Saturday, November 30, 2013

November 30: Final Day of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season!

Dear Friends, 

Hurray hurray... let there be much rejoicing for here we are, at the end of yet another Atlantic Hurricane Season! :-) I've got my mason jar of wine and a couple of small blocks of cheese... all I need to find is the ice cream scoop. :-)


Although the final official tally was 13 named storms of which two were hurricanes (no major), in my opinion I think the count should have been 10 named storms, of which only one was a (non-major) hurricane. The last storm this season was definitely not a Tropical (or Subtropical) Storm but by an amazing coincidence the naming of this system did allow NOAA to reach their minimum forecast for the season (of 13 - 20 named storms). Hmm. 

It looks like the early season European predictions were lower, and therefore closer, than the US predictions turned out to be, although they were still a bit higher for the number of hurricanes. There is more than one culprit for this discrepancy between forecast and reality... I know a lot are blaming the 'unpredictable' dry air, but I think the forecasts still don't fully (accurately) account for the impact the ocean has or the Saharan Air Layer (i.e. dust, which has zero calories, so you can eat as much dust as you like ;-) (Little Britain)). I would be a happy bunny if everyone stopped putting numbers on the season when we clearly don't understand quite what's going on! 

Although we had a blissfully quiet season over here, the other ocean basins haven't had such a smooth ride. The Eastern/Central Pacific season, which also ended today, was forecast to have a quiet season but ended up with 20 named storms of which 9 were hurricanes. However, the two biggest storm stories this year (so far) took place in the Indian and West Pacific Oceans. In October the beautifully formed Cat 5 storm, Cyclone Phailin, in the Indian Ocean made landfall in eastern India. Over 500,000 people were evacuated and, amazingly, only 44 deaths were reported. The other big storm story was in the Western Pacific Ocean which (so far) has had 31 named storms, of which 13 are Typhoons (wind speed >74 mph) and 5 have been Super Typhoons (wind speed > 120 mph). Just about 3 weeks ago, Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) hit the Philippines directly as a cat 5 storm (cat 5 range >156 mph) with winds estimated to be between  160 - 196 mph at landfall (wind speed has yet to be confirmed), resulting in over 5,600 deaths. Eugh! Very sad. Sigh. Hopefully that will be the worst of it for this year - in all ocean basins!  

As I wrap up, no season would be complete without my annual award breaking Oscar thank you speech. :-) I'd like to thank Doug M. at CMS/USF (www.marine.usf.edu) in Florida for helping with the listserv, to Chris H. in Georgia and Ben A., for help with the website. I'd also like to thank the NHC for their hard work and for giving me something to rant about. Keep up the good work folks. ;-) 

I also thank my family and friends for keeping me supplied with wine, cheese and other such essentials of life and for their continued futile attempts to keep me sane. ;-) I especially thank my husband, Ben Alpi, for being understanding of the evenings and weekends I've spent ignoring him as I work on my 'hobby' (and of course, right on cue, he just said (apparently with mock drama) "you're not done yet?!?" ;-)).

Last, but most definitely not least, I thank YOU! The best and most intelligent readers ever. :-) Thank you for reading and for sending me jokes, photos, on the ground reports, comments, and questions. Thanks for telling your friends about my fabulously hilarious, witty, informative, accurate, and entertaining writings. The blog website currently has 67, 526 hits... that's 23, 976 hits since last year, with only 53 new updates this year!! :-)

I think I have squirreled away all the acorns, so now it is time for me to hibernate . I'll continue to tweet, like any good twit (@Jyovianstorm) and I may be back for a quick word or two in the next six months (if you are lucky ;-)).  In the meantime, I wish you all a very safe and happy holiday and non-hurricane season filled with much joy and merriment and good TV. Have a wonderful and Happy New Year! ;-)  

Toodle Pip!
J. 

Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/ 
Twitter @JyovianStorm
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DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Subtropical Storm Melissa: November 19, Update A

We'll start with the most important bit first shall we? Only 4 more days until the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Who! Yay for the Abundance of Science Fiction Geekiness! ;-) 

Even as I write, STS Melissa is weakening from not being a Subtropical Storm to really not being a Subtropical Storm. She is officially 'centered' at 33.6N, 52.4W heading NE at 17mph. Winds are 50mph, central pressure is estimated to be 988mb (suspiciously low for a subtropical storm with such weak winds!). There isn't really much convection anywhere near the center as you can see in the infrared satellite image:


The forecast track has shifted a bit to the east:

I think she's trying to get to Ireland and the British Isles just in time to celebrate the 50th Dr. Who anniversary weekend. Who wouldn't want to do that? As nothing much is going on, this will be my last update on Melissa. I have more important things to do like, er, eating ice cream and finishing my Dr. Who bumper edition colouring book... ;-)      

I'll be back for the season wrap-up (unless there's another 'non-storm' before then)... but in the meantime Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah! 

Ciao,
J.

Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/ 
Twitter @JyovianStorm
-------------------------------
DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.
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Subtropical Storm Melissa: November 18, Update A

Really? Subtropical Storm Melissa? Really?? Sigh. Sorry to break it to you all, but this is not a subtropical storm. Luckily it's late now, the season is almost over, and I've had a lovely glass of wine otherwise I'm sure I'd be ranting about this! ;-) 

She is supposedly at 30.3N, 54.7W, heading NW at 8mph. Winds are 60mph, central pressure 985mb. This is what she looks like in the infrared satellite image: 


So, why is Melissa not a subtropical storm? (Apart from the obvious lack of deep convection, which we know by the dearth of orange and red colours in the image above... it's just a light drizzle at the most!).

The biggest clue is in the circulation (or vorticity as this is supposed to be all sciency ;-)) and what that looks like at different levels of the troposphere - this gives us a glimpse into the structure of the storm. I'm sure you all remember that a tropical storm has a very well defined circular pattern of vorticity... (and just in case you happened to have forgotten that, there's an extremely funny and well-written refresher here: 
http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/2013/09/tropical-storm-gabrielle-hurricane.html). Well a subtropical storm would have that lovely circular pattern in the lower levels, and would be connected to a larger area of stronger vorticity (like a front) in the upper levels. Melissa looks like she's connected to a stream of stronger circulation and is not well defined at any level of the troposphere. Here are the latest circulation/vorticity maps for four levels of the troposphere. 


The lowest level, pretty darn tootin' close to the surface of the planet: 


A bit higher: 

The middle bit:

And the upper troposphere: 

None of these show that well defined circulation we'd expect to see with a subtropical or tropical storm! So this is more of an extratropical storm methinks.

She's heading NW for now, but is expected to turn north, then NE, and then turn left at the MacDonalds on Thursday:



I haven't had time to look at the track possibilities, but I'm advising all fish in the area to board up your fish holes and take a holiday... the South Atlantic is looking particularly nice at this time of year. ;-)

I have a travel/meetings day tomorrow, but I'll try and pop back on from some airport or another.  In the meantime I'll leave you with a very cheery thought... only 5 more days until the new Dr. Who 50th Anniversary Episode!!! :-) :-) 


Night night!

J.

Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/ 

Twitter @JyovianStorm
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DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tropical Storm Lorenzo: October 22, Update A

Like any good Time Lord, I am traveling through space and time this week so I don't have much time (ha!) to write about storms. But it's ok because TS Lorenzo, who made an appearance yesterday, is hanging out in the Atlantic sipping his manly pina coladas and won't really be making landfall. :-)

Currently he is at 29.4N, 51.2W, heading E at 8mph. Officially winds are 50mph, central pressure is 1003mb. I think he's a bit stronger than that because the convection is pretty good and there is very strong circulation in the lower half of the troposphere:

I'd say he was more in the 60mph range actually. The forecast has him becoming a Tropical Depression by Thursday afternoon. He is moving into an area of very strong wind shear, which will most certainly knock his socks off (if the pina coladas don't ;-)).  

I actually have to work in this new time zone this week (I know, work, can you believe it?!?) so Lorenzo, although you are Swirling in a sea of stars, Twirling to the strum of guitars, No one tangos quite the way you do, But now my dancing days with you are through! (Pink Martini, And Then You're Gone). ;-)

Ok, must run. My TARDIS awaits!
Aloha,
J.

Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/
Twitter
@JyovianStorm

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DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.
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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Atlantic Blob and Cyclone Phailin: October 12, Update A

Gosh, it looks like there are storms and blobs all over the place today! Let's see... in the eastern Pacific we have a blob and a Tropical Depression (number 15). In the western Pacific we have cat 2 Typhoon Wipha, which is whipping-upa winds of 105mph (cat 2 range: 96 -110mph) and is currently forecast to get to cat 5 status on Monday and then back to cat 1 before clipping Japan on Tuesday. Also in the western Pacific, crossing the South China Sea is Typhoon Nari with winds of 100mph (cat 2), due to make landfall in Vietnam on Tuesday. And then there are the Atlantic and Indian Oceans...

Luckily for us, it looks like dry air and wind shear did take their toll on the Atlantic Blob. You can see the clouds streaming off to the northeast in this infrared satellite image:


Circulation is still good in the lowest levels of the troposphere but the wind shear is super-duper strong and there is a big bunch of dry air to the north and west which looks like it's not subsiding in the immediate future. For now, no Tropical Storm Lorenzo.

In the Indian Ocean, Cyclone Phailin made landfall on Saturday evening in India (shown in this cool satellite image with it's neighbour, Typhoon Nari):

 
About 500,000 (!!!) people were evacuated, which is great because the last time a storm of this magnitude hit this area of India (in 1999), about 10,000 (!!!) people lost their lives! It is too soon to say how much damage has been caused (a handful of casualties reported so far), but the lowest central pressure recorded (that I know of) was 938mb, and the highest winds measured were 125mph (the sensor may have been damaged as winds got stronger).  It did weaken as it got closer to land of course, but not by a lot. It's now on land as a cat 3, with winds of 115mph (cat 3 range: 111-129mph).

