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14 September 2017

It’s Time for a 21st Century Hurricane Scale

Most folks are familiar with the Saffir Simpson hurricane scale and while it’s very useful, it also has some drawbacks. It’s greatest attribute is that the public understands it, but I’m not alone among meteorologists who think the time has come to replace it. We need a new scale that will better indicate the destructive potential of a tropical cyclone, and there are some good candidates out there. The main …

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7 September 2017

This Looks Bad- Very Bad.

My hopes that Irma would turn just east of Florida are diminishing tonight. If the eye stayed just offshore the damage would be FAR less than a landfall. Remember that those 170 mph winds are concentrated right around the eye, and if that eyewall stayed offshore the winds would not likely go above hurricane force except in gusts along the coast. The worst scenario I can imagine is a Cat 4 …

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27 August 2017

Read These Two Essays to Really Understand What Happened In Houston Last Night

When you work as a meteorologist or a reporter, you accept that there will be times when your sleep, hunger, and comfort come far behind the importance of serving the public. Last night was one of those moments for those at the NWS in Houston, and the reporters/meteorologists at Houston TV stations. At one point the NWS office had 4 tornado warnings and at least as many Flash Flood Emergency warnings …

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26 August 2017

Astounding Model Output Leads to Forecasts We Meteorologists Never Thought We Would Make

I’ve forecasted the weather for 37 years and I’ve never seen consistent model output forecasting rainfall amounts of over 30 inches before. Astounding and astonishing are the only words I can use to describe what I’ve been seeing from the numerical models. Not only that, but it’s the same with nearly every usually reliable model. Could all of the models be wrong? Could this storm fizzle rather quickly once it …

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7 June 2017

Offshore wind turbines vulnerable to Category 5 hurricane gusts

Offshore wind turbines built according to current standards may not be able to withstand the powerful gusts of a Category 5 hurricane, creating potential risk for any such turbines built in hurricane-prone areas, new University of Colorado Boulder-led research shows. The study, which was conducted in collaboration with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, highlights the limitations of current turbine design and could provide guidance for manufacturers and engineers looking to build more hurricane-resilient turbines in the future.

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4 October 2016

The Sucun Village landslide in China and prospects for landslides in Haiti from Hurricane Matthew

The Sucun Village landslide in China killed 27 people, whilst there are worrying prospects of landslides in Haiti from Hurricane Matthew

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31 August 2016

The Tropics Are Hoppin, and The Danger May Be High Far from the Storms

In the Atlantic, Hurricane Gaston has been producing high swells and dangerous rip currents on the Mid-Atlantic beaches. I was in Ocean City Md. yesterday evening at high tide, and water came up much farther than normal, with powerful waves crashing on the coast. A Hurricane Watch was also posted for the Gulf Coast of Florida north of Tampa this evening, and the depression off the Carolinas may make it …

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6 July 2016

Monster Typhoon Nepartak Approaching Taiwan

Radar from the Taiwan Weather Service shows the first rain bands approaching Taiwan, Winds are at 150 knots near the center of Nepartak, but it should weaken some before landfall, as it encounters the mountains of Taiwan, and slightly cooler water. It will still be a very dangerous storm though, and it will cross into mainland China, and drop very heavy rainfall over the same area that experienced severe flooding …

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11 February 2016

Note To Cruise Lines and Politicians- We Save our Forecasts

Over the last year or so there’s been some embarrassing missteps by politicians, TV networks (and recently here), and now a cruise ship company with regard to storms that hit without warning. In everyone one of these cases, the archived forecasts show that the opposite was true, and there was plenty of warning. The latest case in point was late Sunday when the cruise ship Anthem of the Seas sailed headlong …

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14 January 2016

January Tropical Cyclones in The Atlantic & Pacific. At The Same Time!

This hasn’t happened before. Alex is the earliest tropical cyclone on record in the Atlantic. Pali, in the Central Pacific, became the earliest hurricane there this week, only weakening to a tropical storm tonight. What’s going on you ask? Answer: The atmosphere and the oceans are on steroids. The world’s oceans are the warmest ever measured, and the strongest El Nino on record is underway in the Pacific. 2015 was …

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23 October 2015

Cat 5 Hurricane Patricia Heads To Mexico with Winds Near 200 MPH. Strongest East Pacific Storm On Record!

