Monday, September 26, 2011

Tropical Depression Ophelia and Tropical Storm Philippe: September 25, Update A

Apparently there *are* more than five people on this planet who know what New Orleans International Airport’s MSY stands for. I’m impressed... it took me ages (that would be ‘internet ages’, not ‘geological ages’) to find the answer! Mike from Louisiana was fastest on the buzzer… MSY is Moisant Stock Yard. Later I’ll tell you the story I found on the internet... by the way, I believe everything I read on the internet. Don’t you? (<--- especially if you read this on my blog site ;-) ).

As we expected, Ophelia is now officially no longer a Tropical Storm, and Philippe has been eating his spinach.

Tropical Depression Ophelia
She woke up this morning and decided she wasn’t going to follow the NHC forecast track after all. Which self-respecting storm does these days anyway? ;-) Instead she took a left turn and headed west towards the rum (and the islands in the northeastern Caribbean). This path makes a lot more sense to me because I was expecting her to be thirsty after crossing the Atlantic… er, I mean I expected her to be passing closer to the islands (south of their track). But they kept shifting the forecast track to the north, and given their pretty good track record (ha ha, puns intended ;-)) for the past two-three storms, I thought I was misreading the tea-leaves! (I’ll just have to have a few more cups of tea next time ;-)).

The NHC finally decided she was no longer a Tropical Storm and issued their last advisory on her at 5pm this evening. At that time (about 6 hours ago) she was at 18.5N, 60.9W, heading WNW at 8mph (so she’s slowed down quite a bit). Winds were 35mph, central pressure 1010mb.

I agree with downgrading her. Alas poor Ophelia, we knew her well. Her vorticity (circulation) is very weak now, although the convection has improved closer to the ‘center’. I think I’ll keep writing about her for a bit longer, because she still does have a bit of circulation and the islands will get some windy, possibly rainy weather over the next couple of days. The main convection is east of the ‘center’, which I’m estimating is around 18.5N, 61W.

Tropical Storm Philippe
Here is a visible satellite image of Philippe (taken at night, so he’s not as good looking as he would be during daylight):

He looks like a storm, which is a relief because that’s what he is. ;-) Officially he is at 14.1N, 32.5W, supposedly heading NW at 12mph. I’m not convinced of any of this. He looks like he is south and west of that location, and he’s heading in a more westward direction. He might even be slower, I can’t tell what his speed is, but I do know that there is high pressure to his north, and also in front of him, which might slow him down a bit.

His winds are 60mph (TS range: 39-73 mph), so he’s a mid-to-strong Tropical Storm. Central pressure is 997mb. Wind shear is very weak, and if he is actually going more westward than NW, it will stay weak for longer, so he’ll have a bit more room to intensify. Circulation is strong in the lower half of the troposphere, and convection is slowly getting stronger.

That’s all I got for storms. Now for the Intriguing Tale of MSY:
The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International airport has MSY as its code because no city beginning with K, W, or N can have that as their first initial in their airport code - those are the letters used for radio, TV and the Navy stations. John Moisant was a well-known pioneer aviator in the late 1800s/early 1900s. He died in a plane accident on the last day of 1910 in the current location of the airport. In his honour, the land was named by the owners (who had cattle) as Moisant Stock Yards. The city bought this land, and kept the airport name as Moisant Field. And ta-da… MSY. J

Dede from Alabama sent an interesting personal historical note: “It stands for Moisant airport, which is what the name was when I was a girl before jet airplanes were invented.  Really--there was a time when only small propeller planes flew from that airport.  Actually, the first jet plane I ever saw was flying out of that airport.  I thought it was a miracle the way it went STRAIGHT UP!”  How things have changed.

Until tomorrow,

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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.


Nan said...

I really feel as though I should channel Hamlet in his "to be or not to be" soliloquy. I would suggest Ophelia get herself "to a nunnery", but I mostly wonder whether she will be, or not. The best case scenario is that she does not go mad (re-strengthen). That is all.

Jyo said...

Hmm... looks like she is like Hamlet's Ophelia from the madness side of things. But hopefully not for too long!