Friday, July 29, 2022

July 28: Well past the Official Start of the 2022 North Atlantic Hurricane Season!

I'm baaack!! Did ya miss me? I know, I know, I missed the end of last season, the official start of this season, and even the first three Tropical Storms of 2022! But I had a very very good reason... I forgot my password. ;-) 

Ok, I didn't really (well, not this time anyway), but it was a rather busy and extremely rough and rocky off-season as we said thank you and a final farewell to my wonderful mum! But I think it has been rough and rocky for most of the world, which seems to have gone a bit bananas lately. So, I reckon we are all overdue for a bit'o'laughter, some scoops of wonderful weather science, with dollops of ice cream, glasses of wine, cups of tea, and hordes of jaffa cakes to see us through! I hope you are ready.

Before I get around to what can we expect this season, a few key pointers (and reminders for all you clearly intelligent repeat-visitors) about this blog… 

1. These updates are about fun, forecasting, and education... and tropical storms (and whatever else pops into my head that may, with some imagination and possibly after a lychee martini or two, fit those three words). It is just what I think.

2. I have a British sense of humoUr... you have been warned. There will be random letters in words when you least expect them. But less random than if this was in Welsh. Or Irish (Gaelic). 

3. This is my hobby - sometimes you'll get one update a day, sometime four. If you are really lucky, you won't get any. If you wish to pay me to write, let me know. I’m sure there is an AI out there by now that can take over and make this into the masterpiece of writing I can only dream of.

4. I hope you like Monty Python, Eddie Izzard, The IT Crowd. And other Funny Stuff.

5. If you have any questions (preferably about tropical storms), please ask. I will be happy to make up the answers for you. I can also cut and paste from previous entries (I’m very talented) so if I say something or use some "scientific jargon" (always thrilling!), please ask me about it.

6. I often write tongue-in-cheek, which sometimes hurts my cheek but what can you do? Gentle sarcasm, irony, and puns are all perfectly acceptable forms of communication. Unfortunately, they don't always translate in writing so please don't be offended - like Planet Earth, I'm "Mostly Harmless" (Douglas Adams). Have a piece of chocolate or a soothing cup of tea instead.

7. I'm sure every cloud in the Atlantic is exciting to some but, unless I'm bored, I'll usually write about those that I think are important.

8. Despite what you may have heard, I am not always right. But then neither is anyone else. Forecasting is complicated. Sometimes the crystal ball gets smudges and you are all out of Windex to clean it and the store is closed (or, these days, there's a supply chain issue). So PLEASE pay attention to the National Hurricane Center, National Weather Service and your Emergency Managers - especially when a storm is looming because they have the most up-to-date information!!

9. I confess I am a twit. I am on twitter (@jyovianstorm). Twitter is cool sometimes. Just like bow-ties are cool (Dr. Who). And Science Fiction is cool. And ice in an orange G&T (so yum!) is the coolest of all. I will post these updates on Twitter, but I’ll also tweet about storms in other basins, my job (including live dives exploring the deep sea – ooh, ahh, you never know what you will see!), my movie, other people’s jobs, other people's movies, cool science, brilliant people, goofy things etc. so if you want to catch up between updates, that’s the place to lurk.

10. I will refer to ice cream, wine, cheese, cups of tea, jaffa cakes, and lychee martinis fairly frequently. To preemptively answer your questions, I do eat and drink other things for a balanced diet. For example, prawn cocktail crisps, fruit & nut chocolate, water, G&Ts.

Right, now we've got those formalities out of the way, let's have a look at what to expect this season. The predictions from my usual suspects are ... 

Tropical Storm Risk (prediction date: 5 July): 18 named storms, 9 hurricanes, 4 major hurricanes.

Colorado State University (prediction date: 7 July): 20 named storms, 10 hurricanes, 5 major hurricanes.

UK Met Office (prediction date: 23 May): 18 (13-23) named storms, 9 (6-12) hurricanes, 4 (2-6) major hurricanes.

