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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Typhoon Kompasu grows - Heads towards the Koreas

Typhoon Kompasu crossed over Okinawa yesterday and almost immediately grew to a Category 3 typhoon. Sustained winds are as high as 115 MPH with gusts as high as 145 MPH.

Initial concern was that Kompasu would brush against Shanghai. The forecast path now has the storm remaining off-shore but the city will still receive heavy rain and some gust winds.

Shanghai on alert for typhoon (The Straits Times)
SHANGHAI closed schools on Wednesday as a precaution against heavy rains and high winds from Typhoon Kompasu, while authorities monitored potential damage at the World Expo.

The storm was forecast to remain offshore, swinging to the north-east and passing over the Korean peninsula later this week.

Authorities said they were on alert for wind damage and flooding at the World Expo site, which has seen crowds of several hundred thousand people a day in recent weeks. The event, which began May 1, ends on Oct 31.

China's official Xinhua News Agency reported that 246 tourists were stranded on Nanji Island, off the coast of Zhejiang province to the south of Shanghai, because ferry services were suspended due to strong gales.
Typhoon Kompasu will pass up into the Yellow Sea and will then turn towards the east striking land right around the 38th parallel border between North and South Korea. The typhoon will slam into South Korea's capital Seoul as a Cat 2 storm.

Both countries will receive very heavy rain with a strong potential for flooding. North Korea has struggled with excessive flooding already this year. North Korea has already evacuated residents in towns on its border with China.

Typhoon Kompasu approaching Korea(The Korea Times)
A typhoon is fast approaching the Korean Peninsula, with heavy rains and winds forecast for Thursday, the weather agency said Tuesday.

According to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), the typhoon — Kompasu, which mean compass in Japanese — is swirling toward the western part of the peninsula at a speed of 25 kilometers per hour from waters off Okinawa, Japan.

Jeju Island is expected to be hit first, Wednesday, and then the entire country will be drenched through Thursday, the KMA said.
“It remains to be seen which way the typhoon will move. Given the route so far and other data, it is forecast to get even stronger and soak the western coast of the country,” said Kim Seung-bae, a KMA spokesman.

In particular, heavy rains of more than 120 millimeters are expected on the southern and western coasts.
“Some regions may see torrential downpours of more than 40 millimeters of rain per hour,” Kim said.

Hurricane Earl heading for North Carolina coast

Hurricane Earl is a very intense and dangerous storm with 135 MPH sustained winds and gusts as high as 160 MPH. The computer models are all showing very good alignment (see graphic at right courtesy of as the storm approaches North Carolina.

As Earl reaches Cape Hatteras, the models start to diverge slightly as the forecast track opens up. Based on the computer models, the projected path of Earl has been forecast (see graphic below courtesy of The Weather Channel).

Depending on which specific portion of the projected path - the zone of uncertainty - that the eye of the hurricane follows will determine the potential extent of damage that Earl can cause. If Earl follows the eastern side of the forecast track, then the result will be gusty winds and rain. However, if Earl tracks along the western edge of the cone then the damage to the North Carolina coast could be quite severe.

A small change in the steering currents can have a major effect on the path that this hurricane takes.

UPDATE 6-Hurricane Earl could sideswipe U.S. East Coast(Reuters)
MIAMI, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Powerful Hurricane Earl churned toward the eastern U.S. seaboard on Tuesday and looked to sideswipe the densely populated coast from North Carolina to New England, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Forecasters expected the main core of the Category 4 hurricane to stay offshore as Earl moved parallel to the coast during the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend that traditionally marks the end of summer.

A hurricane watch was issued for most of the North Carolina coastline as officials warned any westward deviation from the forecast track could prompt coastal evacuations or even bring the storm ashore.

"A small error of 100 miles (160 km) in the wrong direction could be a huge impact difference," National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read told a conference call with journalists.

"Even a minor shift back to the west could bring impacts to portions of the coastline from the mid-Atlantic northwards."
In preparation, a hurricane watch has been issued for must if the North Carolina coast. Mandatory evacuations have been issued for all visitors to Oracoke Island - about 5,000 people.

Evacuation ordered for N.C. island ahead of Earl(MSNBC)

RALEIGH, North Carolina — North Carolina officials ordered tourists and residents to leave a barrier island accessible only by ferries as powerful Hurricane Earl headed toward the U.S. coast on Tuesday.

Hyde County emergency management officials plan a Wednesday morning evacuation of Ocracoke Island. The decision came late Tuesday, as the hurricane whipped north of the Caribbean with winds of up to 135 mph.

Authorities said the evacuation order would affect about 5,000 visitors to the island.

The fewer than 800 year-round residents are also being asked to leave but aren't required to follow the order.

Hurricane Earl pounds islands

Hurricane Earl pounded teh Leeward islands with hurricane force winds and heavy rain yesterday. The storm itself reached Category 4 status on the Safir-Simpson scale but the heaviest winds remained offshore of the islands. Hurricane and tropical storm force winds hit the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico ripping roofs from houses and cuttting power.

No deaths have been reported due to Earl so far. Hurricane Danielle caused two deaths on the US east coast due to rip tides.

Hurricane Earl Pounds Turks And Caicos; U.S. Braces(WSOCTV)

Earl delivered a glancing blow to several small Caribbean islands Monday, tearing roofs off of homes and cutting electricity to people in Anguilla, Antigua, and St. Maarten. Cruise ships were diverted and flights canceled across the region. But there were no reports of death or injury.

Gusty winds from Earl's outer fringes were whipping palm fronds and whistling through doors as Turks and Caicos Islands residents hunkered down in their homes and tied-down boats seesawed on white-crested surf.


The storm's center passed just north of the British Virgin Islands on Monday afternoon. Despite a few lost fishing boats and several uprooted trees in Tortola and Anegada, there were no reports of major damage or injuries, said Sharleen DaBreo, disaster management agency director.

By midday Tuesday, Earl's center was about 205 miles east of Grand Turk island as it headed west-northwest at 14 mph, according to the hurricane center. Hurricane strength winds extended up to 70 miles from the center, it said.

Tropical storm conditions were expected to spread into the Turks and Caicos by Tuesday afternoon.


In Puerto Rico, nearly 187,000 people were without power and another 60,000 without water, Gov. Luis Fortuno said. More than a dozen roads along the north coast remained closed as crews removed trees and downed power lines.

In St. Maarten, sand and debris littered the streets, and winds knocked down trees and electricity poles and damaged roofs. But police spokesman Ricardo Henson said there was no extensive damage to property.

In Antigua, at least one home was destroyed but there were no reports of serious injuries. Governor General Dame Louise Agnetha Lake-Tack declared Monday a public holiday to keep islanders off the road and give them a chance to clean up.

Video: Hurricane Earl heads for US after hitting Caribbean(RT)

Earl is now heading towards the US east Coast. It is expected to remain a Cat 4 hurricane although there are likely to be fluctuations in strength as the storm goes through eye-wall replacement and grows during its trek across the Atlantic.

Hurricane Earl threatens US Coast after hitting Caribbean(Washington Post)
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Hurricane Earl, now a powerful Category 4 storm, barreled toward the U.S. coast early Tuesday after battering tiny islands across the northeastern Caribbean with heavy rain and winds that damaged homes and toppled power lines.

Earl is forecast to potentially brush the U.S. East Coast late Thursday, before curving back out to sea, potentially swiping New England or far-eastern Canada. The U.S. National Hurricane Center warned coastal residents from North Carolina to Maine to watch the storm closely.

"Any small shift in the track could dramatically alter whether it makes landfall or whether it remains over the open ocean," said Wallace Hogsett, a meteorologist at the center. "I can't urge enough to just stay tuned."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tropical Storm Fiona forms in the Atlantic

Tropical Storm Fiona formed today in the North Atlantic west of the Cape Verde Islands in the wake of Major Hurricane Earl. Fiona had some difficulty organizing into a tropical storm due to dry air coming from Africa. Projections are that Fiona will remain a tropical storm at least through the rest of the week.

Meanwhile, Danielle continues to weaken as she moves towards the north and is now a Tropical Storm.

Tropical Taiwan Sandwich

Two typhoons are hitting Taiwan from opposite ends about a day apart. Tropical Storm Namtheun and Severe Tropical Storm Lionrock are in the process of giving the island of Taiwan a one-two punch.

Typhoons bring torrential rain to Taiwan (Radio Taiwan)

The Central Weather Bureau said Monday that torrential rains have come to Taiwan due to the outer bands of Typhoon Lionrock and a tropical depression system. The bureau told coastal cities to watch out for strong winds and the whole island to be on the alert for mudslides.
Namtheun developed, seemingly out of nowhere, and is proceeding across the northern shore of the island. Namtheun is increasing in intensity and may become a Category 1 typhoon before it crosses the Taiwan Strait. Much of the storm will cross over the capital, Taipei.

Taiwan issues warnings for severe tropical storm(Reuters)
Taiwan officials issued land and sea warnings on Tuesday for a severe tropical storm, the island's first this year, with heavy rain and wind gusts up to 90 kph (60 mph) expected before it heads to China.

Although the storm falls one level short of a full-blown typhoon, Taiwan authorities are especially on guard after the island's worst typhoon in 50 years, also forecast as a relatively weak storm, killed about 700 people in August 2009.

That prompted a cabinet reshuffle as citizens accused the government of reacting too slowly.

The storm dubbed Namtheun, centred 50 km (31 miles) north of Taiwan at 2015 GMT, was expected to reach northern areas of the island by early Wednesday with sustained winds up to 65 kph, the Central Weather Bureau said on its website (

Namtheun will pass over the capital Taipei and the island's major northern port city Keelung, the weather bureau said. It warned of mudslides, rockfalls and sudden swelling of rivers.

The storm could grow to a category 1 typhoon, the mildest on a 1-5 scale, and reach the coast of southeast China, according to forecasting website Tropical Storm Risk (
At the other end of the island, Typhoon Lionrock is approaching Taiwan from the southwest. Lionrock is expected to turn towards mainland China before making landfall with Taiwan but heavy rain is still expected.

Tropical Storm Lionrock expected to bring showers to Taiwan: CWB(Focus Taiwan News Channel)
Taipei, Aug. 29 (CNA) Showers of rain were expected to hit Taiwan Sunday as a tropical depression in waters south of the Dongsha (Pratas) Islands in the South China Sea already strengthened into a tropical storm early that day, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said.

The storm Lionrock has been moving directly toward southeastern China since its formation at 2 a.m. Sunday and is not expected to cause any direct threat to Taiwan, CWB officials said.

Typhoon Kompasu to strike Okinawa

Typhoon Kompasu is bearing down on Okinawa as a Category 2 hurricane. The storm has sustained winds of 105 MPH and is still increasing in strength. The Japanese Meteorological Agency has issued storm and high wave warnings. Advisories have been issued for heavy rain, floods storm surge and thunderstorms.

Graphic courtesy of Japanese Meteorological Agency

Typhoon Kompasu Aimed for Okinawa(AccuWeather)
Typhoon Kompasu will strike Okinawa directly with winds of hurricane strength and torrential rain early Tuesday, EDT.

As of Monday morning, EDT, the center of Typhoon Kompasu was located about 250 miles southeast of Naha, Okinawa. The highest sustained winds were approaching 85 mph, with movement toward the northwest at 8 mph.

Further strengthening is forecast before the center of Kompasu passes directly over, or at least near, the main island of Okinawa.

Wind gusts of more than 75 mph, or minimal hurricane strength, will cause damage.

Torrential rainfall of 4 to 8 inches will create a threat of flooding.

Beyond Okinawa, Kompasu will veer northward east of Shanghai, China, maybe even brushing the coast.

Ultimate landfall later in the week will be somewhere on the west coast of the Korean Peninsula.

Earl becomes a major hurricane

UPDATE: Hurricane Earl has becoem a very intense category 4 hurricane with 135 MPH sustained winds. Earl continues to strengthen and is expected to remain a Cat 4 storm as it approaches the North Carolina coast.


Hurricane Earl reach Category 3 status with sustained winds of 125 MPH. The virgin Islands are being blasted with Earl's strong winds and heavy rain. Puerto Rico is experienceing heavy flooding from Earl's outer rainbands.

Earl now major hurricane as it hits Caribbean(MSNBC)
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Hurricane Earl grew to a major Category 3 storm on Monday, lashing the northeastern Caribbean with heavy rain and 125 mph winds as it made a course that could threaten the eastern United States later this week.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Earl, which formed on Sunday, was likely to keep growing as it approaches the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Those areas were already seeing sporadic gusts and heavy rain early Monday.

"It is possible that Earl could become a Category 4 hurricane as we get into the middle to late portions of the week," hurricane center specialist Michael Brennan said. Category 4 storms have sustained winds of at least 131 mph.

The storm's forecast track would carry its center north of the Caribbean, then forecasters say it is likely to bend to the north, moving roughly parallel to the U.S. East Coast.

News Video Blogs Earl Now a Category 3 Hurricane, Eastern Puerto Rico in the Storm (AccuWeather)
Conditions across Puerto Rico will only get worse as the eye of Earl is predicted to pass about 60 miles north of the island. Flooding rain and tropical storm-force winds will hit through tonight. North-facing beaches will take a pounding by the heavy surf and storm surge of 2-4 feet.

Highest Wind Reports.

St. Martin - 88 mph

St. Thomas - 58 mph

San Juan - 31 mph

Rainfall Reports:

St. Croix - 0.96"

St. Thomas - 1.41"

San Juan - 0.98"

TSR Storm Alert - Hurricane EARL slamming Leeward Islands

Hurricane Earl is slamming into the Leeward and Virgin Islands in the Caribbean this morning with 110 MPH winds and gusts up to 125 MPH .

Damaging hurricane-force winds will blast the Leeward Islands today. The strongest winds will whip over the northernmost islands. The strength of the Earl's winds threaten to cause widespread tree damage and power outages.
As the trees fall, additional structural damage and bodily harm may result. Roof damage is the main concern to well-built homes, but poorly-constructed homes may be destroyed or severely damaged.
Earl's torrential rain bands will also spread over the Leeward Islands. Several inches of rain will pour down, threatening to cause flooding.
Seas surrounding the islands will further heighten as Earl approaches with wave heights reaching 12 to 18 feet on north-facing coastal areas.
The Category 2 storm continues to strengthen in the warm Caribbean waters as windshear is very low. The storm is expected to become a major hurricane within 24 hours and is currently forecast to reach Category 4 status just as it approaches its closest point with the US east coast.

N Atlantic: Storm Alert issued at 30 Aug, 2010 9:00 GMT
Hurricane EARL (AL07) is forecast to strike land to the following likelihood(s) at the given lead time(s):
Red Alert Country(s) or Province(s)
        probability for CAT 1 or above is 100% currently
        probability for TS is 100% currently
        probability for CAT 1 or above is 95% currently
        probability for TS is 100% currently
    the Netherlands Antilles
        probability for CAT 1 or above is 95% within 9 hours
        probability for TS is 100% currently
    the British Virgin Islands
        probability for CAT 1 or above is 95% within 9 hours
        probability for TS is 100% within 9 hours
    Antigua and Barbuda
        probability for CAT 1 or above is 65% currently
        probability for TS is 100% currently
    the Virgin Islands
        probability for CAT 1 or above is 65% within 9 hours
        probability for TS is 95% within 9 hours
Red Alert City(s) and Town(s)
    St. Thomas (18.5 N, 64.7 W)
        probability for CAT 1 or above is 75% in about 21 hours
        probability for TS is 95% within 9 hours

Yellow Alert Country(s) or Province(s)
    St. Kitts and Nevis
        probability for CAT 1 or above is 15% currently
        probability for TS is 100% currently
        probability for TS is 100% currently
    Puerto Rico
        probability for CAT 1 or above is 20% in about 21 hours
        probability for TS is 80% in about 21 hours
        probability for CAT 1 or above is 10% in about 117 hours
        probability for TS is 20% in about 117 hours
Yellow Alert City(s) and Town(s)
    San Juan (18.4 N, 66.1 W)
        probability for CAT 1 or above is 10% in about 21 hours
        probability for TS is 75% in about 21 hours
    St. Croix (17.7 N, 64.9 W)
        probability for TS is 70% within 9 hours

Green Alert Country(s) or Province(s)
        probability for TS is 35% currently
    the Turks & Caicos Islands
        probability for TS is 35% in about 45 hours
Green Alert City(s) and Town(s)
    Grand Turk (21.5 N, 71.5 W)
        probability for TS is 35% in about 45 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

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, August 29, 2010

Hurricane Earl approaching the northernmost leeward islands

Hurricane Earl became a Category 1 hurricane this morning, now has 85 MPH sustained winds and gusts up to 105 MPH and is steadily growing.

(Graphic courtesy of Weather Underground)

Hurricane warnings and watches have been issued as well as tropical storm watches by the National Hurricane Center:

Summary of watches and warnings in effect...(Weather Underground)

a Hurricane Warning is in effect for...
* Antigua...Barbuda...Montserrat...St. Kitts...Nevis...and Anguilla
* Saint Martin and Saint barthelemy
* St. Maarten...Saba...and St. Eustatius
* British Virgin Islands

a Hurricane Watch is in effect for...
* U.S.Virgin Islands
* Puerto Rico including the islands of Culebra and Vieques

a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* U.S. Virgin Islands
* Puerto Rico including the islands of Culebra and Vieques

hurricane conditions are expected within the Hurricane Warning this case within the next 12 to 24 hours. Preparations
to protect life and property should be nearing completion.

Hurricane conditions are possible within the watch this
case within the next 24 to 36 hours.
Worst of Earl to Slam Leeward Islands Tonight, Monday(AccuWeather)

Strong winds high in the atmosphere (also known as wind shear) associated with Hurricane Danielle had been inhibiting Earl's ability to strengthen. That changed this morning as Danielle pushed farther away to the northeast.

Earl will continue to grow into a Category 2 hurricane into Monday morning, curving slightly more to the northwest in the process.

That slight turn should spare the Leeward Islands from a direct hit by Hurricane Earl. However, Earl will pass close enough to unleash most of its fury on the islands.

The Hurricane Center is expecting Earl to track within 50 miles of the northernmost Leeward Islands late tonight into Monday.

(Graphic courtesy of AccuWeather)

5 years ago - Hurricane Katrina

Five years ago today, Hurricane Katrina barrelled into the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts. The effects of this storm were both predictable and catastrophic. The idea of a major hurricane striking New Orleans causing the entire city to flood had been discussed for years before Katrina became a reality.

There have been many articles on the personal toll, the failure of government on all levels and the fact that much of the 9th Ward is still not re-built. Now that 5 years have passed we can begin to discuss what should have happened, what actually did happen and what needs to happen to prevent this type of catastrophe again. It is a certainty that some time in the future, New Orleans will be hit directly with a major hurricane head on. The city and the region must be prepared for a future landfalling hurricane.

First of all, the worst case scenario did not occur.

Hurricane Katrina did reach a Category 5 while in the Gulf but weakened to a Category 3 before coming ashore.

Additionally, the storm did not make a direct hit on the city. Just before coming ashore, Katrina veered to the east and actually made landfall near Bay St. Louis, MS.

What would happen if a Category 5 storm slammed directly into New Orleans? Would we be prepared? Is preparation even possible?

One thing that we need to look at is what was the intent and design of the levees in the first place and did they meet that design.

In the article "The levees didn't fail", Windell Curole explains that levees have always been considered successful in their task if they hold water back up to the point that the water spill over the top of the levees. At that point, the situation is beyond the design of the levee. Every system is designed to certain parameters and they are expected to work only within those parameters.

The levees didn't fail(HoumaToday)
The authorized projects for protection in the New Orleans area began with a barrier plan that would have protected the entire Pontchartrain basin, both north shore and south shore. Objections from an environmental organization and fishing groups forced the abandonment of the barrier plan. The Corps of Engineers was forced to develop the high-level plan, which consisted of flood protection, levees, gates and walls protecting the populated areas on the south shore.

A major weakness of the high-level plan was the failure to build flood protection where the drainage canals intersected the lake.

Where levees were built along the lake, the canals were left open and used thousands of feet of walls to connect the levees to the pump stations, which were near the heart of the city.
So the original plan to protect area was scrapped because the intersts of special interest groups took precidence over protecting the people and the city. In addition to leaving the canals open, the levees were designed for flooding from rainfall, not from storm surge.

Resources and attention of the public and the leaders in New Orleans were directed to rainfall flooding. Although rainfall flooding is a great hazard, it cannot match the devastation from tidal flooding. Sadly, this fact was emphatically proven by Hurricane Katrina. In effect, the Katrina event was a compromise to failure. The compromise to satisfy special interest groups led to a weakened system that destroyed a city, a city that misplaced its trust in a government that would not cater to special interest but would do its job for the greater good.


One of the most inaccurate statements is that the levees failed.

In fact, even the poorest levees in New Orleans held the water back until there was overtopping. Even with the overtopping, only the levees along the MRGO had a large amount of levee destroyed. Seven miles were lost out of a 14-mile segment. In all other areas, most of the damage was associated with floodwalls and other non-levee flood-protection structures.

Prior to Katrina, if a levee held the water back until it reached the top of the levee, it was successful. If the water overtopped the levee, this was not considered a failure. It was understood the levee encountered a condition beyond the design of the levee. In other words, if the water level was higher than the level the levee was designed for, it was not a failure. The levee was considered a failure only if the levee failed before it was overtopped. This condition did not occur for any levees during Hurricane Katrina.

In comparison, the floodwalls along the 17th Street and London Avenue canals failed. These were considered failures because water had not reached the top of the wall before they broke, leading to the flooding of New Orleans proper. Another major problem contributing to the flood was the difficulty in measuring elevation accurately. Although officials were aware of this problem, there was limited money to correct it. Only with the recent development of GPS technology can elevations be determined quickly and inexpensively.

It was actually the floodwalls that failed. The levees held back the water until it reached their tops - the levees were too short! This may likely be due to a design based on flooding from rain ratehr than from storm surge.

The decision to build walls along the drainage canals instead of building gates doomed New Orleans proper. Comparisons between East Jefferson and New Orleans proper make a good distinction. (Emphasis mine)

The levees along Lake Pontchartrain for New Orleans and East Jefferson performed well. These levees were slightly overtopped, but performed well, which resulted in no flooding directly from the lake.

Those levees were attached to the walls at the 17th Street canal and London Avenue canal because the city did not move its pumps to the lake. With the pump stations at the lake, the canals would have been closed by gates that would have stopped the waters of Katrina. Those floodwalls failed with the water two feet from the top. Those failures allowed for scour holes through the system, which allowed floodwaters into New Orleans proper for over three days. Eighty percent of New Orleans flooded to a 4½-foot elevation due to these wall failures.

In contrast, East Jefferson suffered much less flooding because its side of the 17th Street Canal floodwall did not fail and there were no other canals open to the lake. The majority of the flooding occurred because there was no pumping of rainfall and storm surge entering through the pump stations. Once the water level receded from Lake Pontchartrain, the flooding through the pump station stopped. There were no scoured holes to continue to allow floodwaters in the system like there were in New Orleans proper.

So the barriers were not designed as they should have been in the first place. What is being done now to make certain that properly designed levees are in place when the next storm does come ashore in New Orleans?

Rebuilding New Orleans Infastructure(CBS Evening News)
The overhauled protection system will battle future hurricane flooding in three ways: first, with barriers to block the primary paths that storm surge can enter the city - from Lake Ponchartrain, the Mississippi River, and Lake Borgne.

Part of what the Corps of Engineers is doing is building their lines of defense as far away from the city of New Orleans as possible. The billion-dollar surge barrier is being constructed 12 miles from downtown New Orleans and 9 miles from the Lower Ninth Ward.

Along with blocking storm surge, the Corps has fortified the levees that failed in Katrina. They're building massive new levees that are anchored more than 100 feet below ground - and tall enough not to be overtopped by storm surge.

"We are raising, strengthening, improving the levee systems that were in place," said Col. Robert Sinkler Commander, Hurricane Protection Office. "So we went from something that had an elevation of 14 feet around St. Bernard Parish to something that is an elevation of 32 ft."

Finally, the Corps is storm-proofing existing pumping stations and building the largest new flood pump in the world - to quickly blast out any water that gets into the city.
Some residents, especially some in the Lower 9th Ward, are understandably skeptical. The fact that the levees will be over twice as high and anchored in a manner that they will hold against a storm surge is at least part of the right solution. The Army Corps has a plan that is not "more of the same". The new system has to be environmentally sound, but not be subject to uninformed special interests that compromise the protection of the city.

After seeing the destruction that nature caused 5 years ago, I'd like to think that putting a proper protection system in place will and is actually happening this time so that New Orleans can be prepared for the next big storm.

Tropical Storm Lionrock heads towards South China

Tropical Storm Lionrock formed yesterday in the South China Sea. It is heading towards Guandong province in the southeast portion of the country east of Hong Kong. The storm is slowly strengthening but is expected to remain a tropical storm.

Tropical storm "Lionrock" to bring heavy rains, strong winds to southern China (Xinhua)
BEIJING, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Tropical storm "Lionrock" would bring gusty winds and heavy rainfalls to China's southern provinces as it moves north, the national meteorological agency warned on Sunday.

The storm which started Sunday morning in the South China Sea, was moving northeast at a speed of 5 to 10 kilometers per hour, said the National Meteorological Center (NMC) in a statement on its website.

Its center was located about 410 kilometers south of Shantou City, Guangdong Province, at 11 a.m. Sunday. The storm would get stronger as it moved towards the east coast of Guangdong and western Fujian Province, said local weather authorities of Fujian.

East Guangdong and the coastal region of Fujian would see strong winds in the next 24 hours with wind speeds up to 10.8 to 17.1 meters per second, said the center.
In preparation, the Hong Kong Observatory issued Storm Signal #1 recommending that people prepare for rough weather. These preparations include: cleaning drains and gutters of debris and checking that all hinges, doors and windows are in good conditions. The observatory also recommends refraining from water activity due to increasing swells.

Tropical Cyclone Warning Bulletin (Hong Kong Observatory)
The Standby Signal, No. 1 is in force.

This means that a tropical cyclone now centred within about 800 kilometres of Hong Kong may affect us.

At 9 p.m., Tropical Storm Lionrock was estimated to be about 280 kilometres southeast of Hong Kong (near 20.6 degrees north 116.2 degrees east) and is forecast to move north or north-northeast at about 8 kilometres per hour in the general direction of the coast of Guangdong.

Tropical Storm Lionrock has displayed a north-northeast movement over the past few hours. On its present track, local winds will not strengthen significantly overnight. The chance of Strong Wind Signal No. 3 before 6 o'clock tomorrow morning is not high.

Tropical Storm 08W grows; heading near Shanghai

Tropical Storm 08W formed in the Western Pacific yesterday with 40 MPH sustained winds. The storm now has 45 MPG winds and will steadily increase in strenth over the next several days.

The storm track has this system passing over Okinawa on Tuesday afternoon, most likely as a Category 1 typhoon.

Tropical Storm 08W, #3 (Stars & Stripes)
7:45 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 29: Parameters remain similar to earlier reports. Tropical Storm 08W is forecast to rumble 20 miles south of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, at 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Damaging winds of 58 mph or greater forecast to start around 3 a.m. Tuesday, with sustained 52-mph winds and 75-mph gusts expected between 3 and 6 a.m. Okinawa remains in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3.

The currect forecast track shows that tropical storm 8 will brush against the China coast at Shanghai as a Category 2 typhoon. It will then curve towards the northeast and head towards North Korea.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hurricane spawning machine in high gear

Atlantic tropical satellite image courtesy of The Weather Channel

The above image is a snapshot of the Atlantic Tropical Satellite for August 28, 2010. The second half of August is when tropical activity increases substantially in the Atlantic basin reaching peak activity in the beginning of September.

As the graphic shows, activity is in high gear. Hurricane Danielle is a now a Category 2 storm and is slowly weakening as she moves towards the north. Tropical Storm Earl is following behind. Earl now has sustained winds of 65 MPH and moving westward. Further development is likely and Earl is expected to reach hurricane status in the next few days. Earl's track is more to the west than Danielle's was and Earl is expected to skirt along the Windward Islands and have a greater impact on Bermuda.

Not far behind Earl is a tropical wave that the NHC has projected has an 80% of developing into a tropical depression in the next 24 hours and then to become Tropical Storm Fiona. This storm has the potential of affecting the US east coast or maybe even the Gulf depending on the steering currents. Right now Fiona-to-be is expected to turn north in the Caribbean but this is at least a week away and a lot can happen by then.

Finally, if you look at the Satellite image, a new tropical wave is forming and just now moving off the coast of Africa. The next couple of days will tell if this develops into anything. The fact that there are so many systems so close together and that the systems are developing every few days shows that the activity is high. I suspect that September will be a rough ride.

Tropical Depression Frank is dissipating

The tropical cyclone named Frank reach hurricane status for a couple of days and then died down to a tropical storm and to a tropical depression. The storm is now a non-tropical low. The remnants of Frank are slowly drifting towards the southern tip of Baja California as the storm dissipates. Model instensity forecast graph from Weather Underground shows the system to maintain average 25 MPH winds for the next few days.

Frank a non tropical remnant low pressure area (AccuWeather)
As of 11 a.m. PDT on Saturday, Frank has been declared a remnant low. The weak low pressure area was located at latitude 20.8 N and longitude 112.3 W, or approximately 210 miles southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, moving north at 6 mph. Winds in and around the low pressure area are estimated to be around 35 mph and should continue to diminsh.

A large area of showers and thunderstorms clustered a few hundred miles southeast of Acapulco Mexico is moving west northwest at 10-15 mph.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hurricane Danielle explodes to Cat 4 sotrm

Hurricane Danielle exploded yesterday from a Category 1 hurricane with 85 MPH sustained winds to a Category 4 major hurricane with wind speeds of 135 MPH. Danielle had bee struggling to maintains her hurricane status due to some wind shear that was she was battling. Once the shear died down, Danielle was able to flourish.

Hurricane Danielle Strengthens (Wall Street Journal)

MIAMI—Hurricane Danielle has become a Category 4 storm far out over the Atlantic.

Danielle's maximum sustained winds increased Friday to nearly 135 miles per hour, with some additional strengthening possible.

Danielle is located 545 miles southeast of Bermuda, and is forecast to pass east of that island on Saturday night.
Danielle's track has turned significantly and the hurricane will pass well to the east of Bermuda. The island will still be affected with heavy winds and rain but will at least miss a direct hit by the center of the storm.

Because of Danielles size, rip currents will likely be felt along the eastern seaboard from South Carolina to New Jersey and potentially further north.

Riptides could be headed to Jersey Shore because of Hurricane Danielle (Star Ledger)
Hurricane Danielle is expected to churn up the surf along the Jersey Shore even though it's far out in the Atlantic.

The waves could increase the risk of rip currents.

The National Weather Service says swells kicked up by the storm should begin to arrive along the coast early Saturday.

Forecasters say the surf could perhaps remain rough into the middle of next week.

Beachgoers are advised to swim only on beaches where lifeguards are stationed.

Danielle is forecast to pass well east of Bermuda on Saturday night.

Being safe at the Jersey Shore. How to survive a rip tide.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Frank becomes a hurricane

Hurricane Frank grew from a tropical storm in the Eastern Pacific. Frank has been moving parallel to the Mexican coast for about the past week. High surf and rain have hit the coastline as the storm made its trek to the north.

Hurricane Frank 2010 Forms Off Mexico Coast (Huffington Post)
In the Pacific, Hurricane Frank developed off Mexico's coast. Frank has maximum sustained winds near 75 mph (120 kph). The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Wednesday that Frank could get stronger as it moves away from Mexico's southwestern coast. Frank is located about 240 miles (385 kilometers) south of Cabo Corrientes, Mexico, and is moving west-northwest.
Frank has not made landfall but has brushed against the coast a few times causing very heavy rain and flooding. In Mexico's souther state of Oaxaca, the rain resulting in landslides resulting in four deaths. Heavy rain caused flooding that washed out roads and damaged bridges in as many as 100 towns.

Hurricane Frank heads out to Pacific, leaves four dead in Mexico (Sinchew)
MIAMI, Wednesday 25 August 2010 (AFP) - Tropical Storm Frank strengthened into the third Pacific hurricane of the 2010 season on Wednesday, veering west after soaking Mexico's southern coast, where heavy rains left four dead.

Hurricane Frank packed winds of up to 75 miles (120 kilometers) per hour, making it a Category One hurricane on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale, the US National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory.

The storm was about 240 miles south of Cabo Corrientes, Mexico, moving west-northwest at 13 miles per hour, the NHC reported.

It was not expected to make landfall, although it will pass near tiny Socorro Island on Friday.

At least four people died, including two buried in a landslide, and two were missing after heavy rains unleashed by Frank in Mexico's southern Oaxaca state, local officials said Wednesday.

Tropical Storm Earl forms; follows Hurricane Danielle

Tropical Storm Earl formed in the North Atlantic today. The storm currently has 40 MPH sustained winds and is expected to strengthen over the next couple of days. Earl is expected to follow a track similar to Hurricane Danielle but may swing a little more to the west before heading north.

Earl Joins Danielle in the Atlantic (AccuWeather)
Earl has finally been dubbed a tropical storm and will follow nearly in the footsteps of Hurricane Danielle posing a threat for Bermuda only several days later. meteorologists have been monitoring the system's energetic development since it crossed Africa.

Earl is expected to slowly gain strength the next few days and is forecast to reach hurricane status over the weekend northeast of the Leeward Islands.

Earl will assume nearly the same shaped track. However, the system is centered farther south than Danielle and could track farther to the west as a result, according to tropical weather expert Dan Kottlowski.
Earl will likely become a Cat 1 hurricane by the weekend and may even grow to Category 2 storm before reaching Bermuda.

Danielle has struggled with some wind shear that has reduced her intensity from a Cat 2 to currently a Cat 1 with 85 MPH sustained winds. Overnight, Danielle actually dropped back to a Tropical Storm briefly with winds as low as 70 MPH but was quickly back to hurricane strength by morning.

As Danielle moves northwards towards Bermuda, it is expected to strengthen and may even become a major Cat 3 hurricane before reaching the island. Danielle's track has shifted to the east slightly placing Bermuda solidly within the cone of uncertainty (See Weather Channel graphic on previous post).

Earl's track could potentially past east of Bermuda a few days after Danielle passes either over or slightly west of Bermuda. This would give Bermuda a pretty heavy ONE-TWO punch by the middle of next week.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hurricane Danielle grows to Category 2

Tropical Storm Danielle intensified steadily becoming a full hurricane Monday and has continued to grow reaching Category 2 status by Tuesday morning with 100 MPH sustained winds. The hurricane is strengthening quickly and further intensification is expected.

Hurricane Danielle Strengthens to Category 2 Storm in Atlantic (SF Gate)
Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Hurricane Danielle, the second of the season, strengthened to a Category 2 storm over the Atlantic Ocean and was forecast to remain at sea for at least five days, the National Hurricane Center said.

Danielle's maximum sustained winds accelerated to 100 miles (160 kilometers) an hour from 85 mph six hours earlier, the center said in an advisory posted on its website at about 4:40 a.m. Miami time. The storm system was 1,110 miles east of the Caribbean's Lesser Antilles islands, moving west at 20 mph.

"Additional strengthening is forecast, and Danielle could become a major hurricane by early Wednesday," the center said.

Should Danielle strengthen as forecast, it will become the strongest storm so far of the June 1 to Nov. 30 season. Hurricane Alex also reached Category 2 status, and had 105-mph winds when it hit northeastern Mexico on Jun. 20. Storms are deemed major when they're rated Category 3 and above on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, with sustained winds of at least 110 mph.
Storm Track

Hurricane Danielle is not expected to affect the US east coast as the projected storm track shows the storm heading to the north throught eh Atlantic. The western edge of the projected path could bring Danielle in range of Bermuda causing some issues with heavy rain and wind there.

Graphic Courtesy of The Weather Channel

Tropical Storm Mindulle skirts past China - heads for Vietnam

Tropical Storm Mindulle slipped past China's southern most province of Hainan yesterday and continued on its track towards northern Vietnam. Mindulle is a strong tropical storm with windspeed of 108 km/hr (67.5 MPH). The storm is moving fast across the South China Sea at 20 km/hr bringing heavy and prolonged rain with it as it approaches land. It is expected to slam into Vietnam's north central coast Tuesday evening.

Mindulle to slam into central coast (VietnamNet Bridge)

The eye of storm, the third of the year, is expected to fall at 18.3 degrees north and 107.0 degrees east, or about 80km north-east of the coastal provinces from Nghe An to Quang Binh, at 1pm today with winds gusting to 133kph at its centre.

It is forecast to gain strength as it travels west-northwest during the next 24 hours at 15kph.

The storm delivered rain to central provinces yesterday with average falls of between 20mm-60mm; the heaviest was 297mm in Quang Ngai Province.


Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai yesterday asked the administrators of potentially vulnerable localities to take drastic measures to cope with Storm Mindulle.

The storm was moving quickly and was accompanied by prolonged and heavy rain, he said.

This meant the priority should be to ensure the soundness of reservoirs and the evacuation of people in flash-flood and landslide-prone zones as well as aquaculture farms.

Hai, who was speaking at a meeting of the National Flood and Storm Prevention and Control Committee and relevant ministries and agencies, said the hydrometeorological forecast centre must closely monitor the storm’s progress and provide updated information to allow a prompt response.
Evacuations have already begun with as many as 74,000 people being evacuated from coastal villages.

Vietnam braces for tropical storm Mindulle, evacuating tens of thousands of people(Canadian Press)

HANOI, Vietnam — A disaster official says Vietnam has begun evacuating tens of thousands of people from high-risk areas as tropical storm Mindulle churns toward the country's north-central coast.

Weather forecasters said Mindulle strengthened as it moved across the South China Sea packing winds of 104 kilometres per hour (65 mph).

The tropical storm, the third to hit the country this year, was expected to slam into the coast later Tuesday in the provinces of Nghe An and Thanh Hoa.
Mindulle, whose name means Dandilion in Korean, has already brought heavy rain and flooding to the region and is causing severe flooding in northern Thailand.

Storm Mindulle brings torrential rain(Bangkok Post)
Tropical storm Mindulle has brought torrential rain causing flooding in many provinces in the North and Northeast.

A Meteorological Department's advirosy issued at 4am on Tuesday said tropical storm Mindulle was centred about 150km east of Donghoi, Vietnam, with maximum sustained wind of 95km per hour.

