Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker

A single source reference on tropical weather predictions. With a traditional focus on the upper Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast we've maintained links to track all Atlantic Basin, Caribbean and eastern Pacific storm systems. We are now expanding our view to tropical storms throughout the world intending to be a comprehensive global storm tracking resource.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Typhoon Fung-Wong heads for Taiwan

Ten days after being hit by Typhoon Kalmaegi, Taiwan is in the path of another severe storm. Typhoon Fung-Wong formed yesterday and is heading straight for Taiwan. The storm is expected to make landfall sometime tonight (US time - Monday morning local time) as a Category 3 storm with winds exceeding 100 MPH (185 kph). Fung-Wong will weaken some as it crosses over the island into the straight of Formosa but will probably still be a strong typhoon as it makes a second landfall on the mainland China coast.

Kalmaegi struck northern Taiwan as a tropical storm and killed 19 people. Six people are still missing from the storm which came ashore on the 18th of July.

Yesterday Fung-Wong crossed over the northernmost islands of the Phillipines bringing heavy monsoon rains and flooding.

Taiwan issues land warning for Typhoon Fung-Wong


Typhoon Fung-Wong continued to strengthen on Saturday and Saturday night and as of Sunday morning EDT, had sustained winds of 100 mph (160 kph). Located approximately 255 miles southeast of Taipei, Taiwan, Fung-Wong is moving to the northwest at 12 mph (19 kph). On this path, Fung-Wong will make landfall on Sunday night over the island of Taiwan. Further strengthening is likely during the day on Sunday prior to landfall. Outer rainbands are beginning to hit the island, and conditions will continue to deteriorate through the day on Sunday and Sunday night. When Fung-Wong makes landfall on Sunday night, sustained winds will be well over 100 mph, 185 kph, with higher gusts. Weakening over Taiwan, Fung-Wong will emerge over the Formosa Strait on Monday morning as a weak typhoon before making a second landfall on Monday afternoon or evening over eastern China. Over 10 inches of rain will be possible in the path of Fung-Wong, resulting in devastating flooding and dangerous mudslides.
Story by Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dolly hit South Texas, is downgraded to a tropical storm

I am in teh midst of packing and moving now and have not been able to keep up with all of the happenings with Hurricane Dolly's landfall. This article from the NYT describes the effects of Dolly's landing on South Padre island near the US Mexico border.

Dolly did reach Cat 2 status with 100 MPH winds right before landfall yesterday morning. Fortunately the worst did not happen and the dozens of tornados that were presicted did not materialize. Even so, Dolly maintained hurricane status with 85 MPH winds throughout the day. She is still a tropical storm and will be diminishing slowly as her track takes her deeper inland.

Here in Houston, we've just seen some scattered thunderstorms and a few gusts of wind. Typical thunderstorms that we usually get so nothing to worry about, but in Brownsville the concern is flooding. If Dolly continues to rain out floods and flash flood can be the real issue.

Please remember to never drive into a flooded road. Even if you can see the roadway beneath the water, there is enough force in a stream that it can pull your car off the road and into a ditch. Remember the adage, "Don't Drown - Turn Around".

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dolly is growing

With rain bands extending across the entire Gulf, it is a safe bet that Dolly will bring rain to most areas along the Gulf Coast. Reports now estimate Dolly reaching a Category 2 strength before coming ashore near Brownsville Wednesday afternoon. The warm waters, with temps in the mid 80's, are just right to allow Dolly to intensify. With the lack of any shearing winds aloft, Dolly has free reign to ... er ... rain.

Tropical Storm Dolly enters the Gulf

A hurricane watch has been issued by the National Hurricane Center from Brownsville, TX to Port O'Connor, TX. A tropical Storm watch has been issued from Port O'Connor north up to San Luis Pass in Galveston. The Mexican government has also issued a hurricane watch from Rio San Fernando north to the US border.

