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.

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.

Alberto Monday Night

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Jun 122006

I thought I’d provide an update before going to bed tonight.

We had rain on and off all afternoon, but very little wind. It rained hard a couple of times, but not for very long. Tonight the wind seems to be picking up some. I’ve had to pump the pool out again.

The National Weather Service has notched the storm track slightly further north, so we should only get the rain, and some blustery wind.

Wilma Update — Saturday

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Oct 222005

I obviously have not been posting a lot lately. I was traveling for work some this week, and had a very interesting trip I’ll write more about later. I may have plenty of time tomorrow to do some updates to the blog.

In the meantime, I thought I would provide an update on Hurricane Wilma based on the most recent NOAA information. How much impact there is on Tampa remains a bit uncertain. Not unusually, with about two days to go before landfall, the “cone of uncertainty” is still a bit large.

The storm has drifted pretty erratically and slowly for quite some time. Yesterday it moved across Cozumel and then onto the Yucatan Peninsula. The slow movement helped weaken the storm, which is good for us, but very bad for those parts of Mexico. It has now settled into a slow northward drift, and is about to emerge into the Gulf. It will have a chance to re-strengthen then, and a low pressure trough dipping down will bring us some cooler weather later in the week, and pick up Wilma and start accelerating her toward Florida. This will also create shear that will hopefully weaken the storm as it approaches.

Right now, the forecast track brings the storm onshore somewhere in South Florida sometime on Monday. According to the NOAA discussion, the computer models have come into some disagreement, and the track has been moved slightly north. North is not good for us, but it still keeps the center of the storm well to our south. Earlier, the models had the storm coming onshore as a Category 1 or 2. Apparently, less shearing is expected, so now the forecast says a Category 2 or 3 when it comes onshore.

It is also projected that, as the shearing occurs, the wind field of the storm will expand, so we will pretty much be getting tropical storm force winds here in Tampa on Monday. That’s assuming the storm stays pretty much on the current forecast track. We will certainly get rain, but that won’t be bad, as we need some rain. I’m guessing this will probably start sometime tomorrow afternoon. It’s been cloudy most of today, but no rain so far.