Saturday, October 13, 2018

Hurricane Michael wrap-up and Hurricane Leslie: October 12, Update A

It was another travel day yesterday, so catching up today...

As the clean-up begins in the panhandle, I saw this helicopter footage from WXChasing of the devastation that Michael caused:
This looks more like a weak-to-mid cat 5 level of destruction to me - complete houses, block after block, flattened. Unfortunately, the current toll in human lives is 17, and it sounds like a lot more may be expected. I'm pretty sure we won't be seeing another Hurricane Michael as this name will be retired. 

And where is he now? Just like brave Sir Robin, bravely taking to his feet, he beat a very brave retreat (Monty Python) and is currently in the northern Atlantic - he's that swirling mass to the north and right side of this view of the world: 

He's probably heading to the UK to stock up on jaffa cakes, not realizing that they don't need another batch of dodgy weather as they just had a storm with 70mph winds hit them yesterday/today. 

I don't know why they didn't just go ahead and call this a cat 5 with winds that high - maybe because no-one, not even the NHC, expected it? (including me, sadly!) And definitely not with enough lead time to warn people? This is a real world example of the need for realtime data from within the storm:

On the morning of October 7th, 3 days before landfall, he was forecast to turn and head somewhere in the northern Gulf (which he did - so not too bad on the track forecast), reaching maximum winds of 75-80mph - i.e. barely a cat 1 by October 10th (day of landfall). On the afternoon of October 7th, they flew the first plane into the system and based upon the real data they collected, they revised the forecast winds from 80mph to 100mph - going from a cat 1 to a cat 2 storm at landfall. There was one (just one) model (HRWF) that then, with real data, forecast a cat 4 at landfall at this time, but it was discounted because of other conditions and no other model was showing this (probably because they hadn't ingested the data yet). 

October 8, two days before landfall, after another plane went in and measured the actual data in the storm, the wind speed was increased to 110mph at landfall - essentially a borderline cat 2/3 storm. By that afternoon, with more and more data coming in from the storm and the model forecasts improving because of that data, the estimate at landfall was increased to 120mph - a cat 3 storm. 

Continuing on this, by the end of October 9th, his forecast for the 10th was 130mph at landfall, which is a cat 3 storm, but borderline cat 4 storm.

On October 10th, within 10 hours of landfall, they finally shifted him up to a cat 4 storm with winds of 145mph. Still not 155mph. Finally, at 10.30am on the 10th, just 3 hours before landfall, a plane flew into the system and found winds of 150mph. 

I really think this one was a cat 5 at landfall, but it also goes to show how critical that data is from within a storm! 

This is my last post on Michael. As for the other storms, Tropical Storm Nadine has wilted, so not much on her. 

However we still have the never-ending Hurricane Leslie out there - day 19 and she's still out there. She's currently got 80mph winds, central pressure of 976mb, which makes her a relatively weak cat 1 storm (cat 1 range: 73-95mph). She's at 34.7N, 20.7W, heading ENE at a very brisk 36mph. She's aiming to taste the port in Portugal (John S!):
And is expected to make landfall as a weak cat 1 storm tomorrow. I don't think she will be quite that strong, although she will be windy and bring a lot of surf with her. Her satellite imagery is showing her weakening already over the last few hours:
And she only has good circulation in the lower half of the troposphere now, which indicates that she is a strong Tropical Storm. 

She'll have made landfall by the time I get back to this, so I think this will be my last post on Leslie too. I think it's time to have some ice cream now.

The next names, should we have any more, are Oscar, Patty, and Rafael. 

Toodle pip until then!

p.s. congratulations to Princess Eugenie on her wedding. 

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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