NOAA (prediction date: 24 May): 14-21 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, 3-6 major hurricanes. 

On average between 1991-2020 (30 years), there were 14 named tropical storms per year, 7 hurricanes per year, and 3 major hurricanes (category 3 or higher) per year. So, generally, the predictions for 2022 are above the average number of named storms/hurricanes/major hurricanes - meaning that they think it will be a busy year. 

But how did they do last year? As a reminder, at the start of the season they were thinking it would be busier than average... similar to this year...  

Tropical Storm Risk (prediction date: 27 May): 18 named storms, 9 hurricanes, 4 major hurricanes.

Colorado State University (prediction date: 3 June): 18 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 4 major hurricanes.

UK Met Office (prediction date: 20 May): 14 (9-19) named storms, 7 (4-10) hurricanes, 3 (1-5) major hurricanes.

NOAA (prediction date: 20 May): 13-20 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, 3-5 major hurricanes. 

And they were generally not too far off the mark: the 2021 season had 21 named storms so it was busier than average; and there were 7 hurricanes in 2021, so about average on the number of hurricanes, of which 4 were major hurricanes. 

But, there are a couple of things to understand about these numbers.

First, the number of years (and which years) you look at for the average baseline - in this case, we are using 1991-2020 instead of taking 20 years from 1992-2021.

Second, technology has steadily improved over the last few decades so our ability to detect some of these storms has improved. The NHC (and fellow experts) have said that there are more named 'shorties' (short-lived, weak storms - not more hobbits in case you were wondering ;-)) in recent years than in the past because of technology not because of climate change. So the numbers have increased in the last few years because of  tropical storms that existed for less than 24 hours, or were so weak that in the past they wouldn't have been detected or named. 

And the three named storms we've had this year are all shorties too - all of them were named for less than 2 days, and two were named for less than 24 hours (Bonnie and Colin - shouldn't it have been Bonnie and Clyde?). In all cases, they were named after they picked up a lot of water vapor as they passed over either the Gulf Stream or over the very warm waters of the Caribbean so they had more convective activity.

With improved technology, I expect we will see more named shorties and in a few years, when they re-calculate the 30 year average, those average number will go up as well. 

So, I hope you are all prepared with your hurricane supplies! Here's my list (even works in Los Angeles) … water, wine, ice cream, a good book to read, wine, some candles, more ice cream, a radio (soothing classical music perhaps?), batteries, some more wine, mosquito repellent, and lots and lots of cans of lychees, gin (and tonic), and lychee liquor for the lychee martinis (because fruits are good for your health). And the pandemic special edition additions of course include: face masks, hand sanitizer, wipes. And cheese. Just because. :-) 

For now, it seems peaceful over the North Atlantic... wouldn't it be nice if this was my one and only post for this season? 

Toodle pip for now!

J.

Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/

Twitter @JyovianStorm

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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 local weather service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

Friday, October 01, 2021

Hurricane Sam: 30 September, Update A

I know what you are thinking... 

Well, ok then.

Hurricane Samwise is currently at 25N, 61.2W and heading NNW at 16mph. He's making that long-predicted turn towards the north now...
He's still on track to pass far to the east of Bermuda. They are already seeing a few clouds from Sam, but won't get much more than a little rain I think as he passes by (if that). May not even need your brollies! Mostly, I think it might be a good surfing day. 

Winds are still 145mph, central pressure is 938mb, which makes him a mid-to-strong cat 4 storm (cat 4 range: 130-156mph). His circulation is quite impressive throughout the troposphere and he has still got a very good looking eye...

Although the convection isn't as strong as we've seen in other storms and it is decreasing because he is moving away from the warmer water. He is also starting to head into an area of some wind shear, which you can see as the clouds on his northern side are streaming off to the north, so he will start to slowly weaken soon - sometime tomorrow.  

