Monday, June 06, 2016

Tropical Storm Colin: 6 June, Update A

Monday morning here... so just enough time for a quick update with my morning cuppa tea! 

Officially TS Colin is currently centered at 26.4N, 87.3W, heading NNE at 14 mph. Winds are 50mph, central pressure is 1004mb, making him a weak mid-level Tropical Storm (TS range: 39-73mph). As I thought, he is stronger. I think he still has time to get a bit stronger, despite the wind shear. I wouldn't be surprised to see him reach around 60-70mph later today, before landfall.

It looks like landfall will be this evening in the Big Bend area...

I don't think the NHC really know quite where his center is because of the large amount of wind shear he is experiencing. The report last night said that the low level center was to the west of the mid-level center, but a Hurricane Hunter plane was going in this morning and should be able to locate the center. 

Here's his latest visible satellite image: 

I will say that it is difficult to figure out a good center in this - so I'll go with the NHC version from the plane. Regardless of the center, the main activity (and we all agree on this one) is to the east. Here's the infrared satellite image:

Looks like rain! I hope everyone in Florida, Georgia, and up the eastern seaboard have got their wellie boots out and polished.

<Technical Alert!> Satellite Imagery: I mainly use three sorts of satellite images: visible, water vapor, and infrared. To access these, go to this NOAA website: Click on the storm of interest, and then I usually look at the 'Animated GIF with Lat/Long' column. But you can have a play and click on the rest of the images because it's fun! :-) 

The visible one is obvious… it is what you would see if you took a black and white photo. Best used during daylight hours of course! ;-) 

The water vapor image is also pretty obvious…it shows how much water vapor there is in the atmosphere. Brown areas are dry (think of parched deserts) and any other colour indicates some amount of water vapor, with green being a lot. 

The infrared satellite image is the most interesting though because not only does it show where the storm is, but it also gives us an indication of how strong it is and what sort of weather we have. (To get to these, click on the link marked 'AVN'.) The colours represent how high the clouds reach into the atmosphere because they are based on the temperature at the top of the cloud (which is what the satellite sees). It gets colder the higher you get in the troposphere (you should know all about the troposphere by now!), so we can tell from cloud top temperature how deep the clouds are and therefore how strong the convection is! The red colours are very big high clouds with the coldest temperatures (other than a dark gray), and blues and whites are lower, warmer clouds. The redder the cloud colour, the more active the convection. My general rule of thumb (having seen these images and lived under them at the same time) is that blue and yellow areas are mostly clouds, with some rain in the yellow areas. But as you get to the orange and red, you get thunderstorms and possible tornadoes (especially in the red/dark gray areas). To try and see the center of circulation of the storm, I look at the visible satellite imagery - never the infrared unless it is a very well defined storm. There is no point looking at infrared imagery to find the center for weak systems. The clouds are too messy. < End Technical Alert!>

Here's the water vapor imagery for Colin at the moment (just in case you somehow didn't know that there was a lot of moisture here! ;-)):

Storm surge is currently dropping in southern west Florida, around 1-1.5 ft above normal in central west Florida, and around 2 ft in the Big Bend area (Cedar Key included). 

I must run. Apparently I have to do some of that work malarky now... I'll be back at Wine O'Clock! Oh, but before I go, here's 'What to do in a Hurricane' - thanks to Mark Z. for sharing this one! 

Stay safe - listen to your local experts: Emergency Mangers, NWS etc. They know the local conditions.

Ciao for now,

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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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