Archive for the ‘Tropical Weather’ Tag

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.

Hurricane Warning In February! A Strange Happening.

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:

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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THE ENTIRE FIRST PARAGRAPH THAT FOLLOWS  IS A DIRECT QUOTE FROM DR. JEFF MASTERS (PICTURED BELOW) THAT WAS CUT AND PASTED FROM HIS WEATHER UNDERGROUND SITE; DR. MASTERS IS MY MOST RELIABLE AND DEPENDABLE SOURCE WHEN IT COMES TO TROPICAL WEATHER; HE IS A DEDICATED ‘WINNER:”  ONE REASON WHY I DEPEND SO HEAVILY UPON HIS WORK IS THAT HE IS NOT OPERATING UNDER THE CONSTRAINTS OF NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECASTER BUT HE BENEFITS FROM THEIR INTERPRETATIONS AS WELL AS FROM OTHER NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RESOURCES.  HE IS DEDICATED, “UP FRONT,” AND RESPONSIBLE.

bio_jeffm
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

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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IDA MODEL FORECASTS – 11-6-09

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.

11-6-09Ida

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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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A Tropical Wave Worth Watching Has Formed

-l eft click to enlarge this TIME SENSITIVE image -
-left click twice to enlarge this TIME SENSITIVE image –

The chart above, acquired from the tropical page of Weather Underground at http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/ shows computer model “notions” of the future path of Investigation 91 which currently has the status of a tropical wave.  The wave (or tropical disturbance) is currently showing no signs of cyclonic circulation.  When, or if, if does it will become a tropical depression.

The red pathway is from the GFS image.  This is the one I’m tending to value the most in this specific case since the GFDL does not take it far enough.  In any case, it is believed that the leading half of an anticyclone moving from the west toward the east will prevent the system from continuing its rightward turning and will eventually cause it to move generally toward the west.

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ERIKA – KEEP A WATCHFUL EYE ON THE EAST COAST

z 9-3-09 Erika

Graphic courtesy of Jonathan Vigh, Colorado State.

LEFT CLICK GRAPHIC TO ENLARGE

and a second time to enlarge even further.

The models have a “ways to go” in order to reach what I consider a healthy agreement on Erika’s future path.  My “gut-level” feeling, for what it’s worth, is that even though the storm is likely to be disturbed a great deal by shear aloft, there is a strong chance that it could reorganize (come back to life) once that shear diminishes.  On the basis of some of the projections, I would not be surprised to see Erika sneeking up to near North Carolina around the 10th or 11th.  Of course I hope I’m wrong.  My wish, always, is that our tropical systems give us needed moisture without doing damage or causing stress and anxiety.  Perhaps that’s asking too much but as the old (1938) standard song says, “I can dream, can’t I?”

THIS IS A TIME-SENSITIVE POSTING

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.

ANA, BILL, AND CLAUDETTE!

zAnaBillClaudett38-16-09

To have this current explosion of activity in the Gulf and Atlantic after so many quiet weeks is a real attention-getter.  Most recently, a tropical system off the Florida panhandle has developed into a tropical storm.  In the meantime Ana and Bill out in the Atlantic are both commanding attention.

Tropical systems are not all bad, particularly when the wind velocities are not too high and this is because they can provide much needed precipitation.  Let’s hope that these three systems prove to be more of an advantage than anything else.  So many people are reminded of Andrew in 1992, another year in which El Nino was a  factor.  Andrew was the only hurricane to make landfall in the U.S.A. that season but he was a whopper and there are many people yet today who will testify that it changed their lives – myself included.

I am likely to be inactive on this site for the next few days for two reasons.  My laptop is behaving badly and either needs some serious attention (like a new hard drive) or I need to bite the bullet and get another machine.  Also – I will be traveling.  For those of you who know me – don’t be alarmed.  The traveling has nothing to do with the current tropical weather activity.

In the meantime if you want to stay on top of things weatherwise 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.

Peace be with you!

tat

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