Archive for the ‘Hurricane’ Tag

Hurricane Irma Entry – 9-7-2017

NOAA 9-7-17 8P ET

The image above is from the NOAA National Hurricane Center.  It is the 8 PM EDT Intermediate Advisory for hurricane Irma. 

Here is a link to that site:  http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

I have no particular “feel” for the path that this storm is going to take.  It appears that my “zinger” notion yesterday for a right turn greater than the experts were anticipating might have been about as meaningful as a small rat’s flatulence in a Fujita-5 tornado.  But, I’m still clinging to hope.

The mass migration from South Florida is effecting us here in Citrus County.  Log-jammed I-75 is about 17 miles due east of my home.  Today I took my father-in-law to our “late breakfast” in Inverness where we get together weekly with some other buddies. The drive home northward on U.S. 41 involved extreme congestion.  What was happening is this:  Some northbound traffic on I-75 was exiting at eastbound U.S. 44 and driving on in to Inverness before heading back north on 41 – many probably guided by the GPS features in their vehicles. Sadly, even before that started happening, our gas stations were on empty. 

I understand from television news that lodging in Florida is getting extremely difficult to find.  Even in Atlanta, I-75 has been experiencing overload.  This is one reason why we are not migrating.  I fear we would end up in a traffic jam of monumental proportions.

So, I’m hoping that the morning brings favorable news.  My wish is that this storm goes out into the open Atlantic leaving us all in peace. But, that is most certainly NOT in the forecast.  As each hour passes, such a lucky turn seems more and more like an irrational fantasy.  My heart goes out to all of those who are traveling tonight – not knowing what they will be returning to once this is all over.  Actually, my heart goes out to everyone threatened by this storm.  I remember clearly what it was like returning to our totaled home in Homestead, Florida after Andrew plowed through on August 24, 1992.  That event changed our lives forever.  Driving in we hardly recognized the scene.  Even the street signs were down!  Because of debris we were unable to get down our street in my van.  Paradoxically, only one pane of glass on our house was damaged and that was a mere crack.  It was something that could have been easily taped to prevent air from getting through until I got around to replacing it.  You see, we had storm shutters on every window.  The trouble is, the roof failed!  So much for preparedness.  LOL  I admit that I have higher hopes this time; every window of this Citrus County home is protected also and it was surely built to a higher standard.   We’ll see.

I won’t go into specifics but, as has happened so many times in the past, I was surprised today by a few of the misconceptions about hurricanes that I heard expressed while I was out and about.  For those of you who are interested in common misconceptions about hurricanes, here is a link: 

https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/2008/09/23/952/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/.

“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.


TROPICAL STORM COLIN – 8-3-2010

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.

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;  http://www.hurricanealley.net/

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:  https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/ida-forecast-11-8-09/

Here is a link to the Weather Underground Tropical Page:  http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/

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BONNIE APPEARS TO BE GULF OF MEXICO BOUND!

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

HURRICANE SEASON 2010 IS HERE!

MOST IMAGES IN THIS WEBLOG REACH FULL ENLARGEMENT

AFTER TWO LEFT CLICKS OF THE MOUSE/MOUSEPAD

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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.

https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/2008/08/31/gulf-temperatures-are-very-important-now/

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:

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100527_hurricaneoutlook.html

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’s Current Model Forecasts – 11-7-09

The total amount of thermal energy at the surface in the Western Caribbean is high and wind shear aloft is relative low so it is anticipated that Ida will intensify before striking the Yucatan Peninsula.  The Yucatan does not have the type of topography that we associate with significant weakening of a storm due to friction.  But, read what Dr. Jeff Masters says this morning about the fate of Ida after she enters the Gulf of Mexico:

“Once Ida crosses into the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday night, the storm will encounter much cooler SSTs and a strong trough of low pressure that will dump cold air into the storm and bring 40 knots of wind shear. This will cause Ida to lose its tropical characteristics and become a powerful extratropical storm with 45 – 55 mph winds. It is highly unlikely that Ida will hit the U.S. as a tropical storm, but it could still bring tropical storm-force winds of 45 mph to the coast next week as an extratropical storm.”

As for me, I have been favoring the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Model (GFDL) for the path that Ida will take; currently,  if I had to depend upon only one of the many models, that would be the one – in most instances anyway.  I have no real science to back that up – only my perception based upon experience.  Call it a “gut level” good feeling about the model’s past performance if you will.  Therefore I expect Ida to eventually curve rightward as the GFDL shows in the plot below.  By the time it does I expect it will have lost its tropical characteristics though the winds will still be strong.  In other words, it will become extratropical.  TO GET INSTRUCTIONS ON OBTAINING THE GFDL ANIMATION CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINK: https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/2008/08/30/gfdl-model-a-great-source-for-an-animation/https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/2008/08/30/gfdl-model-a-great-source-for-an-animation/

The prefix, extra, means “outside of” or “beyond.”  Extratropical cyclones are sometimes called cold core lows whereas tropical cyclones are warm core lows.  When a tropical cyclone draws in cold air (as usually happens when a front interferes with the storm) it becomes extratropical.  The majority of the world’s extratropical cyclones develop in the middle latitudes (30 degrees to 60 degrees latitude) and for that reason are often referred to as middle latitude cyclones.

Graphic courtesy of Jonathan Vigh of the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University

11-7-09Ida

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Gulf Coast Residents – Ida Is Worth Watching

Ida developed quickly – in fact at a record pace (see Jeff Master’s Weather Blog at http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1372).

Though relatively high wind shear could prevent Ida from becoming a significant threat to the U.S. mainland it is a storm that is worth watching, partly because warm Gulf waters could nurture it.

Here is a recent forecast plot from the National Hurricane Center (left click to enlarge image):

11-5-09 ida

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Jimena and Erika

During the next few months I will be on line only intermittently.  For quick indicators about tropical weather systems I recommend the Weather Channel if you have cable and also the Masters’ Blog at http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/

The Masters’ Blog link is usually at the upper part of the page on the right hand side.

Please remember if you are in tropical weather territory – it doesn’t always happen to the “other guy.”  And, though landfall events have not been abundant this season, 1992 was also an El Nino season with a slow start and only one hurricane made landfall upon the U.S. coast that year.  ANDREW!  My point?  “All it takes is one!”  I beg you to be prepared – even if you are far from the coast because the effects of a tropical weather system can be devastating many miles from where it makes landfall.

Here are the current potential pathway advisories on Jimena and Erika.

z JimenaErikaCombo

Left click the image in order to enlarge. In some

instances a second left click will enlarge even further.