Tropical Storm Dolly developed very quickly from a tropical wave yesterday essentially right over the Yucatan Peninsula dropping as much as 5 inches of rain on Cancun.

As Dolly crosses the Gulf, it is expected that she will increase in intensity due to the high water temperatures all along the Gulf Coast reaching hurricane status sometime tomorrow.

Fox News' Janice Dean was reporting on Dolly this afternoon and commented that the steering currents were not that well defined, indicating that Dolly could change direction or slow down without warning.
Tropical Storm Dolly is now into the Gulf of Mexico and expected to intensify into a hurricane very shortly. There are hurricane watches for the coast of Texas now from Brownsville to Port O’Connor. This storm has the potential to really strengthen as the waters of the Gulf are warm and ripe to get Dolly’s engine cranked. There’s a good chance Dolly will be quite large as well affecting a big chunk of the western gulf. Folks along the Texas coast need to pay very close attention to the track of Dolly over the next few days.

As those of us who have lived on the Gulf for a while know, once a storm gets into the Gulf, there is no telling where she might go. Of course it is not quite that bad but the old folklore rings in some truth. Many times we have seen hurricanes slow up and then change in many different directions with no rhyme or reason. Dolly could leave her mark across the entire coast before she is through.

As you all know, I am moving. This week we are packing up the house. The movers will load the truck Wednesday and we will be flying out on Friday. Technically we will be homeless from Wednesday until Friday (Not really but no belongings - hotelling it if you will). Wager any one of us where dolly will head!!! If she even looks at Houston it will be a big I told Ya! One last storm to remember SE Texas. :-).

We'll keep this updated as more info comes in.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tropical Depression 3 skirts the Carolina coast

Last night, the tropical low system off the South Carolina coast developed into Tropical Depression 3. Currently with winds at 35 MPH, this system could develop into a tropical storm before moving away from the coast. Topical Storm watches and warnings are in place along the South Carolina and North Carolina coasts.

The computer models have all converged to show a fairly consistent predicted storm track of a north easterly direction. The affected areas will include coastal regions from Myrtle Beach up to as far north as Virginia Beach.

Fox News reported that the key issue for this storm will be heavy rains. The stronger winds are and will likely remain over water and therefore will not pose an issue for land other than possible waves and rip currents on the shore.

Weather Channel Tropical Update from last night

Another system to watch is a tropical wave that is crossing the southern Caribbean and could threaten Gulf Coast interests later next week.

Storm Watch with: The Virtuous Republic, Perri Nelson's Website, Rosemary's Thoughts, Right Truth, DragonLady's World, Shadowscope, Leaning Straight Up, Cao's Blog, The Amboy Times, , Democrat=Socialist, Conservative Cat, Allie is Wired, Faultline USA, third world county, McCain Blogs, Woman Honor Thyself, The World According to Carl, , Pirate's Cove, , The Pink Flamingo, Dumb Ox Daily News, , CORSARI D'ITALIA, Right Voices, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tropical activity on a fast rise

I've been on the road this week and haven't had a chance to look at the tropical weather in a few days. This morning I see that activity has increased drastically across the planet.

In Taiwan, . 6 people were killed by Tropical Storm Kalmaegi (CNN). The storm came ashore Friday and hit Taiwan with heavy rain and flooding. The eye of the storm has moved off the island but heavy rains and the potential for flooding is still present. The storm is expected to hit southeast China this evening or tonight prompting concerns of more flooding in these regions. Then it is expected to take a sharp right turn and head over the Korean Peninsula.

In the Eastern Pacific, two tropical storms are churning away. Elida, after having reached a category 2 hurricane status, has dropped in intensity down to a tropical storm and Tropical Storm Fausto is just below hurricane strength with 70 mph sustained winds. The National Hurricane Center is expected a slight increase in intensity before Fausto degrades. Both of these storms are heading to the west-northwest and pose no direct danger other than possibly high tides along the Central American and Mexican coasts.

