Monday, November 30, 2009

November 30: Final Day of the 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Here we are again my friends, at the culmination of another Atlantic
Hurricane season. And you are still reading this blog?!? Goodness me, you
must be bored. Well of course you are bored! For most people living in
known hurricane-prone areas it was a relatively quiet season. For example,
the Florida peninsula (where I used to live) did not get hit by a
hurricane this year, which I believe is the fourth year in a row
(Klotzbach/Gray report). On the other hand, the British Isles (where I now
live), that well-known area in the hurricane zone (!!!), got hit by a
number of storms in some form or another. Although no-one really noticed
over here as that is our normal weather. And I still can't believe the
first storm to be named formed the VERY DAY I left Florida! I'll be having
words with Mother Nature about this season when she's sobered up and
stopped laughing her head off. Huh. ;-)

To sum up the 2009 season: we had 9 named storms, of which 3 were
hurricanes, 2 major (cat 3 or higher). The average is 11 named storms, 6
hurricanes, 3 major. A below-average year methinks. The impacts from El
Nino really kicked in around August/September...which strangely enough is
about when the storms really kicked in too. Hmmm. El Nino did play a role,
but there were other factors (in my humble, but not reticent, opinion),
such as cooler sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic.

I think the NHC did a good job overall, although they were a 'little' slow
(!) in some places. But they do so like to write their updates in CAPITAL
letters, which must take oodles of time! They are proposing "improvements"
to the NHC Public Advisory because "Customer feedback suggests that there
is a need for a more user-friendly format...". You can see and comment on
the proposed changes if you wish by going to this website:

Interestingly, this year I have not seen any initial forecasts for the
2010 season. NOAA says their first seasonal outlook will be released in
May 2010. Last year they already had their initial estimates out for the
2009 season at this point - 14-18 named storms and 10 hurricanes. Oops.
Maybe the silence is prudent. There is a lot more to this clever delay
than meets the casual eye, but this entry is long enough so that can wait
for a rainy day (next year). If someone throws out numbers tomorrow, I'll
send out a quick update.

As I wrap up another year of my high-quality, witty, intelligent, FREE
entertainment for you ;-), I'd like to give my annual thanks to those who
made this possible. My fabulous technical support - the computing guys at
CMS/USF in Florida for the listserve, and C.H. in Texas for maintaining
the blog and making it look pretty! You guys are awesome. :-) This
'international' effort kinda worked!! Thanks also to all of you who have
been reading this drivel, and for sending me comments -they kept me amused
and out of trouble (well, I suppose 'trouble' is such a relative concept
isn't it? ;-)). Finally, thanks to my friends - old & new - on both sides
of the Atlantic, family, and colleagues for their valiant attempts to keep
me sane. Ha ha... keep trying ;-)

Having got used to that Florida climate, I find it rather cold over here.
I'm sitting next to a warm radiator as I type this, so I think it's time
for me to hibernate now. Until the 1st of June, 2010 (unless something
wakes me up early)... Happy holidays and wishing you all a safe and
wonderful New Year! Laugh & be merry!

That's all for this decade folks.


Blogs archived at:

Disclaimer: yeah... due to a computing glitch here I ended up having fun
with these this year. I'll be better behaved next year... Maybe ;-)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Extratropical Storm Ida: November 10 Update A

Ida made landfall earlier today as a weak Tropical Storm with winds of
about 50 mph, and very little convection. She then merged with that front,
and is now an extratropical system. This is my last entry on this system.

In response to a question I had asking what extratropical systems were, I
cut and paste this from an entry I wrote over two year ago. Boy was I
clever back then! What happened? (no need to answer that) ;-)

A quick overview of storm systems- What is the difference between an
extratropical storm, a tropical storm, and a subtropical storm?

An Extratropical Storm: These usually form in the extratropics (quelle
suprise!) and have cold air at their core. A cold air mass meets a warm
air mass, and as the warm air rises (because it is lighter than the cold
air), it releases potential energy that results in these systems. Because
warm air rises, a low pressure is formed which is why these are also
called low pressure systems. They are usually associated with fronts which
are depicted on weather maps as lines of blue triangles (for a cold front)
or red semi-circles (for a warm front). Because it's the collision of air
masses, these systems can occur over land or water, and occur frequently
in the winter in the US as snowstorms/blizzards or Nor'easters.

A Tropical Storm: These usually form in the tropics (aren't we good at
naming things?) and have warm air at their core. The energy source for
these differ from extratropical storms. These storms form over water only
and the energy source is latent heat. Warm water evaporates into the air.
As the rising warm moisture-laden air in the center reaches colder
altitudes in the atmosphere, the water vapor condenses to form clouds and
latent heat is released. The heaviest rains and winds are in a band close
to the center. No fronts are associated with these storms (although
'waves' in the atmosphere are) - which makes it difficult to determine too
far ahead of time when a storm will develop. A tropical storm is when the
winds are greater than 34 knots (39 miles per hour). If the winds are less
than that, it is a tropical depression.

A Subtropical Storm: These usually contain some characteristics of both
extratropical and tropical systems. For example, imagine an extratropical
storm moving over warmer water. Now the storm begins to get some energy
from latent heat as well, and the cold air in the center (near the
surface) is replaced by warm air, so the storm core can change from cold
to warm. The heaviest rains and winds are not near the center. Like a
tropical system, a subtropical storm is when the winds are greater than 34
knots (39 miles per hour). If the winds are less than that, it is a
subtropical depression.

It's only since 2002 that subtropical storms were given names from the
hurricane name list - which would partly account for why we have had more
named storms in the past few years.

That's all for now folks!
Toodle pip until the next time.


Updates archived at:

DISCLAIMER: You all know this already. My views, heed those who know, yada
yada yada...

Monday, November 09, 2009

TS Ida: November 9 Update A

Ida behaved pretty much as I expected. Good girl! After my entry yesterday
she was officially upgraded to a cat 2, and today as she crossed the Gulf
she rapidly deteriorated to a strong Tropical Storm, with winds currently
at 70mph. She will become a weaker TS before landfall overnight tonight.
Tomorrow she'll be 'absorbed' by the front after landfall, which is really
when she'll become extratropical. Someone asked about extratropical
storms. I'll write about those tomorrow. She's at about 28.6N, 88.5W,
moving N at a speedy 18mph. Central pressure 991mb & rising. I know you'll
be surprised, but I finally agree with the NHC for the remainder of the
forecast for this system! They finally caught up. ;-)

It's wet & windy in a number of states, but the other thing to look out
for is storm surge for those along the coast. You can go to for realtime water level information. They have
listed some relevant places along the left, and others can be accessed by
the 'state map' tab, also on the left near the bottom. Currently St. Pete,
FL, is 1.5 ft above normal; Pensacola, FL, is 2ft above; Dauphin Island &
Mobile State Docks, AL, are 2ft above; Gulfport Harbor, MS, is 3ft above;
Grand Isle, LA, is 2ft and rising, and New Canal Station, LA, is 2.5ft

Someone also asked me what sort of weather to expect in the Tampa region.
Here's a website you can check out for weather information: (also Thanks to my friend in the
NWS for providing those.

Fortunately it looks like everyone who contacted me regarding travel plans
in/out & around the Gulf will, indeed, be ok... So have fun!! Here it's a
balmy 4 deg C (39 F) outside. Gloves & hat time I think.

Toodles till tomorrow!

Updates archived at

DISCLAIMER: Please pay heed to your local Emergency Managers, the NWS, and
the NHC as they have the most up-to-date information. I only write what
I'm thinking and sometimes after a glass of wine. These are not the views
of any organization I represent.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Hurricane Ida: November 8 Update A

Well there's a couple of bits of good news for you all in this entry.
First, Ida's circulation (technically the vorticity) is beginning to
diminish. Yesterday, when I said she was a hurricane, the vorticity was
strong throughout almost the entire troposphere (lowest ~10-15km of our
atmosphere). Today it looks like the highest levels have lost it, which is
an indication that she won't intensify much further. The second piece of
good news is that although I tried, I couldn't think of any 'original'
jokes today so you are spared that. ;-)

Ida was officially (finally) named a hurricane late last night. Again, a
number of hours after I think she became one. She's got winds of 90mph at
the moment, making her a strong cat 1 (range: 74-95 mph). I think she
might be a weak cat 2 actually (range: 96-110mph). Currently centered at
about 21.2 N, 86 W, she's moving NW at 10mph. Central pressure 983mb.

I know the forecast now has her as a hurricane until Tuesday, when she
reaches the northern Gulf coast. But I'm not convinced that she will be a
hurricane by the time she gets up there. There are a number of reasons I
think this, apart from the circulation issue. The wind shear is stronger
in the Gulf, which will take it's toll. Although the surface water temps
are high enough in the southern Gulf, they begin to cool off in the
northern Gulf. Also, the deeper warm water that she has just crossed in
the Caribbean does not extend into the Gulf as much as it has done in
previous years (the Loop Current). The only factor I see that will keep
her as a hurricane in the northern Gulf is the fast speed she's forecast
to move at. Having said all this, even if she does decrease in intensity,
the interaction with the front will create some wet & windy conditions
around the Gulf. It will be like a normal day in Scotland ;-).

Of course, please ignore me and listen to your Emergency Managers & NWS &
NHC. I know those of you who are in the watch zones will be prepared. Drop
me a line if you have any questions.

Ciao for now,

Updates archived at

DISCLAIMER: These are my opinions only and not those of any organization I
represent. I wrote the other half of this in the main text above.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

TS Ida: November 7 Update B

I am pretty sure it should be Hurricane Ida by now, but the cautious NHC
are still calling her a tropical storm. Wind speeds are 'officially' 70
mph (TS range: 39-73 mph), central pressure 990mb. I think Ida has been a
hurricane for a few hours. The next NHC advisory should reflect this. At
least they agree with me that the wind shear in the Caribbean isn't enough
to stop this storm from developing.

