It’s been a VERY busy last couple of weeks for both myself and in the tropics. Hurricane season continues to take off with TWO new named storms today: Maria and Nate. With Nate forming today, we are just one day behind the most active season (2005). I do want to apologize for my lack of updates recently. I have gone full speed ahead in school and for the AMS (see below) and haven’t had a whole lot of free time. I am looking to get back into the swing of the tropics.
Review of the last few weeks (Irene, TD 10, Jose, Lee):
Irene is the biggest story for this group. Irene had a love-hate relationship with land. It sent may curveballs at any forecaster that tried to forecast for Irene with a couple of rightward jogs, and proceeded to go around the Bermuda high that caused the biggest surge in observations ever. Irene started just east of the islands and plowed right through Puerto Rico as an intensifying hurricane, which turned out to be the easy part of the forecast. From there, Irene took a turn toward the north in the Bahamas and put her eye on New York City. Irene made landfall in North Carolina on August 27th and stayed over or near land until her death the next day. Irene went directly over New York City causing evacuations in lower elevations across lower New York for the first since in well more than a decade. The death toll from Irene stands at 55 and damages total 10 to 20 Billion dollars. The National Hurricane Center needs to be commended on their forecast track, as it was perfect 4 days in advance of landfall near New York City. Irene was the first major hurricane of the year with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph.
TD 10 and Jose were both short lived systems that had no impact on much of anything. Jose had a quick brush with Bermuda, but caused no damage.
Lee caused another forecasting headache. It was a very slow mover and a huge rainmaker for the southeastern US…dropping up to 15″ in Alabama. Lee made landfall in Louisiana, but spread its impacts to Florida and the northeast. Lee was slowly kicked out by a cold front which remains situated over central Florida and New England, and rain continues to fall in these areas. Lee’s cold front produced severe weather in the southeast besides the rain, producing 70mph gusts in the panhandle of Florida and numerous tornadoes in LA, FL, AL, and GA. Lee caused 7 deaths, and massive fires in Texas. Dry air swirled around Lee during its entire existence, and dried out Texas to catastrophic levels. As many as 100 fires erupted in Texas including one that burned 25000 acres. These quick moving fires burned 700 houses in two days. Lee’s effects will be felt for another day or two in Florida and the northeast.
Katia has and always will be a major fish storm that is being kept off shore by the remnants of Lee, but is significant because it was the strongest storm of the season thus far. Katia made it up to 135 mph, making it a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Katia is now a category one as it passes between Bermuda and the United States, and the only concern is for high waves in the mid-atlantic and new england states, which should make the surfers happy. Katia is forecast to move out into the north Atlantic and make a pass of England and Ireland in about 5 days.
Tropical Storm Maria
Maria was the first of two named storms to form on Wednesday, and is the bigger of the two immediate threats to land. Maria is currently 50 mph tropical storm that is racing west across the atlantic toward the Caribbean islands. Tropical storm watches have been hoisted for some of the eastern most islands. The forecast puts Maria near Puerto Rico on Saturday night. There is a chance that Maria makes it to the coast of the United States, most likely near the Carolinas on the way out, but most of the models keep Maria off shore. I will continue to monitor this storm.
Tropical Storm Nate
The Hurricane Hunters flew out into an invest this afternoon in the Bay of Campeche and found a 45 mph tropical storm. Nate has plenty of issues to work with as it tries to organize. The Bay of Campeche is known for forming quick storms that cannot escape and just die overland in Mexico. It looks like this will be the case for this storm as well. The extremely dry air that was pushed into the Gulf of Mexico by Lee still lingers and could cause Nate to ingest dry air over the next few days. Dry air tends to kill thunderstorms inside of tropical systems. Steering currents here are nearly nonexistent, so Nate is forecast to sit in nearly the exact same location for a couple days before being pulled west by the building north american ridge. Nate should make landfall in Mexico by early next week as a moderate category 1 or 2 hurricane.
The American Meteorological Society
One of the reasons I have been so busy as of late is that I am president of the north Florida chapter of the American Meteorological Society. Our first meeting is on Monday at the Florida State University in the Love Building on the north side of campus in room 101. The meeting will start at 7:30pm with refreshments served at 7:00pm. Our speakers are FSU President and past-NCAR president Dr. Eric Barron and NWS Tallahassee Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jeff Evans. We have a lot planned, some of which includes outreach at the North Florida Fair, a presentation at the FSU Physics Open House, and an FSU v. Oklahoma tailgate. For this and more, come on out, and if you have any questions, let me know by leaving a comment below.