In the Atlantic, things have really picked up. Tropical Storm Bertha refuses to due and is still churning away in the North Atlantic. Bertha is expected to maintain tropical storm force winds and continue to head northeast toward Greenland and Iceland.

Closer to home we have three systems that require watching. A low pressure system just off the cost of Florida has little chance for organizing but will likely bring rain to northern Florida and southern Georgia this weekend. AccuWeather is forecasting that this low will skirt up the coast into the Carolinas but will not move inland towards north Georgia to improve on the drought.

And in the Caribbean, two tropical waves are moving westward and bear watching but are not very likely to develop further due to their proximity to land.
The Hurricane Center reports two tropical waves in the Caribbean Sea are being monitored for potential development. The waves are moving westward through an area of the eastern Caribbean where there is warm water and little wind shear. One tropical wave currently located just north of Venezuela will continue traveling to the west today before turning to the northwest on Friday. The close proximity to South America and a forward speed of 20 to 25 mph will reduce the potential of the wave becoming a tropical depression. However, there will be an increased potential for development as the wave curves to the northwest over open waters. Another wave in the western Caribbean has a much smaller window of opportunity to become a tropical depression before it moves over Central America later today. The wave later
today will bring heavy rain to Nicaragua and Honduras before spreading across Central America on Friday and Saturday. The rain could spark life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, especially in the higher terrain.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tropical Activity

It seems like the tropical activity at the moment is increasing a bit. In the Atlantic we have Tropical Storm Bertha creating high waves along the US east coast and the shores of Bermuda. I don't think she will cause any significant damage except two people have already drowned off the NJ shore due to the rip currents. Bertha is slowly drifting north by northwest with Bermuda in her path - what little of a path she has. rain and flooding are likely to be the key issues here with high waves adding to the situation.

There is also another tropical wave developing in the Atlantic heading for the Lesser Antilles. The graphical outlook at the top of the page is showing a greater than 50% chance of development with this system as of Monday afternoon. This system has been becoming more organized as the week has gone by and it is likely to become a tropical storm in the next couple of days or so.
AccuWeather is pointing out that this new system will have a more southerly track and will probably pass through the Caribbean and possibly into the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf Coast region needs to watch this storm for tracking information and further development. Last night the probablility of tropical depression formation was high. This morning that probability has dropped some but I do not think this storm is decreasing in intensity. I expect that we will see some fluctuation in intensity until it finally forms into a tropical depression and eventually into a named storm in the next few days.

Also in the eastern Pacific we have had quite a few developments. One storm I completely missed while Hurricane Elida has been churning steadily for the past few days. There is also another tropical wave with a moderate chance for development off the Central American coast. Since all of tehse storms have been moving out to west/northwest away from land, I have not been too concerned about them but any maritime interests need to keep a weather eye out.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

More on the dangers of CFL bulbs

Finally, it seems like the hazards of Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs are getting some attention. Fox News presented the attached story (video in link) discussing the concerns if a bulb breaks due to the hazards of mercury. They also show the difficulty in cleaning up a broken bulb and how hard it is to dispose of. I suspect that most Americans will simply sweep up the glass and throw it in the trash which is the wrong thing to do.

Eventually we will be reading about how our municipal garbage dumps are toxic waste sites due to high concentrations of mercury.

As usual, the writers of Mallard Fillmore get the situation spot on:
The reality is that the CFL bulbs will be very hard to dispose of. Even non broken bulbs will be a problem because of the potential to break. Recyclers do not want them so how do you get rid of them?

I think the above panel illustrates the real problem with the modern environmental movement. Environmentalists think that human beings should take second place to the planet overall and that we should sacrifice - even to the point of death - to save the planet and animals hereon. Some environmentalists have actually called for the extermination of a couple billion of us to get the population down to supposedly more acceptable levels. (Sorry I do no remember the source - WND or Drudge I am sure). And the Pope himself has warned against placing environmental extremism ahead of human dignity and human life (see earlier post).