She's currently somewhere around 18.9N, 84.3W. She's been moving more
northward than they expected, bringing her ever closer to Cuba. But she
has taken a small NNW turn in the last few hours, so hopefully she'll only
clip Cuba. She's officially moving N at 10mph.

The forecast in the Gulf is still tricky. I know a number of you are
travelling now and over the next few days. I haven't had a chance to reply
to you all, but I'll get to it soon. Other than the cruise heading into
the Gulf from Tampa (don't worry! I'll be in touch tomorrow), I think
everyone else should be more-or-less ok. It really is tricky because of
the front coming through, and the higher wind shear in the Gulf. I'm
thinking that she will weaken once she's in the Gulf. I'll try and reply
to you individually as things become clearer (I bet they'll be crystal
clear this time next week ;-)).

That's all for today.
Toodle pip!

Updates archived at

DISCLAIMER: It's past my bedtime here so just read the one I wrote with
the previous entry. ;-)

TS Ida: November 7 Update A

Q: What's this storm going to do?
A: I daknow!

Hee hee. I spent ALL day thinking of that one. OK, I won't give up my day
job yet then. ;-)

Ida's is developing quite nicely, as expected given the water she is
travelling over. The latest advisory has her at 17.9N, 84.1W, moving N at
9mph. Central pressure 997 mb, wind speeds 60mph (TS range: 39-73 mph).

The forecast keeps her as a tropical storm, but I think she might reach
hurricane strength in the Caribbean. The circulation has improved in the
higher levels of the troposphere. In fact, I think 60 mph might be a
little on the low side already. Cloud tops are very cold now, which
indicates strong convection.

She's also moving more northward than the current track, which will bring
her closer to Cuba. But all the models seem to be in good agreement that
she will make a north-westward turn towards Yucatan. The models have
improved over the past few years, and are pretty good for the 24 hour
forecast, so I will go with this as I don't have better information.
Having said that, she's actually remained on a more northward track than
expected, so maybe they will shift in their next model run.

There is some wind shear in the northern Caribbean, and a lot more in the
Gulf. But the Caribbean shear may be too weak and may not be enough to
hinder her development after a certain point. Conversely, the shear in the
Gulf might be enough to make her a lovely little blobette again.

So to sum up: things are still uncertain. The first thing to watch for is
that NW turn in the track. I might send out another update today! First
time in ages I've done two. But she's so interesting that she's worth it.

Later gators (and 'noles and bulls and any others out there... ;-)),

Updates archived on (I think :-)).

DISCLAIMER: These are just my views. Well, a fraction of them. I do have
views on other things as well you know. If a storm is looming, please pay
attention to your emergency managers, weather service and the NHC.

Friday, November 06, 2009

TD Ida: November 6 Update A

Oh dear, what a palava! I can just see some of you rolling your eyes when
you see the latest track and the apparent sharp right turn Ida is forecast
to make in the Gulf in five days, directly towards Tampa Bay. The forecast
has, indeed, become all sorts of complicated since yesterday.

First though: she's just emerged into the Caribbean again, north of
Honduras, and is heading N at about 8 mph. She's at 15.7N, 83.9 W, central
pressure 1007 mb, wind speed 35mph. Due to minor technical difficulties, I
can't actually access the data or satellite images. But I can tell you
what to expect.

As she continues north, she'll be over water temperatures greater than 30
deg C. V. Warm!! Not only that, but the warm water is very deep there -
amongst the deepest warm water in the western Atlantic/Caribbean/Gulf
region. This means she has a really good energy source because she's
churning up more warm water. The other factor in favor of development is
that the circulation remains strong over most of the troposphere. So it is
likely she will get stronger once she clears land - definitely back to TS
at least (in agreement with the NHC). Working against this is the wind
shear, which will pick up as she moves northwards. The second factor
against too much development is how much she will interact with land. A
battle will ensue over how strong little Ida will become.

The reason the forecast is a bit wonky in the Gulf is because in addition
to the uncertain intensity factors above, there is another front (trough)
that will move southwards at around the same time as she moves northwards.
It's a question of where the two meet, which is difficult to forecast.

Ida's a tricky one! Not what you want to hear I know. It's unlikely she'll
be a major storm *if* she gets to Florida. It also looks unlikely that
she'll head to the northern Gulf at the moment, but that depends on how
far south that front gets. For now you know the drill. It never hurts to
be prepared: stock up on ice cream, wine, sun screen etc. ;-) Drop me a
line if you have any questions.

As famously said in 'Terminator' by that bloke, "I'll be back". (tomorrow
sans technical difficulties).

DISCLAIMER: the views expressed today were so waffly that I don't think
anyone I represent (myself included) could possibly claim them! Pay
attention to your local emergency manager

Thursday, November 05, 2009

TS Ida: November 5 Update A

I'm going to go easy on the NHC today because they do, after all, have a
tough job. Of course, if I believed Ida was still a hurricane by the time
they called it earlier today, then I'm pretty sure aliens made crop

Ida, from the data I saw, was a hurricane in the early hours of this
morning (EST). By the time she made landfall in Nicaragua, she had already
lost a lot of convection and would have been a strong TS. I think the call
was about 7-8 hours too late. Rather like the belated upgrade to TS status
yesterday - which officially jumped from a 35 mph TD to a strong TS with
60 mph winds. Maybe their timing is sluggish because they've not had much
practice lately. Anyway, I agree with them now, she's back to being a TS.

She's been dumping rain on Nicaragua for over 24 hours (not good).
Official wind speed is 60 mph (TS range: 39-73 mph). I think she's weaker
than that. Central pressure 990 mb. She's at about 13.3N, 83.7W, and is
moving NNW at a 3mph crawl. The good news is that the longer she remains
over land, the weaker she gets, which means that as she re-emerges into
the Caribbean (north of her current location), she may not reintensify to
TS status. A slow/stalled storm has other problems when it comes to
forecasting. The pressure fields around it change, which means the track
becomes tricky. At the moment I'd say she would curve around towards Cuba
instead of heading into the Gulf because of interaction with a front that
is moving southwards (currently over mid-FL). It depends on timing and
when she picks up some speed (motion, not the drug! ;) ).

That's all for today folks. Another update tomorrow, in which I'll
continue to be super-nice to the NHC. ;)


DISCLAIMER: These are my opinions, not those of any organization I
represent. If you disagree with them, we can debate it over a cup of tea
(PG Tips). ;) If a storm is approaching, please pay attention to your
local emergency managers, weather service, and of course, the NHC.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Caribbean Blobette: November 4 Update A

Hey! Thought it was over? Think again. The '09 hurricane season, in true
Monty Python style, is running around saying "I'm not dead yet!" ;)

A blobette has been brewing in the western Caribbean over the past two
days, and today she made a move. Although still officially a Tropical
Depression (#11), I am pretty sure she reached Tropical Storm status about
7 or so hours ago. There's a plane investigating the system now because
they can provide accurate data... and there's only so many card games to
play and crossword puzzles one can do before one gets bored. ;) The next
name is Ida.

She's at around 11.8N, 82.3W, moving WNW at about 7mph. Landfall is
expected to be Nicaragua on Friday morning. I don't have the right data to
make a call on track, so I'll go with this official one. Seems reasonable
to me.

Winds are officially 35 mph (TS range: 39-73mph). Although not very windy,
there is a lot of rain in this system so the real danger will be potential
flooding/landslides. Water temperatures exceed 29 deg C, and the
circulation is strong over the lower half of the troposphere (which is the
lowest layer of our atmosphere).

It looks like there's a chance that wind shear will pick up a bit by
tomorrow and the system is interacting with land. So despite the warm sea
temperatures, it may not develop too much.

As we are approaching the end of the season (Nov 30), we generally see
more storms develop in the Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico region as opposed to
Atlantic storms. There's nothing unusual about the location.

I'll send out another update tomorrow. Wow... I can't believe it. A storm
that's NOT heading for me this season. We might get sun! Ok... I know,
that last part is a bit of a stretch. ;)

Toodle Pip :)

DISCLAIMER: These are my views, not those of any organization I represent.
If a storm is approaching, please pay attention to your local emergency
managers and weather service and NHC, as they have the most up-to-date
information! Etc etc.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

TD Henri: October 8 Update A

Henri isn't looking so hot. A combination of wind shear and dry air took
their toll. He still has decent circulation, but sans (another French word
:)) much convection. This is my last entry on Henri unless he does
something naughty. :)

Au revoir jusqu'a la prochaine fois.

Disclaimer: It's not my fault if the French doesn't mean what I think it
means. ;)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

TS Henri and another Atlantic Blobette: October 7 Update A

TS Henri. The blob I said we should keep an eye on a couple of days ago
has indeed developed and became a TS late yesterday. He's currently
heading westward(ish) at about 15 mph. Because of wind shear the center is
west of the convection, which has restricted his growth. If you look at a
satellite image you can easily see it swirling away. For example, go to
the NHC website ( and click on the word 'satellite' on
the left panel. Scroll down until you find 'Atlantic Floater 1'. No, this
is not referring to a dead fish in the Atlantic ;). Under that you should
see 'Henri'. The 'floater' satellite imagery is basically only used to
provide close-ups of a storm when there is one. To see a still picture of
Henri, click on the word 'Image' next to visible. If you want to see a
movie (provide your own popcorn :)), then click on 'java' in the same
line. I prefer the movie version myself, it just takes a little longer to

He's currently at about 19N, 58.3W. Wind speed is 45mph, making him a weak
system (TS range: 39-73mph). Central pressure is only 1007 mb.

Mais (that's 'but' in French cos Henri is French :)), the convection is
quite strong for such a small storm. It is all to the east of the center,
and has died down a bit in the last few hours. Mais (I do know other words
in French you know), the cloud tops were quite cold earlier, which means
deep convection. It's a good thing there has been some shear otherwise
Henri would have been bigger! He's over water with temps over 29 deg C.
And circulation is still pretty good in the lower half of the troposphere.

