Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Hurricane Chris, Natural Disaster Prediction, and groundhogs: July 10, Update A

Top News for today: Hurricane Chris!
Hoho, yesterday's 'Tropical Storm' Chris went straight past 'Go' and is now a cat 2 storm with winds of 105mph, central pressure of 970mb (Cat 2 range: 96mph - 110mph). In my little head this isn't a surprise or too rapid an increase, given that the data I saw 24 hours ago showed he already looked a hurricane with and eye and winds of around 90mph. He is a good looking storm with a very solid eye and some strong convection as we can see in his infrared satellite imagery: 

There is some wind shear, which is why he's not a perfect circle and there are clouds streaming off on the northeast side. There is also some dry air to his north as we can see in the water vapor satellite imagery: 
But I don't think this will be enough to stop him from getting a little stronger because he is still over warm water, with surface temperatures of 28-29 deg C, and the upper 50-75m being warmer than 26.5 deg C. 

He is currently at 34.2N, 71.4W, and has had enough of the Carolinas (don't take it personally - you are quite lovely) so he's heading NE at 10mph. The good news is that he'll stay offshore (mostly): 
There will be some effects from the water being pushed on-shore to his north. If you want to check on storm surge and water levels along the coast, the details are in the Technical Alert! in this post: I heard from one of my wonderful on-the-ground reporters, Jose T., that the beaches of N. Carolina are getting a little beaten up from the waves and box jellies are being pushed closer to the shore... may not be the best for surfers after all.  

Natural Disaster Prediction XPRIZE: For those of you who were awake a few days ago, I mentioned that we are running a competition for you to help us design a Natural Disaster Prediction XPRIZE to greatly reduce loss of life and economic damage during hurricanes and earthquakes. I just wanted to clear up one or two points of 'confusion'. :-) 

For this competition, we aren't looking for how to better predict hurricanes and earthquakes but instead we are looking for the problem statement and how YOU would challenge people to solve that problem. Think of all the things you wish you knew in advance of a storm making landfall (and how far in advance you wish you knew it). That's what this is about. A couple of examples to give you and idea of what we are looking for:

1.  You could say 'The problem is that we don't have enough advance warning for the exact intensity of a hurricane at landfall' and the challenge you develop would be 'Teams must predict the intensity of a hurricane 5 days before landfall'. 

2. Or you could say that 'The problem is the people don't get a warning of an earthquake 1 minute before it occurs' and the challenge you develop would be 'Teams must predict an earthquake before it occurs and warn everyone within a 10 mile radius of the epicenter 1 minute before it occurs.' 

We aren't looking for solutions on how to better predict natural disasters.  So, although I love this idea (thank you John L. for sending this in on behalf of your friend), training Punxsutawney Phil, to predict hurricanes instead of how long winter will last is not *quite* what I had in mind (hmm... although maybe a groundhog knows something about earthquakes...I should talk to one and get some advice). 

Image credit:

Simple, right? Now you can go, check out the link, and submit something magnificent! :-) 

You can win up to $100k worth of prizes AND you'll be brought to XPRIZE to help us develop your idea into a full-fledged competition. So have a go (and please continue to share this link
with people you know in case someone has an idea for a prize). The deadline is 2 weeks away - plenty of time! 

Until tomorrow!

These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms (my storm blog). If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast. This is not an official forecast.

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