Reality Check:

OK, let's step back a moment and look at a few other facts. Fluorescent bulbs have been in office buildings and stores for decades. Most of us over 35 have small amounts of mercury in our mouths in the form of an amalgam in our fillings. These have not created any issues that we are aware of. Current CFL bulbs contain 20% less mercury than earlier versions and certainly contain less mercury than the long tube type fluorescent bulbs. So what is the issue:

I see two things in issue.

One is that as the use of CFL's increases dramatically, the quantity of mercury in the municipal waste stream, whether to the dump or to a recycling center, will also increase to the point where what was just trace amounts will become much higher concentrations that may cause environmental and health hazards. Remember that the use of lead in everyday life was one of the things that led to the demise of the Roman Empire as emperors and the upper class went crazy from the ingestion of the lead in their food and wine.

The other issue is that the US Government is forcing this change. In 2012, incandescent bulbs will be banned. We will have to switch whether we want this hazard in our homes or not. No ability for market forces to drive the change. No room for research into filament development for materials that can glow using less energy. It's CFL's or nothing. Maybe we can go back to candles. While this change is being forced on us, the hazards are not even being communicated except on the EPA website. And even here I had to look up Mercury Spills... CFL's are not listed until 2/3rds of the way down the page.

  • We need to overturn the ban on incandescent light bulbs.
  • We need to fully communicate the benefits and the dangers of CFL technology completely and honestly

If people are allowed to make an informed choice over which type of light they want to use, then we can move forward to find the best way to reduce energy usage, protect human health and protect the environment. Until then, having an all or nothing approach is a recipe for disaster.

Maintaining Environmental Sanity with: Right Truth, Shadowscope, Stuck On Stupid, Cao's Blog, Big Dog's Weblog, Leaning Straight Up, Democrat=Socialist, Conservative Cat, Outside the Beltway, Allie is Wired, nuke gingrich, third world county, Woman Honor Thyself, McCain Blogs, The World According to Carl, , Pirate's Cove, , The Pink Flamingo, Wolf Pangloss, Dumb Ox Daily News, CORSARI D'ITALIA, Right Voices, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hurricane Bertha heading north

I've been watching Hurricane Bertha throughout this week. All of the models have been converging on a northward path and the forecasts were predicting a turn to the north since around Tuesday night. Early in the week when Bertha increased intensity, she did turn suddenly northward just as the Weather Channel had predicted. Then just as quickly as she gained strength, she died down from a major Cat 3 to a Cat 1. Sea surface temperatures raised the intensity back to a Cat 2 and are such that she will probably maintain a Category 2 level of intensity until she reaches the colder waters north of Bermuda.

The thing that I have been watching is that even though all of the storm track predictions have shown a turn to the north, the historical track has remained in a WNW to NW direction. The predictions showed a turn but the historical showed the storm kept coming to the eastern US coast. I have always been limited in that I do not have access to a graphic that shows the atmospheric steering currents.

Well a major steering current came together yesterday that will ensure that Bertha heads north. A strong front is moving off the US east coast today and tomorrow that will push Bertha away from the US. Predictions are even showing that this storm may even be pushed east of Bermuda.

The cloud front is clear on teh AccuWeather graphic t the right but is even more apparent on the GEOS satellite image below. I originally thought that if Bertha stayed on a NW course that she could slip in under the weaker end of the front but this graphic clearly shows that even that is not possible.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Hurricane Bertha

I am just getting settled in here in North Georgia and the internet connection in my apartment doesn't work. I am going through major withdrawls, but I wanted to at least get some commentary in on Bertha.

Bertha strengthened into a huricane yesterday becoming the first storm to reach hurricane status iint he Atlantic this season. As predicted by the Weather Channel, as the storm intensified, the track projections all converged in Bertha turning north later this week. The current projections are that she will head straight for Bermuda although, again, it is too early to tell with any certainty.

