Saturday, October 08, 2016

Hurricane Matthew and Tropical Storm Nicole: October 7, Update A

Are we there yet? Nah, I guess there is still Georgia and the Carolina's to go. But Florida is almost through! Terribly sad news from Haiti though... almost 900 died from the storm - and there are still areas that they are looking into. 

Meanwhile, luckily for Florida the storm remained mostly off-shore - a shift of a few miles would have resulted in considerably more damage! Unfortunately at least 4 people lost their lives and it looks like over a million are without power. 

Matthew is at 31.6N, 80.6W, heading N at 12mph. For those of you who are still awake (and have power), you may realize that a due north path against a southwest-northeast sloping coastline might, just, result in him making landfall. First, I don't think he is moving due north - it looks like NNE to me at least. And second, as he does get closer to the coastline, he will interact with land more, and that will make him weaker. His official track still shows that he will do a loop:

But I think as he interacts more with land, his intensity will decrease and he may not make it back to the Bahamas (wouldn't that be nice?). The NHC have already decreased the intensity from yesterday's forecasts. 

He is officially a cat 2 storm with winds of 105mph (cat 2 range: 96-110mph), and central pressure of 955mb. I would perhaps lower the speed by 15 mph and say he's a cat 1 storm at this point. He no longer has an eye, so ~90 mph winds is about right...
... plus, his upper tropospheric vorticity (circulation) is slightly weaker. He is also in a region of slightly higher wind shear, which is also taking its toll. 

The biggest issues are from the storm surge. 24 hours ago, I showed you storm surge data from Trident Pier (Cape Canaveral) which had a surge of just over 2 feet above normal and rising. Now, ~24 hours later, this is what that looks like:
Such a beautiful data set, so clearly showing the storm passing! It looked like the surge high was 4ft above normal, with the sudden drop as the winds changed direction as the storm went past. Just gorgeous! (did I tell you I was a geek? Data is Cool :-)). It also shows that the maximum winds at Cape Canaveral were 45 knots, which is 52mph (1 knot = 1.15mph)... Tropical Storm level winds. 

In Jacksonville, it looks like the surge reached over 6ft above normal, and Georgia and South Carolina are already showing around 4 ft above normal and are still rising. Here is the data from Charleston: 

Tropical Storm Nicole
The NHC have dropped her down to a mid-size Tropical Storm with winds of 60mph (TS range: 39-73mph), central pressure of 997mb. She is at 26.3N, 65.3W and heading S at 7mph. Here she is in the framework of the Atlantic: 

She really doesn't look like a well formed Tropical Storm, and her circulation is now only in the lower half of the troposphere  classic Tropical Storm structure, so I will agree with their 60mph analysis.

She is going to be doing a little back-and-forth thing: 
 She is also in some wind shear, which is why she is weak and elongated and jagged-looking (technical term ;-)) - you can see the effects of the wind shear in her cloud pattern which stretches off to the northeast. Bermuda... you guys should be prepared, although at the moment I don't think she will really amount to much. 

More tomorrow! Stay safe out there... live long and prosper! 
Ciao for now, 

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DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

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