The forecast is for him to downgrade to a low by tomorrow evening because
of persistent strong wind shear. I'm a little more cautious about this,
because when I looked a couple of hours ago, the wind shear looked like it
was diminishing. Hopefully it'll be enough to keep him at bay.

There's a large blobette just southeast of Henri. Lots of clouds, but not
a lot of circulation, so I won't write more on the blobette unless it gets

It rained here all day today. That's about all we got from Grace and the
front she was part of. I did find my Wellington boots - thank you all for
your comments there. Hee hee.

I'll be back with hopefully a wrap-up on Henri tomorrow.
A bientot mes amis! :)

Disclaimer: These are not my opinions. Er, no, that doesn't sound right.
Oh yes, these are just my opinions and not those of any organization I
represent. That's better. :)

Monday, October 05, 2009

TS Grace & Atlantic Blob: October 5 update A

From the NHC less than 24 hours ago: "TROPICAL STORM FORMS IN THE FAR

Hey, I live on the far northeastern edge of the Atlantic!

From the NHC in their last advisory: "GRACE RACING NORTH-NORTHEAST..."

Hey, I'm NNE of her current location!

The suprise to me is no longer that a tropical storm is heading this way,
but that this was even classified as one! It formed outside the tropics,
over water with temperatures of only about 21 deg C - you need
temperatures of 26.5 deg C for a tropical storm. It does have circulation,
but at no point has that been isolated from a line of higher vorticity
(circulation)... meaning that this system is really part of a front!! The
NHC say she'll be absorbed by a front in a few hours (which is heading
this way). At the most I think this should have been a Subtropical Storm!

She's currently at about 45.4N, 16.4W (on a part of the map that you won't
recognize, as CM wrote and told me earlier ;)). Central pressure is
estimated to be 990mb, wind speeds estimated to be 65mph. She's zooming
NNE at 31mph.

She'll be downgraded tomorrow, so I'm not going to bother writing another
entry unless there's some really unusual weather here. Ha ha ha.

Atlantic Blob: this poor fella has been trying to get organized for a
couple of days. The circulation is good throughout the tropopause (lowest
section of our atmosphere), but the convection needs some work. It's worth
keeping an eye on this for the next few days, esp if you are in the VIs.
It's currently at about 13N, 45W. If anything looks like developing, I'll
write a note. Next name is Henri.

Now, where did I put my Wellington boots? ;)
Ciao for now,

Disclaimer: The comments here are mine and do not represent the views of
any organization I represent. There's a much better disclaimer in the blog
archives. :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Atlantic blobette: September 27 Update A

Wind shear and dry air took their toll on the tropical depression, and
it's now just blobette again. Some things do go away if you
ignore them I guess. ;) There's still some circulation and convection, so
I'll keep an eye on it, but don't anticipate much. This is my last entry
on this system. Back to napping for now.


Disclaimer: see previous update.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Atlantic Blobette: September 25 Update A

Ha ha ha... Did you really think you'd not be hearing from me again this
season? Well, better luck some other year. This year you can blame it on
El Nino. Which, coincidentally, I hear is (yet again) apparently solely
responsible for this 'quiet' season (according to my sources in the US).
Sigh. Before we even knew we were going into an El Nino (in the Pacific)
the signs were set up for a weaker season: for example, Atlantic water
temps were cool as I said at the beginning of June. There is also a lot
less water vapor in the air over the Atlantic (partly due to that Saharan
Air Layer also mentioned in an earlier entry), and there are a number of
other things afoot (and even aloft :)). The biggest influence on storms
over the Atlantic is, surprisingly, what's going on in/over the Atlantic!
What an amazing concept!! I'm a genius aren't I? I should be given an
award. ;) I'm not saying that El Nino has no impact, it's just not the
only one, and not the biggest. (And sarcasm aside... of course I'm a
genius ;)).

So, back to the Atlantic. There's a little blobette west of the Cape Verde
Islands. It's been struggling to get a grip for the past day, but
circulation isn't very strong. Convective activity has been waxing and
waning all day. I more-or-less agree with the NHC on this one. It is a
tropical depression (8th of the season), and is teetering on the edge of
being a Tropical Storm. But it is under reasonable wind shear given it's
size, and more importantly, has a lot of dry air around it, which will
inhibit it. The NHC site says something about how it'll also move over
cooler waters which will keep it down. I don't agree with that bit. It's
over temps of 28 deg C, moving over 27 deg C. Brr, yes cold indeed. Huh.
It's colder than that here when the sun is in full bloom. That water is
warm enough to sustain a storm. Should this storm manage to get a bit more
organized, the next name is 'Grace'. It's currently at about 15.4N, 31.5W,
moving NW at 14mph. Wind speeds of 35 mph, central pressure is 1008mb.

I'll try and check in over the weekend but if I don't manage to sober up,
not to worry as it'll stay in the Atlantic for now. ;)

Toodle pop,

DISCLAIMER: These are just my opinions and thoughts, and not those of any
organization I represent. That should be obvious as organizations are not
generally prone to chit chat like this. If a storm is looming, please pay
attention to the NHC, weather service and your emergency managers because
they have the most up-to-date information.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blob Fred: September 13 Update A

I was too busy having cups of tea with cucumber sandwiches to write an
update yesterday, but Fred declined and is now a blob again. There's still
a fair bit of convection, but circulation is now really only in the lowest
part of the troposphere. I'll check in on him, but don't expect much. So
this is my last entry on this system.

And the answer to the Famous Fred was Fred Allen. Thanks to LS for sending
me the details. Fred Allen wrote that about Boston in a letter to Groucho
Marx in 1953.

Mid-September... this week is the statistical peak of the Season.

That's all for now folks.

No Disclaimer Today. :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

TS Fred: September 11 Update A

As expected, Fred has been detiorating all day and was just officially
downgraded to a TS with winds of 70mph, estimated central pressure 987mb.
I think that was his status a few hours ago, and he's weaker than that
now. Although sea surface temperatures are still 27-28 deg C (ideally we
need at least 26.5 deg C or warmer to sustain a storm), the wind shear
took it's toll. It's difficult to see his center from satellite images
(which is why I think he's weaker). Officially the center is at 18.1N,
34.6W, and he's wandering NE-ward at a whopping 2mph. Obviously that's
just an estimate by the NHC. I think they are guestimating his center and
speed, because I took their 11am location and speed and did a quick
quackulation (like a calculation, but you make duck noises as you do it
;)) and the 5pm numbers don't match. But it's just academic really, as he
won't be a storm for very long.

A lot of you got the answer to yesterdays question: Freddie Mercury. How
did we survive without google? ;) (although some of you know some of these
sans help which impresses me as I can't even recall jokes I've heard
multiple times).

Famous Fred quote of the day: "I have just returned from Boston; it is the
only sane thing to do if you find yourself up there." Hee hee hee. Which

Have a lovely Friday evening!

Disclaimer: see previous entry. One day I'll follow my own advice and then
re-write it here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hurricane Fred: September 10 Update A

Well apparently there are more Scooby Doo fans out there than Fred
Astaire! Yes, yesterdays Famous Fred quote was from Fred in Scooby Doo,
Fred Jones (thanks D.P. for telling me his surname... saved me having to
look it up). :) Todays quote is at the end of this update.

Hurricane Fred is a Cat 1 now, with winds of 90mph (cat 1 range: 74-95mph)
and central pressure of 975mb. He's currently at 17.3N, 35.1W, casually
sauntering northwards at 5mph. The track forecast has him turning WNW in a
couple of days. I don't have enough data, so I'll go along with this. He
has slowed down, and looks like he might slow down even further in the
next few hours. As I have mentioned before, things become trickier to
forecast when storms slow down or stall because conditions around them can
still change. But as expected, he is now in greater wind shear from the
southwest and is looking very lopsided, with convection mainly in the
northeast quadrant. He may not even survive in such conditions.

<science alert> why would a storm stall? This goes back to the large scale
atmospheric pressure fields I was waffling on about a couple of days ago.
Imagine the storm is a ball. If the path ahead of it is low pressure (in
meteorological jargon you may hear "trough" or other such words), it's
like a downhill gradient and the ball will happily keep on rolling. But if
the path in front of it has high pressure, it's like an uphill gradient.
If it is 'uphill', the ball will slow down, or maybe move in a different
direction until it finds an easier path. But if it is in a 'dip',
surrounded by high pressure, then it's difficult for the storm to move in
any direction, so it will stop until the pressure fields around it change.
Of course, as pressure fields change, the forecast track will change even
though the storm may not have moved far. So not only do forecasters need
to predict the track of the storm, but they need to predict the entire
surrounding pressure field and how it will change before the storm moves
again. That's where the computer models really kick in. <end of science

Famous Fred quote of the day: "I always knew I was a star, and now the
rest of the world seems to agree with me." Which Fred? :)

Have fun!
Tally ho,

Disclaimer: read previous entries.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Hurricane Fred: 9/9/09 Update A

Fred became a major hurricane (cat 3) this morning, with winds of 120mph
(cat 3 range: 111-130mph), but has decreased in intensity since then.
Although the NHC's 5pm advisory still had him as a cat 3 with winds of
115mph, I think he's a cat 2 at the moment (cat 2 range: 96-110 mph)
because his eye is not very clear anymore, and the convection is a bit
skewed. His western side is a little weaker than the east, because he's
pulling in (entraining) dry air from the north and west. Also, his
northern side is beginning to move into an area of stronger wind shear.

He's currently centered around 14.8N, 33.3W, with central pressure of
960mb. The NHC had an interesting tidbit in their write up earlier
today...according to their records this is the strongest storm to have
formed so far south and east. There are a few caveats you should keep in
mind if you hear this: 1. Hurricane records only began in 1851; (2) a
storm like this would probably not have been detected before the 1970s,
when satellite observations kicked in and there are more, and different
types of satellite data available now which allow for greater accuracy
(hopefully!!); and, (3) techniques to estimate the winds and pressure of a
storm from afar have changed a bit over the years.