Mexico’s Pacific Coast has rarely, if ever, been hit by a Cat 5 severe hurricane, but that is exactly what will happen tomorrow between Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta. A hurricane hunter dropsonde report showed winds reaching 179 knots or 206 mph at flight level near the eye and surface winds are now near 185 mph. This truly is a monster storm. It will produce a catastrophic storm surge where it makes …

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21 August 2015

Hurricane Danny May Be at Peak Strength

Danny now has winds near the center at 115 mph, but it is actually a rather tiny storm. Latest model runs continue a west-NW track but dry air is just to the north and wind shear will begin to impact the storm in about 48 hours. This should weaken it and the latest hires numerical model guidance shows just that. The intensity forecast from the HWRF model shows it weakening …

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20 August 2015

Update on Hurricane Danny

Latest water vapor wavelength IR images show a large area of rather dry air ahead of Danny, and it looks like this will continue to impact the tropical cyclone, as it approaches the Windward islands early next week. By Sunday, the storm will also begin to run into more wind shear in the troposphere, and this will (at the least) keep it from strengthening as well. The Hurricane WRF model …

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27 May 2015

NOAA Issues 2015 Hurricane Season Forecast

You cannot learn to forecast something if you do not try, and testing predictions is what science is all about, so with that in mind, here is the hurricane forecast from NOAA for 2015. There is not a lot of skill in these forecasts, but this year we have some help. A growing El Nino (that looks like it may be a strong one) is the major factor in the …

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14 May 2015

Here is The Chance of A Major Hurricane Hitting The U.S. Coast this Year

This is really a great video from NASA, but what I like the most about it is how they explain a subtle fact of statistics that almost everyone, especially gamblers, basketball, and baseball players get wrong. With an El Nino brewing, we may see a quiet Atlantic tropical cyclone season. Like 1992, when we only had one storm make landfall on the coast of North America. Hurricane Andrew, a Category …

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12 December 2014

What Do Category 5 Hurricanes Have To Do With The Amazon River?

This freshwater plume inhibits the mixing of colder water beneath the surface, and thus can add a lot of heat to an already powerful hurricane. The NASA Aquarius satellite has a sensor that can measure ocean surface salinity, and it’s data produced the the video below. A paper about this plume and how it can affect hurricanes was published in Geophysical research Letters in 2012. It’s free to read here. …

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26 August 2014

GOES 14 Rapid Scan images of Hurricane Cristobal

This is the kind of satellite imagery we will see daily when GOES R launches in 2016, and it will be even higher resolution spatially and temporally. GOES 14 is a spare satellite that is turned on and checked out from time to time. It can take one minute rapid scan images. GOES R will be able to do this at two spots simultaneously.   Post by NOAA NWS Weather …

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18 August 2014

Camille Struck 45 Years Ago Tonight

The stagnant muggy heat of August began to break 45 years ago today on the coast of Mississippi, as clouds and winds increased. Later that evening the world turned upside down as a 30 foot wall of water whipped by winds of an incredible 190 mph changed the Mississippi Coast forever.Hurricane Camille was one of the most violent hurricanes ever to hit the mainland U.S., and it still ranks with …

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7 July 2014

Super Typhoon Neogori Heads toward Japan.

The typhoon should weaken before hitting Japan, but Kyushu (southern most island) will get a ton of rain and wind. Flooding rains have already been reported earlier in the week so the soil is already saturated. ISS Astronaut Reid Wisemen sent back this shot of an oddly shaped eye on Neogori. (Perhaps related to the fact it was undergoing an eye-wall replacement cycle.)

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2 July 2014

Arthur’s Ripples

  You may need to click on the image above to really see the ripples across the top of Arthur, so do that first, before I tell you why they are there. You are looking at gravity waves, but a better way of understanding it is to compare it to the ripples you see after you throw a rock into a still pond. The rock disturbs the water and makes …

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