The Houston Chronicle is now reporting that Bertha has intensified to a category 3 hurricane. The forst hurricane of the year is a major storm.

MIAMI — Hurricane Bertha has grown into a Category 3 storm.
The Atlantic season's first hurricane is still far from land, but the National Hurricane
Center says it now has maximum sustained winds of 115 miles an hour.
The center of the storm is located about 730 miles east-northeast of the Northern
Leeward Islands and about 1,150 miles southeast of Bermuda.
Forecasters say it's moving west-northwest at about 12 miles an hour.

As of yesterday evening, forecasters were still unwilliing to say whether Bertha would threathen the South Carolina coast. If the storm does follow the path towards Bermuda then the effects on the east coast could be minimal. The key indicator will be if she turns by Wednesday or Thursday.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Tropical Storm Bertha

I have been in the process of relocating to North Georgia and the internet connection is not working in my apartment. Last night I learned about Tropical Storm Bertha. At that time the prediction was that this storm will curve north in the central Atlantic and not be a concern.

Tonight I see that that may not be the case. Both Storm Tracker (graphic above) and Weather Underground are showing this storm to be coming in a direction that brings it into the Caribbean or even towards the US east coast. Of five conputer trackign models, three show a track that points towards teh coast between Florida and North Carolina and two show the storm curving north.

AccuWeather is showing the most likely path being for Bertha to curve north but a possibility that she will continue on into the southern US.

This storm is too weak and too far away to lose any sleep over right now.
The latest window of movement prepared by the Hurricane Center shows the storm making a gradual turn toward the northwest through the central Atlantic. If so, it will be one of those no harm, no foul storms of which there are many.

One scenario that is still quite feasible is that Bertha will not
be captured by the jet stream and will continue westward, passing just north of the Windward Island early next week. This more southern track would put the Southeast coast of the United States in harm's way.

The least likely scenario for the storm is a path across the Caribbean and then into the Gulf of Mexico. As a matter of fact, any path that would take the storm into the Gulf is very unlikely.

Presenting all this in a probability format, there is a 60 percent chance the storm will track northwest and stay away from the East Coast, a 35 percent chance the system
will continue toward the west-northwest, and a 5 percent chance it will somehow find a way into the Gulf of Mexico.

Story by Expert Senior Meteorologist John Kocet

At this time it is too early to tell, although if this storm follows me into north Georgia and ends the drought there then I want my share of the credit :-) In all honesty, this is the 2nd year of Drought for N. Georgia and a low intensity tropical storm would be a good remedy to help fill up some of the low lakes.

This report is interesting. AccuWeather shows that the warm waters that could drive intensification are located near the southern US and Caribbean Sea. If the storm path takes it towards the south then the storm could intensify as well. Weather Channel is saying that the stronger the storm ill cause the path to veer more to the north and away from the US and is the most likely path. This one will be interesting to watch, especially so early in the season.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Boris strengthens ... and Atlantic wave off Africa

Tropical Storm Boris has become Hurricane Boris with sustained winds around 75 MPH and gusts up to 90. While the water temperature is clearly high enough for storm intensification, wind shear was expected to moderate any growth in Boris' storm intensity. With a due west direction and expectations that further development is not likely, Boris poses no threats to land.

Wind shear tore apart Christina who is now only a tropical depression with no chance for re-strengthening.
A third wave off the coast of Mexico looks good for development. If this storm does organize, then it will become Tropical Storm Douglas.

In the Atlantic, we have some development. A rather large tropical wave has formed off the coast of Africa. I don't know if this wave will develop at all and if it does, if it will remain organized as it crosses the Atlantic. This time of year most of the storms that affect the US form in the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean Sea. Right now there is only a low chance of development but with the size of the disturbance, it is worth watching.

2010 Atlantic Hurricanes (courtesy of

NOAA Gulf of Mexico Radar (courtesy of

NOAA West Atlantic & Caribbean Radar (courtesy of

NOAA East Atlantic Radar (courtesy of