Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tropical Storm Don: July 28, Update A

Deary me but TS Don is a messy looking storm at the moment!

It is still a bit tricky to see where his center of circulation is because he is still fairly weak. The NHC, based on data from a plane that flew through him this morning, say it’s around 24.6N, 90.7W and he is heading NW at 15mph. I still don’t quite see that center of circulation and think he might be a little south of that location and moving a little more WNW. Regardless, they have shifted the forecast track southwards a bit, so the center of the cone is now in southern Texas. I think that might get revised a little more to the south – but they do have the best data directly from in situ measurements (meaning in position or at the site, in this case via the plane), versus my data which is obviously based on a crystal ball ;-).

It is no surprise that the plane (or rather the instruments and people in the plane) found that he had intensified slightly, and has sustained winds of 45mph (TS range: 39-73mph). He is moving away from the influence of the Yucatan landmass.

It looks like a few of you actually read my earlier notes on tropical storms and Tropical Storms and even made coherent comments! ;-) Clay from Georgia asked a clarifying question on whether storms in the Indian Ocean or Pacific that have wind speeds of less than 73 mph are named or not. Storms in the other ocean basins that reach winds of over 40mph are also named, but they go straight to ‘Cyclone’ or ‘Typhoon’ (basin-dependent), they do not pass ‘Go’ (Monopoly reference ;-)), and don’t have a divide between ‘Tropical Storm’ and ‘Hurricane’ as in the Atlantic/eastern Pacific.  Also, Cyclones and Typhoons are not usually given a category based on wind speeds like we have Hurricane Cat 1-5, so if you hear about one of those storms you need to also know the wind speeds to figure out how strong it is. The exception to this are Super Typhoons, which have wind speeds of 150mph or higher, and are therefore the equivalent of a very strong Category 4 (range: 131 - 155mph) or stronger Hurricane. And Jeff from Florida wins the fellow-geek yellow jersey for today for being the first to correctly identify my slightly geeky reference to Masters of the Universe/He-Man (“the Power of Grayskull”) – to Jeff’s wife: please rest assured your husband is *not* a wealth of useless information. ;-)

I’ll be back later.

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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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