to Katsushika Hokusai and the gigantic number of people who admire his work – I took the liberty to be creative late this afternoon with his most famous work, The Great Wave off KanagawaThough this does not depict the Gulf of Mexico near whose shores Fuji would most certainly appear out of place, it seems fitting that such a strange and wild fantasy scenario is no less shocking than what has really happened in the Gulf of Mexico.  As I was painting the dark gray matter upon the modern water I was thinking “oil.”  But if you interpreted it to be floating pumice ash or something akin to that – it makes our present situation even more sad because at least a volcanic eruption is a natural event.

In my opinion this ongoing oil spill was triggered by mans’ stupidity, laziness, greed, incompetence, and failure to seriously address our need for clean and relatively safe sources of energy.  I feel strongly that we should have addressed the crisis years ago, at least by the mid-70’s, with as much vigor and determination as we addressed the attack upon Pearl Harbor.  I feel that we should focus upon geothermal energy as our principle source – utilizing heat beneath us to flash water into steam to turn turbines connected to generators making electricity.  We could then use much of that electricity to disassociate water into hydrogen and oxygen.  Hydrogen should be our fuel used to propel us from place to place.  It burns cleanly and it does not pollute.  Hot rock is everywhere beneath us – close in some places and deeper in others.  Our oil drillers would have plenty of work to keep them busy.  Try a search of “geothermal energy” and see what you find.





Today, June 1, 2010, marks the official beginning of the northern hemisphere’s Atlantic Hurricane Season. The season is 6 months long, ending at the end of November 30. However, hurricanes can occur outside that officially designated season.

I wish to extend my deepest sympathy to family and friends of the 11 workers who died in the April 20 oil drilling rig explosion and hope for a quick recovery for those 17 who were injured.  Sadly, before this is “over” there are likely to be even more casualties.

You have probably been hearing and reading a lot lately about the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current due to the resultant, catastrophic, ongoing crude oil discharge from the sea floor into the Gulf’s waters. The Loop has been described as a potential transporter of much of that oil around the Florida Keys and on up the East Coast of the United States (and even potentially further). The Loop is but a segment of the huge North Atlantic Gyre (sometimes called the Gulf-stream Gyre) and is an essential element in the process whereby heat energy is exchanged between the low latitudes and the higher latitudes. Without it, our climates would be far more severe on both ends of the thermal spectrum.

So – though I wish to emphasize that the Loop in-of-itself is not a bad thing, it has recently been portrayed that way because of its potential to spread the hazardous oil far beyond its source. Furthermore, when it comes to hurricanes, there have been clear examples of hurricane intensification while moving over the Loop. Recent examples are hurricanes Katrina and Rita, both in 2005. Katrina’s movement over the Loop is graphically illustrated above.

If you wish to read a bit more about hurricane intensification from warm water surfaces go to the following link from 2008 in which I am discussing hurricane Gustav.

I doubt it’s news to you that this season is predicted to be more active than usual. I won’t add to the myriad words on this subject already made available on-line within the last few days but here is a link to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration page (NOAA) if you want some detail:

It is my great hope that your life is not complicated or endangered by a hurricane or hurricane’s this year or any other year. If you do live in “hurricane territory” I beg you to address preparation now if you have not already. I hope that you have not “caught” the disorder that seems to be epidemic these days, “terminal uniqueness.” Please know – it doesn’t always happen to the “other guy.” Please don’t become a victim because of that misconception. It’s important to realize that if you do have storm problems – assistance is not likely to be quickly and/or efficiently available. You might have to fend for yourself for quite some time. It is not smart to expect “quick response teams” to rush to your aid. If a strong hurricane visits your area it is likely to be a devastating event if you are not prepared. I’ll tell you this: From my experience with hurricane Andrew (1992), it’s tough enough when you are prepared.

IDA FORECAST – 11-8-09

Some of the information on this site is published close to “real-time”  particularly as it applies to tropical weather.  But it is important to remember that the only “official” source of information is the National Hurricane Center. Decisions concerning life or death, property, and such should not be made based solely on the information found on this site or any other sites that are recommended here. unless they are official. Listen to your local authorities when conditions are life-threatening or there is possible loss of property.

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Dr. Jeff Masters

The forecast for Ida

Posted: 10:21 AM EST on November 08, 2009

“The high wind shear of 20 – 25 knots currently affecting Ida is forecast to persist at that level until Monday night. Some slow intensification is still possible while Ida remains over the exceptionally warm water of the Loop Current in the Gulf of Mexico, through tonight (Figure 2). Late tonight, Ida will be crossing over waters of 26°C, which is barely enough to support a hurricane. With shear still expected to be at 20 -25 knots, I expect weakening to begin early Monday morning and accelerate on Monday afternoon. At that time, Ida will encounter 40 knots of wind shear associated with a cold front over the Gulf of Mexico, and begin transitioning to an extratropical storm. Exactly how strong Ida will be when it reaches the coast early Tuesday morning–and indeed if Ida even does reach the coast–is a forecast with high uncertainty. The computer models have a tough time forecasting the evolution of a tropical cyclone into an extratropical cyclone, and the models are all over the place on what will happen. Most of the models foresee a landfall near 1 am EST Tuesday between Mississippi and Pensacola, Florida, then a path northeastward over the Southeast U.S. However, Ida could come to halt before reaching the coast and turn west towards Tampa (the UKMET model’s forecast), or turn south back over the Gulf of Mexico (the NOGAPS model’s forecast). In any case, storm surge and heavy rain appear to be the main hazards from Ida. The GFDL model (Figure 3) is forecasting rain amounts of 4 – 8 inches for a large swath of the Gulf Coast, and there is a risk of tornadoes if the warm air from the core of Ida pushes ashore.”  END QUOTE

From my point of view, (this is Cloudman23 writing) everyone on the Gulf Coast  from Mississippi to Key West should have a “heads up” mindset while Ida is out there.  As Dr. Masters said, the computer models have a difficult time when the tropical to extratropical metamorphoses takes place.  Furthermore, the chance of tornadoes (mentioned by Dr. Masters) in association with warm, moist air from Ida and its inherent instability in such situations, this storm should not be taken lightly.

11-8-09 Ida 3pEST


Thanks to the very fine work by Jonathan Vigh of the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University I am able to provide you this morning’s model forecasts for Ida.  Left click to enlarge image.


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