Saturday, October 03, 2015

Hurricane Joaquin: October 2, Update A

The good news is that Joaquin is finally on the move! I can only imagine what it's been like to be living under a hurricane of any magnitude for about 3 days! From the early reports there are no signs of loss of life on the islands, although some of the smaller islands/central Bahamas have sustained a lot of structural damage. The search is on now for a large cargo ship with a crew of 33 on board (28 American and 5 Polish citizens), but of course the weather is still making that a bit tough. 

Joaquin is currently at around 24.7N, 74 W and is heading NE at nice 7mph. Although his official wind speed is 125mph (central pressure is 944mb), which makes him a strong cat 3 storm, I think he is weaker than this. He hasn't had a good clear eye for quite a few hours so I would place him as a cat 2 storm at the most. All indications are that he is definitely weaker, although he is still a large storm in area! The vorticity (circulation) has decreased in the upper troposphere - it is still good, so I would definitely say Joaquin was still a hurricane. The visible and infrared satellite images also show a weaker storm. The convection is elongated, and if you look at the latest infrared satellite loop you can see that the red area of really strong convection is breaking up...

This is because on his east side he is experiencing some stronger wind shear, and on the west side, there is dry air. His eye did also directly pass over one of the smaller islands today, which would have brought him down a peg or two. Sea surface temperatures are still in the 28-29 deg C, but as he moves northward, the depth at which water warmer than 26 deg C exists gets shallower (it is now around 75m as opposed to over 100m around the Bahamas). I expect him to continue to weaken as he moves north because he's moving into a region of stronger wind shear and cooler waters. 

Here's his latest official forecast track: 

I would agree with this for the next 24 hours, but I see some adjustments to this in his future. Unfortunately I don't have good enough data over the oceans at the moment to say whether this will shift to the east or west, but of course, you folks on Bermuda should be getting ready too (although he will be weaker). 

And in case you missed this a few days ago, here's one of the first picture of water on Mars (thanks to Keith L. for this one!)... 

(Yummy Mars, the edible planet! ;-)). 

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.

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