Archive for the ‘Tropical Weather’ Tag
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:
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:
- in a storm surge zone – evacuate.
- in a wooded area with big trees so close to your home that upon falling they are likely to do structural damage – evacuate.
- 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.
- in a region that can easily flood – evacuate.
- in a neighborhood where there is a lot of loose matter that could easily become damaging airborne projectiles – evacuate.
- in a mobile home or R.V. – evacuate.
- 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!
- 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.
- NOT prepared for many days without water service and/or electricity – evacuate.
- in an evacuation zone – evacuate!
- 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.
This is the 4 pm EDT advisory for August 30, 2012.
Two left clicks on the image will enlarge it fully.
By the time you see this posting, the forecast graphic for what remains of Isaac (above) will probably be obsolete. Here is where to go to get a comparable update (however, the advisory above might be the last):
In spite of modern technology the tasks of the National Hurricane Center’s forecasters are not easy and I guarantee they burned the midnight oil as this event unfolded. They have so many variables and unknowns to deal with. I think they do a wonderful job.
Where I live, in west-central Florida about 18 miles inland from where the tiny Crystal River flows into the Gulf of Mexico, there are long-term concerns about our fresh water supply. So I had hoped that Isaac would provide just the right amount of water WITHOUT damaging and costly winds and flooding. Like most humans, I want all of the good but none of the bad that can come from Nature’s wonders. At this time, Thursday evening, 8-30-2012, we are still getting some rain directly related to Isaac even though its center is about to move into Arkansas. Hopefully the system will provide needed rain to drought stricken areas in it’s predicted path. My retired-farmer uncle in Indiana indicates that it’s probably too late for the field corn but could be helpful to the soybeans. As I write, flooding and potential flooding in certain areas of Louisiana are creating real headaches there. There are some places claiming to have more water than with Katrina, albeit for different sets of circumstances.
There is so much information available today and I understand the great value of our acquired knowledge about tropical weather since I first began studying it formally (over 50 years ago) but sometimes, I confess, I think fondly of the days when we had little notion of what was going on until much later in a tropical cyclone’s life cycle. Now, it seems that the media devotes an inordinate amount of time telling us about the negatives and potential negatives that are going on all over the world and I can no longer bask in my ignorance as I used to because I haven’t the will-power or inclination to ignore the resources that are available. But, I concede, there are limits to the notion that ignorance is bliss.
I wish you peace, good health, and happiness.
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
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.
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:
Here is a recent satellite image showing Hermine and the remnants of Gaston.
RELEASED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT 8 AM EASTERN DAYLIGHT TIME, SEPT. 4, 2010. “SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY ASSOCIATED WITH THE REMNANTS OF GASTON CONTINUE TO SHOW SIGNS OF ORGANIZATION THIS MORNING. ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS ARE CONDUCIVE FOR RE-DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM AND A TROPICAL DEPRESSION COULD RE-FORM IN THIS AREA LATER TODAY OR TONIGHT. THERE IS A HIGH CHANCE...70 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE AGAIN DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT MOVES WESTWARD AT ABOUT 10 MPH.” The color image above was completed at 7:45 am EDT today. This black and white image below at 12:15 pm EDT (4.5 hours later). Information inserted in yellow print was done by me, Tonie Ansel Toney.
Since only a few degrees of unexpected course change could bring Earl to the mainland, it concerns me for the many folks I know up and down the East Coast. Here’s hoping he stays out there as predicted by the models today. In any event, sea conditions all along the East Coast will be influenced a great deal by the storm. Beach erosion could become an issue.
MOST IMAGES IN THIS WEBLOG REACH FULL ENLARGEMENT
AFTER TWO LEFT CLICKS OF THE MOUSE/MOUSEPAD
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.
Friends and family have been contacting me via e-mail to let me know about a mysterious storm out there in the Gulf of Mexico. I am thoroughly confused because it defies all that I have learned about conditions conducive to hurricane development – especially during an El Nino episode like the one we are now experiencing. Furthermore, I cannot explain the strange shape of the eye in the satellite images. It alone defies most of what I’ve learned about the physics of cyclonic circulation, conservation of angular momentum, and vorticity.
I am futher confused by the naming of the strong storm, which is on a steady course toward Miami. Some of my sources are indicating that it is hurricane “Whodat” and others are calling it hurricane “Hoosier!”
The strongest part of the storm, the right-hand leading quadrant, is expect to begin dominating South Florida’s weather by late this afternoon on into the darkness hours. I caution all residents to stay off the roadways and seek the comfort and protection of their homes. Television coverage can be enjoyed so long as there are no power outages.
It is my hope that no one is hurt and that the entire event goes on record as being “classy.” By the way, if it were left up to me to name the storm, it would definitely be Hurricane “WhoKnows?”
Two images are shown below: