Category: Tropical

Bermuda In the Eye!

| October 13, 2016 @ 10:27 am

The eye of Hurricane Nicole is passing over the island of Bermuda right now. Here is the Bermuda Weather Service radar:


Here are wind observations across the island now:


Here is a plot of the wind at the Airport over the past 2 days. Notice the dramatic drop at the eye moved over the station.


Here are this morning’s observations from the Airport:


The barometer is now down to 28.41 inches.

Direct hits on the island are rare, with only nine occurring since 1851. Nicole may produce a lower barometric pressure than Fabian (2003). That category three hurricane moved past Bermuda, but the island was in the eyewall and only the western fringes of the island saw the edge of the actual eye.

Powerful Hurricane Nicole Drawing a Bead on Bermuda with 125 mph Winds

| October 13, 2016 @ 8:52 am

The weather station at BDA just reported a sustained wind of 68 knots (78 mph) with gusts to 90 knots (104 mph) at 8:52 a.m. CDT.


Major Hurricane Nicole is closing in on the beautiful island nation of Bermuda this morning. Top winds are 125 mph, but the system looks a little less organized on satellite over the past few hours after strengthening a good bit yesterday.

The Air Force plane that just arrived in the storm just located the center near 31.93N, 64.95W, or about 27 miles south southwest of Hamilton, Bermuda.

The hurricane is moving north northeast at 15 mph. On its present course, the center will pass very near the island in the next hour. The entire island will likely experience the 25 mile wide eye.


The island is in the northern eyewall right now. At 8:04 a.m. CDT, the Airport measured a sustained wind of 67 mph with gusts to 85 mph. The barometer was down to 29.03 inches of mercury and it was plunging like a rock. The pressure dropped from 29.12 to 29.03 inches between 7:55 and 8:04.

The NHC reports that a sustained wind of 79 mph with a gust to 105 mph was just reported at Pearl Island. The Bermuda Weather Service reports that an elevated station at Commissioner’s Point reported a sustained wind of 92 mph with a gust to 122 mph.

Bermuda has sustained many hurricanes over the years and the buildings are designed to withstand high winds, mostly made of limestone. But there will be heavy damage. We hope and pray there will be no loss of life or serious injury. A surge of 6-8 feet is forecast to impact the island. 5-8 inches of rain is also expected.

Interestingly, every structure on the island is required to have a water collection system. The roofs are even designed to be purification systems. Bermuda has no natural water source.

Matthew Impact – Florida Atlantic Coast

| October 6, 2016 @ 7:26 am

Hurricane Matthew will bring life threatening conditions to the immediate Florida Atlantic coast late tonight and tomorrow…


The main concern is the coastal area from roughly West Palm Beach north to Daytona Beach; this is what can be expected there.

STORM SURGE: A surge of 6 to 9 feet is likely, which will bring coastal flooding and beach erosion. This will inundate low lying areas.

WINDS: Winds could gust to 125 mph, with potential to destroy mobile homes, bring structural damage, and widespread power outages which be of long duration. Windows in high rise buildings along the coast (condos, hotels, etc) could shatter due to flying debris.

RAIN: Amounts of 5 to 8 inches are likely along the immediate coast, with flooding likely.

TIMING: Conditions will deteriorate along the coast late tonight; the worst of the weather will come tomorrow. The weekend will be calm with sunny weather Saturday and Sunday.

TO THE WEST: The impact will drop off on the “good” west side of the circulation center as you go farther inland. Orlando will deal with winds of 30-50 mph tomorrow (higher gusts are likely, however), with lots of rain, but probably not enough rain for widespread flooding. Disney World officials have advised those at the Fort Wilderness campground that they must leave by 11 a.m. ET today; camping is not a good idea in these conditions. There has been no word from Disney about whether its theme parks will close tomorrow. But the good news is that the weekend will be beautiful as the hurricane moves away. Tampa will see generally under 1/2 inch of rain, with winds under 30 mph.

TO THE NORTH: Matthew will impact Jacksonville, Savannah, and Charleston as well, but conditions there won’t be as extreme.

Forecasting impact with a hurricane moving parallel to the coast is much more challenging that one moving into the coast at a perpendicular angle. A small deviation to the right or left will make a huge difference in impact, but in this case you have to prepare for a worst case scenario. If you are in this zone, be sure and follow advice from local officials.

Here is an early morning look at the sun coming up over Matthew, which is hammering the Bahamas early this morning…


Matthew Getting Better Organized; Will Bring Big Impact to Florida, Georgia, Carolinas

| October 5, 2016 @ 12:17 pm

Hurricane Matthews seems to be recovering from its trek over the mountains of Cuba and Hispaniola late this morning. Deep convection is increasing and expanding around the center.

The Air Force plane in the storm right now found that the central pressure in this last pass through the center was 964 mb, but didn’t find the exact center, so the central press is slightly lower. On the 10 a.m. advisory, the central pressure was officially listed at 962 mb.


Matthew is on a northwesterly course now, being steered by the big mid-level high over the Atlantic. In this interesting animation of the pressure up at about 18,000 feet, the 500 millibar constant pressure level, you can see the western edge of the bubble of high pressure, which is deflecting the hurricane toward Florida. It should eventually allow Matthew to turn north and northeast by Friday as the western edge of the high is eroded.


Upper level conditions are favorable for the storm to strengthen some over the next 36 hours or so as the hurricane is located under an upper level high pressure system. Wind shear will begin to increase by Friday and the storm should start weakening slowly. But Matthew could remain a major hurricane with top winds of at least 120 mph through Friday.

Hurricane warnings are in effect from near Hollywood FL to north of Daytona Beach. A hurricane watch extends to near the Florida/Georgia border.

The official track brings the center to near Cape Canaveral Friday morning then begins the turn. But this parallel track to the coast means that a variety of tropical storm and hurricane conditions will occur all along the East Coast of Florida, Georgia or the Carolinas.

Just a small deviation of the track could bring a landfall of the center and a higher storm surge and wind impact for areas near and to the right of the center. 4-7inches of rain is expected, and storm surge could reach 5-8 feet in the worst case scenario, with widespread 3-6 feet surge all along the East Coast of Florida.

Matthew in Radar No Man’s Land

| October 2, 2016 @ 10:08 am

Lots of interest in Hurricane Matthew which remained a major hurricane this morning as a Category 4 storm. I was looking for weather radar from Jamaica and ran across this image which is a collection of all of the weather radars across the Caribbean.


I thought it was interesting to note that Matthew is currently in a no man’s land for radar coverage, so there is not much to see at the moment. There does appear to be an outer band of Matthew that is close to the southeast coast of Jamaica that extends to the southwest. The Jamaica weather radar is likely to be the one to give us the best radar image for Matthew as it moves by just to the east of the eastern end of the island.


The eye of Matthew has become obscured on visible satellite images this morning and this is often an indication of weakening. Microwave images showed a distinct dry slot over the southwestern and western portions of the circulation. NHC has noted that there has been a persistent, but inexplicable, cluster of deep convection located a couple of degrees to the east of the hurricane and the effect of this feature on Matthew’s intensity evolution is unknown.

An Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft investigated the northeastern eyewall, the strongest part of the circulation, and found that the winds had decreased somewhat from earlier this morning. The intensity is set to 120 knots on the latest NHC advisory. The vertical shear is not forecast to become much stronger while Matthew is in the Caribbean, so the hurricane should remain near category 4 status for the next 36-48 hours. Once Matthew moves into the Atlantic, some increase in shear along with a decrease sea surface temperatures should result in some weakening.

The motion of the storm is still somewhat questionable. After a northwestward motion, the center has meandered westward during the past few hours. Matthew is still expected to turn northward as it moves between a mid-level ridge to the east and a weak trough over the Gulf of Mexico during the next few days. Later in the forecast period, the global models show the ridge to the northeast of Matthew getting slightly stronger and this would induce a turn toward the left in the 3 to 5 day time frame. The forecast from NHC is shown above and it also identifies the areas with hurricane watches and warning.


Matthew Close to Cat Five Intensity

| September 30, 2016 @ 9:49 pm


We haven’t seen a category five hurricane in the Atlantic Basin since 2007, a year that saw two of them (Felix and Dean).

Matthew may be about to change that.

Hurricane Matthew has been intensifying rapidly for the past 24 hours in the Central Caribbean. Between 4 p.m. CDT yesterday and 4 p.m. today, Matthew’s central pressure dropped from 993 millibars to 949 millibars, or 44 millibars. That officially satisfies the 42 millibar drop that defines rapid deepening.


Its central pressure has dropped to 944 millibars shortly before 8:30 p.m. CDT tonight, a 51 millibar drop in 28.5 hours. The plane estimated surface winds of 158.8 mph, which is very close to the category five threshold of 160 mph. The eye is closed with a diameter of 12 nautical miles.

The storm continues moving west southwest. It is expected to turn northwest tomorrow night and will impact Jamaica Sunday night and Monday. It is forecast to have top winds of 120 mph at that time, making it a category three hurricane. But it could be stronger.

It will cross eastern Cuba and move through the Bahamas Tuesday and Wednesday. It is too early to tell if Matthew will strike the U.S. The general indication is that the hurricane will turn north and northeast after coming menacingly close to the coast between Florida, the Carolinas, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

There were six category five hurricanes between 2003 and 2005. Wilma was the last in that group, and the last major hurricane to hit the United States.