He's moving NW at 13 mph. I'm going to rely on the models and NHC for
track for the next 24 hours because the models are in pretty good
agreement at the moment and unless you are a mid-Atlantic jellyfish
<insert creature of choice>, I don't think small variations in track
forecast will matter. :)

Wind shear increases at about 18N, although sea surface temperatures will
still be over 27 deg C at that latitude. I agree with the NHC that the
shear will take it's toll and reduce intensity. But they claim a secondary
effect will be the reduced sea surface temperatures, whereas to me a more
likely secondary effect will be the surrounding dry air.

Famous Fred quote of the day: "Let's split up gang." Which Fred? :)

Night night,

Disclaimer: Insert from previous entries.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

TS Fred: September 8 Update B

TS Fred is still a Tropical Storm, but barely. His winds are now 70 mph
(TS range: 39-73 mph), with central pressure estimated to be 990mb. Also
as expected, he's continued on a westward track all day, with the forecast
having shifted west a bit. He's currently moving at 14mph and is centered
somewhere around 12.1N, 29.8W. Although wind shear is low and sea surface
temperatures are high, and his circulation (vorticity) covers most of the
troposphere now (essentially indicating a hurricane), he has been taking
in some dry air - part of the Saharan Air Layer I wrote about a while ago.
This has kept convection down a bit, but it won't be enough to stop him
from being a hurricane.

He'll keep going westish... He does have some room to move WNW, but it'll
only be a little. Then it looks like he will slow down as there is high
pressure ahead of him at the moment. In this I agree with the NHC.

<science alert> In the northern hemisphere 'things' (technical jargon ;) )
tend to move clockwise around high pressure systems, and counter-clockwise
around low pressure systems. For example, a tropical storm has low
pressure so winds move counter-clockwise (or anticlockwise if you prefer)
around a storm. Similarly, tropical storms also move around larger
pressure systems. There is generally a high pressure that likes to hang
out over the Atlantic, sometimes called the Bermuda High or the
Bermuda-Azores High. You can imagine it as a big clock face over the
Atlantic. As storms cross the ocean, they move westward along the six
o'clock region. As they turn WNW and NW they are moving from 6 to 9. Then
they move N and NE, from 9 to 12. Of course, this imaginary clock face
isn't nice and round, nor does it stay in the same place (otherwise
forecasting the track would be easy peasy :)). It's like a Dali clock,
with wiggly bits (more technical jargon ;)) that are always moving. That
is why I talk of 'pressure fields' when I talk about the track - I refer
to the large scale atmospheric pressure fields. <end of science alert>

I hope I didn't confuse anyone (well, not too much anyway :)) but of
course, if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask! I'll do my
bestest to explain what I know ... and can always make up what I don't. ;)

The answer to the Famous Fred quote earlier today was, indeed, Fred
Astaire. Another one tomorrow.

That's all for now folks.

Disclaimer: no need to worry about this storm...insert disclaimer from
previous entries here.

TS Fred: September 8 Update A

I hope you had a "yaba daba doo" Labor Day weekend in the US. :) This year
Mother Nature also took a break. But yesterday a blob in the far eastern
Atlantic developed into a Tropical Depression, and now we have Tropical
Storm Fred. He's just SE of the Cape Verde Islands, centered at about
11.8N, 27.3W and is moving west at 15mph. He's so far east that he doesn't
yet appear on the NHC satellite page under the 'Atlantic Wide View'. Hmmm.
Maybe it's time to rename that to the 'Almost Atlantic Wide View, Just
Excluding That Bit Off Africa And Around The Cape Verde Islands, Which
Surely Aren't All That Important For Tropical Storms Anyway'. If you want
to see him, scroll down to the 'Eastern Atlantic', under Meteosat-8 (which
is a different satellite than the GOES images that cover the rest of the

Winds speeds are estimated to be about 50mph, although they estimate his
central pressure to be 1000mb. Those two numbers don't quite match up in
my head - I think wind speeds are a little higher. Sea surface temps are
about 28deg C. He will grow. Circulation is quite well developed,
extending quite high in the tropopause (lowest 10-15km of atmosphere) for
such a little storm. Wind shear is low, so there is plenty of room for
convection to develop. The cloud tops are alteady cool.

The forecast track shows he will be moving WNW any second now, and then NW
in the next day or so. Why bother forecasting tracks via the western
Atlantic when you can save time and effort by forecasting them all to come
directly to the UK, huh? ;) I think he'll remain on a more westward track
than the 5am advisory shows, for now at least. There's a high pressure
system that he (like all storms) is moving around. I'll write a
bit'o'science about pressure systems in the next update later.

Famous Fred quote:"Chance is the fool's name for Fate". Which Fred? :)

Until later!

Disclaimer: see earlier entries.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Blobette Erika: September 4 Update A

Erika made a valiant attempt to reform today, resulting in some strong
convection mostly over the water in the Caribbean, but to no avail. She's
back to being a blobette and this will be my last entry on her. Unless she
gets a second wind :) as she hangs out in the Caribbean.

There's another blob, way out by the Cape Verde islands. Not much
convection yet so we can tune out for the weekend at least.

Enjoy your long weekend! (we had one last week in the UK).

Disclaimer: Not much out there to disclaim about. Hurray!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

TD Erika: September 3 Update A

Poor Erika took a bit of a beating as she crossed the leeward islands and
has lost a lot of the big convective activity. She's well and truly in the
Caribbean now, with her center of circulation continuing to remain west of
the convection. A plane located it at 16.6N, 64.7W earlier today and the
latest NHC advisory has it at 16.7N, 65.3W, moving west at about 12mph,
with a central pressure of 1007 mb. She's been downgraded to a Tropical
Depression with winds of 35mph.

Although she's over water temps of 29-30 deg C, wind shear is strong. I
got a message from TJ in St. Thomas this afternoon. They were wondering
where the storm had gone as all they had at that point was a cloudy sky.
She's south of the VIs at the moment, and the convection is east of
that... so still to come if there's anything left. As I said, the
convection decreased in intensity and size thanks to the leeward islands,
so the VIs may get off lightly. The winds are mostly on her east, but all
warnings have been discontinued.

Worth keeping an eye on her, but with wind shear I'm not sure she'll be
anything big. Another fine example of those innocent looking islands
taking the steam out of a storm (puns always intended). As with life, it's
the little things you have to watch out for. ;)

I'll send out another update tomorrow. Have a super evening!
Night night,

Disclaimer: See yesterdays. :)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

TS Erika: September 2 Update A

She's not a very strong storm and she's a bit discombobulated which makes
it a little tricky seeing exactly where her center of circulation is. The
NHC had it at 16.2 N, 61.1 W at 2pm. I think it might be a bit west of
that, possibly already in the Caribbean. Her convection, which has
remained east of the center of circulation, decreased over the past few
hours. My theory is that it decreased as her center interacted with the
leeward islands. She's moving west at 10mph. I think her convection will
continue to decrease as she continues to cross those islands. I know they
only look like blips on a map, but we've seen them take the steam out of
storms in the past (all puns intended :) ).

Currently they have her winds at 40 mph, making her barely a TS (range:
39-73 mph). Central pressure estimated to be 1008 mb. A plane is heading
into the system to assess conditions. I don't have good pressure fields,
so I can't comment too much on the track. But from what I've seen, I'd
agree that she'll resume her WNW motion, essentially catching as many
islands as she can before getting to the Bahamas, including the VIs. She
may not be much by the time she gets that far though.

The other factor that's playing a role is the wind shear, which as I
expected, has increased. I am not sure what data the NHC are looking at,
because they said wind shear increased sooner than expected??!? I thought
we were looking at the same thing. Hmmm. Well I'm sure the plane will get
us all caught up. With disorganized storms like this, the forecast is
tricky, partly because it's difficult to find the center.

If anything unusual is found, I'll send out another update. Otherwise
tomorrow it is. I know that folks were scrambling to get boarded up
earlier today on the islands, partly because of the belated notice and
partly because the track shifted closer towards them than expected. Let
me know how things are out there if you can.

Toodle pip!

These remarks are just what I think, and I could be totally off my rocker.
So if a storm is approaching, please heed your emergency managers, the
NHC, the weather service as they have more up to date information. If I
was hypothetically there, I'd let you know if I was going to 'run away,
run away' (Monty Python) or stay put and have a glass of wine instead.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

TS Erika: September 1 Update B

Well I don't think anyone who is near the path of this storm is
particularly surprised by the NHC finally getting around to recognizing a
tropical storm. And if anyone is reading this from the NHC, I can tell you
that there are a lot of people who are not happy bunnies and were
wondering earlier today if you had fallen asleep on the job! TS Erika has
sustained winds of 50mph and a central pressure of 1007 mb. Quite a jump
from the 'high probability of a system forming' to a ready-made mid-sized
storm with tropical storm force winds extending 105 miles out from the
center don't you think?

She's moving WNW at 9mph and is at 17.2N, 57.3W. As with the storms that
preceeded her, she'll most likely barely skim the leeward islands and head
towards the east coast of the US. As I said earlier in the season
least a whole two weeks ago...storms that form close together tend to
follow a similar track because the pressure fields don't change that

It doesn't look like she'll be too big. The NHC agree with my earlier
statements... The circulation center is slightly west of the convection,
she's experiencing some wind shear and heading into more Wind shear etc.
TS watches have been issued on the northern leeward islands.

More tommorrow! Be good. Be safe.

Due to technical difficulties, the disclaimer should be here. Insert from
a couple of entries ago. C'est la vie.

Atlantic Blobette: September 1 Update A

If you are on one of the Caribbean Islands, and it's a bit overcast,
that's because you have the outer edges of a tropical system overhead. The
NHC have not yet upgraded it to a Tropical Depression, but i think they
should have earlier today. It looks like a Tropical Storm to me (next is
Erika I think). They have sent a plane on this afternoon to confirm or
deny all such rumours.

