Tag: Hurricane

eye of hurricane from air
September 9

Chaos Theory Limits Long-Range Weather Accuracy – Tracking “Paulette” and “Rene”

The Dominance of Chaos. An accurate forecast 4 months into the future? Don’t hold your breath. At the end of the day meteorologists are up against chaos theory, as a story at Mashable explains; here’s an excerpt: “…Yet, there’s a limit on how far into the future humanity can ever predict the day-to-day weather: Will a storm probably hit my town? Will it be a terrible day for a barbecue? Will driving be too dangerous? The absolute limit on this type of weather prediction is somewhere between two and three weeks, said Falko Judt, a research meteorologist at the National...

September 8

The United States of Weather Extremes: Record Heat, Wildfires, Freak Snows Out West

The United States of Weather Extremes 2020 has been a volatile, jaw-dropping year – and disruption applies to America’s weather. In recent days I’ve witnessed things I’ve never seen before. 121F in the suburbs of Los Angeles. A 5 year drought fueling massive California wildfires, billowing smoke thousands of miles downwind. While the west bakes Denver just dropped 60 degrees in 2 days; from 100F to 30s and snow, in a meteorological blink of an eye. “Paulette” has formed in the Atlantic, the 16th storm and earliest P-name on record. And now there’s Tropical Storm Rene, the earliest R-name on...

cumulonimbus pileus
September 4

Crazy Extremes Facing Denver – Did Harsh NWS Language Save Lives with “Laura”?

  Moderately Cool Third Week of September. Temperatures over the northern tier of the USA will be cooler than average 2 weeks out, if you buy the GFS solution above. We’ll see more warm fronts, more 70s and 80s into late September, but while much of the south and west sizzles Minnesotans will be reaching for sweatshirts much of the next 2 weeks. Definition of a Cold Front. I’m sure this has happened before, but I can’t remember anything quite this drastic in recent years; a nearly 65 degree drop in the span of 2-3 days? ECMWF (above) for Denver...

Hurricane Laura ISS
September 3

Dangerous Hurricane Laura Approaches Gulf Coast – Higher Resolution Tornado Simulations

Hurricane Laura Threatens Gulf Coast “The first rule of hurricane coverage is that every broadcast must begin with palm trees bending in the wind” wrote author Carl Hiaasen. True. And frantic TV reporters hunkered down on the beach. Hurricane Laura is forecast to come ashore late tonight, perilously close to Houston. The storm is passing over warm water, jet fuel for hurricanes. It may roar ashore with 115 mph winds and a basketball-hoop-high storm surge of over 10 feet. You can’t blame Houstonians for being paranoid. 3 years ago “Harvey” dropped 60 inches of rain, leaving behind $125 billion in...

hurricane Humberto
September 3

Tracking “Omar” and “Nana” – Will We Run Out of Hurricane Names in 2020?

Like climate change, coronavirus often doesn’t hit home until it…hits home. One of my nieces at a big eastern university caught Covid-19 (she’s fine). My 91 year old mother-in-law, Josephine, also caught the virus and recovered. Her grandkids call her “Nana”, which is ironic. So far this year in the Atlantic we’ve had a Tropical Storm Josephine and a Tropical Storm Nana. 65-70 percent of hurricane season is ahead of us, with only 6 names remaining on the list. At this rate we may have to start over with the Greek alphabet. The last time that happened was 2005, the...

hurricane Florence from space
August 24

Tropical System Threatens Florida – Pandemic Complicates Hurricane Evacuation Plans

Hurricane Evacuations During a Pandemic? How on Earth do you safely evacuate tens or even hundreds of thousands of people inland, during the Age of Covid-19? Great question. We may soon find out. “Hanna” was a dry run in south Texas and “Douglas” narrowly missed Hawaii. Now there’s a new tropical system which may, in theory, impact Florida this weekend. Giving people more time to prepare, opening up hotels, in addition to schools, to evacuees, and encouraging people who’s homes are up to code to stay put may help, but during a chaotic rush inland, social distancing and mask hygiene...

Destroyed building from hurricane
July 5

What To Do After a Hurricane

Hurricanes are America’s deadliest natural disasters. They’re expensive, too. According to USA FACTS, adjusting for inflation, 7 of the 10 most expensive natural disasters have been hurricanes. Of those 7, 6 have happened since 2000. Technological breakthroughs like weather satellites and computer models have lowered the death toll over time, but there are harrowing exceptions. In spite of timely warnings, Hurricane Katrina (2005) left 1,833 dead and Hurricane Maria (2017) killed 2,981 people. It may be counterintuitive, but most of the deaths occurred days or even weeks after the hurricane struck. “Statistics now show that more people are being killed...

tropical storm Sebastian
October 3

Is It Time to Scrap the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Rating Scale?

MIT Tropical Expert: “The Saffir-Simpson scale is deeply deficient and should be discarded.” Science evolves over time. Our understanding of the natural world improves as new technology comes online, leveraging more granular, reliable, repeatable data sets. The science of meteorology, like every other science, is a moving target. The Fujita tornado rating scale was upgraded and enhanced in 2006 to better reflect observed wind damage. NOAA is launching WSSI, the Winter Storm Severity Index, a new, experimental winter storm rating scale with five categories. Sound familiar? Is it time to rethink the Saffir-Simpson rating scale for hurricanes, which only predicts...

Hurricane From Space
July 11

Steps to Take Before a Hurricane Arrives

“Hurricanes have killed more people in the last 50 years than any other natural cataclysm” according to MIT meteorology professor and tropical scientist Kerry Emanuel. I’m an old Eagle Scout, and the motto: “Be Prepared” is as relevant today as ever. Get out in front of risk. Take steps (now) to avoid serious problems (later). That mindset certainly applies to the biggest, wildest, most terrifying storms on the planet. What have I learned tracking these fickle weather beasts over the course of 4 decades? Don’t count on the latest technology or the government to save you. At the end of...

satellite image of earth with hurricane
March 8

Rapid Ocean Warming Poses New Challenges for Tropical Cyclone Prediction

Better Hurricane Forecasts Will Require Near-Real-Time, Deep Ocean Monitoring “How many more eyewall replacement cycles before landfall? Let me check the latest real-time, deep ocean temperature anomalies first”. This scenario may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. Recent studies confirm warming of the world’s oceans is taking place faster than previously estimated; as much as 40% faster than the United Nations estimated in 2015. The implications of warming seas include stronger and more rapidly-intensifying hurricanes and more extreme rainfall amounts. Research confirms roughly 93% of the additional warming from man-made greenhouse gases is going into the world’s oceans. Climate...