Thursday, December 01, 2016

November 30: Last Day of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Well my friends here we are again, approaching the end of yet another rather dull year...... on planet Mars. Planet Earth, on the other hand, has had quite an interesting year! By the way, 687 Earth days is how long it takes Mars to circle the Sun. Can you imagine a year lasting 687 days? That's a looong time. Coincidentally, a modern US Presidential race now takes approximately the same length of time as a year on Mars (minus a mere 1-2 months)! Hmm. Perhaps it's time to step that back a notch or two. Luckily for us, the hurricane season is still only ~183 days... and today is the last day. Woohoo! :-)

(Drumroll)... 'Tis time for the 2016 Atlantic Season Grand Reckoning. I know I missed a couple due to some work or travel malarky, including H. Otto - he visited Nicaragua last week. But officially this year we had 15 named tropical storms, of which 7 were hurricanes and 3 were major hurricanes (cat 3 or higher). We even had a category 5 in the Atlantic this year - Hurricane Matthew, who became the first cat 5 storm in the Atlantic since Hurricane Felix in 2007 with maximum winds officially at 160mph! This year was, as predicted by everyone and their cat and dog, a slightly above-average season (apparently seasonal hurricane forecasts are easier that political forecasts). The long-term average number of storms per year is 12, with a long-term average of 6 hurricanes.

Speaking of forecasts, the NHC are very very good when the storm is one to 1.5 days away from landfall. The intensity forecasting is still not very good in my not-very-humble opinion. But perhaps that will change soon... In case you missed the news, NOAA (with assistance from the lovely NASA) launched a new satellite in November - the GOES-R.

<Final Science Alert of the Season!> The GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) is the first of four next generation weather satellites. GOES-R was launched in November, and along with the others in the GOES-R series (to be launched over the next few years), it will provide weather data (including severe storms) every 30 seconds! How great is that?! :-) If you want to find out more about it, here's a short video. The satellite images that I use are from older GOES satellites (GOES-East/GOES-West). So I'm pretty sure that one of these years we'll have much better intensity forecasts because we have better data and better technology! <End Final Science Alert of the Season!>

I think that's it for a 'most interesting' year. Phew!

Before I run away for 6 months, I'd like to thank Doug M. at CMS/USF ( in Florida for the listserv, and Chris H. in Georgia and Ben A. for help with the website. I'd also like to thank the NHC for their hard work and for giving me something to rant about every once in a while. Keep up the good work folks! ;-) And of course, Thank YOU dear readers - the wittiest, most beautiful, intelligent people on this planet (well obviously you must be - you are reading this!). I heard from so many of you this year - many I didn't know were reading this - it was a lovely surprise! :-) Thank you also for the jokes, funny photos, and reports from the ground. Because of you, the blog website currently has 136, 177 hits! Last, but of course not least, a big thanks to my family and friends for the usual dose of sanity and laughter. And a very special thanks to my husband, Ben A., for keeping me supplied with wine, ice cream, and cups of tea - the stuff to make a blog go round.

I'll be doing the usual things during the off-season... exploring a new planet, saving the world producing a movie, fixing a leaky sink, locating wormholes in time and space...

(credit: unknown internet source)

Yay... I can cross that last one off the list. ;-)

Speaking of saving the world, big things are happening at XPRIZE next year... Awards, new amazing competitions to change the world, and launches to the moon! Stay tuned for all of those. In the meantime, a quick note for now: If you know any app developers, there is a $100k competition out there for transforming ocean data into useful apps - the Big Ocean Button Challenge. Here's the link for anyone who would be interested in taking part: (Also, XPRIZE is recruiting Teams for the following full XPRIZE competitions: The IBM-Watson Artificial Intelligence XPRIZE, the Water Abundance XPRIZE, and the Anu and Naveen Jain Women's Safety XPRIZE). 

Maybe I'll pop back and write an update during some of these landmark moments but in the meantime, I will continue to tweet, like any good twit (@JyovianStorm) - about weather, the oceans, XPRIZE, science and science fiction, and of course, my Hollywood lifestyle of the not-rich and not-very-famous-at-all! ;-) Please feel free to follow along.

Until next season (or quite possibly before) ... I wish you all a very safe and happy holiday and non-hurricane season filled with much joy and merriment and good TV and films (I'm already a bit skeptical of the new Star Wars though) and glasses of yummy stuff. Have a wonderful and Happy New Year!

Toodle Pip!

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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.