Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Hurricane Michael, Tropical Storm Leslie, and the Atlantic Blobette: October 8, Update A

Sorry my peeps - I was busy with that silly old work thingy so I missed the Tropical Storm Captain Kirk (who turned out to be a dinky thing anyway) Star Trek jokes! But never fear, there is still some silliness ahead as we still have a toot of Tropical Storm Leslie left and, of course, Hurricane Michael. 

Hurricane Michael
He really started up in the Caribbean a few days ago, but yesterday made his move from blob to Tropical Storm, and is now officially a cat 1 storm in the Gulf of Mexico. Winds are 90mph, which makes him a strong cat 1 (cat 1 range: 73-95mph), central pressure is 970mb. He is currently at 23.2N, 85.3W, heading N at 12mph. 

Currently landfall is projected to be in about 1.5 days, somewhere between the Florida big bend to around Pensacola - a mere distance of around 200 miles of potential landfall:
But he's currently about 200 miles across, so even though landfall location is currently quite large, it looks like you may all get some rain. 

At the moment I think he's right around the 95mph wind range, a cat 1/cat 2 border storm. He has just about developed an eye which indicates winds of around 90mph. We can see this in the satellite imagery:
This satellite image shows the cloud top temperatures - the red areas are very tall clouds, which means a lot of heavy convection - not just rain, but thunder and lighting. As you get out from a storm to the blues, those clouds are lower down in the troposphere and come with a light drizzle. But that area of heavy convection is getting larger, so this big fella is definitely growing, which suggests to me that he's now a little stronger than 90mph.

The circulation (vorticity) is very strong throughout the troposphere - including the higher levels - which means he has a solid structure which would allow him to continue to grow. 

He is currently over 28-29 deg C water - nice and toasty warm and enough to keep him going. But, one thing that won't help him to grow is position of the Loop Current, which is a current of deep warm water that extends into the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean through the Yucatan Strait, and then 'loops' back around and out of the Straits of Florida. The Loop Current fluctuates - sometimes it extends into the Gulf, and at other times it is really small and close to western Cuba. At the moment the Loop Current is in the latter state - not extending too far north into the Gulf (from what I can see).  If it had been, he would definitely be a bigger storm and grow a lot faster. 

The other thing that will keep him a little in check is the wind shear, which looks like it will grow as he gets farther north into the Gulf. 

Overall, I think he will grow slowly and I expect to see a strong cat 2 storm tomorrow. 

As he moves northward, west Florida will see some storm surge. If you want to check the water levels near you, look at tidesandcurrents here: https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/ (see this post on instructions on how). Currently, water levels are just over 0.5 ft above normal at Key West, which is closest to the storm, so not too bad. (Ignore the date that appears in the box on the top right when you click on a station - I think someone forgot to change the Sept to October. When you look at the plot (toggle the plot button on the bottom left), the date is correct.)

Tropical Storm Leslie
She's been twirling and swirling in the Atlantic for days and days and days and days (16 days so far). I figured I'd let her be as she wasn't bothering anyone in particular (and you'd be well bored of me by now...!), but while I'm here, I may as well say a couple of words. It would be rude of me not to. 

She is at 32.9N, 44.6W, heading SE at 14mph. Winds are officially 65mph, central pressure is estimated to be 983mb. This makes her a mid-to-strong Tropical Storm (39-73mph). 

She's doesn't have a lot of convection and is definitely under some wind shear as you can see from the satellite imagery:
But yet she persists... because she has a pretty solid structure. There is good circulation in all levels of the troposphere (much like Michael), and if it wasn't for her lack of convection, she would be a hurricane as well I think. 

Atlantic Blobette
There's another blobette way out there in the Atlantic, at around 28W, 10N. I think this one is already a Tropical Storm because there is good circulation in the lower half of the troposphere, and may even be a strong one at that. There is a lot of convection in this baby. The next named storm will be Nadine. 

That's it for today but I'll be back tomorrow. Time for a glass of wine with a hint of cheese. :-) 


p.s. Happy 91st birthday to my Dad! :-)

Twitter: jyovianstorm
These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms. 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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