I'll be watching the news tomorrow for updates but I won't be here unless Lorenzo shows up (I'll continue to tweet about the other storms as usual of course).

Ciao for now!
J.

Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/
Twitter
@JyovianStorm

-------------------------------

DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.
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Friday, October 11, 2013

Atlantic Blob and the Indian Ocean: October 11, Update A

Well it's Friday night and you know what that means? Yes, that's right... it means there must be a storm out there. In fact there is more than one storm out there... one blobette in the Atlantic, a Typhoon that is crossing the Philippines today, another Tropical Storm in the western Pacific, and a Very BIG Cyclone in the Indian Ocean! 

Typhoon Nari is now over the Philippines as a cat 2 with 105mph winds - it was a cat 3 yesterday. That's tough enough, but the big tropical story is Cyclone Phailin that is due to make landfall in eastern India on Saturday evening (from the Navy website):



It's a category 5 storm with sustained winds estimated to be around 160mph! By definition, a category 5 storm means 'total devastation' which is why we don't have anything stronger. The storm surge is expected to be 15-17 ft over the low-lying areas of this part of India (Odisha and Northern Andra Pradesh coast). Although the Cyclone is a handsome looking storm from above, it's not looking pretty for parts of eastern India.

Compared to that our Atlantic Blob looks like a will-o'-the-wisp:

But it's not. Although the NHC still have this one classified as an area of investigation, I think he is already a Tropical Storm. The circulation is very very strong in the lower half of the troposphere, and you can see the strong convection quite clearly in the infrared satellite image above. I would have called this one Lorenzo already (yes, that really is the next name ... isn't it great? :-)). There is some strong wind shear in his immediate future (actually you can already see this with the clouds streaming off to the east), but I'm not sure if that alone will be enough to stop him. I will look at track options tomorrow - assuming he survives. We'll see what the NHC decide tomorrow. We'll see what Lorenzo decides tomorrow!

In the meantime I shall hope for the best for those in the path of storms today and tomorrow.

Ciao,
J. 

Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/
Twitter
@JyovianStorm

-------------------------------

DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.
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Sunday, October 06, 2013

Former TS Karen: October 6, Update A

It looks like TS Karen fell apart during the night, before making it to land. The wind shear and a front moving through the area nixed any ideas of landfall. The front, with bits of Karen, is now moving east and looks like it's bringing a bit-o-rain with it, as experienced in LA, MS and AL, and now in FL:

And that's my last update on this storm. I'll be back for the next  blob.   

Ciao for now,
J.   

Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/
Twitter
@JyovianStorm

-------------------------------

DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.
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Saturday, October 05, 2013

Tropical Storm Karen: October 5, Update A

Not too much time to dilly dally today because it's Wineday! :-)

Tropical Storm Karen  has made the slight turn to the north, although she continues to push the western edge of the forecast cone and the NHC have shifted her track to the west. They currently forecast landfall late tonight/early tomorrow. If I were to guess, I'd say the Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge part of Louisiana (or possible as far east as Morgan City) is where she'll head - although this is a little west of the NHC forecast cone. Although they are expecting a turn to the NE today, I think there's a good possibility that it will occur once she's on land. She is currently at 27.9N, 91.7W, heading N at 7mph:



 She is barely a TS with winds of 40mph (central pressure: 1008mb), (TS range: 39-73mph). Even this seems too high! She is passing a number of oil and gas platforms in the western/central Gulf, and luckily for us, they have wind sensors on them! :-) (see, the wonders of an ocean observing system...).  Her center is passing very close to a Shell platform (27.8N, 92W), which is reporting winds of 14mph! A bit removed from the center, I see an Apache Corp platform which is reporting winds of 24 mph. Nothing is really showing anywhere near 40mph. Also, there is no circulation in the middle troposphere now, and the circulation in the lowest levels is diminishing too. 

There is very little convection left:

As she moves closer, there may be a toot of rain along the northern Gulf coast - LA to FL panhandle, but even that might not be as much as our normal summer thunderstorms.

Just keep an eye on the water levels. I see from Tides Online that it is almost 2ft above normal along parts of the LA coast.

And for the Karens out there...I thought of a Halloween costume idea: a beheaded Tropical Storm. :-) Send me photos if you do this! (ala Sharknado...)


And I think that's it for now.  I don't know about you but for me winedays are usually quite busy, what with having to drink wine, eat some cheese, have some more wine etc. I may not have time for another update later so stay safe out there and I'll be back tomorrow (once I've recovered ;-)).

Toodles!
J.

p.s. Happy Birthday to my hubby! :-)

Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/
Twitter
@JyovianStorm

-------------------------------

DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.
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