Archive for the ‘Tropical Weather’ 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/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IRMA POSTING – PLUS

– click mouse twice for full enlargement of this image –

 

 

FIRST ENTRY IN MORE THAN A YEAR – 9-6-2017

I apologize to those few of you who have been consulting this weblog. My last posting was August 31, 2016. I’m still going strong and my interest has not waned. I’m still in the learning mode and intend to stay there. But it’s been a long time since I retired from teaching full-time college geosciences in 2003 and a lot has changed. I continued adjunct teaching after I retired but then moved away from South Florida in 2005. From 2006 into 2013 I taught 14 short-term courses at the College of Central Florida. Interest in this weblog seems to have diminished since I stopped formal teaching. However, when I checked this site this morning I saw that it has gotten tons of hits over the last few days, probably due to hurricane Irma. Prior to this current event almost all geoscience questions and observations that have come my way have been from a few family members, a few neighbors, and one buddy at church. It is very rare for me to hear from former students.

In-so-far as weather reporting is concerned, the information available to the public has blossomed since I retired and, for the most part, its quality has improved to the point that there is little if anything I can add (beyond basics). Many of my notions concerning tropical weather events fall into the category of hunches or intuition. I don’t believe that my 37 years of teaching meteorology full-time gives me license to clutter minds with my ideas unless I’m honest about them. Instead, in the comments below about Irma, I will share the four tropical weather resources I consult most often.

I am planning a change of theme and/or purpose for this site soon – more in the realm of discovery, opinions, observations, analyses, experiences, and perhaps some attempts at humor. The “About” page for this site was updated earlier today and if you wish to contact me, you will find my address there.

 

 

MY INPUT ON OUR CURRENT TROPICAL WEATHER

WHICH IS BEING DOMINATED BY HURRICANE IRMA.

My four primary resources are:

  1. Dr. Jeff Masters’ weblog (blog) at WeatherUnderground.com. It can be found here: https://wwwwunderground.com/cat6

  2. The Weather Channel on television and on-line – including apps. There are things about the Weather Channel presentations I don’t like. Nevertheless I appreciate the convenience and their efforts.

  3. The National Hurricane Center. I go to this site to get a grip on what is going on in their world. I consider that they might tend to err on the side of caution, subconsciously at the very least. What an awesome responsibility they have. Http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

  4. The ECMWF Model – commonly referred to as the European Model.

I rely upon it heavily because of it’s premier reputation due to its accuracy over the last few years. It has done well for the “Irma type” storms. To be sure, I don’t ignore the other models. The following paragraph is for those who have been trying to understand that model.

You are likely to have heard many references to the European Model. I admit it is confusing. For example, here is a quote from Dr. Jeff Masters. “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 other major models.” Thus, even though on television or on-line you may see comparisons of the European Model to the myriad other models, you might have noticed that it’s not included in the spaghetti charts that show models from multiple sources. What you will see is either the European “operational” model track or the European Ensemble (a spaghetti graphic). For that spaghetti ensemble the operational model is re-run at a lower resolution (called the control run) and this is then repeated 50 times, each with slightly different starting conditions.

I get my favorite animated European model track from Penn State’s Department of Meteorology at http://mp1.met.psu.edu/~fxg1/ECMWF0.5_0z/ecmwfloop.html

Please note that this link is time-sensitive.

Of the four charts, I focus upon the one on the upper right as I scroll through f24 through f240 ( which means “24 hours into the future” through “240 hours into the future”).

You might fry your brain with the time signatures on the bottom – depending upon your comfort level with time at the prime meridian (Universal, Greenwich, Zulu) and your knowledge of Victor time.

 

THE CORIOLIS EFFECT

I’ve been thinking all day long about the Coriolis Effect as it relates to Irma. If you are my former student you might recall that the steering currents at high altitude are, in part, a function of the Coriolis Effect (the Penn State chart on the upper left) and I’ll bet you remember that the counterclockwise circulation of Irma is due to the Coriolis Effect. If you’re still sharp on the subject you might also remember that the outflow at the top of the storm is likely to be clockwise for the same reason – the Coriolis Effect. I know that sounds like a contradiction to those of you who are unfamiliar with this subject. If you are interested in the Coriolis Effect go here:

https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/2008/10/02/the-coriolis-effect-in-the-real-world-a-tutorial-part-1/

and here:

https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/2008/10/07/the-coriolis-effect-in-the-real-world-a-tutorial-part-2-cyclones-anticyclones/

 

MY NOTIONS TODAY ABOUT IRMA

Here is my zinger that comes from the “gut level” and is therefore probably not deserving of any classification other than “pure speculation.” (That’s the honesty I referred to in the second paragraph of this blog).

I am expecting (or is it hoping and praying for?) slightly more turning to the right than the experts are indicating. The itty-bitty turn last night was encouraging to me. I keep telling myself that the hurricane is a separate entity of its own and that the Coriolis Effect is influencing it’s path independent of the steering currents and the rotational motion. That path is the consequence of what is referred to as translational motion. Furthermore, the further north the storm gets, the stronger the Coriolis Effect will be. The Coriolis Effect is zero at the equator and increases to 100% at the poles. Maybe I’m just overly excited about last night’s noticeable veering of Irma’s path. Perhaps this is merely a good example of wishful thinking. We’ll see.

 

FOR CITRUS COUNTY, FLORIDA

Finally, for those of you who live in my county of Florida, Citrus, you might be interested in this August 2014 posting about hurricanes.

https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/citrus-county-florida-and-hurricanes/

 

 

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.

ISAAC SHOULD NOT BE IGNORED

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):

 http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/index.shtml

 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.

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

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

Hermine and Former Gaston Today – 9-7-2010

Yellow insertions by T. Ansel Toney

Here is a recent satellite image showing Hermine and the remnants of Gaston.

Gaston Is Likely to Strengthen – 9-4-2010

Two independent left clicks will fully enlarge.

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.



A big thanks and a God bless to the U.S. Navy for this graphic!

HURRICANE EARL – SUNDAY NIGHT – 8-29-2010

Thanks to NOAA's National Hurricane Center for this graphic.

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.

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.