2009 Hurricane Season-Off to A Rollicking Start

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May 282009

Well, the 2009 hurricane season is still a couple of days away, but we already have the first tropical depression out in the Atlantic.

Satellite Image of tropical depression off Cape Hatteras

Satellite Image of tropical depression off Cape Hatteras

National Hurricane Center forecasters in Miami say a tropical depression has formed off the mid-Atlantic coast, but it’s not expected to threaten land. They do expect it to become a Tropical Storm in the coming days, but they expect it to stay out over the water.

Let’s just hope this is not a sign of things to come.

Was Fay a Fizzle?

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Aug 202008

Tropical Storm Fay never quite made it to hurricane strength, but she has definitely dumped a lot of water on some parts of the state, and has caused some power outages and some severe flooding. She certainly gave forecasters a fit.

Tracking map for Fay on 08-20-2008


Fay wobbled right along the southern coast of Cuba, so she didn’t get a chance to strengthen much there. Then, she came ashore in south Florida before having a chance to reach hurricane status. Throughout that part of her journey, the various computer models were all over the place trying to plot an expected track. Some took her almost straight across south Florida to the Atlantic, some right up along the west coast, and others bending her out across the gulf toward Alabama and Louisiana.

While not strengthening as much as expected before landfall, she went on to actually strengthen a little bit while over land, and maintained a very definite organization while moving across the state. Once again, confounding the computer the models with some taking her up the east coast and into Georgia, and others looping her out into the Atlantic briefly then coming almost due west back across northern Florida.

Here in Tampa, we had some occasionally breezy conditions, and a few very widely scattered showers. I didn’t get any rain here at my house. So while Fay, luckily, hasn’t caused much damage here in the Tampa Bay area, she has caused some serious flooding along the east coast, and certainly given forecasters and their computer models a real run for their money.

2008 Hurricane Season Predictions

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May 302008

According to an article on the Scientific American website, Colorado State University and the National Weather Service are in pretty close agreement on their predictions for this year’s hurricane season. The season starts this Sunday and ends on November 30. They are calling for a very active season again this year.

There is concern here in Florida that we may not be as well prepared as we should be. The predictions for the past two years have been for active seasons, and both were relatively quiet. Also, because of the budget crisis, there’s not tax holiday for hurricane supplies this year. This has caused a sense that people aren’t paying enough attention to the start of the season.  Continue reading »

Hurricane Season Starts Early?

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May 102007

Hurricane season isn’t supposed to start for a few more weeks, but we already have our first named storm, Andrea.

Andrea formed from a sub-tropical low pressure system off the coast of Georgia, and yesterday winds topped 40 mph, so the storm got a name. While Andrea has pushed tides up about 2 feet along the east coast from South Carolina to Florida, the impact overall will be minimal.

Andrea is a hybrid mixture of a typical tropical storm and a winter low-pressure system, with the strongest winds and heaviest rains well east of its center. When the storm’s winds topped 40 mph Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center gave it a name.

Forecasters at the hurricane center in Miami said the water is too cool for Andrea to gain much strength and that its center should stay offshore before it falls apart by the weekend.

Still, the hurricane center issued a tropical storm watch from Flagler Beach north into Georgia because Andrea could bring winds of 40 mph or more to the coast.

On Wednesday, Andrea had winds of about 45 mph and was moving about 5 mph.

We had an exceptionally quiet hurricane season last year. The long range forecasts aren’t so good for this year, and if we’ve already used up the “A” name for 2007, we could be in for a rough year.

Ernesto Watch Monday Morning

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Aug 282006

The Hurricane Center, as of 8am this morning, has moved the track for Ernesto further to the east. This is good news for us here in Tampa, as it will put us on the “backside” of this storm. This also means it will come on shore at nearly the tip of the Florida penennsula, and track over land all the way up the center of the state.

This also means that the storm will be over water only for the amount of time it takes to cross the Florida straits between here and Cuba, so it will have less time to regain its strength and organization. It is still a tropical storm. It is beginning to move on-shore on the east cost of Cuba about now. This should help keep the storm disorganized.

However, they are saying it could get as strong as a Category 2 by the time it gets to Florida. Interestingly enough, they keep Ernesto as a hurricane throughout the time it is over Florida. Then it moves out into the Atlantic, and skims the coast up to Cape Hatteras on the North Carolina Coast as a hurricane.

Hurricane Ernesto Watch Begins

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Aug 272006

We Floridians started paying attention to Tropical Storm Ernesto several days ago. In was forming up southeast of Puerto Rico. The early forecast tracks had the storm staying south of the islands, and gaining strength. Then it would have crossed Cuba and gone out into the Gulf headed tot he northwest…a beeline for the Louisiana coast.

The track would up being slightly more north, which has caused it to interact with Hispanolia throughout the day today, thus weakening the hurricane back to tropical storm strength.? However, it will most likely regain it’s hurricane status overnight as it gets back over warmer water heading to Cuba.

The first official track this morning had the center line of the storm going right up the mouth of Tampa Bay, and being over Tampa at 8am Thursday morning, as the track has moved increasingly back to the east. The track now has the storm traveling over a good bit of Cuba, which will again weaken the storm. It now turns northward sooner resulting in a currently projected landfall south of us Wednesday afternoon. Should this wind up being the actual track (and it will change a lot more over the next couple of days), the storm will pass by us somewhere between us and Orlando Wednesday night to Thursday morning. Should be over land for that long, it should not pose a huge threat to us.

The worst side of a hurricane is the northeast corner. That generally has the highest winds and most rain. The current track would put us on the west side of the storm after it’s been over land a while. As noted though, the track will change a lot.

I started with some preparations today. We had some inflatables in the pool that Lay’s nephew’s play with. I deflated those and got them put up. We’ve had a lot of rain lately, so the water level in the pool we very high. I started lowering that. Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll get my gas cans refilled for the generator, and I need to find a siphon somewhere. I also need to get my two empty water bottles re-filled, along with taking care of Lay’s mother’s bottles. I’ll do that tomorrow evening.

I was talking with our friend Jeff today, and we might make a reservation at an Orlando hotel in case there is a need to evacuate. We can always cancel it if needed. We will wait until tomorrow, and see how the track is shaping up. That will also determine how much further I go with preparations.

Tropical Storm Alberto

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Jun 122006

Hurricane season is off to a roaring start down here. Yesterday, Alberto became the first named storm of the season, and we’re already experiencing the effects.

It started raining some time early this morning, and has rained constantly all morning, with periods of heavy rain. There really hasn’t been much in the way of winds yet.

Interestingly enough, the current forecast by the National Hurricane Center has Alberto becoming a minimal hurricane later today or early tomorrow. However, the forecast track seems to be moving further north, and at last check, Tampa was no longer even in the cone of probability for a strike. However, all the rain is piled up on the northeast side of this thing, so we’re going to get that. But, it’s much needed rain.