Monday, October 22, 2012

Tropical Storm Sandy and Tropical Depression 19: October 22, Update A

I’ve been rolling my eyes so much today that I’m sure they fell out around lunchtime! If you find them, please return them after Halloween. Thanks.

Officially we have one Tropical Storm (Sandy) and one Tropical Depression. Personally, if they are naming Sandy, then I think we have two Tropical Storms because the TD has better circulation than Sandy.

Tropical Storm Sandy
She is officially at 12.5N, 78.5W and is hanging out (stationary) in the southern Caribbean (reading a book, getting a tan, drinking pina coladas, bothering the cruise ships). She is very weak for a Tropical Storm with winds of 40mph (TS range: 39-73mph). Although she is a bit messy, I think the center is slightly off and should be to the northeast of this location, closer to 13.1N, 77.8W. I also think the track models are pretty good, but they are only as good as the data they eat (munchmunchmunch). So if the center is in the wrong location, the track forecast is also not quite correct… therefore I wouldn’t quite trust the official track forecast at the moment (it should improve by tomorrow). The other problem with the track is that she is stationary, which always complicates things. The pressure fields can change around her, and once she finally gets moving we may be looking at something slightly different. Having said all that, they think that she will start moving soon so in this case the track shouldn’t be too far off and I think a general northwardish movement is quite reasonable.

I am not sure I would have given her a name because her circulation (vorticity) is not very good at any level of the troposphere (she obviously hasn’t had enough pina coladas!). In the lower levels it is connected to vorticity that stretches from Cuba to Central America and across to South America, and then across to the Pacific!! It is really poorly developed for a storm. The reason they named her is because a hurricane hunter found winds *near* Tropical Storm force (!) in a band over the southeastern section of the storm… but they couldn’t really identify a good center of circulation (“it appears to be located somewhat south of the previous estimate…”?!?). I don’t think this is sufficient information to name a Tropical Storm (at this time).

She is over the toasty warm waters of the Caribbean, where surface temperatures are 29-30 deg C and the upper 100-125m of the water column is warmer than 26 deg C. This is a lot of deep warm water, which is why she has a lot of convection as you can see in this satellite image:

There is a chance that she will intensify as she moves northwards, as the NHC are forecasting, because she will move over an area where the water is warmer than 26 deg C in the upper 150-175m of the ocean!! <RANT alert> I noticed in today’s advisories, for the first time (although maybe I missed it in earlier ones… maybe due to a lack of eyes or something?) that the NHC have decided to make things crystal clear for everyone and introduce a new ‘Index’ and some more JARGON! Just what we all need! Grr. They talk about a ‘rapid intensification index’ because that makes it *so* obvious to everyone what is going on, don’t you think?! I don’t understand why they can’t simply call a spade a spade?!? It is SO simple… the storm will intensify because there is a lot of deep warm water, very little wind shear, and not much dry air or land impact. Really… talk about obfuscation! (ooh aaah… big word. ;-)) <End RANT alert> Oh and one more thing… I’d call it ‘normal’ intensification given the environmental conditions she is will be going through when she moves northwards.

Tropical Depression 19
This blob has got some good tropical circulation in the lower half of the troposphere (much stronger than Sandy!), although he is connected to a front-like feature in the upper troposphere. I am surprised they didn’t already name him given that he clearly has  the peezy-weezies <grin> or hansy-janzies…<Grin x 2>, as all Tropical Depressions must inherently have. (Ok, ok… definition at end of this entry).

His center of circulation is pretty clear at 22.6N, 51.2W, and it looks like he is heading NNW  (officially he is at 22.3N, 51.7W, heading N at 7mph). Winds are 35mph so he’s almost at Tropical Storm level (range: 39-73mph). I really think he’s there. Convection is not bad, although he is surrounded by dry air which isn’t helping.

He should soon hit a front that came across the eastern US and is out over the Atlantic. This satellite image of water vapour shows the front stretching off to the northeast as a pretty straight line:

This will whisk him off to the NE. If they do name him, he’ll be Tropical Storm Tony (the Tiger).

Tomorrow is a travel day so I’m not sure I’ll be able to send out an update… but you never know. To keep you entertained in the meantime, Scott from Chicago sent a picture of every Episode of Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS):

What is the link to Tropical Storms? J


Blogs archived at
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.


No comments: