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, November 29, 2009

Typhoon Nida winds down

Typhoon Nida has degraded from a monster Supertyphoon to a strong but weakening typhoon northwest of Guam. Current windspeed is approximately 110 knots with essentially no forward motion. Sustained windspeed is expected to decrease fairly steadily over the next few days as Nida decreases from a Cat 3 typhoon to a Cat 2 in 24 hours and a tropical storm by mid week.

Nida Downgrades To A Typhoon, Hovers Northwest Of Guam (Guam News Factor)
GUAM - As of 1:20 p.m. Chamorro Standard Time, Nida remained nearly stationary and had been downgraded to a typhoon from its previous incarnation as a super typhoon, according to the National Weather Service.

Typhoon Nida: 'Stationary And Weakening', Away From Guam (Guam News Factor)

GUAM - As of 7:46 p.m. Chamorro Standard Time, Typhoon Nida was stationary and weakening, according to the National Weather Service. No watches or warnings were in effect.

At 7:00 p.m. ChST, the eye of Typhoon Nida was located near 19.5 degrees North Latitude and 139.3 degrees East Longitude.

This is about:
550 miles Northwest of Guam, and
520 miles Northwest of Saipan.

Typhoon Nida has continued to show little movement. Nida is expected to drift Northward overnight and Monday.

Maximum sustained winds have decreased slightly to 140 MPH. Typhoon force winds extend upward up to 75 miles from the center. And Tropical Storm force winds extend outward up to 190 miles from the center. Nida is expected to weaken through Monday.


Even with the decreasing intensity of Typhoon Nida, this is still a dangerous storm. Wind speeds of 140 MPH are very dangerous. The energy associated with a storm of this intensity will produce very strong waves. As the storms intensity decreases, the wave action will diminish much more slowly. This effect was seen with Hurricane Ike when the storm intensity dropped to a Cat 2 but the storm surge was the equivalent of a Cat 4.

WEATHER UPDATE 8:45 a.m. - Super Typhoon Nida still sending powerful waves to Guam (Guampdn.com)
A stationary super typhoon that is no longer a threat to Guam is still sending large sea swells to western and northern beaches, according to a forecast from the National Weather Service.

“This will prolong the period of time that large swells from the typhoon arrive in the Marianas,” the forecast states.

Hazardous surf and a high risk of rip currents are expected to last until at least Tuesday afternoon.

Blame El Nino for 2009 tropical season (Part 2)

In the first part of this essay on how El Nino affected the tropics, the focus was on how the effects of El Nino resulted in a fairly mild hurricane season in the North Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. The primary effect is the increase in vertical wind shear which prevented storms from organizing or tore them apart soon after they developed.

An exception to this includes Hurricane Bill which lashed out at the entire east coast of the US and Canada. Looking back over a decade ago, Hurricane Andrew hit heavy into south Florida during an El Nino year. The entire year of 1992 was very calm except for one storm, Andrew, which made its trek across the Atlantic during the second half of August.

Several factors come into play to determine the number and intensity of tropical storms. We tend to focus on warm water - sea surface temperature - as the primary driver for formation. During the past couple of years we have come to recognize the role of vertical shear in destroying or preventing the formation of organized storms.

How does El Niño affect hurricanes? (Mother Nature Network)

But hot water alone doesn't cause hurricanes. Tropical wind, waves and weather must all cooperate to form the rotating thundercloud clusters that become monster cyclones. Even a slight variation could send a hurricane crashing into the ocean, and this year there's an extra twist: El Niño is sniping from the other side of Mexico, blowing the tops off many Atlantic tropical storms before they fully form.

"Upper-level winds from the west come across the Caribbean Sea, produce increased wind shear, and that's what hinders hurricane activity," says Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster for the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center. "El Niño is so large, and the tropical Pacific is just right there across Mexico, so it's not a far distance, actually."

--snip--

Despite El Niño's help, however, U.S. and Caribbean coasts still aren't completely clear either. Just as it takes more than warm water to build up a hurricane, it often takes more than wind shear to tear one down.

"El Niño is not the only climate player in the game," Bell says. "For the Atlantic and Pacific, [hurricane] activity is strongly affected by tropical climate patterns that can last for decades at a time. That includes warmer water across the tropical Atlantic, and stronger monsoonal rains and low-pressure systems coming off of Africa. That really sets the stage for more activity."

Additionally, long term climate patterns including the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (MDO)have a large effect of the frequency and intensity of hurricane formation. In 2004, Florida was hit by four severe storms back to back including two blows by Hurricane Ivan who, after bashing Florida, decided to loop around, swipe Florida again and slam into Texas just for grins. In 2005, we saw the devastation brought on by Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Additionally, 2005 saw the most named storms in the Atlantic basin ever.

The knee-jerk reaction to this high hurricane activity is that it was the clear result of global warming - specifically Anthropogenic Global Warming - warming caused by human activity. Hurricane experts including Dr. William Grey of Colorado State University and others very quickly showed how this high activity corresponded to the high activity portion of the Atlantic MDO. High hurricane activity had been recorded in the 1930's and 1940's and had now returned in the time since around 1995. During the 1970's and 1980's, activity was low.

Around 2005, the expectation was that the high activity could last another 10 - 15 years. Right now we have the higher than average hurricane activity, caused by or correlated to the MDO fighting the effects of El Nino and even dry dusty air coming off the coast of Africa as we had last year and the year before. The dust also prevents hurricane formation by disrupting convection and circulation.

With so many competing mechanisms, the laws of probablility really play a major role in determining how many storms we get in a given year and how intense they are. El Nino is a HUGE climatic factor that has an effect on the weather patterns world-wide. Those of us in the attack zone of the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea can be thankful that El Nino generated conditions that resulted in a low activity year this year. Next year will be a different story.

Friday, November 27, 2009

2009 Atlantic tropical wrap-up

The hurricane season in the Atlantic basin this year has been the mildest since 1997. The first named storm did not form until the second week of August. A tropical depression did form at the end of May but never developed into an organized storm.

A total of 9 named storms formed throughout the year. The first 6 storms, Tropical Storm Ana through Hurricane Fred, formed during the month from August 11 through September 12.

A second depression that did not develop formed at the end of September followed by Grace and Henri in early October. A full month passed by before Ida formed in early November. It is possible that another storm could form, even after November 30th, but it is highly unlikely this year. El Nino has generated conditions unfavorable for cyclone development. The primary effect of El Nino in the Atlantic has been an increase in shearing winds that disrupt the formation of tropical disturbances into full blown storms.

2009 Hurricane Season Quietest in Decades (National Geographic)

As the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season comes to an end November 30, it will be remembered as one of the quietest in almost two decades, meteorologists say.

That's because persistent, upper-level winds linked to El Niño—unusually warm waters that sometimes form off the northwestern coast of South America—hampered tropical storm formation. Just 9 storms took shape, instead of an average of 15.

During El Niño, the winds—known as the jet stream—shift southward and disrupt hurricane formation and development in the Atlantic Basin, which includes the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

Of the storms that did form, only four affected the US coast at all.
  • Hurricane Bill had a long run along the east coast of the US and Canada producing very high surf that closed beaches and even resulted in one death.
  • Danny threatened the Carolina coasts with waves and rain but broke up before making landfall.
  • The two storms that did make landfall in the US were Claudette on the Florida panhandle and Ida on the Alabama Gulf Coast.
  • Ana and Erika also affected land crossing islands in the Caribbean before dissipating.

Finally, an unusual storm to form was Tropical Storm Grace which formed the furthest north for a tropical storm that didn't start as a subtropical storm. Grace maintained her tropical charachteristics for quite a while before finally becoming extra tropical just prior to making landfall in Ireland.

2009 Atlantic Basin Tropical Summary (The Weather Channel)

Only Tropical Storms Claudette and Ida made landfall in the U.S. thus far (1 in the Florida Panhandle and the other in southern Alabama near the Florida border). There have been no U.S. hurricane strikes. 8 of the 11 tropical cyclones lasted less than four days and 5 of these lasted two days or less. Only Ana and Bill lasted more than 5 days; Bill being the only true "long-track" Atlantic hurricane of 2009 lasted about 9 days.

Tropical storm Grace formed in the NE Atlantic and goes into the record books as the farthest north tropical storm formation (without first being a subtropical storm). From the track map below it is obvious all named storms, except Claudette, have thus far formed in the Atlantic. Only Anna and Erika have briefly entered the NE Caribbean Sea. So based on tropical storm duration and track behavior it was a very quiet hurricane season for most land areas, including the U.S. This was the quietest hurricane season since 1997 (7 named storms and 3 hurricanes) and the second quietest in the 1995 to 2009 "active era" in terms of storms and hurricanes. The last time there were only 2 hurricanes was back in 1992. There remains a small portion of hurricane season yet to come, so we say always be prepared just in case.

Graphic courtesy of The Weather Channel

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Supertyphoon Nida explodes to a monster

UPDATE: AccuWeather is reporting that on Wednesday, Super Typhoon Nida actually hit a sustained windspeed of 185 MPH making it the strongest storm of the 2009 Pacific Season, second only to Hurricane Rick in the eastern Pacific in October.

Nida Is Mightiest Tropical System of 2009 (AccuWeather)
As of Friday morning, EST, Typhoon Nida packed the Category 4 punch of 150-mph top sustained as it churned open seas northwest of Guam. Nida was tracking toward the north at a lazy 5-mph clip.

Strong as this was, Nida`s Category 4 status on Friday was significantly below its peak intensity. On Wednesday, top winds about the eye of Nida rose to a phenomenal 185-mph clip--well into the rank of Category 5. And sea level pressure caved in to only 905 millibars, or 26.72 inches of mercury. These vital statistics were high enough to lift Nida to the top of the list of Earth`s most intense tropical cyclones of 2009.
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Graphic courtesy of Weather Underground

Super typhoon Nida has rapidly exploded to become the most intense storm of the season worldwide. Sustained winds over 165 MPH with gusts as high as 207 MPH make Nida a very severe storm. The storm is so strong and the eye large enough that the ocean below can be seen through it. In addition to the high winds, waves as high as 44 feet have been measured near the eye.

Powerful Super Typhoon Nida churns in the Pacific packing 175 mph winds (Examiner)

One of the most powerful tropical cyclones of the year is churning in the open waters of the Pacific and packing astounding winds gusting to 207 mph. Super Typhoon Nida has encountered ideal conditions allowing it to strengthen to a massive storm faster and stronger than forecast.

Satellite imagery shows a massive storm with a very well defined eye wall – so perfect that the ocean can be seen through the eye. Sustained winds of 175 mph gusting to over 200 mph which would make it the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Wave heights of 44 feet are being realized near the center of Nida.

Nida is currently 178 miles west-southwest of the United States territory of Guam according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). Moving northwest at 15 mph, the storm is passing between Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and the island of Yap. The southwestern side of Guam and the northeastern side of Yap will experience heavy surf as the storm passes.


Caption: The MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Super Typhoon Nida early on Nov. 25 that shows a perfectly symmetrical storm and a clear eye, both hallmarks of a powerful typhoon.

Credit: NASA MODIS Rapid Response Team

NASA's Aqua satellite sees Nida explode into a category 5 Super Typhoon (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
Typhoon Nida is in a favorable environment that has enabled it to intensify faster and stronger than previously forecast, and has now exploded into a Super typhoon. NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Nida and captured a visible image of the storm revealing a clear eye, which indicates a strong typhoon.

The Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Super Typhoon Nida on November 25 at 0355 UTC (November 24 at 10:55 p.m. ET). The image clearly revealed an eye that showed the surface of the northwestern Pacific Ocean! The MODIS image showed a tightly circulating symmetrical hurricane form.

At 10 a.m. ET on November 25, Super Typhoon Nida had maximum sustained winds near 172 mph (150 knots) with gusts as high as 207 mph! A category five typhoon on the Saffir-Simpson scale has sustained winds greater than 155 mph. Typhoon-force winds extend as far as 45 miles from Nida's center, while tropical storm-force winds extend out as far as 105 miles from Nida's center.

Nida was about 155 miles west-southwest of Guam, near 12.6 North latitude and 142.2 East longitude. It was moving to the northwest near 15 mph, and its powerful winds were kicking up dangerously high waves up to 44 feet high!

Nida is not expected to pass directly over any landmasses although it is currently passing rather close to Yap and Andersen Air Force Base. These area will certainly experience heavy rain and battering wind and surf.

The projected path shows Nida moving fairly slowly as the typhoon makes a gentle turn from a northwesterly direction toward the northeast. As Nida's forward speed increases, the typhoon will make a hard right and head mostly towards the east as its intensity diminishes. It is projected to pass to the south of Iwo Two and the main islands of Japan but will affect the small islands dotted all over the western Pacific.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tropical Cyclone Bongani has dissipated

Tropical Cyclone Bongani has dissipated essentially to a remnant low pressure system. The storm center was located approximately 400 miles north of Antananarivo, Madagascar traveling to the west at 17 knots and basically broke apart.

The storm is being monitored for signs of regeneration as the sea surface temperatures int he area appear to be fairly warm.

Tropical Cyclone Bongani skirting northern Madagascar

Tropical cyclone Bongani formed in the southern Indian Ocean a few days ago. Earlier forecasts indicated that the storm will pass north of Madagascar and follow into the coast of Africa making landfall as a category 1 storm. Instead, the storm track is now curving towards the south and passing through the Mozambique Channel.

Bongani se rapproche de l'archipel des Comores (Zinfos 974)

La tempête tropicale modérée Bongani se rapproche inéluctablement du Nord malgache et de l'archipel des Comores. A 4 heures locales ce matin, elle se dirigeait vers l'Ouest-Sud-Ouest à la vitesse de 16 km/h et présentait une trajectoire de plus en plus incurvée vers l'Ouest.

Selon le dernier bulletin du CMRS, la tempête modérée était centrée par les points 9.2 Sud et 52.0 Est à 1.345 kilomètres au Nord-Nord-Ouest des côtes réunionnaises. Quant à la pression, elle était estimée à 999 hectopascals avec des rafales avoisinant les 91 km/h.

English translation courtesy of Google Translate


Bongani was expected to cross the northern point of the island of Madagascar early today near the city of Anteranana. The cyclone will then pass through the Comoros Islands along the western coast of Madagascar. Based on the clockwise circulation of southern hemisphere storms, this should mean that the heaviest rain and wind could potentially affect Madagascar's coast.

Tropical storm Bongani (Reuters Alert Net)
Tropical storm Bongani is forecast to strike Madagascar at about 12:00 GMT on 25 November. Data supplied by the US Navy and Air Force Joint Typhoon Warning Center suggest that the point of landfall will be near 11.8 S, 49.6 E. Bongani is expected to bring 1-minute maximum sustained winds to the region of around 64 km/h (40 mph). Wind gusts in the area may be considerably higher.
Madagascar is no stranger to tropical cyclones. Typically, their season begins in December so this storm is making its appearance a bit earlier than normal, although as I pointed out in an earlier post, the potential for cyclones exists year round.

MADAGASCAR: The cyclones are coming (IRIN Africa)
The concept of preparedness is not new to Madagascar. The island lies in the main path of storms crossing the Western Indian Ocean and is battered by cyclones every year; five have struck it in the last two years, affecting over 463,000 people.

Cyclone season usually starts in December and runs through April, hitting some of the poorest regions in the country - around 70 percent of Madagascar's people live on less than a dollar a day and coping mechanisms are quickly overwhelmed.

The focus had started shifting from a reactive approach - limited to response and recovery after an event - to a more comprehensive approach centred on preparedness.

"We can see the payoff of prepositioning stocks ahead of the cyclone season. This has made it possible to help victims immediately," IRIN quoted Colonel Jean Rakotomalala, then Executive Secretary of the disaster response agency, BNGRC, who stressed the importance of recent investments in disaster risk reduction in January 2009.

Typhoon Nida grows to a Cat 5 super typhoon

Typhoon Nida has rapidly intensified and is now a Category 5 super typhoon. Very warm water temperatures and low wind shear have created conditions to allow for rapid intensification, as much as 50 knots over a 12 hour period. Further intensification is expected.

Weather Underground Forecast Discussion
Nida continues to rapidly intensify (50 knot in 12 hours). The sea surface temperatures remain very favorable with indications that a warm pool near 14n 142e will cause further intensification in the next 12 to 24 hours. Upper level analysis shows an expansion in the radial outflow aloft supporting the increase in low level inflow. There is high confidence in the current position and motion based on the eye fixes and radar imagery from Guam.
Nida has begun moving at 13 knots toward the northwest. This compared to nearly stationary motion yesterday at a Category 1 intensity. The typhoon is moving away from the Marianas but is generating very high surf and dangerous rip tide conditions along the islands.

Typhoon Nida moving away (KUAM)
Typhoon Nida is moving northwest away from the Marianas. The storm was located about 180 miles southwest of Guam. As the storm moves away leaving us with strong gusts of wind and some rain, the National Weather Service has also issued a High Surf Warning, which will remain in effect through Thanksgiving.

Guam typhoon generates high surf (Saipan Tribune)
The Emergency Management Office is strongly advising the public to avoid venturing near exposed reefs and beaches until Friday due to large waves brought on by a typhoon passing Guam.

Based on information received from the National Weather Service in Tiyan, Guam, swells generated by Typhoon Nida will produce hazardous surf conditions and a high risk of rip currents through Friday evening.A high surf and small craft advisory remains in effect for the Marianas region.

Expect hazardous surf of 9 to 12 feet along east facing exposures and along southeast facing exposures Thursday and Thursday night. Surf heights will peak early on Thursday as Nida makes its closest approach. Surf of 8 to 10 feet is expected along south facing reefs on Friday.

East and north facing reefs will be particularly dangerous due to rip currents that are life threatening.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nida becomes a typhoon; not a threat to Guam

Typhoon Nida intensified in the western Pacific overnight, reaching typhoon status with 75 MPH winds. Currently, the storm is essentially stationary. Forward motion is expected to pick up later in the day with the typhoon heading in a northwesterly direction. 5-day forecast track shows Nida to be heading towards southern Japan at the moment. Any impact on Japan will be over a week away and the storm track can shift over the next few days so people in the area need to keep a weather eye out.

Nida upgraded to typhoon (KUAM)
The weather system in our area has now been upgraded to a typhoon. Typhoon Nida is located 345 miles south of Guam, and remains nearly stationary. The National Weather Service reports that Nida is expected to turn more towards the northwest and speed up to around 12 miles per hour over the next 24 hours.

Earlier reports indicated that Nida had moved closer to Guam. Now, indications are that Guam will not be affected by the storm. The primary concern is for islands associated with the state of YAP. Small atolls are close enough that storm bands and even some heavy winds could have a significant effect.

Storm not expected to threaten Guam (KUAM)
It looks like Guam will be spared typhoon-force winds as Tropical Storm Nida makes its closest approach a safe distance south of Guam early tomorrow morning. But meteorologists at the National Weather Service still warn that feeder band activity east of the system could continue to affect us in the coming days.

The NWS is also keeping a close eye on some of our neighbors to the south, as meteorologist Michael Ziobro said, ""The small little atolls near Yap State, that's what we're more worried about especially Faraulep; it's a small little atoll that's east of Yap and that's where we're expecting the storm to come closest at within the next day."

Tropical Storm Nida Moves 100 Miles Closer To Guam Within 5 Hours (Guam News Factor)

According to the National Weather Service, as of 1:00 p.m. Chamorro Standard Time, a Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for Fais and Ulithi, and a Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for Faraulep.

--snip--

At 1:00 p.m. Chamorro Standard Time, the center of Tropical Storm Nida was near 8.7 degrees North Latitude and 145.1 degrees East Longitude.

This is about:
40 miles East of Faraulep;
120 miles Northeast of Woleai;
330 miles South of Guam;
380 miles East-Southeast of Ulithi;
320 miles East-Southeast of Fais; and
480 miles East of Yap.

Tropical Storm Nida has been moving West toward the island of Faraulep at around 9 MPH. It is expected to move West-Northwest during the next 24 hours.


Current projections indicate that Nida may intensify to Supertyphoon status by the weekend reaching a strong Category 3 or possibly even a Cat 4 status.

TD Urduja strands many; causes landslides

As heavy rains pound central Philippines, thousands of passengers and many cargo vessels are stranded in port due to the storm.

More than 2,700 stranded due to ‘Urduja’ (GMA News)

More than 2,700 passengers in Eastern and Western Visayas, Southern Luzon and Northern Mindanao were stranded due to tropical depression "Urduja," the government said on Tuesday.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), in its noon report, said those stranded included 1,519 in Eastern Visayas; 719 in Western Visayas; and 399 in Sorsogon province.Stranded passengers in Southern Tagalog included 10 in Lucena and 25 in San Jose, while those in Sorsogon included 237 in Pilar and 162 in Bulan.

Passengers stranded in Western Visayas included 384 in Bacolod and 335 in Iloilo. Those in Eastern/Central Visayas included 746 in Cebu, 282 in Maasin, 50 in Tagbilaran, 309 in Dumaguete, and 150 in Catbalogan.

Another 19 were stranded in Dapitan in Northern Mindanao.The NDCC said 99 vehicles and 86 vessels in Southern Luzon, Bicol, Eastern Visayas and Northern Mindanao were also stranded due to the weather disturbance.

As feared, the storm has produced one landslide in southern Lyete province. Fortunately, no one was injured in this landslide. All storm projections indicate that this is a slow moving storm that could dump many cemtimeters of rain on the area. As the rain continues, the threat for landslides and flash flooding increases.

Urduja causes flashflood, landslide; no one hurt (Inquirer)

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—The rains caused by tropical depression Urduja has resulted in a minor flashflood and a landslide in Liloan town, Southern Lyete, according to the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD).

Rey Gozon, OCD Eastern Visayas administrative officer, said on Tuesday that the landslide in the village of Guintungyan and the flooding in the village of San Isidro, both in Liloan town, did not result in any damage to properties or casualties among the residents of the two villages.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tropical Cyclone TWO - South Indian Ocean

The second tropical cyclone formed in the South Indian Ocean approximately 800 miles northeast of Madagascar. Current information is that conditions are favorable for slight development to a Category 1 cyclone as it passes to the north of Madagascar. Wind shear is currently low and water temperatures in this spot are high.

As the cyclone approaches the African coast, it is expected to reach an area of higher wind shear which will degrade the cyclone back to a tropical storm before making landfall.

Information is currently very limited. We will update as soon as more info is available.

Tropical depression 27W (Urduja) heads for southern Philippines

A tropical disturbance has strengthened into a tropical depression near the central and southern Philippine Islands. Named Urduja by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), tropical depression 27W is expected to reach the central Philippine Visayas and enter the Gulf of Layte tonight.


The track of the storm then appears to be questionable. PAGASA and Typhoon 2000 both indicate that URUDJA will continue for the next day or so towards the northwest. However, US meteorological sources indicate that URUDJA will hook around to the south and pass over Mindnao Island exiting back into the Philippine Sea on an easterly heading.

The basis for this spiral storm track projection is a weak steering current that will be created due to a receeding pressure ridge to the northwest of the system. After leaving the influences of land, the system is expected to strengthen to a Cat 1 typhoon and may interact with TS Nida (26W) to the east.

While the island of Luzon has been pummelled with 4 typhoons that produced heavy rain and flooding a couple of months ago, the southern islands have been quite dry, experiencing a drought induced by El Nino. The rain from Urudja could be a welcome relief if it doesn't inundate the area with too much rain too quickly. Signal 1 storm warnings have been put in place in as many as 20 areas for residents to watch for landslides and flash flooding caused by the storm.

Signal up in 20 areas as ‘Urduja’ moves toward Visayas (GMA News)

By Tuesday morning it is expected to make landfall over Leyte, and by evening it is expected to be 40 kms east-southeast of Roxas City.

By Wednesday evening it is expected to be 120 kms west-northwest of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. The next evening it is expected to be 450 kms northwest of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

Areas under Storm Signal No. 1 include Masbate, Eastern Samar, Western Samar, Biliran, Leyte provinces, Cebu, Camotes Island, Bohol, Negros provinces, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, Guimaras, Camiguin, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat, and Siargao Island.

Pagasa reminded residents in low-lying areas and near mountain slopes in areas under Storm Signal 1 to take precautions against possible flash floods and landslides.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tropical depression 26W forms in the Pacific


Tropical Depression 26W has formed southeast of Guam near the islands of Micronesia. 26w is barely moving at 2 MOH to the WNW. sustained winds are currently holding at 35 MPH (55 km/hr) with peak winds of 47 MPH (75 km/hr).

Typhoon 2000 has been reporting that the potential for a new storm to form east of the Philippines. Water temperatures in the western Pacific are very high. A pressure ridge that has moved south has reduced any vertical wind shear in the region. This provides warm sea surface temperatures and low winds shear - conditions that are ripe for storm formation.

Current track projections from both Weather Underground and Tropical Storm Risk indicate that 26W will pass betweem Guam and Yap as a tropical storm with winds as high as 65 MPH (102 km/hr) before strengthening to a Cat 1 typhoon. After passing the Marianas, 26W will shift more towards the north towards Japan and strengthening as the week progresses.

Tropical depression threatens Saipan (Saipan Tribune)
A tropical disturbance near Chuuk formed into a tropical depression yesterday. The National Weather Service in Guam said tropical depression 26W has winds between 20mph and 30mph and is moving Northwest at 3 mph.

A statement from the agency said it is expected to pass toward the Marianas in the following days. Watches or warnings may be issued by the National Weather Service as early as Monday, the special weather statement said.

The storm is most likely to pass Saipan on Nov. 26.Related to the weather disturbance, the CNMI Emergency Management Office has issued a small craft advisory for the islands.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blame El Nino for 2009 tropical season (Part 1)

This year has been a rather unusual year in the tropics from what I was expecting. Hurricane in the Atlantic peaked in 2004 - 05 and while activity has been fairly high in the years since, there have been very few landfalling storms with Gustav and Ike being major exceptions.

2009 was expected to be an average to slightly above average year with as many as 14 named storms. Before the season began the forecast was reduced by almost half to 7 - 11 storms. The end result was 9 named storms including 3 hurricanes, 2 of which were major.

Why such a mild season? Global warming alarmists have been saying for years that the number and intensity of hurricanes would increase as a result of increasing carbon dioxide concentration. A more scientifically viable theory is that we are still in the midst of an active period in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. The MDO is a regular, predicatable pettern of hurrricane activity in the Atlantic Basin. Activity was very high in the 30's and 40's and was high again in the late 90's and early to mid 2000's. But this year seemed to have unusually low activity.

The low tropical activity can be completely attributed to the presence of El Nino this year. El Nino occurs when the Central and Eastern Pacific Ocean become unusually warm, paricularly near the equator. As a result, wind shear in the Atlantic increases significantly. The end effect is a significant reduction in tropical storms in the Atlantic and an increase in storms in the eastern Pacific.

Colorado State: Atlantic Hurricane Season Quietest Since 1997 (Wall Street Journal)

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--The Atlantic Hurricane season, which officials ends Nov. 30, will go into the record books as the quietest since 1997, due to the impact of the El Nino weather phenomenon, forecasters at Colorado State University said Thursday.

The season featured nine named storms, three hurricanes and two major hurricanes, with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater. Long-term averages are 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 major hurricanes per season.

In their far-forward December 2008 forecast, experts at Colorado State projected an above-average season, with 14 named storms and seven hurricanes.

The forecasters said the impacts of El Nino, unforeseen at the time, sharply reduced hurricane formation, and they reduced their storm expectations as the season progressed.

"Activity in 2009 was reduced considerably due largely to the moderate El Nino event that developed," said William Gray, who has been issuing forecasts for 26 years. "This event generated significantly stronger-than-average vertical wind shear, especially in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico."

The forecasters said five named storms dissipated over the open ocean this year, a fairly rare occurrence, caused by unusually high levels of vertical wind shear, caused by El Nino.


In the eastern and central Pacific, 17 named storms formed including 7 hurricanes. While the Pacific season is typically longer and more active than the Atlantic, the first half of this year was very active especially along the western coast of Mexico. The warmer water resulting from El Nino created conditions conducive to hurricane formation. Tropical activity was particularly high during the first half of the season.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Southern hemisphere tropical weather

Tropical weather in the southern hemisphere does not really follow a season similar to that seen in the North Atlantic and Eastern Pacific. Instead, tropical storms have developed throughout the year and the tropical season can be said to last from July all the way to June. Of course their seasons are opposite of the seasons in the northern hemisphere so the heaviest activity occurs from November through April.


The chart above shows the total number of tropical cyclones from 1969 - 2006 in both the southern Indian and the South Pacific Oceans by month. The average number of storms in a given year is 28.25 and every year had over 20 named storms.

Reference: Southern Hemisphere Monthly Storm Distribution (Australian Severe Weather)

While the southern hemisphere is clearly more active than any of the northern basins, the potential for landfall is much less since the land area in the south is less than in the north.

Anja was the first storm of the year forming on November 15th, the start of the peak period for the south. This storm is expected to not make landfall prior to breaking apart later in the week.

We have not covered southern storms in the past. As information is available, we will attempt to provide links and content for readers in the southern latitudes. The sources I utilize may not have detailed information for southern cyclones and much of that information may be in French (see previous post).

Additionally, those of us in the north need to keep in mind that the rotation of the Earth causes tropical cyclones to rotate clockwise in the southern hemisphere as can be seen in this picture of Anja.

Likewise the directional tendencies will be to the south and east rather than to the north and west as we see in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific.

Photo source: Anja premier cyclone tropical (Grandbaie.mu)

Another difference between the northern and the southern hemisphere is the tropical cyclone classification system shown above. These classifications differ from the Saffir-Simpson scale used in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific basins. Categories are based on the averaged 10 minute sustained winds in knots converted to km/hr.

Source: Tropical Cyclone Map Intensity Scale Information (Australian Severe Weather)

The definitions in the following table are from the Southern Hemisphere classification system (as used by the Australian BoM), and all maps on this website have been plotted using it. JTWC best track data has been converted from 1-minute average winds in knots, to the Southern Hemisphere standard of 10-minute average winds in knots, then converted to km/h. The conversion used is "JTWC 1-min" * 0.88 * 1.852. Operational data is also converted using this formula where 10-min average winds are not available.

The Hurricane and Typhoon classification systems are different.

Tropical Cyclone Anja to affect Rodrigues

Tropical Cyclone Anja continues to grow in the south Indian Ocean now reaching the equivalent of a Cat 3 storm and ecpected to grow to Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Initially it appeared that this storm would not affect any landmasses. Now, projections indicate that it will come close to the island of Rodrigues in the south Indian Ocean.

The island will be affected by the outer bands of the storm but the heaviest winds and rain will remain out to sea. Rodrigues is the northeastern most of the Mascarene islands which make up the nation of Mauritius. The other islands should not be affected by the cyclone.

Cyclone Anja: Océan Indien Sud (Mateo World)

Le premier cyclone de la saison s’est formé dans l’Océan Indien.

Baptisé hier après midi sous le nom de Anja, le cyclone s’est renforcé en un cyclone de catégorie 2/5 ce matin, avec des vents qui soufflent à 148 km/h en moyenne, et des rafales allant jusqu’à 208 km/h près du centre.

Anja fait actuellement du surplace, mais devrait se diriger vers le sud de l’océan Indien, épargnant ainsi toutes les îles situées dans le sud de l’océan Indien.

English translation courtesy of Google Translate


Anja had been essentially stationary over much of the weekend as she traversed an arc from a northwesterly direction to the southeast. Now Anja's forward speed has been increasing with a current forward speed of 12 km/hr.

Le cyclone Anja à 1.585 kilomètres à l'Est-Nord-Est (Zinfos 974)

A 10 heures locales ce matin, Anja présentait une pression équivalente à 950 hectopascals en son centre et était centré par les points suivants : 14.1 Sud et 68.9 Est, ce qui le positionne à 1.585 kilomètres à l'Est-Nord-Est de nos côtes.

Pour le moment, le cyclone tropical poursuit sa route en direction du Sud-Ouest à la vitesse de 12 km/h et se rapproche lentement et sûrement de Rodrigues dont il était distant de 925 kilomètres selon le dernier bulletin émis par les services météorologiques mauriciens.

Le CMRS (Centre météorologique régional spécialisé) précise, par ailleurs, que les rafales maximales mesurées étaient de 221 km/h à 10 heures tandis que les vents moyens mesurés sur 10 minutes étaient équivalents à 157 km/h.

English translation courtesy of Google Translate

Anja is expected to weaken back to tropical storm stregnth over the next 48 hours along with a sharp turn to the southeast.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tropical Cyclone Anja grows in the S. Indian Ocean

Tropical Cyclone 1S became TC Anja today is it grew from a tropical storm to a cyclone with category 2 level winds.

Topical systems in the Indian Ocean basin are known as Tropical Cyclones regardless of the storm's intensity.

Yesterday's forecast indicated that Anja would remain as a tropical storm until early int he week and then grow to a Cat 1 storm before diminishing. Now indications are that Anja will grow to a Cat 3 level storm by Sunday night local time and remain as a severe cyclone until mid week whe conditions result in a sudden drop in intensity as well as faster forward motion including a turn from the southwest to the south-southeast.

Public Advisory (Weather Underground)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Is IDA coming back?

Is Ida going to become the "Storm That Never Ends?

AccuWeather is speculating that the remnants of Hurricane Ida may circulate back around in the Atlantic throughtout this coming week and drive up the east coast again next week.

Will Ida Return Next Week? (AccuWeather)

Ida will depart the East Coast later this weekend, but will that be the last time the United States deals with the storm? There are a few indications that the answer may be no.

Saturday into Tuesday, Ida's remains will slowly creep southeastward through the Atlantic Ocean. Beyond that point, it cannot be totally ruled out that Ida gets steered back westward and poses another threat to the East Coast.

Graphic courtesy of AccuWeather.

A forecast this far in advance is admittedly uncertain. So how could the low pressure center that was Ida come back to strike the east coast again? The graphic below shows the overall upper level air circulation pattern. The graphic itself is from Spaghettimodels.com. Your humble hurricane hobbiest added the indicators designating the three high pressure systems and the possible pathway that Ida could take.

Ida's low will be moving to the east today out into the ocean. High pressure coming east from Ohio and another high in the northern Gulf of Mexico will help to drive the low away from the coast this weekend. The canadian high that has helped fuel the Nor'easter along with Ida will prevent the low from drifting northward.

There is also a clockwise circulation in the Atlantic (I assume this is a high pressure system as well but I did not see that indicated on any maps). The low of Ida could become caught in the circulation and pulled towards the south. Then as the week continues, the same circulation could drive this low back around into the Bahamas and then north towards the Carolinas.

We will have to watch this system to see what happens as the week progresses. Looking at the sea surface temperatures, the water near Florida and the Bahamas is warm enough for tropical development but the wind shear is increasing from the Bahamas all the way north to the mid-Atlantic states. Wind shear will make development unlikely.

Remnants of Ida causing trouble in New England

Remnants from Hurricane Ida continue to pound the northeast coast today creating extreme weather from New Jersey all the way up to southern Maine. Winds of 25 - 45 MPH will continue along with wave heights of 8 - 16 feet. The conveyor system set up by Ida's low pressure and the Canadian high has shifted northward pushing the storms winds and rain directly from the east onto the coast.

New England Dreary from Ida`s Rain (AccuWeather)
Moisture from Ida will advance into New England today, bringing a soggy start to the weekend from New Jersey to southern Maine. It will be a cloudy and at times dreary November day elsewhere in the Northeast.

Unlike the storm's dire outcome in the Southeast, widespread flooding rain and damaging winds will not plague New England this weekend. However, rough surf and gusty winds will continue to pummel the coastal areas of the mid-Atlantic and New England.

Ida`s Winds Deliver Final Blow (AccuWeather)

Gusty onshore winds will continue today in the mid-Atlantic and New England. While winds will be much weaker today compared to recent days in the mid-Atlantic, there could still be some isolated damage.

Generally the strongest gusts of 20-30 mph will be directed at areas from Ocean City, Md., to Boston. Isolated gusts of up to 45 mph could also howl in this corridor. In communities where the highest gusts blow, some tree branches could be downed. There could also be sporadic power outages.

The storm is expected to move out to sea and ending the rain and winds today.
Graphics courtesy of AccuWeather

Friday, November 13, 2009

Remnants of Hurricane Ida pounding US east coast

After making landfall in the northern Gulf of Mexico as a tropical storm, Ida headed due east and lost her tropical characteristics. As a low pressure system in the Atlantic, however, the storm has retains enough counter-clockwise circulation to fuel a strong Nor'easter causing flooding and heavy rain from North Carolina up to New Jersey.

This storm system has begun to cause deaths due to the wigh waves and strong surf.

Huge Waves and Coastal Flooding Risk (AccuWeather)


Large waves will continue to surge into the mid-Atlantic coast today into Saturday before subsiding, reducing the coastal flooding threat. Strong winds are being fueled between Tropical Rainstorm Ida off the North Carolina coast and an area of high pressure dominating the Canadian Maritimes. Winds are pushing ocean water toward the coast, leading to battering waves.

This is a very dangerous situation for anyone planning to venture near or into the water over the next few days. Very rough surf and deadly rip currents are expected from North Carolina to southeastern New England.

One of the five deaths being blamed on Tropical Rainstorm Ida includes a 36-year-old man surfing at a New York City beach Thursday. He died after getting caught in dangerous surf.

A high pressure system located near the Canadian maritimes is creating a conveyor-belt effect with Ida's remains that is accelerating winds and generating a large storm surge.

The system is expected to move towards New England and then out to sea. The effects of the storm should decrease as it heads further north.

Ida Pounding the Mid-Atlantic to Southeast New England(AccuWeather)
A slow-moving nor'easter that was once Hurricane Ida will continue lashing the mid-Atlantic today into Saturday with high winds. Winds will also increase farther up the coast from Long Island to southeastern New England.

The damage is not expected to be as severe the farther north you go because wind gusts will not be quite as strong. From coastal areas of Virginia to southeastern New England, wind gusts will reach 60 mph.

The strong onshore flow will also continue to push ocean water to the coast today, threatening coastal flooding and beach erosion for areas from the hard-hit beaches of North Carolina all the way to southeastern Massachusetts.

Although Ida has not been classified as a hurricane or even a tropical storm since it made landfall in Alabama, wind speeds in this Nor'easter have reached hurricane strength in some areas. Winds of 65 - 75 MPH were recorded overnight in Virginia along with rainfall of as much as 13 inches.

The big Nor'Easter begins to wind down (Weather Channel)

Between low pressure just east of the Outer Banks and strong high pressure over New England and the Canadian Maritimes, wind, rain, coastal flooding and battering waves continue to plague the East Coast from Nantucket and Long Island to the Jersey shore, the Delmarva Peninsula, Tidewater Virginia and northeast North Carolina.

Areas around the Virginia/North Carolina border have picked up from 8 to 13 inches of rain. Through tonight, 1-to-3-inch rains will focus on coastal New Jersey, much less than has been experienced farther south.

Last evening, the winds peaked with this storm as Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, Cape Henry, Norfolk and Oceana gusted to between 70 and 75 mph, causing many power outages. Into tonight, winds will gust to between 40 and 50 mph from Nantucket and Long Island to the Jersey shore and the Delmarva Peninsula. The risk for power outages will expand northward with these winds.

Strong winds will focus on southeast Massachusetts on Saturday, possibly gusting to over 50 mph on Nantucket.

The persistent onshore flow will also result in more coastal flooding, beach erosion and high waves. The water rises combined with the high tides have approached historic levels of 5 to nearly 8 feet in SE Virginia, not seen since the big nor'easters in January and February of 1998 and Isabel in 2003.


Graphics courtesy of AccuWeather

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tropical Cyclone Phyan makes landfall

Tropical Cyclone Phyan came ashore south of Mumbai last night after intensifying. An Orange alert was issued for the area which is one level below a Red Alert issued for the most severe cyclones. The storm was heading to the north and north northeast and seems to have suddenly taken a turn to the east, impacting the western Indian coast.

Tropical Cyclone Phyan Hits India’s Western Coast Near Mumbai (Bloomberg)
Tropical Cyclone Phyan hit India’s western coast near the commercial capital, Mumbai, prompting evacuations and storm warnings.

Phyan crossed the coast between Mumbai and Alibag, to the south of the city, between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. local time and was forecast to track north-northeastward, the India Meteorological Department said on its Web site.

The system was likely to weaken from a deep depression to a depression during the night, after heavy rain and winds gusting to 70 kilometers (44 miles) per hour batter the coast of northern Maharashtra and southern Gujarat states, the department said in an advisory that was timed at 7 p.m. and posted at about 8:30 p.m.

Residents of slums in low-lying areas of Mumbai were told to evacuate, Mahesh Narvekar, the head of disaster management at Municipal Corp. of Greater Mumbai, aid by phone. An alert for strong winds and rain was issued for all 24 wards of the city, which has a population of 18 million.
Earlier reports indicated that the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Goa will be affected by the storm. Based on the windspeed, the primary concerns will be flooding and flash flooding due to heavy rain.

Video: Cyclone Phyan intensifies; Mumbai on alert (NDTV)


Mumbai Cyclone, Indian Meteorological Department, Weather Forecast India, Goa, Karnataka, Gujarat (Examiner)

Heavy rainfall has been reported from the Indian cities of Mumbai, Goa, Gujarat and Konkan region. The weather deparrtment in Mumbai has said that a tropical cyclone has strengthened over the Arabian Sea off the western coast.

The Indian meteorological department said that the cyclone named Phyan was about 250 km west of Goa at 2.30 a.m. As of Thursday morning an "orange" alert has been
issued. That is one step below the red alert given for a severe cyclone.

Reportedly the cyclone will hit Mumbai tomorrow around 5.30 am.

Met officials have said that the cyclone with winds of up to 75 kms per hour will hit the Indian states of southern Gujarat, Northern Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cyclone alerts raised for Indian coast

Tropical cyclone 4A in the Arabian Sea has intensified into Tropical Cyclone PHYAN. Windspeeds are currently holding at 65 - 70 km/hr with gusts up to 85 km/hr. The storm is expected to continue to strengthen slightly until making landfall during the day Thirsday local time.

Cyclone warnings have been issued for areas near the coast that will be affected by heavy rain.

Cyclone alert for North M'rashtra coast and south Gujarat (Hindustan Times)
The city may well see the heaviest rainfall it has experienced this year on Wednesday, thanks to a cyclone developing 700 km south of the city.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that Tuesday’s drizzle could give way to a downpour and squally winds of up to 75 km an hour, which could uproot trees, in the next 48 hours. “Wednesday afternoon is critical,” said R.V. Sharma, deputy director, IMD (western region).

The cyclone is expected to hit north Maharashtra and move towards Gujarat. Mumbai last saw a cyclone in 1982.

Cyclone warning for south Gujarat and north Maharashtra : Orange message (Indian Meteorological Department)
Under its influence, rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and isolated extremely heavy fall (≥25 cm) is likely over Konkan & Goa and Madhya Maharashtra during next 36 hours. Rainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places is likely over coastal Karnataka during next 24 hours. Rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and isolated extremely heavy falls (≥25 cm) is likely to commence over south Gujarat from today afternoon, the 11th November, 2009.

Squally winds speed reaching 55-65 kmph gusting to 75 kmph are likely along and off Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra coasts during next 36 hours. Sea condition will be very rough over along and off Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra coasts. Squally wind speed reaching 55-65 gusting to 75 kmph is likely to commence along and off south Gujarat coast from today afternoon.
Cyclone threat for north Konkan, south Gujarat (Hindu Business Line)

India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a tropical cyclone formation alert in the Arabian Sea as Monday’s depression intensified into deep depression, a notch below cyclone status.

The IMD had early this morning elevated an existing well-marked ‘low’ over southeast and adjoining east-central Arabian Sea to a depression.

The depression later moved northwards, intensified into a deep depression and lay centred about 470 km west of Mangalore; 470 km southwest of Goa; and 700 km south-southwest of Mumbai around 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

What seems to have fuelled the intensification is its movement into open east-central Arabian Sea that is warmer than along the coast-affording it more stay on waters - and less wind shear.

Satellite imagery indicated organisation of convection leading to curved band features.

Associated broken intense to very intense convection lay over east-central and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea and off Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra coasts and over Lakshadweep.

The prospective cyclonic storm is expected to move in a northerly direction and then north-northeastwards to cross south Gujarat and north Konkan coast between Mahuva and Dahanu by early hours of Thursday, the IMD said.

Ida comes ashore - becomes a depression

Tropical storm Ida came ashore this morning and quickly diminished to a tropical depression. The National Hurricane Center has stopped issuing advisories on Ida as the storm moves inland.



The center of this storm has indeed taken a sharp right hook and is travelling across the Florida panhandle towards the Atlantic Ocean. The rain from Ida, however, is concentrated to the north and east of the storm center. Nothern Alabama, north Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina are getting drenched with heavy rain but winds are quite low and are no longer an issue.

Ida weakens to a depression, heads east to Fla. (Associated Press)
PENSACOLA, Fla. — Tropical Storm Ida sloshed ashore with rain and gusty winds Tuesday before weakening to a depression, leaving weather-hardened Gulf Coast residents largely unscathed and bringing more rain to the already-soaked Southeast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Ida's center first touched land on Dauphin Island, Ala., before heading across Mobile Bay toward the Alabama mainland and on to Florida.

Top sustained winds dropped to near 35 mph (55 mph) as Ida weakened and moved northeast at about 9 mph (15 kph). It was expected to turn east before being absorbed by a front Wednesday.

Tropical Storm Ida Weakens as It Moves Ashore (New York Times)

MIAMI — Tropical Storm Ida brought heavy rain and gusty winds to the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, arriving in Dauphin Island, Ala., just before dawn then weakening as it moved northeast through the Florida panhandle.

A rare late season storm at the end of a quiet year, Ida reached land about 7 a.m. with top sustained winds of about 45 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. Two hours later, forecasters said wind speeds had dropped to 35 m.p.h., and would continue to diminish over the next day or so.

Still, the storm may have caused at least one death: the authorities in Plaquemines Parish, La., said a 70-year-old man appears to have drowned when he tried to help two fishermen whose boat broke down in the Mississippi River as Ida sloshed ashore, flooding low-lying areas. The two fishermen were later picked up by the Coast Guard, The Associated Press reported, but the man who tried to help them has not been found.