Want to see what a storm looks like from sea level? We've all seen footage of the places flying through a storm. But Maeve C. shared the new footage from Saildrone with me today - Saildrone is an autonomous/remote controlled sea-going vessel (essentially an ocean drone/robot) - and this year, for the first time, it was sent into a hurricane. Here's the press release - check out the video to see what it's like so close to the water. Pretty cool stuff! 
More tomorrow!

Toodle pip,

J.

Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/

Twitter @JyovianStorm

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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 local weather service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.


Thursday, September 30, 2021

Hurricane Sam and Tropical Storm Victor: 29 September, Update A

Hurricane Sam-I-Am is still out there, gobbling up as many green eggs and ham as he can find I suspect. I, too, had green eggs for breakfast once. That was the delightful delicacy I and my fellow young seafarers were served as part of our equator crossing ceremony many moons ago. :-) 


Hurricane Sam-I-Am

So, what's he up to today? He's at 20.6N, 58.4W, heading NW at 12mph and should still clear Bermuda by a couple of hundred miles or so on Friday night: 


But what he does after Saturday is quite a bit more uncertain. There is a small chance that he could head a little closer towards Newfoundland than the current track shows, but it's a tad too soon to say. 

He is a mid-to-strong Cat 4 storm at the moment with winds of 145mph, central pressure of 940mb (cat 4 range: 130-156mph). There isn't any wind shear, he is over some deliciously warm water of around 28 deg C, the dry air is no longer a factor, so he is quite good looking with a lovely clear eye: 


But, he is kindly staying away from the Islands and just doing what he is supposed to be doing as a hurricane, which is to transfer heat energy, very effectively I might add, from the tropical areas to the northern parts of the world.

Tropical Storm Victor

We have another storm in the Atlantic - named today as Victor. You can see him in the satellite imagery: 


He actually has a lot more convection (rain and thunder) than Sam, but he isn't as well developed yet. He is officially barely a TS with winds estimated to be 40mph, central pressure 1005mb (TS range: 39-74mph). I think he may be a little stronger than this because his circulation is quite robust in the lower half of the troposphere and there is some circulation in the upper levels of the troposphere which indicates he is approaching hurricane strength, but at least he is far out there and not bothering anyone. By the way, planes don't fly out that far so the intensity is only estimated. The reason we have a better idea of what Sam is doing is because of data that is coming back from planes that fly through the storm. This data helps improve the forecast models. 

 Victor is at 8.4N, 26.7W, moving WNW at 13mph: 


And he will stay in the Atlantic, continuing to mind his own business. I will keep an eye on him, but may not write about Victor again unless he does something odd. 

Toodle pip,

J.

Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/

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 local weather service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Hurricane Sam: 28 September, Update A

Don't you think that some days are astounding, time is fleeting and with a bit of a mind flip, you're into the time slip? It's only been about a week since I last checked in with Tropical Storms Peter and Rose (they didn't do much). But what a time warp these few days turned out to be - Peter and Rose seem like a month ago! In the last few days very weak Subtropical Storm Teresa popped up and promptly ran away after 24 hours (also didn't do much), and now we have major Hurricane Sam and the future Victor and Wanda on the eastern Atlantic horizon. 

Hurricane Sam is a major mid-sized cat 4 storm with winds of 140mph, central pressure of 944mb (cat 4 range: 130-156mph). He is currently at 18.4N, 55.6W, heading NW at 9mph. Fortunately, he is going to stay away from land, passing closest to Bermuda on Friday night, but avoiding the island... 


He was big, but although there is still circulation (vorticity) throughout the troposphere, he looks a little weaker at the moment because of dry air in the mid-levels of the atmosphere. The eye is certainly not as clear as it should be for a cat 4 storm: 

And for a close up... 

I would put him as a cat 3 for now really, but he has time and room to intensify again to cat 4 storm in the next day or so because waters are warm and there is little wind shear. 

The major effects will be in the waves and surf reaching the Caribbean, but also Bermuda and perhaps even the US East coast. Perfect for all of you surfers out there! 

He's been a major storm (cat 3 or higher) since Saturday (it's now Tuesday here) - oscillating between a cat 3 (range: 111-129mph) and a cat 4. In case you need a reminder of what that looks like...