Circulation has been good all day, and convection has been really strong
for the past couple of days. If it's any consolation, I think the center
of circulation may be west of the main convection. Also, the circulation
is currently confined to the lower part of the troposphere, so it's a weak
system. And finally, in favor of keeping it small, it's moving into an
area of slightly stronger wind shear. Of course, water temperatures are
over 29 deg C. The cloud tops are very cold, indicating some very strong

I hope you guys have your umbrellas ready!

Maybe the NHC have been distracted with Hurricane Jemina, who was just
downgraded to a cat 4, and is in the eastern Pacific, about to hit Baja. I
hope she gets some rain to the southern California wildfires. Wouldn't
that be handy? I got this from a friend who lives in Pasadena:
"I can see the fires from my street. Air quality is BAD. I do not go to
the Burbank office because I do not want to breathe the air..."

Wind picked up today here, from the remains of TS Danny I presume. Another
blustery and wet day tommorrow I expect. I suppose I ought to pay
attention to the weather one of these days ... ;)

I'll send out another update if the plane finds a Tropical Storm swirling
away out there.


Insert disclaimer from the previous entry here.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

TD Danny and Atlantic Blobette: August 29 Update A

Tropical Storm Danny? What tropical storm? Ah yes... the one whose remains
are heading over to the UK next week! Oh the irony. Although, you know,
we've had a bit of sun for a couple of days now and could *really* use the
rain. ;)

Danny is now a Tropical Depression, after getting as far as offshore North
Carolina, where he was too weak and got 'absorbed' by a front. The center
is approximately 35N, 74W, with winds of 35mph (at the most), and central
pressure of 1007 mb. He's moving NNE at 30mph. Parts of the US east coast
and Canada are getting rain - from a mix of this and the front.

Bet the surfers are out playing.

This is my last entry on this system I think - I'm assuming the rain and
wind here next week will be no more noticable than usual. If something
interesting happens I'll let you know.

Atlantic Blobette: This system has some circulation, but not much
convection. Currently at around 10N, 42.5W and moving west. It looks like
it will stay to the south, and keep on that westward track. I won't write
any more unless it looks like it has picked up.

Hmmm... I think that's it for now. The first break in systems since I left
the US! Hopefully that's the end of them for the year and I can write
about other things. :)

Have fun and Toodles until the next time. :)

Blog entries archived at:

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,
hypothetically, I was there and I was, hypothetically, going to "run away,
run away" (Monty Python), I'd let you know.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

TS Danny & Atlantic Blobette: August 27 Update A

TS Danny:
He's a bit of a tricky one. The NHC have moved his center all over the
place today, partly because it went missing for a few hours this morning.
Oops. It is back of course, and clearly west of the convective activity.
They have it at about 27.5N, 73.5W, moving W at 2mph. 'Moving' being an
overstatement of course, as a child could cycle faster than him! He has
pretty much come to a stop, because he is surrounded by high pressure on
all sides. You can imagine him as a ball that rolled into a dip in the
ground - surrounded by higher ground and nowhere to move. Poor fellow.
Until there's something to change that pressure field, he'll stay stuck.
As I said yesterday, slow systems are a little more difficult to forecast
in terms of their track. Because as they are taking their time, the
steering pressure patterns around them can change. We've seen this many
times in the past. I'm still more-or-less in agreement with the NHC, that
he will turn NW and the N In the next day or so, because there is a front
(i.e. Line of low pressure) coming off the east coast of the US that will
create a path for him.

Central pressure is 1008 mb, and winds are 50 mph, making him a weakish
storm still. Wind shear from the west/northwest isn't helping him to
develop, despite water temps over 29 deg C. Of course the other problem
with slow storms is they have that bit more time to intensify. I still
don't think he'll be a major one though (major is cat 3 or higher).

Basically, watch him until he's safely gone past you at this point would
be my advice.

Blobette: a blobette moved off Africa with lots of convection. Today the
circulation started to improve a bit, so it's one to keep an eye on. It's
waay out there... Just southwest of the Cape Verde islands at about 11N,
33W. Should it develop further, and the dry air doesn't squelch it, the
next name on the old list-o is Erika.

By the way, in case you don't know, these names are listed on the NHC
webpage. From the main page, scroll down the left side until you see
'Storm Names'. The names are rotated every 6 years, and are only withdrawn
(and replaced) if it was a particulary atrocious storm. So, for example,
we'll never see a Hurricane Katrina again.

I'll try and get a quick note out tomorrow sometime, otherwise Sat it'll
be. Time for a nap before the morning. This "working" lark can be quite
tiring, can't it? ;)


ps. It was sunny here ALL Day!! I put my shades on for the first time in
three weeks. After I'd dusted them down if course.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

TS Danny and ex-blob Bill: August 26 Update A

I don't know why the NHC didn't label the Tropical Depression that turned
into TS Danny. If I had my druthers (which, admittedly, I rarely do these
days ;)), I would have done that overnight. A Tropical Depression, by the
way, is a system that has closed circulation with winds less than 38 mph.
He had pretty good circulation yesterday evening, as I wrote in the last
update and I think in the NHC 2am advisory they said he had close to
gale-force winds (39-54ish mph). I guess they were waiting for more data
... or having another cup of coffee. :)

Anyhoo... you guys er... I mean *we* have TS Danny out there. :) He's not
a very strong storm. Wind shear and dry air means his convection is east
of the center, which you can see in the visible satellite loops. Currently
he's at about 25.2N 71.2W. Winds are around 45mph (TS range: 39-73 mph).
Central pressure 1009 mb. He is moving WNW at 12 mph. He'll continue in
that direction for another day or so. There's a front moving east, and is
currently over Florida. This will interact with Danny, and should result
in a NW/N turn. So I agree to some extent with the current track forecast,
in that he will turn. But he has slowed down since this morning, and the
slower a storm moves, the trickier it becomes to forecast the track, and
so the question is where he'll skirt the east coast, if at all.

Water temps are currently 29 deg C. We also need to watch out for where he
turns relative to the Gulf Stream. Water temps there are over 30 deg C,
and are also warm with depth in the ocean. That will play into how intense
he gets in addition to wind shear. Unlikely to be a major hurricane

No need for me to tell you to keep an eye on him. Looks like the surfers
will be on the east coast again this weekend! :)

Oh yeah... and how can I forget about Bill? He was pretty harmless. We all
got a bit of rain and wind, but nothing really unusual (for the UK). The
Sun even popped out this evening. I almost blinked at the wrong moment and
missed it. ;)

Toodle pip,

<Insert Disclaimer>

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Atlantic Blob: August 25 Update A

The blob from yesterday is still a blob, currently NE of the Caribbean and
still moving WNW. The main convection skirted the islands I think. Today
Circulation improved in the lower section of the troposphere (send me a
note if you don't know or recall what that is), and I believe a plane is
in the system investigating it this afternoon. Doesn't look like a
Tropical Storm to me yet, but it does have some strong thunderstorms with
"trash moving gully washer" rain. ;) (that's Texan for heavy rain. Thanks
ES for letting me know about that!). I expect it to be a Tropical
Depression soon. The WNW motion will continue, so the Bahamian beach-going
tourists may be out of luck again.

Tomorrow I'll talk about Bill as well as any Blob developments.

ps...disclaimer blah blah blah....

Monday, August 24, 2009

Blob Bill and another Blob: August 24 Update A

Aaaagh... I just deleted my update. Bother. Well... To sum up this rather
blobby update then.

Bill is heading this way, as a blob with winds in the tropical storm arena
(39-73 mph). I'll write more on him when he gets here, probably on weds.

There's another blob out there, currently lurking menacingly just east of
the leeward islands. It's been moving steadily WNW for a day or so, and
convection really blossomed along with circulation during the day today.
The infrared satellite imagery shows some clouds as 'red', meaning the
strong thundery sort of weather. It'll contine WNW for a while, bringing
rain and thunder to the VIs, PR, Hispaniola etc. Development depends on
how much it interacts with the larger islands. More tommorrow on "The Blob
vs. The Islands". Should it get past 'Go' and past the Tropical Depression
stage, the next name is Danny.

Until the morrow,

Disclaimer: see yesterday.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hurricane Bill: August 23 Update A

Boy do I have some interesting things for you today. I've received a
gaggle of goodies from readers & friends, including Bill surf photos.
Thanks everyone! First, a quick update on wonderful H. Bill (not to be
confused with wonderful Bill H. who may be reading this ;)).

Bill is currently at about 44.4N, 62.5W, racing NE at 35mph. Central
pressure is 970mb, and wind speeds are officially 80mph, making him a
mid-level cat 1 (cat 1 range: 74-95mph). As expected, he was downgraded
to a cat 1 in the advisory after yesterday's update. At the moment he has
hardly any convection to his west and south, even the 'blue-level' clouds
(see yesterday's update for explanation) are mostly on his east and north.
Parts of Canada are getting some rain, and thunderstorms. Given his ragged
appearance I think he's probably a bit weaker, but I'm sure that will be
adjusted in the next couple of advisories.

Also as expected, he's heading to my side of the pond. The 3-day forecast
map on the NHC website looks like the Americas are shooting a
cheesy-60s-sci-fi-movie-special-effects ray gun at the British Isles. Huh.
What did we do to deserve that? ;) Comments I've had since my update a few
days ago on his planned 'attack' on the UK:

From DP: "you can run, but you can't hide."
From EE: Jimi Hendrix, Foxy Lady lyrics: "I'm coming to get ya..."

Hee hee. Actually, it looks like he's heading to Scotland (northern
British Isles for the geographically bemused), and I live in southern
England (southern being the operative word for the bemused), so I reckon
it'll be fine here. Of course, the current center of the cone is heading
straight for my brother (insert more chuckling from yours truely). Here's
my conversation with him about Bill:

Me: Hurricane Bill will be there Tues/weds ish. You may get a bit more
wind and rain than usual.
Him: I don't think there's such a thing as more than usual.

So that's Scotland for you.

