Saturday, July 13, 2019

Hurricane Barry: July 13, Update A

Apparently Barry found a spot with great ice cream and has made landfall in what appears to be relatively sparsely populated and marshy area of Louisiana (very near/over Marsh Island... which is why I suspect it's a marshy area...;-)): 

This is slightly to the west of his track from a day or so ago. Although he was upgraded to a cat 1 hurricane just before landfall because data showed a few locations with winds near hurricane strength, he is a very weak cat 1 storm - a cat 1 hurricane has winds of 73-90mph; his maximum wind speed is around 75mph. 

The bigger thing to watch out for with Barry is not the wind but the water. LA is (as those of you know) fairly damp in general (marshes etc), so be watchful as he moves inland. At the moment most of his convective activity is offshore, which we can see in the infrared satellite imagery:

This also shows that he's still experiencing some wind shear because his center is north of most of the rainy stuff. Fortunately most of the really heavy rains are offshore and as he interacts with land, the convection will decrease. The other water-related thing to watch for is the storm surge. As I mentioned yesterday, you can look at the storm surge near you on At Eugene Island, which is just east of landfall, water levels are just over 5ft above normal at the moment: 

Good luck to all my fabulous readers in that part of the world! 

Stay safe out there! 

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.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Tropical Storm Barry: July 12, Update A

Our pal Barry is no longer a Tropical Storm today! Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Tropical Storm Barry...

He is currently at 28.2N, 90.4W and is heading WNW still at a sedate 5mph. His track is taking him into the Louisiana coast tomorrow:
More-or-less on the track they had yesterday. At one day away from landfall, the NHC track is relatively good so I would go with this (but I'd still be ready if you are a little to the west - keep an eye on the entire cone, not just the center part). 

He has been under some wind shear from the north, so it is still a little tricky to pinpoint his exact center of circulation: 

But you can see that his convection (clouds, rain etc) has improved since yesterday -  because of the wind shear though, they are still to the south of the center. This is because he's been loitering mischievously over warm waters where the sea surface temperatures in are over 30 deg C, with the upper 75 m warmer of the water being warmer than 26 deg C. A storm need around 26 deg C and higher temperatures to sustain itself, so he's got enough on the buffet menu to be a happy chappy. And that convection offshore is certainly very strong. We can see this from the InfraRed Satellite imagary (red means very thundery weather):

At the moment his biggest issue though is storm surge because he is pushing water onto the coast to the east, and in this case. To look at water levels for yourself...

<Technical Alert!> How to look up Storm Surge: Go to NOAA's website: tidesandcurrents ( If you click on this link, you will see an ugly cartoonish bad-suntan coloured map of the US (in shades of orange to represent the land). Click on the state that you are interested in e.g. Louisiana. This will show you a much nicer colour map with a bunch of pins. These are the locations of the stations. You have to be careful though (if you are on a Mac especially) because the map is not static so you can accidentally scroll around and end up in the middle of the Atlantic, and will have to zoom out until the map you want re-appears and then zoom back in! 

You can either locate the nearest station by entering the area you are interested in, or zoom into the map. Click on that station, and in the lower left is a button that says 'plot'. Click that on and it will show you a plot of the expected water level (in red) and the actual measured water level (in blue). I went to the New Canal Station in New Orleans (just out of curiosity):

By scrolling your mouse over the plot, the numbers appear showing the actual values (and then you have to do some complicated maths to get to the difference between the two - in the good old days, they did this for you. Sigh.). In this case, water level at that location is currently almost 3ft above normal... because the winds have been pushing water into that area for over a day now. 

If you want to see the corresponding winds, air pressure and other handy-dandy data, you can scroll down. <End Technical Alert!> 

That's it for now as I must run because I've got third dinner in The Shire in a few minutes... 

Ciao for now,

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.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Gulf of Mexico Blob and the first post of the Atlantic Hurricane Season of 2019: 11 July, Update A

Good moaning my friends! Mother Nature had a bit of a slow start to the season, so I thought I would sleep in. :-) Truth be told, I was swamped by a deluge of work (versus being swamped by a deluge of rainfall… which we’ll get to shortly).

Welcome to the middle of the 2nd month of the Atlantic Hurricane Season of 2019 and my well-worth-reading-award-winning-yet-very-modestly-written-blog. And I see we have a stormy blob (my highly scientific and technical term for a er... blob of clouds and stuff ;-)) in the Gulf of Mexico. The future Tropical Storm Barry perhaps? (In case you missed Subtropical Storm Andrea - she was a blobette on the horizon back in May, a flibbertigibbet, a will-o'-the-wisp, a cloud - very short lived, very little, and perhaps shouldn't even have been named but we’ll let that one go shall we?). 