That's all for today, but I'm back and will be back (with Victor to talk about tomorrow too I suspect)! :-)

Ciao for now,

J.

Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/

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 local weather service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Tropical Storms Peter and Rose: 19 September, Update A

Oh dear, I pop off for 11 days and Mother Nature decided to have a field day! Although I see I missed a few stormlets in the last 1.5 weeks, a couple of them would not have been worth mentioning anyway. A quick recap:

Julian - a Tropical Storm that lasted 28 hours and remained in the Atlantic. 

Mindy - a Tropical Storm that lasted about 32 hours, made landfall in the Florida panhandle as barely a Tropical Storm with winds of 45mph (TS range: 39-73mph). 

Nicholas - a proper storm which skirted the Texas coast and made landfall as a very weak cat 1 Hurricane last Monday (13 Sept). 

Odette - a Tropical Storm that lasted for 24 hours and remained in the Atlantic. 

In ye olde days, we may never have even seen Julian or Odette as they were so titchy, shortlived, and in out there in the Atlantic. 

We now have two more very small storms lurking out there... Peter and Rose. 

Tropical Storm Peter

Peter was named this morning. He is currently at 18.6N, 58.5W, heading WNW at 14mph and will easily clear the leeward islands tomorrow and won't cause too much fuss:


He is currently a relatively weak Tropical Storm with winds of 50mph, central pressure of 1004 mb and is forecast to weaken by Wednesday. There is circulation in the lower half of the troposphere, but wind shear is pretty strong so it doesn't look likely that he will intensify too much. There is some strong convection in the system, but that is because he is over warm water:


 
I'll keep an eye on Peter, but unless he makes a run for it and does something silly, I will not mention him again.  

Tropical Storm Rose

Tropical Storm Rose is going to remain east of Peter and is currently at 15.3N, 31.1W, heading NW at 16mph:

This means she will stay out in the Atlantic and not be too much bother to anyone either. She was named this morning and although she has some convection (which we can see in the satellite imagery above), she is barely a Tropical Storm with winds of 40mph, estimated central pressure 1005mb. She is currently in an area of low wind shear so she could intensify a little, but there is some dry air to her west and north so that will hold her in check a little. 

I'll keep an eye on Rose as well, but as she doesn't look like she's going towards any land I may not mention her again either. 

I'll be back when Sam (the next one in line) is around. 

Toodle pip for now!

J. 

Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/

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 local weather service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Hurricane Larry: 8 September, Update A

I think things are finally starting to look up... ABBA (my all-time favourite band) is releasing a new album! And a couple of days ago I found that in the US,  Britbox now has...


(my absolute all-time favourite sci-fi show!!). And, we just started the Tom Baker (my favourite Dr. Who!!) years this weekend! (As part of our mission to watch every Dr. Who from the first William Hartnell episode in 1963). So... umm... you may not see me for a few weeks. ;-) 

In the Atlantic, things are also looking up too (for today). Hurricane Lethargic Larry is leisurely lumbering across the Atlantic and is currently at 25.8N, 56.8W, heading NW at 12mph. Luckily it looks like he'll miss Bermuda (which is why I took a couple of days off to watch the telly ;-)):


He may clip Newfoundland on his way north to Greenland (at which point he will definitely be an extratropical storm), but even if he doesn't actually go over the island, there will be some fairly strong stormy/windy weather as he whisks by because he is going to meet a 'friend' somewhere up there (see below). 

Since we last checked in on him, he has come down a bit in intensity. His winds are now 115mph, central pressure is 967mb, which makes him a very weak cat 3 storm (cat 3 range: 111-129mph):

I agree with this level of storm intensity - his vorticity is strong throughout the troposphere and he still has a consistent eye, but there is some wind shear and the clouds are streaming away to the east. He is also pulling in some of that dry air we saw a couple of days ago and it's also taking it's toll. He is looking a little raggedy really... 


