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.

Fay On The Way – 1

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Aug 182008

Tropical Storm Fay has crossed over Cuba, and is making the turn more toward the north, and heading toward Florida (most likely). I thought I’d give you an update on the storm and my preparations so far.

Fay's Tracking Map as of 2008-08-20

Fay's Tracking Map as of 2008-08-20

The National Hurricane Center uses a series of computer models, along with some good old fashioned human analysis, to try to determine the path of hurricanes. When all the models are plotted against one another, they are usually all wrapped up fairly closely for the track for about 36 hours out, then they variously begin to spread apart from that point on to a greater or lesser degree. This is called the spaghetti plot. The NHC forecasters then take that data, along with their expertise and experience, and plot a “cone of probability for the path of any given storm.

Fay has given them absolute fits, as the model plots have seemed to just explode in different directions right out of the current location point for the storm. This weekend, some of the models have it heading toward northern Florida and the Panhandle, with some taking it well out into the Gulf and heading toward Alabama and Louisiana. Others have had it circling across southern Florida and heading out into the Atlantic, with others between those two extremes. Obviously, the water in the Gulf remains warm, so the longer it’s over the Gulf, the more it can strengthen. This means the best scenario has it getting back on land on the Florida peninsula as soon as possible.

With the storm now past Cuba and the hurricane hunter planes now able to fly more freely through and around the eye of the storm, a better track seems to be emerging, and the models are in a bit more agreement for the 24-36 hour time frame. NHC now has the track bending a bit more to the east with the storm making landfall north of Naples, and tracking to the Northeast across the state. This is a good scenario for Tampa. Due to some sheering, the storm has become more elongated than usual with much less activity on the west side of the storm than the east. The current track puts Tampa well on that week side, and the storm having gone back to being a Tropical Storm by the time is passes us. This doesn’t mean we won’t get some effects, but they will hopefully be mitigated.

However, because of the uncertainty, I made some of the usual preparations yesterday. I stacked and stored all the deck furniture, and made sure loose items outside the house were put up or otherwise secured. I have a great generator, but I’d been slack and not even cranked it for nearly two years. I got it out and drained the old gas out, put in new, and it cranked right up with two pulls. We’ve got all our water bottles filled, and I made sure Lay’s parent’s are good to go on water anyways.

I wasn’t going anywhere near the grocery store yesterday, as the parking lot was packed. I went at AM this morning. It was definitely busier than usual that early, but it wasn’t too bad. We have basic staples, and didn’t need a lot of extra anyway. It was mostly a normal run.

So, we’re about as prepared as we can be, and if the track holds, we shouldn’t have too much of an issue here anyway. I will keep you posted.

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.

2007 Hurricane Season Predictions

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Apr 032007

William Gray’s forecasting team has updated their forecast for the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane season, and they believe it will a very active season.

They have increased their prediction to 17 tropical storms and 9 hurricanes. We can only hope for a year like 2006, but I think we’re due, so I’m expecting a rough year.

Tuesday Morning With Alberto

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Jun 132006

This is most likely?the last update about Alberto. It rained some during the night, but not enough to even have to pump water from the pool. I did hear some gusty wind, but nothing major. The sun was out this morning when I got up.

There are some twigs down in the back yard, and I had to clean some small branches out of the pool, but nothing that amounts to anything. In looking at the radar summary, it does look as if another decent sized band of rain will be pulled through here this afternoon and into the evening.

The storm did come in at the Big Bend area, but did not make Hurricane status. I have not heard any reports of serious damage anywhere. Right now, all the worst rain appears to be around Savannah. Having the worst of the rain concentrated on the northeast side of the storm has a lot of it out over open water.

When I woke up this morning, I was flipping around the local channels to see their storm coverage, and it was actually pretty funny to watch the reporters trying to make a story out of this non-event. They so love to be outside leaning into the wind and getting battered around, but none of them could really find any of that, and there were no real dramatic shots for the camera people either.

A barge did get loose and hit the Howard Franklin Bridge (a main connector between here and St. Pete). One lane was closed for a while as they assessed damage, but I think that’s even back open now.

Alberto was never well organized, and is surrounded by dry air, so I’m expecting it will break up pretty fast now that it is over land.

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.

Weather Weather Everywhere: The Tropics Come Alive Again

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Aug 242005

thumb-Katrina5.gifThe weekend is coming up and our friends Jeff and Mike are headed to visit family in PA, so there must be a hurricane on the way. Sure enough, Katrina, now a tropical storm, is moving slowly through the Bahamas and headed to South Florida.

Right now, the National Weather Service has Katrina becoming a Hurricane around 2 a.m. Friday just before landfall in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area. They are expecting a building low pressure to stear the storm pretty much westerly across south Florida and back into the Gulf around Naples Saturday morning. Then the storm is going to turn north and head up along the coast, regaining hurricane strength, and, on the current forecast track, head right into the Florida Pan Handle again. Just what those folks need.

Because Katrina is expected to be pretty slow moving, the rain could be very heavy, and since it’ll be making this northerly turn and running up the coast, Tampa could be getting a pretty soaking from Friday evening all the way through Sunday night.

On top of Katrina, there’s another tropical wave moving into the Atlantic off Africa. I’m not the expert, but Katrina has been pretty loose and disorganized. This one already is looking pretty well organized.