Potential Tropical Cyclone Two, as the NHC (National Hurricane Center) are officially calling him at the moment ('Potential'???) has been struggling to develop for the last couple of days. He started off the coast of Florida, decided it didn't have enough ice cream, so he is now moving generally westward along the northern Gulf coast at a sedate 5mph – who has the best ice cream? His center is around 27.5N, 88.2W. I think this one should really be a Tropical Depression already as his wind speed is around 30mph (central pressure 1009mb), and he does have some circulation. The definition of a Tropical Depression is circulation with winds greater than 17mph (and less than 39mph). They sent a plane in yesterday, but it couldn’t locate a decent circulation which is why it’s still a ‘Potential’. From the data I am looking at, it looks like there is decent circulation and has been since yesterday evening.

Most of his convection (rainy and thundery weather) is currently offshore as we can see from the satellite images: 

Although no deluge of rain yet, the circulation for a storm in the northern hemisphere is counterclockwise, so there is the chance of him pushing water on shore as he moves by you. For example, water levels are around 1 ft above normal in Mississippi, and about 0.5 ft above normal in eastern Louisiana at the moment. 

From the satellite image, I think his center is a little south of the location that they have him. The current track is for a hurricane to make landfall in LA on Saturday, but he may make it closer to the LA/TX border if they find the center is, indeed, south of that location:

You should all be prepared though because it only takes one (although this is unlikely to be that one). The most famous example was in 1992 which was a quiet season with a below-average number of storms: 7 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and only 1 major hurricane. But that 1 major hurricane was ‘the one’. It was the first storm of the season and formed quite late, in mid-August, and turned into the infamous Hurricane Andrew who hit Miami as a cat 5 causing over $27 billion in damage (in 1992!) and over 60 deaths. So be prepared. My usual hurricane supplies would include: water, wine, ice cream, a good book to read, wine, some candles, ice cream, a radio for setting the mood, batteries, some more wine, mosquito repellent, some gin and tonic (for the quinine of course), and lots of cans of lychees as I'm still partial to lychee martinis or just lychees in general. :-)

And of course, this wouldn’t be my first post of the Season if I didn’t go over my top 10 notes about this blog so you have a reminder of what you are getting into. As I appeared to have gathered a few more very intelligent and good-looking readers last year (current hits on the website is getting close to 255,500), these notes are mostly for you. And for my returning good-looking and very intelligent readers, remember, if you get bored someone, somewhere, is painting so you can always go and watch that dry... ;-)

Top 10 things to note about this blog:

1. These updates are about fun, forecasting, and education... and tropical storms (and whatever else pops into my head that may, with some imagination, fit those three words - possibly after a glass or two of wine (or lychee martinis)). It is just what I think.

2. I have a British sense of humoUr... you have been warned.

3. This is my hobby - sometimes you'll get one update a day, sometime four. If you are really lucky, you won't get any. If you wish to pay me to write, let me know and I'll send out updates as frequently as you like.

4. I hope you like Monty Python, Eddie Izzard, The IT Crowd. And other Funny Stuff.

5. If you have any questions (preferably about tropical storms), please ask. I will be happy to make up the answers for you. I can also cut and paste from previous entries (I’m very talented) so if I say something or use some "scientific jargon" (always thrilling!), please ask me about it (people in the area of any active storm get first dibs).

6. I often write tongue-in-cheek, which sometimes hurts my cheek but what can you do? Gentle sarcasm, irony, and puns are all perfectly acceptable forms of communication. Unfortunately, they don't always translate in writing so please don't be offended - like Planet Earth, I'm "Mostly Harmless" (Douglas Adams). Have a piece of chocolate or a soothing cup of tea instead.

7. I'm sure every cloud in the Atlantic is exciting to some but, unless I'm bored, I'll usually write about those that I think have a chance of developing.

8. Despite what you may have heard, I am not always right. But then neither is anyone else. Forecasting is complicated. Sometimes the crystal ball gets smudges and you are all out of Windex to clean it and the store is closed. So PLEASE pay attention to the National Hurricane Center, National Weather Service and your Emergency Managers - especially when a storm is looming because they have the most up-to-date information!!

9. I stopped adding people to the listserve a few years ago so if you have friends who want to get updates, please can you direct them to the website ( This is part of my very complicated top-secret grand plan to take over the world (bwa haa haa = evil laughter in case you were wondering) - which I have been working at for at least 7 years now, but I'm not sure it's going very well really.

10. I confess I am a twit. I am on twitter (@jyovianstorm). Twitter is cool. Just like bow-ties are cool (Dr. Who). I will post these updates on Twitter, but I’ll also tweet about storms in other basins, my job, other people’s jobs, movies (I have a movie 'career' - it's a requirement for anyone living in Los Angeles, where I currently reside), cool science fiction, cooler science, goofy things, etc. so if you want to catch up between updates, that’s the place to lurk.

That's it for now! I'm in rural England and writing from a thatched roof cottage at the moment but I'll be back later/tomorrow with another update. :-) 


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.