In Alabama, the impact was less visible. The storm downed palm fronds and flooded a few parking lots, but the storm surge was not enough to breach berms of sand protecting beachfront hotels and condominiums.

In Florida, it was much the same. Preliminary reports to the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center near Pensacola indicated that Ida’s strength was slightly above that of a bad thunderstorm. The barrier islands that take the brunt of most storms appeared to have survived unscathed: sea oats were still standing tall Tuesday, while new roads and sand fencing — put in place after Hurricane Ivan tore through the area five years ago — showed no sign of damage.

Tropical Storm Ida makes landfall

Tropical Storm Ida came ashore around 6:00 am CST today at Dauphin Island, Alabama, near Gulf Shores. The rain from Ida was already being pushed away from the storm center and had been pounding the coast since yesterday afternoon. Windspeeds continue to die down and as teh center of Ida came ashore, maximum sustained windspeeds were down to 45 MPH.

Ida Makes Landfall in Alabama With Heavy Rain (Fox News)

GULF SHORES, Ala. — Tropical Storm Ida came ashore near Mobile Bay in southern Alabama early Tuesday with top sustained winds around 45 mph.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Ida's center first
touched land on Dauphin Island and was headed for the Alabama mainland later
Tuesday morning.

Ida was moving northeast about 9 mph.

Tropical storm warnings were out across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama
and Florida, where governors declared states of emergency.

The primary concern along the entire southland is flooding. Low lying areas and street flooding is likely in many areas through early tomorrow morning. Rainfall can be anywhere between 2 and 8 inches across the region over the next 12 - 24 hours.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Heavy rain from TS Ida coming ashore

Heavy rain began pounding the gulf coast this afternoon as Tropical Storm Ida started to come ashore. Radar (see earlier posts below) show that teh heavy rain is to the north and east of the eye which means that the heaviest rain is already on shore increasing the potential for coastal flooding.

Tropical Storm Ida continues to move northward toward the Gulf coast at around 18 mph. As of 6 pm CST Monday the center of Ida was located about 40 miles to the east-southeast of the Mouth of the Mississippi River or about 125 miles south of Mobile, AL. Top winds remain near 70 mph but weakening is expected through tonight.

A turn to the north has already begun, followed by a turn to the northeast overnight. The current forecast brings Ida into the northern Gulf Coast early Tuesday. Tropical storm warnings are in effect from Grand Isle, Louisiana east to the Aucilla River in Florida.

Residents of southern Alabama, southeast Mississippi, extreme southeast Louisiana, and the western Florida Panhandle should expect sustained winds of 30 to 50 mph and gusts of 50 to 60 mph overnight into early Tuesday. Some power outages are possible in these areas.

The winds produced by Ida Sunday and earlier today built up the surf over the central Gulf of Mexico. Those waves should fan out impacting the central Gulf coast and much of the Texas coast through Tuesday.

Maximum wave heights of 10 to 15 feet are possible from Mobile Bay east to Apalachicola, Florida and in the Florida Keys, while 6 to 10 foot waves are anticipated from Freeport, Texas south to Brownsville, Texas, from Mobile Bay west to Pascagoula, Mississippi, from Apalachicola northeast to Saint George Island, Florida and along the east coast of Florida from Jacksonville to West Palm Beach. The waves along the east coast of Florida are not directly related to Ida, but due to the pressure difference between Ida and a high pressure system near Bermuda.

The major concern is flooding with heavy rain and flood watches and warnings extending from the Alabama coast all the way into North Carolina. Flood warnings are in effect in the Atlanta metro area from 3 am Tuesday and stay in effect until Wednesday morning.

Ida weakened to a tropical storm earlier today as cooler water and upper-level shearing winds took their toll on the cyclone.

Despite the weakening trend, Ida will still produce widespread coastal flooding due to storm surge and high tides through this evening from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle. Tropical storm-force winds will also cause some minor tree damage closer to the coast through tonight, which could lead to some power outages.

--snip--

The heavy rainfall from the Gulf Coast through the Carolinas will lead to widespread flash flooding through Tuesday, as the ground is still fairly saturated, especially from Alabama through Georgia.

Graphic courtesy of AccuWeather

Tropical cyclone develops near west coast of India

Graphic courtesy of Weather Underground

Tropical Cyclone Four has developed in the Arabian Sea near Mumbai Monday night local time. Sustained winds are at 35 knots indicates that this system is currently a minimal tropical storm. Tropical Storm Watch (TSR) is forecasting that this storm will strengthen over the next one to two days followed by a gradual decrease in strength after making landfall near Ahmadabad.


Government of India
Ministry of Earth Sciences
India Meteorological Department

Latest satellite and coastal observations indicate that a depression has formed over the southeast and adjoining east central Arabian Sea and lay centred at 1430 hrs IST of today, the 9th November, 2009 near Lat. 11.00 N and Long. 72.00 E, about 70 km west of Amini Divi , 370 km southwest of Mangalore and 550 km south-southwest of Goa. The system is likely to intensify into a deep depression during next 24 hours and move in a north-northwesterly direction initially. Thereafter, it may move northward and then north-northeastward and cross south Gujarat coast as a depression during early morning of 12th November 2009.

Under its influence, rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places is likely over Kerala, coastal Karnataka and Lakshadweep during next 48 hours. Rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places is also likely over Konkan & Goa and Madhya Maharastra commencing from tomorrow and over south Gujarat and west Madhya Pradesh from 11th November 2009 onwards.

Squally winds speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph are likely along and off Kerala and Karnataka coasts and over Lakshadweep area during next 48 hours. Sea condition will be rough to very rough over Lakshadweep area and along and off these coasts. Fishermen are advised not to venture into the Sea along and off these coasts.

Squally winds speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph are also likely along and off Konkon & Goa and south Gujarat coasts commencing from 10th and 11th November 2009 respectively for subsequent 48 hrs. Sea condition will be rough to very rough along and off these coasts. Fishermen are advised not to venture into the Sea along and off these coasts.

Tropical Storm Ida heading for Mobile Bay


Ida is now a tropical storm and continues to decrease in intensity as it interacts with both cooler water temperatures and increased wind shear. Current projections are that Ida will maintain tropical storm force winds until reaching landfall Tuesday morning but this could and probably will change throughout the course of the day.
As with any tropical storm of hurricane, people living near the coast should secure all items outside, bring in any furniture, toys, plants, pets, etc that is not or cannot be tied down. Even though windspeed has been decreasing, tropical storm force winds of 60 - 70 MPH can do a lot of damage, especially if harmless loose items suddenly become flying debris.


Graphics courtesy of Weather Underground

TSR Storm Alert - Hurricane IDA down to Cat 1

Hurricane Ida has decreased in strength to a Category 1 hurricane as it approaches the gulf coast. A hurricane watch has been set up from Grand Island, La to Pascagoula, Miss and a hurricane warning is in effect from Pascagoula to Indian Pass Fl.
 
No evacuations are being planned for this storm, however, people in low lying areas are being asked to be vigilant. Heavy rains and flooding is expected with this storm. Louisiana has declared a state of emergency as a precaution so that help can be mobilized as quickly as it is needed. People who live in FEMA trailers from Hurricane Katrina are beign asked to find other shelter.
 
A flash flood warning has been issued for much of Georgia and heavy rains are expected beginning late tonight and may continue through tomorrow evening. 1 - 6 inches are predicted throughout the entire Atlanta metro area with the heaviest rain expected south of the city.
The low pressure system that has been coming on shore in Texas continues to bring rain to south Texas and south western Louisiana. This system is now a non tropical surface low which is affecting areas as far east as New Orleans. Areas to the east of New Orleans will see rain from Hurricane Ida. Outer rain bands are already reaching parts of the Florida peninsula. Additionally a front is coming down from the north. When all three of these system combine, Ida will lose her tropical characteristics but will continue to maintain a strong punch with tropical storm force winds being felt as for north as central Georgia.
 