There is still quite a lot of strong convection (rain and thundery weather) which we can see with those large areas of red in the satellite image. He has been a cat 3 storm over the last few days (as expected) with winds of 120-125mph, but he will slowly decrease in intensity because of that dry air - although the wind shear may not be quite as strong. Bermuda may have a breezy sort of Thursday. 

Back to Newfoundland and what is going to happen up there on Friday/Saturday. For this, we have to look at the larger picture. Here is the satellite image of a front moving across the US:


You can see the band of strong rain and thundery weather as it moves eastward. By the time Hurricane Larry gets closer to Canada, that front will have crossed the US and be close to Larry...

Which means there will be a lot of energy and convective activity as they meet - so I expect it will be quite strong extratropical stormy weather up there, even if he is a much weaker cat 1 level storm. So batten down the hatches!!  

Right, off to watch an episode of you-know-what. Eeekkk.... ;-)

Toodle pip,

J. 

P.S... And Happy Rosh Hashanah to those who celebrate! 

Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/

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 local weather service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Hurricane Larry: 4 September, Update A

Normally this time of year I would be on Planet DragonCon. Alas, not this year but hopefully next! In the meantime, I've got a yummy lychee martini in hand and wondering... 


Well Captain, he is at 18N, 48W, heading WNW at 14mph and is still on track to be passing by the general Bermuda area on Thursday(ish). Although the island is still in the Cone of Uncertainty, it looks like the storm will pass to the east. He should be moving in a more NW direction tomorrow (looks like he may already be moving in that NW direction actually).  


Now for his intensity... he is currently still a cat 3 storm with winds of 120mph, central pressure of 958mb. This makes him a strong cat 3 storm as the range for this category is 111-129mph. His eye has grown to around 40 miles diameter (quite a big eye), but it isn't very robust - it's a bit wobbly really (technical term ;-)). His vorticity continues to be strong at all levels of the troposphere though, so overall, I agree with his cat 3 status. 

He was actually stronger earlier today with winds of 125mph (close to being a cat 4 storm), but it looks like that wind shear is having a little impact, along with some dry air, because the southwestern side is a little cropped and there are a few clouds (very few at the moment) streaming to his northeast: 

Although he is about to move over warmer ocean waters (from 27 deg C to 28 deg C), we will see if he gets any stronger. There are a couple of things in play that may stop him from getting stronger and becoming a cat 4 storm. 

First, there is still some dry air to his west and north (darker purple in the imagery below):

Second, it looks like the wind shear is quite a bit stronger ahead of him... 

<Forecasting Alert!> Wind Shear - where can you find out about wind shear? I go to the University of Wisconsin CMISS page, which is the excellent website that I've mentioned a few times this year - it has the Saharan Air Layer map and the vorticity maps. Here is the 'slightly' complicated map/data I look at (it's crystal clear after a couple of lychee martinis  ;-))...   

To help you get your bearings, first find Larry. You should be able to easily find him if you can spot his eye.  Second, the land is outlined in white. Found Florida? And the Caribbean? Got your bearings? Now, see the pink lines all over the place - those are the winds. The closer they are to each other, the stronger the wind shear. If you look to the northwest of Larry (in his future track), you can already see a faint grey stream of clouds that are being carried away because of the wind shear. The pink lines are the most important bits in this map. Hopefully it will persist tomorrow. The other colourful lines are contours showing wind shear and how favourable those areas are for storms. Red is not a good colour for storms. 

Go to http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic.php if you want to look for yourself (and I'm sure you all do!! :-)). Click on the colour block in the lower map (Regional Real-Time Products) for the part of the world you are interested in (North Atlantic in this case), and in the drop-down menu you will see 'Winds & Analysis'. Click on that, and then click on 'Wind Shear' in the block of buttons at the top, and you will see the map above. Now you can check out wind shear for yourselves any time you like. :-) <End Forecasting Alert!>

Time for a refill... ;-) 
Toodle pip,
J. 

Blogs archived at http://jyotikastorms.blogspot.com/

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 local weather service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.