Monday, August 06, 2012

Tropical Storm Ernesto and Tropical Depression Florence: August 6, Update A

Oh the irony: The first real flying saucer is from Earth and it landed on Mars! ;-) (thanks NASA/JPL). Yay! Curiosity successfully lands on Mars! 2012 is certainly a turning out to be a year to remember. Gosh. What an amazing feat of engineering to be able to travel 352 million miles and land safely on another planet and send back fantastic photos. Bravo! I’m sure that any day now I will be able to tell you that, from hundreds of miles away, the NHC perfectly forecast a tropical storm. ;-)

Tropical Depression Florence

I’ll start with the easy one. Florence was too busy watching the Olympics and got distracted from her mission of being a Tropical Storm. She was downgraded late last night and is now at about 16.8N, 42W, heading westward at maybe 15mph. Winds are less than 35mph, there is very little circulation, and almost no convection. This is my last update on Florence. The next storm in the Atlantic will be Gordon, maybe in 5 or 6 days.

Tropical Storm Ernesto

Ok, so in my not-very-humble opinion Ernesto has been a weak cat 1 hurricane almost all day and the NHC still have him as a Tropical Storm! (mumble grumble) They did upgrade his winds to 65mph this morning, which was very kind of them, making him a strong Tropical Storm (range: 39-73mph), with a note to say he would ‘probably be a hurricane by this evening’. The circulation has been strong in the entire troposphere for over 12 hours! This is a definite signal of a storm at hurricane strength. There is a lot of convection, he is passing over warm sea surface temperatures (28 deg C) with water warmer than 26 deg C in the upper 150-175m of the ocean, there is no wind shear, and the upper atmosphere is favourable. They are sending in a plane to check what’s what.

He is currently centered at  about 16.5N, 82.1W, heading WNW at 12mph. The central pressure is estimated to be 995mb (quite low pressure - another clue that he is stronger than a Tropical Storm actually). He is passing close to the northern coast of Honduras, heading for landfall in the Belize/Yucatan part of the world tomorrow night. This I agree with. Waves in this region of the Caribbean are around 12-15ft.

That’s it for storms for now. Back to Mars. Here are the first few photos from Curiosity – well worth a gander!

1.      Curiosity Photo 0: NASA’s MRO Mars orbiter imaged Curiosity during its decent to the Martian surface:

2.       Curiosity Photo 1: First shot of Martian surface:

3.      Curiosity Photo 2: Martian surface – flat landscape:

4.      Curiosity Photo 3: Martian surface – Mount Sharp:

5.      Curiosity Photo 4: Martian surface – small dune:

More tomorrow on (hurricane) Ernesto and maybe Curiosity.


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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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