Finally on Bill, I hear and see that the surf was amazing on the east
coast of Florida. Sent to me by CP, check out these amazing photos:
Three days of an extreme workout, and he loved every minute. :)
If you recognize him in these photos, you can probably email him yourself. :)

Now for non-Bill things.

I got a query from 'Jim' who asked about the circulation NE of Puerto
Rico. If I'm looking at the same thing, it's not in the lower atmosphere.
It's high up there, and may be connected to a 'trough' (an area of lower
pressure that forms a line as opposed to an isolated circle, as we see
with storms - they are associated with fronts). There's not much
convection, and it is really high, so I don't think it's anything to be
concerned about. But as I learnt from the wisdom of Sean Connery's wife,
never say never (again). :) So I'll watch anyway.

I also got this from HH. It explains why Florida hasn't seen much action
since 2005. Apparently it's due to Governor Crist, who came into office in

Or, and I'm just throwing this wild suggestion out there, it could be
because of actual *scientific* reasons. Ummm...nah. That's just plain
silly. ;)

Enough drivel for today. I have to eat dinner and paint my nails.
Ciao for now,

Disclaimer: see previous entries until you get to something that looks
like a proper disclaimer and I don't write anything about Internet issues.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hurricane Bill: August 22 Update A

"windy but hardly bigger than a sneeze in winter" is the verdict on
Hurricane Bill as he zoomed past Bermuda. Thanks SB - happy to hear it
wasn't too bad. :)

They did get a bit more than 'windy' as the satellite images showed. To
continue from yesterday, you can see this for yourself.

<Science Alert> Go to the page I directed you to yesterday: and scroll down to Atlantic
Floater 2, currently labeled Bill. Click on the second line - IR AVN on
the link marked Image (Loop will give you a movie, which is useful but
takes longer to load the page). IR stands for infra-red, and this
basically shows the temperature of the cloud tops. The blue is for warmer
cloud tops, and red is for the coldest cloud tops. The higher the cloud
tops are, the colder they get. Anyone who has lived in areas prone to
thunderstorms may have noticed that the 'big' (high) clouds produce the
most active weather. On the satellite image, the White clouds are fairly
light clouds, the blue areas indicate nice solid cloud cover, but no rain.
The yellow ones bring rain. Orange and we have thunderstorms (with
possible tornadoes and other goodies that you can get with thunderstorms),
and Red. Well, red is just not very good at all! <End of Science Alert>

I have to throw these 'science' things in from time to time. And I might
not get another chance this year, because I only asked for three named
storms in 2009. ;)

So, delightful Bill is currently at about 36N 68.8W, and speeding
northwards at 23 mph, towards the eastern seaboard in the Cape Cod/Canada
area. I agree with the NHC today (yes, I also do that from time to time ;)
) on the current location, the direction, and even their path! The only
thing I'm umming and aahing about a bit is their wind speed. They have had
him as a cat 2 with winds of 100mph all day. He might be a bit weaker,
possibly a strong cat 1, but it's only a difference of a few mph so
keeping him at cat 2 is ok. (cat 1: 74-95 mph; cat 2: 96-110 mph). Central
pressure has risen to 964 mb.

He's moving over cooler waters - still 29
deg C, so certainly warm enough to keep him going. But it'll get cooler
quite quickly. He is also approaching a region of stronger wind shear
again. And there is still dry air to
his south. All these should continue to weaken Bill. It may just turn out
to be a blustery/dreary day in the Cape Cod/Newfoundland area. So
hopefully no different than a normal autumn day up there. ;) Cape Cod and
parts of Canada are under assorted warnings and watches.

Until tomorrow my peeps!

Blogs archived at:
yeah, still have a few internet glitches here. So have a look at previous
entries. But to sum up... Ignore everything I say (unless it's funny or
it's science :) and listen to your emergency managers, the NHC, and the
National Weather Service.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Huricane Bill: August 21 Update A

Hmm... Things aren't looking too groovy for Bermuda at the moment. I'm
not convinced about that track, or even the location that the NHC have
just released. They have his center at 28.5N, 66.8W. I see it a little
east of that at 28.5N, 66.2N. Not only that, but Bill's been moving
east of the forecast track for the past few hours. Clearly one of us
is looking at the wrong hurricane Bill that's in the Atlantic. But
check it out for yourself...

Go to:
scroll down to Atlantic Floater 2, labeled Bill. Click on either of
the top two 'Loop' tabs - Visible gives you a visible image, and IR
AVN gives you the infra-red, which shows the amount of convection
going on (red is for the biggest thunderstorms you can possibly
imagine). Once the loop has loaded, at the top click on the lat/lon
tab, and also click on the 'Trop Fcst Pts' tab. You should now be
seeing the storm (with an eye) on a lat/lon grid, and some red
symbols, which indicate the current forecast track. That'll show if
it's on the forecast track or not. They move the forecast points with
every update, so best to wait a few hours after the most recent
update. Also, at the bottom of the page you can stop the loop at any
point. Stopping on the latest image will allow you to estimate the

Bill lost some steam earlier today (and his eye) because of wind shear
and dry air. But he'smoving into a region of lower shear, and warmer
water temperatures. Current temps are 29-30 deg C, around the Bermuda
area, they are 30+ deg C. So although they officially have himas a cat
2, with winds of 110 mph, I think they are a few hours too late on
that call. He looked like a cat 2 earlier, but is more like a cat 3
now. His official pressure (as cat 2) is 957 mb, which is a tad lower
than his pressure earlier, when he was officially a cat 3. Hmmm.
Something fishy there don't ya think?

His center is approx. 290 miles SSW of Bermuda. He's moving NW at 18
mph (officially), although as I said, I think it's approaching NNW.
Hurricane force winds are 115 miles from the center, tropical storm
force winds are 290 miles from the center. I'll let you connect those

I heard from SB in Bermuda about 4 hours ago: "very cloudy and winds
about 20 knts. am heading down to get some groceries. Might flash
down to south shore to see if there are any kodak moments. It's grey.
people have been telling me it'll miss but still not sure. might veer
north east slightly from current projected course. looks like the
Passing Wind will do a roaring trade tonight.". ... er... He's not
being rude at the end there. I believe the Passing Wind is a local

Stay safe my Bermudian friends! Write if you can.

That's it for now folks. Time to turn the heating on ... Brrr. :)

Toodle pip,

p.s. Internet probs continue, this time with my email access. Sending
this from an account I set up *just* for you guys who are on the
listdserve. Because you are special. Now fingers crossed the message
doesn't get deleted when I hit send! It took me ages to write!

P.p.s. Despite my not quite agreeing with the NHC at the moment,
PLEASE pay attention to them, your emergency managers and the Weather
Service! They do have the mostest, bestest, data on these systems. And
some of them even have a great sense of humor. ;)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hurricane Bill: August 20 Update A

Bill is such a lovely, wonderful, magnificent storm, isn't he? First he
turns to avoid the Caribbean, and now he looks like he's going to 'swerve'
to avoid Bermuda, and then turn again to only skim the east coast...
before he heads OVER TO THE UK!?!?! Yeah yeah, laugh it up. ;)

He's currently at 23.5N, 62.6W, and at the last advisory at 2pm, was
moving NW at 18 mph. Winds from a hurricane hunter earlier were at 120
mph, making him a cat 3. Central pressure was 951mb. His eye got a bit
cloudy earlier today, also an indication of some weakening, I think as a
result of that dry air and wind shear I mentioned yesterday. But it's
looking a bit clearer again now. The wind shear from the west has died
down a bit, and now it's just from the SW. You can see this on satellite
images - his eye is closer to the SW side, and there are a lot more clouds
streaming off in the NE quadrant.

Bermuda is under a hurricane watch. Hurricane conditions may be there by
Saturday. I heard from SB on the island... they began hurricane preps in
earnest today. TS force winds extend out 260 miles and hurricane force 105
miles. The center is about 600 miles from the island.

You guys on the east coast should also be prepared of course. I can't yet
comment on that part of the track as I haven't had time to look at
everything. I'll try and have a proper look tomorrow.

(And er... For anyone called Bill who may be reading this...see, I was
very complimentary ... today anyway. ;))

Gotta go! Be good. Esp. you Bermudians. Get your beer in *before* the
rainbands start hitting this year will you? :)


p.s. I've mastered the art of capital letters on this device, but still
can't get the disclaimer. So don't forget to ignore this message and
listen carefully to the NHC, your emergency managers, the NWS, your
spouses & significant others, your kids, your pets, the guys at the
auto-repair shops, your doctors & dentists, Eddie Izzard, Monty Python,
and of course, everything ever said by Keanu Reeves. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Td ana & hurricane bill: august 19 update a

Still having a few Internet access issues. Guess I'll have to be extra
entertaining to compensate. If only I could remember how.

Td ana: She actaully did pass south of Cuba, hence the convection over the
past few days. But the area of circulation is over the yucatan, so she's
done. This is my last entry on this system.

Hurricane bill: 'big boy bill' was officially upgraded to a cat 3 about 3
hours after the 'cat 2' advisory yesterday, with winds of 125 mph. Today
he became a cat 4, and has winds of the 135 mph (cat 4 range: 131-155mph).
Central pressure 950mb. He' currently at 19.3n 56.5w, still officially
heading wnw at 18 mph. I think he's made that turn towards the north, and
is heading nw.

The folks in the leeward islands are probably celebrating this evening! I
already got one joke from them. The real saving grace is strong wind shear
from the west and now southwest during the day combined with dry air to
his west and north. It has made the convection a bit lop-sided, keeping
everything away from the islands. If it wasn't for those factors, he would
be a monster storm (I'm talking a cat 5) and spread over a large area. As
it is, he's a cat 4, covering Approx. 1000 miles in the north-south
direction, and 700 miles east-west! for my next problem children on the
paradise/rum-drinking/golf-playing island of Bermuda (that' about all I
know of the island :)). Yes, you really should get your car insured asap.
At the moment you are barely out of the cone of uncertainty, but I think
that might change. It's still three days out. And as he's big, even if the
track doesn't go directly over you, you'll still get a bit'o'weather.
Hurricane force winds are 80 miles from the center, and ts force extend
175 miles out. Keep in touch. Oh... And I'll say it before the nhc:
interests along the eastern seaboard should monitor the progress of bill.