Will the Record Be Unbroken? By and By, We Will Tell.

| September 25, 2016 @ 2:58 pm

By and by, we will find out whether the U.S. streak of no landfalling major hurricanes will remain intact. It was been 10 years 11 months and 2 days since a major hurricane hit the United States (Hurricane Wilma on October 24, 2005). That record obliterated the old record of eight years set in the 1860s. That’s 131 months 2 days. That’s 570 weeks. That’s an amazing 3,990 days.

DROUGHT BUSTER? Often, we look to dying tropical systems to spell the end of a southeastern drought. Let’s just hope it does come on the business end of a major hurricane.

MATTHEW THIS WEEK? The tropical wave that will likely become Matthew most likely is about 1350 miles east of the southern Windward Islands this afternoon. Low pressure should develop by Tuesday as the system approaches the southern Antilles. There is a chance that it will be a tropical storm as it enters the southeastern Caribbean. It will be very far to the south, hugging the coast of Venezuela before entering the Central Caribbean late next week. Then it will be entering very favorable conditions and we could be dealing with a major hurricane as it approaches Jamaica or Hispaniola next weekend.

IMPOSSIBLE TO SAY: After that it could affect Cuba, the Florida Keys, western Florida, the Florida Panhandle, the Central Gulf Coast, the Bahama, or Mexico. It could miss the United States entirely. Nothing like a specific forecast, huh? But it is just impossible to say at this point. Suffice to say, everyone with interests along the Gulf Coast will want to keep one eye on the progress of the system over the coming two weeks.

MODEL MADNESS: It’s still model madness and a voodoo sandwich at this point, with every run of the model controls pointing to a very different solution. The ensemble output of the two global models is still all over the board as one would expect, but some consistency did emerge last night and this morning.

Here is the output of the GFS Ensembles showing possible tracks. You can see that it is focusing on the area between the Florida Keys, South Florida and the Bahamas up into the Carolinas.


Here is one set of the European model’s individual ensemble members for Thursday morning the 6th based on last evening’s run. The ensemble runs come by varying the input slightly each time to produce a different possible result. When there is good agreement among the members, you have have more confidence in that model run. You can see all of the different ideas on the table in the various outputs:


The just shows some of the various options on the table for no.

There is actually one more set of ensemble outputs to go with these. But I counted up all 50 ensemble members this morning, and the winner (or loser) was the Florida Keys or the Bahamas with 16 of the 50 runs targeting them. There was about a 50/50 split between the Keys and the Bahamas. Interesting to note that Alabama/Mississippi region showed as a landfall point for 4 of the members. The biggest majority was no storm or no landfall. That seems unrealistic at this time.

Here is the control run of the European from the morning. It shows a hard right turn into Hispaniola on Wednesday on Tuesday October 4th.


Here is the control from the GFS for the same time:


It shows a similar solution to the European. If that materializes, the U.S. landfalling major hurricane record may remain remain unbroken. And we shall remain dry.

REST OF THE TROPICS: Karl is now a post tropical storm over the North Atlantic. Advisories have been discontinued. Karl passed south of Bermuda Friday night and Saturday morning, bringing tropical storm force gusts to the island nation along with heavy rains. About 800 homes were without power yesterday and there were big swells and waves. No injuries were reported. Bermuda is used to passing hurricanes.

Tropical Depression Thirteen Forms

| September 19, 2016 @ 4:21 pm

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has begun issuing advisories on Tropical Depression Thirteen. Satellite imagery, scatterometer data, and ship observations this afternoon indicated that the large low pressure system located southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands has maintained a well-defined circulation and has developed enough organization to be considered a tropical depression.

The initial intensity of the depression was set at 30 knots based on scatterometer wind data of near 30 knots. The central pressure is based on reports from a ship observation during its traversal through the center of the cyclone over the past 12 hours. This depression is a large tropical cyclone with a
wind field that is more than 400 nautical miles in diameter.


The initial motion estimate was an uncertain 280/10 kt, based primarily on satellite data. The depression was located along the southern edge of a large deep-layer ridge that is forecast to steer the cyclone westward for the next 24 hours or so. After that, the cyclone should follow a west-northwestward motion through 120 hours. The official NHC forecast track lies close to the consensus model TVCN through 96 hours, and then leans toward a blend of the ECMWF, UKMET, and CMC models since the GFS dissipates the cyclone by 120 hours, a scenario that seems premature given the current large size of the cyclone.

Vertical wind shear was forecast to remain low at less than 10 knots over the cyclone for the next 48 hours. This favors steady intensification. However, mid-level moisture is only expected to be marginal during this time with humidity values around 60 percent or less. The drier air along with the large size of the cyclone are expected to temper the development process, and this was reflected by the slower-than-average intensification rate.


All in all, while the storm may become the next named tropical system Lisa, it appears likely to remain well out in the open Atlantic.