Saturday, October 01, 2016

Hurricane Matthew: September 30, Update A

Typical Murphy's Law... one of the busiest days of the year for me and Mother Nature decides that today would be a good day to have a cat 5? Really? Today? It's because NASA messed with astrology, didn't they? And now the Fates are having a field day!! Sigh. 

I agree with the NHC that Matthew is a cat 5 storm. Officially he is at 13.3N, 72.5W, heading W at 7mph. Winds are officially at 160mph!!! This is incredible for the Atlantic basin (and Caribbean). And the central pressure is down to 941mb. A category 5 storm has winds in excess of 156mph. This is the highest category because the Saffir-Simpson scale is actually a scale of the level of destruction that winds of different speeds cause (Herb Saffir was an engineer and Bob Simpson was a meteorologist). So, by definition, a category 5 means catastrophic destruction, or total annihilation if you prefer... you can't possibly get any higher level of destruction that this.

His eye is pretty impressive, and the dark grey and red areas in this infrared satellite images indicate strong thunderstorms and tornadoes - they cover many degrees of latitude... he is a big boy!
It looks like parts of Venezuela and Columbia are under some severe weather. We also know he is a strong hurricane because the vorticity (circulation) is really strong in the lower half of the troposphere, but also extremely strong in the upper troposphere. Here's the image from the top (200mb) level:

It looks like Jamaica and possibly the tip of Cuba will also be facing a major hurricane:

There is some wind shear between Matthew and Jamaica, but he is a strong storm and I don't think it will make a huge dent. The other huge factor that will keep him strong is that the sea surface is very warm, and the upper 100-175m of the water column is warmer than 26.5 deg C, so he has a lot of warm water to churn up and gobble on. 

Not the best scenario. This one looks like he is going to do some serious damage, alas. 

Stay tuned.

(Meanwhile, my busy day is because... we close the registration for Teams for the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE today! and I give two presentations at Visioneers 2016 tomorrow).

More tomorrow - after the presentations I assume! 

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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.

1 comment:

Pam in FLA said...

Hey Jo... Your Florida homies are anxiously awaiting your next round of hurricane musings... Just in case you thought we're not paying attention anymore. ;-) In fact, you're always in my thoughts during hurricane season. Hope all is well with you! Maurice says hello as well.