Again, I can't read or edit typos. I'm sure it'll get resolved by the
start of the next hurricane season. :)

weather report from 'tj' in st. Thomas for today was: "Disgusting hot and
Weather report from me in the uk: really quite pleasant... no rain, mostly
overcast with peeps of sunshine.

The roads here are safe(ish) again. I've re-mastered the art of driving on
the left side of the road and roundabouts. Now if only I didn't keep
getting lost.

Time for din-dins. :)

P.s.again re disclaimer - see yesterday :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Td ana & hurricane bill: august 18 update a

Aaagh...Internet access problems. Lucky I got me one of those handheld
devices with some access!

Td ana: still lots of convection over Cuba & the Bahamas. Still some
circulation. Hopefully that's all that's left in this system.

Hurricane bill: a cat 2, he's still a handsome looking storm. Currently
centered at about 16.6n 52.2w, moving Wnw at 16mph, with central pressure
of 962mb. The track a few days out has shifted slightly west. Tomorrow
will be the day to look for the forecast ne turn. The Nhc have been pretty
good at the 24hr forecast over the past couple of seasons. However, even
if he isn't making a beeline in that direction, those of you in the
carribbean islands need to be ready for some weather. Bill's a big boy.
His *center* is 635 miles east of the leeward islands, but hurricane force
winds extend out 45 miles, and tropical storm force winds are out to 175
miles. And he hasn't finished growing yet.

The last advisory at 5pm had his winds at 110mph, making him a cat 2
storm. I think he's a cat 3 (cat 3 range: 111-130mph). At those speeds a
few mph is within the error margin, and his circulation is pretty darn
tootin strong. Convection is also strong, with strongest action to the
south and east, away from dry air. They are forecasting a cat 4.

I'm giving the nhc an award for most obvious statement of the day:
"interests in the leeward islands should monitor the progress of bill" :)
no, really?

I heard from someone in Bermuda... They are planning a post-hurricane
cruise. Reminds me of the good old 'big beautiful bertha' days from last
year. :)

as you can tell, I haven't figured out how to type in capitals on this
device. Thank goodness for auto-correct. Ho hum.

Until tomorrow.
Tally ho!

P.s. Sorry for typos! (unless they are funny). I can't read or correct
what I've written

P.p.s. I also can't access my usual disclaimer but it's something about
ignoring everything I write and listening to the nhc, your emergency
managers, the weather service. And if I was hypothetically there, I'd tell
you if I was hypothetically going to run away.

Monday, August 17, 2009

TD Ana, Hurricane Bill, TD Claudette: August 17 Update A

Well I survived my first day on the job, and am now relaxing with my first
glass of wine for 5 days, and 'Jeeves and Wooster' is on the telly. :)

TD Ana:
Ana's a determined little system and still has considerable circulation in
the lower atmosphere. Not only that, but she's picked up more convection
since yesterday, which looks very blobette-like at the moment, making it
very tricky to see her center of circulation. Even the NHC is having
difficulty. We'll know more in their next update because I think a plane
was sent in to investigate. There's a chance it is south of their current
estimated location of about 17.6N, 67.3W. Regardless, there are some heavy
storms over Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Winds are near 35 mph,
central pressure is 1008mb.

If she follows the *forecast* track the NHC have, she'll pass over
Hispaniola as a TD, and continue towards ... the west Florida shelf and
Tampa Bay area. Of course she will. Typical. Huh. However, that's the
official forecast. I think the reason the track is in that direction is
because of Claudette. I also think that the track might move to the east,
and depending on where her center is, she might fall apart as she crosses
Hispaniola anyway. I also think that the center might be a tad south of
the estimated location, and in that case, there's also a chance for this
system to remain south of Hispaniola. Still keep an eye on her.

A report from our intrepid on-the ground St. Thomas reporter, TJ, on Ana
as she went past that area earlier: "no real wind within our area right
now...plenty of hard rain squalls lasting 20min and longer...wind
seems to come with the rain and then is being reported as
55mile south of St. Croix ...basically a welcomed rain storm without all
of the destructive wind"

Hurricane Bill:
He's looking good. I'll give him that. Center of circulation is clearly at
14.6N, 46.4N and he's zooming along WNW at 16mph. Current wind speed is
about 90mph, central pressure 977mb, making him a cat 1 storm (cat 1
range: 74-95 mph). I agree with the NHC, he'll be a cat 2 by the end of
the day (cat 2: 96-110mph) - if he's not already - and may even be a cat 3
by tomorrow morning. Circulation is strong over the entire troposphere,
wind shear is very low, he's over water temperatures of 28-29 deg C, and
as if all those factors weren't enough, the center is well protected from
dry air by heavy convection. At the moment I don't see anything to stop
him from increasing in strength.

The track: the forecast track is still to the NW, north of the VIs and
towards Bermuda, which would be great as there's a chance he'll miss you
guys in Bermuda as well as those of you in the VIs. I'm still a little
dubious about this though. He might stay on a more westerly track than
forecast, so everyone on any of the islands should be ready even if you
aren't in the cone. That pressure field is still to the south, although
he's getting large enough that it may not be a big component in his track
after tomorrow.

TD Claudette:
As you know already, she made landfall in the Ft. Walton Beach area as a
weak TS in the middle of the night. I don't think storm surge reached 3ft
anywhere. This is my last entry on this system.

Again, thanks to everyone for the lovely emails and comments over the past
few days. I'll get back to you all individually at some point (perhaps
when there aren't any storms out there!).

Toodle pip until the morrow,

Blog entries archived at:

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,
hypothetically, I was there and I was, hypothetically, going to "run away,
run away" (Monty Python), I'd let you know.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

TD Ana, TS Bill, TS Claudette & Whirlygig: August 16 Update B

TD Ana:
Formerly known as TS Ana. Poor Ana isn't looking so hot anymore. The dry
air and wind shear has mussed up her hair and make-up to the point that
she's now downgraded to a TD. Winds are 35mph and central pressure is
1008mb. There is still some convection and some circulation, so we should
keep half an eye on her. The center is somewhere around 15.1N, 58.8W, and
she's moving west (ish) near 23mph. She's expected to make a W-NW turn
later tonight, but looks like she'll pass south of the VIs and into the
Caribbean by tomorrow.

TS Bill:
I can't see him staying as a TS for long, and I agree with the NHC that
he'll be a hurricane within the next few hours. He has grown quite quickly
over the last three to four hours. He is in a low wind shear environment,
with plenty of water vapor surrounding him, and water temperatures of 29
deg C beneath. His current wind speed is near 65 mph (TS range: 39-73mph)
and Central pressure at 994 mb. He's moving WNW at 16mph and is currently
centered at about 12.8N, 40W.

The forecast track currently takes him north of the VIs and towards
Bermuda in a few days. I am not 100% convinced of this track. I can see
why they are saying it... there's a low (trough) in the pressure field
that is moving east and will begin to erode the high pressure over the
Atlantic, which will effectively create a path for him to turn NW. But it
is days away, and if that 'trough' does not extend far enough south, then
the high pressure will force him westward for longer than they are
currently forecasting and towards the Caribbean. So, everyone from Bermuda
to the Caribbean, continue to keep both eyes on Bill (which means that
along with Ana, we're keeping 2.5 eyes on these systems... hmmm).

TS Claudette:
She's quite close to the Florida panhandle now, at about 29.5N, 85.6W.
She's a weak TS, with winds of 50mph and central pressure of 1008mb, and
is moving (according to the NHC) NW at 14mph. I'll buy this as it's
difficult to tell exactly where the center is in such a weak system, and
the NHC have planes flying through etc. So it looks like landfall
somewhere between Appalachicola and Pensacola tonight.

But I'm not sure I agree with how the NHC have decided to phrase the water
level information (from the latest advisory): "STORM TIDE IS EXPECTED TO

"Storm tide above ground level". What, may I ask, is 'ground level'?? Yes,
I'm confused by this rather vague terminology. Is it relative to mean low
level water? Which is what is used by the Tides Online site
( I directed you towards
in the previous entry. I much prefer the Tides Online version of how high
the water level will get. It gives you what is normally predicted (blue) -
i.e. your normal high and low tides. Then it shows you what the actual
observations are (red). And finally, the green is the residual, which is
the difference between the observed and predicted levels - i.e. the water
level change because of something other than tides. From that, it looks
like water levels at Appalachicola are about 2 ft above normal, and Cedar
Key is about 1.5 ft above normal. I'm not sure anywhere will get to the
3-5 ft above normal, but we'll know by tomorrow.

Whirlygig north of Bahamas:
There's some dry air moving in a circular manner north of the Bahamas.
It's not got any convection but circulation is good. Just thought I'd
mention it because this entry is rather short (!?!). Not likely to

That's all from me for today. I hear from folks that it was cloudy, wet
and windy along the west coast of Florida. And apparently some of you are
awake at 5am! ... getting your surf boards out. ;)

I'll tune in at some point tomorrow, not sure when. Big day for me. I'm
having tea with the Queen. Ha. Not really. First day at work. Oooh. Aaah.

Night night,

Blog entries archived at:

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,
hypothetically, I was there and I was, hypothetically, going to "run away,
run away" (Monty Python), I'd let you know.

TS Ana, TS Bill, and TD4 off West Florida: August 16 Update A

O.k., o.k... I'm sorry I left! What d'ya all do? Start swimming in circles
as soon as I got on the plane? ;)

Blobette off West Florida (just upgraded to TD 4 as I wrote this):
I'm not expecting anyone on the west coast of Florida to be awake at 5am,
but in case you are and have nothing better to do than get on the
computer, there is a blobette off your coast. It was the blob that dumped
rain in the Bahamas a couple of days ago (and has since had a sex change
to become a blobette :)).