Sources: Weather Channel, WSB Radio

Storm Alert issued at 9 Nov, 2009 9:00 GMT
 
Hurricane IDA is forecast to strike land to the following likelihood(s) at the given lead time(s):
 
Red Alert Country(s) or Province(s)
    the United States
        probability for CAT 1 or above is 35% in about 33 hours
        probability for TS is 85% in about 21 hours

Yellow Alert City(s) and Town(s)
    Mobile (30.7 N, 88.1 W)
        probability for CAT 1 or above is 10% in about 21 hours
        probability for TS is 85% in about 21 hours
    Pensacola (30.7 N, 87.0 W)
        probability for CAT 1 or above is 10% in about 21 hours
        probability for TS is 85% in about 21 hours

Green Alert City(s) and Town(s)
    Montgomery (32.4 N, 86.3 W)
        probability for TS is 45% in about 33 hours
    New Orleans (30.0 N, 90.1 W)
        probability for TS is 35% in about 21 hours

Note that
    Red Alert (Severe) is CAT 1 or above to between 31% and 100% probability.
    Yellow Alert (Elevated) is CAT 1 or above to between 10% and 30% probability, or TS to above 50% probability.
    Green Alert (Low) is TS to between 31% and 50% probability.
    CAT 1 means Hurricane strength winds of at least 74 mph, 119 km/h or 64 knots 1-min sustained.
    TS means Tropical Storm strength winds of at least 39 mph, 63 km/h or 34 knots 1-min sustained.

For graphical forecast information and further details please visit http://www.tropicalstormrisk.com/

This alert is provided by Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) which is sponsored by UCL, Aon Benfield, Royal & SunAlliance, Crawford & Company and Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre. TSR acknowledges the support of the UK Met Office.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Weather Channel Update: Hurricane Ida winds at 105 MPH

The Weather Channel is reporting tonight that Hurricane Ida now has sustained winds at 105 MPH and is expected to remain a solid Category 2 storm at least until tomorrow night. Additionally they confirm that the upper level low pressure system we discussed earlier has come ashore in southeast Texas and Louisiana.

These two storm systems are expected to combine over the next day or two bringing heavy rain to an arc that extends from south-western Louisiana to the northern border of North Carolina through Thursday.

Ida grows stronger in Gulf, 105 mph (Weather Channel)

James Wilson, Lead Meteorologist, The Weather Channel
Nov. 8, 2009 6:59 pm ET

Hurricane Ida is now in the southern Gulf of Mexico as a category 2 hurricane. As of 6 pm CST Sunday top winds were near 105 mph and it was located 445 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Ida is moving toward the north-northwest around 12 mph. An upper level disturbance that has moved into southern Texas is causing the overall flow
around the hurricane to be out of the south. That southerly flow should keep Ida on a northbound course with increasing forward speed through Monday. By Monday evening Ida could be in the northern Gulf of Mexico to the south of Mobile Bay.

Hurricane conditions could be felt along the Gulf Coast from southern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle late Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning. For that reason a Hurricane Watch continues from Grand Isle, Louisiana east to Mexico Beach, Florida.

Ida's strength will be about the same for the next 12 to 24 hours before a weakening trend begins. The weakening later Monday should occur as Ida begins to interact with the upper disturbance over southern Texas and a southward moving cold front over the Mississippi Valley.

Ida's interaction with the systems over the western Gulf and Texas should cause the hurricane to transition to an extratropical system late Monday into Tuesday morning.



Ida heads to the Gulf (Weather Channel Video)
Tropical Update from 2:50 pm EST 11/8/09

Heavy rain floods El Salvador - at least 91 dead

A tropical low pressure system has been trying to organize in the eastern Pacific over the past week. The system never developed into a named storm, but as the week went on, the low pressure center came closer to shore near Central America. On the other side of the isthmus, Hurricane Ida formed and passed over the eastern coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras. It is likely that the stronger Ida pulled the Pacific low over land in El Salvador.

Reports are now coming in that all of this rain has resulted mudslides and heavy flooding killing at least 91 people with dozens more unaccounted for.

Government: 91 dead in El Salvador flooding (Associated Press)
El Salvador was slammed by three days of heavy rains from a Pacific coast low-pressure system indirectly related to Hurricane Ida, which brushed the Mexican resort of Cancun Sunday and steamed into the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane.

The mountains in El Salvador quickly funneled rain down into populated valleys. Poverty and precarious construction appeared to play a role in the destruction, as homes clinging to steep hillsides quickly fell prey to mudslides.

Scores die in El Salvador floods (BBC News)
At least 91 people have been killed in El Salvador by flooding following days of heavy rain, the government says.

Authorities have declared a state of emergency in five regions, Interior Minister Humberto Centeno said.

Mr Centeno said the capital San Salvador and central San Vicente province were the hardest-hit regions.

Journalist Juan Carlos Barahona told the BBC that San Vicente had almost been completely cut off by landslides and collapsed bridges.

Mr Barahona, of the El Salvador daily La Prensa Grafica, told the BBC that the other worst affected areas were La Libertad, La Paz and Cuscatlan.

Mr Centeno said 60 people were still missing, and about 7,000 more were in shelters.

Heavy rain to affect Texas and Louisiana coasts

UPDATE: The heavy rain from this low pressuer system is coming in mostly tonight. The rain now seems to be concentrated from the Golden Triangle cities of Beaumont, Orange and Port Arthur, Texas towards the east along the Louisiana border. Heavy rain will prbably continue through the night and into Monday.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the approach of Hurricane Ida which is expected to come ashore east of New Orleans Monday night and Tuesday. Some of the outer bands of ida will likely affect the coastal parishes of Louisiana. The rain from both of these systems will certainly drench much of the Louisiana coast over the next couple of days

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While Hurricane Ida is threatening the eastern half of the gulf coast, a tropical low pressure system is approaching the western gulf and could potentially cause flooding along the Texas coast from Galveston to the Louisiana border.

AccuWeather has been warning about this system since early last week, and even though it did not organize, it will bring some heavy rain along with some moderate to strong winds. This low pressure system is heading northward towards the upper Texas coast at the same time that Hurricane Ida is heading for Mississippi and Alabama. Essentially the entire gulf coast is due for bad weather over the next few days.

Storms May Cause a Disruption of Normal Oil Production Operations in the Gulf (AccuWeather)

Two storms are stirring up weather in the Gulf of Mexico that will affect the production of the energy industry beginning this weekend and continuing into Monday.

Ida will move northward into the southern Gulf of Mexico by Monday, likely as a hurricane. Meanwhile, a storm system over the southwestern Gulf will move northeastward and impact the central Gulf Coast states of the U.S. by Monday.

The system currently developing in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico is not expected to become a tropical system. However, it will create strong winds and high seas along the Texas and Louisiana coastal waters this weekend.

"This is going to be a three-day problem at the least," said Expert Senior Meteorologist and Tropical Long-Range Forecaster Joe Bastardi. "Seas 15-20 feet and a 200-mile wide area of strong gale-force winds 40 to 50 mph will mean a likely disruption of normal oil production operations in the northwest Gulf this weekend."


With so much activity in the gulf, wave action will be quite high. Flooding, especially during high tide, is a real possibility.

Houston Weather:11 News Weather Blog: Coastal Concerns (KHOU)
The Gulf is like a bathtub so imagine you agitate the water int he middle of the tub. Eventually, some of it will spill over the side. Something similar will happen as the low moves up; it will push the tides higher along the coast and some of that water could cover low-lying roads on the west end of Galveston and the Bolivar peninsula. Remember that last year's Hurricane Ike washed away parts of the Texas coast, so higher tides could lead to flooding in those areas.

2010 Atlantic Hurricanes (courtesy of Weatherstreet.com)

NOAA Gulf of Mexico Radar (courtesy of Weatherstreet.com)

NOAA West Atlantic & Caribbean Radar (courtesy of Weatherstreet.com)

NOAA East Atlantic Radar (courtesy of Weatherstreet.com)