Convection started back up with this as it entered the Gulf, just off SW
Florida and circulation slowly started to develop as it moved up the west
coast. There is now circulation in the lower atmosphere, and some strong
stormy weather just off the coast. Water temperatures are in excess of 30
deg C. It's currently centered somewhere around 27.5N, 83.5W. From the few
remaining buoys on the West Florida Shelf (they are slowly being pulled
out due to lack of funding - I'll come back to this some other time), wind
speeds are between 20-30 knots, so the system is not yet strong enough to
be a tropical storm, but it's heading in that direction. The next name is

The NHC currently have it forecast to move North-northwest at 16mph. It's
possible of course, but I think it will either slow down or move more
northward and onto Florida somewhere between the Big Bend and Tampa area.
Whether it makes landfall as a TS or not, those along that coastline
should watch out for storm surge (in addition to rain and thundery
weather). You can check water levels by looking at - click on the 'state
maps' on the left panel, and then on the state you are interested in, and
the location. So, for example, in St. Petersburg the water levels are
already 0.5 ft above the predicted normal level (as indicated by the green
line in the top plot: the blue line is the predicted normal level, and the
red are the actual observations). Ft. Myers peaked at just under 1ft above
normal. If you are in Cedar Key, do keep an eye on those water levels!

TS Ana:
Not much change in strength yet. Winds are about 40mph, central pressure
1005 mb. She's picked up forward speed and is moving at a whopping 20 mph
in a W-NW direction. Center is now at 14.6N, 53.8W. Convection is still
removed from the center of circulation.

TS Bill:
Very minor strengthening, with winds at about 45 mph and central pressure
1002 mb. Center at about 11.7N, 36.7W. The NHC appear to have it a little
west of this location at 37.2W... but with a storm this weak it's tricky
to see the exact center so it's somewhere in the 37W area.

Remember to pay attention to the NHC and emergency managers. Send me
updates from where you are if you can (and let me know where you are too).

More later.


Blog entries archived at:

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,
hypothetically, I was there and I was, hypothetically, going to "run away,
run away" (Monty Python), I'd let you know.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

TS Ana and TS Bill: August 15 Update A

Oh codswallop AND Great Googlimoogies!!! I am sans internet for 36 hours,
and what happens? We have not one, but TWO systems out there. If only
there was some sort of hand-held device that allowed internet access from
pretty much anywhere at any time...

Hmmm. So, TS Ana and TS Bill. I believe those in the VIs/St. Thomas are
getting ready as the forecast currently calls for these storms to pass
that area as possible hurricanes.

TS Ana:
Currently centered at about 14.4N, 50W, she's moving westward quite
quickly at 17 mph. There isn't much convection at the moment and what is
present is all to the east of the circulation because there is sufficient
wind shear. There is also quite a lot of dry air surrounding this storm.
The wind shear and dry air will keep this storm in check for some time.
However, it looks like wind shear will die down a bit, and as she moves
west she moves over warmer waters and is already over sea surface temps of
28-29 deg C.

The circulation is good in the lower atmosphere, but has not yet reached
higher altitudes. This is a good thing - it means she's still a weak
system as we can also see from her wind speeds which are about 40mph (TS
range: 39-73mph, 34-63kt). Central pressure 1005 mb.

The track: Yeah, I think you guys in the northern Caribbean should be
prepared just in case - it looks like it will pass close to you. There's a
ridge of high pressure that Ana is following westward/WNW. It extends
across the VIs, passes just south of PR, and south of Hispaniola. They
just moved that track forecast a little to the south in response to models
(which are responding to the pressure fields). If that field shifts
marginally southward, she'll pass you to the south. Too soon for me to

TS Bill:
Bill is bigger than Ana. From satellites, it looks like he's centered at
about 11.3 N, 35.2W and is moving west at 16mph (speed from the NHC). This
system has more water vapor surrounding the center of circulation, and is
also over water temperatures of 28-29 deg C. Both factors are conducive to
helping the system grow a bit. Central pressure: 1004 mb, and wind speeds
are near 40mph, so he's still weak.

There is some circulation throughout the entire troposphere (lowest part
of atmosphere), but it is not yet very well defined (it's er... blob
shaped instead of circle shaped :)). But that there is some vorticity also
indicates that this could be a better formed storm. As with Ana, it looks
like wind shear will decrease in his path.

The track: With a storm so closely following behind another storm, the
path is usually very similar. The reason for this is because they follow
the same pressure lines, and although the pressure fields change a bit
from day to day, they don't change that much. We've seen this in the past
with various storms, the most famous recent examples are Katrina and Rita
in 2005, and Frances and Jeanne in 2004.

For the track, the pressure fields are critical. For intensity, the track is

That's it for now folks. I should have better internet access tomorrow

Night night from this side of the Atlantic.

Blog entries archived at:

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,
hypothetically, I was there and I was, hypothetically, going to "run away,
run away" (Monty Python), I'd let you know.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

TD 2 and blobs: August 13 Update A

Isn't it nice to turn one's back on something for a day or so and come
back to find that things have improved? :)

Not much internet time today, and ditto for tomorrow, so v. quick update.

TD 2 remains a tropical depression centered somewhere around 14.9N, 38W.
Hurray hurray... no named storms yet! That dry air was just too much for
this little blobette. Although there is good circulation, at the moment
there is very little convection. I'm still watching it though. What's the
smiley for 'keeping my eyes on you'?

On the other hand if you are in the Bahamas and expecting to sunbathe on
the beach, think again. It looks like massive convection has blossomed
there in the last few hours. However, there is very little circulation. So
we'll just leave this one as a blob.

And the last blob is something that emerged from Africa yesterday and
looked promising. But like TD2, the convection has diminshed quite a bit
in the last few hours. There is circulation centered at about 12N, 24W, so
it is still worth keeping an eye on (or possibly even half an eye).

O.k. my friends, I gotta run. Hmm...there's a spot of clear night sky
tonight so maybe I can catch the Persieds meteor shower (which peaked
last night but should be pretty decent tonight too).

Thanks for everyone's comments and emails etc. I will reply once things
are a little more even keel here.

Toodles until I can tune in again (Sat hopefully)!

p.s. sunny and HOT all day in Exeter today! If it was flat, humid, and
everyone spoke with an accent, I would have thought I was back in

Blog entries archived at:

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,
hypothetically, I was there and I was, hypothetically, going to "run away,
run away" (Monty Python), I'd let you know.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

TD 2: August 12 Update A

I expect the NHC will upgrade TD 2 to Tropical Storm Ana in the next
advisory at 11am EST (or later today). She certainly looks like one. I
think we have our first named storm of the season birling away out there,
but for now I'll continue to call her a TD.

There is some pretty strong convection, and good circulation (vorticity)
in the lower half of the troposphere. The wind speed range for a Tropical
Storm is 34 kt (knots) to 63 kt, or 39-73 mph. (1 knot = 1.15 mph). From
satellites, it looks like she has winds in the lower end of that range.

Although water temperatures are 27-28 deg C, there are some factors that
will inhibit her development. Dry air to the north and west combined with
a bit of wind shear should keep her at the lower end of the TS range for
another day, if not longer.

The center of circulation is at about 14.6N, 34.9W, with a central
pressure of 1006 mb, and she's moving at ~12 mph in a general westward
direction along the southern edge of a high pressure system. She did move
west-southwest as I thought yesterday, and the official track was adjusted
slightly southward. But in the next day or so, I think she'll begin to
take a more west-northwestward track. This is based on the pressure fields
which, alas, are not very detailed out over the Atlantic. The computer
models also indicate that she'll begin moving WNW, passing north of the
Caribbean. At the moment this seems reasonable to me, but everyone from
the Caribbean to Bermuda to the eastern side of the US should keep an eye
on this one as things do have that annoying tendency to evolve, especially
when you aren't looking!

I am ignoring the other practically non-existent blobs from yesterday for
now. Because I can. :)

Until tomorrow, or later, or possibly the day after tomorrow...

p.s. Weather here: cloudy and sunny, a little breezy, with possible rain.
I think that covers most summer-time eventualities. :)

Blog entries archived at:

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,
hypothetically, I was there and I was, hypothetically, going to "run away,
run away" (Monty Python), I'd let you know.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tropical Depression 2 and the blobs: August 11 Update A

I think the NHC were waiting for me to leave before they got all their
coloring crayons out to doodle on the Atlantic map. :)

Our big blobette in the eastern Atlantic is now officially a Tropical
Depression, the second of the season.

It's located at about 15N, 29W and is moving generally west to
west-northwest at about 13 mph, with winds at 30mph and a central pressure
of 1006 mb. The pressure fields indicate it will continue generally
westward (maybe a little west-southwest) for the next day or so and then
it looks like it'll begin to head northwest before turning westward again,
but things can change.

Circulation in the lower troposphere is still good (troposphere: lowest
part of the atmosphere. See
for more on troposphere). There's a little bit of wind shear and although
there is some circulation in the middle troposphere as well, it is
slightly offset, which is to be expected with such a weak system
experiencing slight shear.

Convection was strong overnight but weakened a little this morning - most
likely just a cycle. Water temperatures are around 27 deg C, so certainly
warm enough to sustain a system assuming nothing else affects development.

Blob 1:
Located at around 15N, 50W. I am not too concerned about this at the
moment. It has a wee bit of convection, and a wee bit of low-level
circulation and that's all. ('wee bit' is, of course, quantifiable as it
falls between 'scosh' and 'bit' ;) ).

Blob 2:
Located over the Windward Islands, at about 13N, 61W, this has some
convection and next-to-no circulation. Again, nothing to be concerned over
(unless you are trying to play golf on the Islands, in which case take an
umbrella :)).

That's all for now folks.

p.s. It's sunny here... a perfect British summer day!!

Blog entries archived at:

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.