The storm was expected to move west-northwest about 18km per hour and make landfall over upper Vietnam on Tuesday night.

It was causing an active monsoon trough across northern and northeastern Thailand, bringing torrential rain.

People along hill slopes and waterways in the North, Northeast and East are warned of possible flash floods during this period.

Heavy rain was reported in many provinces in the Northeast on Tuesday morning.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tropical Storms forming near Mexico and China

Tropical Depression 8-E formed last week near the southern tip of Baja California. The storm remained a tropical depression and is moving away from land. It is weakening and is expected to be completely dissipated within a day or two.

Tropical Storm Frank has developed along the southeastern coast of Mexico. The storm is moving parallel to the Mexican coast and will affect the coastline with rain and high surf. A tropical storm watch has been issued by the Mexican government. The storm is forecast to continue to strengthen and should become a hurricane by Monday evening local time.

In the western Pacific, Tropical Depression #6 formed in the South China Sea. Located to the southeast of Hainan Island, this system is also expected to strengthen to a tropical storm and is moving towards the northeast. It is expected to skirt alond the southern tip of the island and then head towards northern Vietnam making landfall by mid-week.

Graphics courtesy of Weather Underground

TD #6 forms in the Atlantic; Likely to strengthen

Tropical depression #6 formed near the Cape Verde Islands Saturday afternoon as expected by AccuWeather meteorologists. Forecasts for this season continue to call for a strong season even though there have only been 3 named storms so far none of which became hurricanes. This is about to change.

Where History Points Next Week's Hurricane in Atlantic (AccuWeather)

The feature of interest for this development is an area of low pressure to the south of the Cape Verde Islands. Historically, the majority of tropical systems that form over this part of the Atlantic Basin in August tend to stay out to sea. experts have taken a look at a history of tropical systems that have formed within 200 miles of latitude 12N and longitude 30W, roughly where the area of low pressure is expected to develop into a tropical system this weekend.

Most storms that have formed in this area in August took a path that curved northward over the western Atlantic, steering well clear of the U.S. A couple of these storms did, however, graze Bermuda and Newfoundland.
This is exactly where TD 6 formed. This new system has been showing signs of strengthening and should reach tropical storm strength later today. The storm will become Tropical Storm Danielle.

Tropical Depression 6 Strengthening in the Atlantic (AccuWeather)

Tropical Depression 6 formed on Saturday afternoon southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. This feature is expected to strengthen further into Tropical Storm Danielle today and a hurricane early this upcoming week.

Strengthening Factors and Track of Tropical Depression 6

As of 5:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday, the depression was located about 630 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands with motion to the west-northwest at 9 mph. Maximum-sustained winds were 35 mph.


Satellite images early on Sunday show a much better organized tropical depression, and the strengthening trend will continue into the early part of the week. The tropical depression will remain on a path over warm waters in an environment with weak wind shear today into Monday.

The only inhibiting factor will be dry air from Africa located to the northeast of the system.

Graphic courtesy of AccuWeather

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

TD #5 circles around for a second pass

The remnants of tropical depression 5 came ashore in South Louisiana last week and meandered around the southeast US for several days. A few days ago this storm wandered back out into the Gulf of Mexico heading once again for New Orleans. The path of this storm was described quite well by a friend as follows:

So the storm wanders over New Orleans, loops back across Birmingham, stops in Atlanta for a coke, meanders back South grabbing some Vidalia onions along the way, drifts back out into the Gulf, and is now threatening to re-strengthen again into a proper tropical depression...

With a track heading West/Northwest towards, you guessed it, New Orleans.
A rather accurate depiction, I must say.

This storm was given a 60% change of organizing back into a named storm by the NHC yesterday but quickly dissipated once again as it drifted near and over land.

Gulf Storm System Again Appears Down For The Count (National Underwriter Property and Casualty)

Once again, the storm in the Gulf of Mexico called “Tropical Depression Five” has moved onshore and now has a “near 0 percent” chance of forming into a tropical storm over the next 48 hours.

Catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide said the storm will bring rainfall to some parts of the Mississippi coast, but the impact is “not expected to be significant.”

AIR also said further development of the system is not expected.

Late last week, the storm made landfall in Louisiana but failed to intensify into a tropical storm. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) described the storm as poorly organized at the time, and as of Aug. 12 the NHC gave the storm a near 0 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone within 48 hours.

Yesterday, the NHC gave the storm a high chance—60 percent—of becoming a tropical cyclone as it moved back over the Gulf and as conditions became conducive for the storm to develop.
As the storm once again comes ashore, it threatens to bring heavy rain to southeastern Louisiana and Mississippi. Unstable weather resulting in rain bands and thunderstorms are even being seen in Alabama and scattered areas in Georgia.

Tropical Depression 5 Remnants Still Impacting Gulf Coast(AccuWeather)
Once again, the remnants of Tropical Depression 5 have moved inland over the central Gulf Coast. The system will continue spreading heavy thunderstorms through parts of Louisiana and Mississippi as it slowly creeps north-northwestward over the next couple of days.

In areas that have been soaked by this system on a daily basis since the middle of last week, especially in Mississippi, the ground is already saturated. It will not take much additional rain to cause flash flooding in these places.

The system will, however be tracking a bit farther to the west across the Lower Mississippi Valley than it did late last week. Thus areas farther west through Louisiana will pick up more significant rainfall with this round. In many of these areas, the rain is much-needed.

Rainfall totals are expected to reach 3 to 4 inches from eastern Louisiana into southern Mississippi through Wednesday with locally higher amounts possible. An additional 1 to 2 inches could fall in these areas Thursday.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tropical Depression 5 drifts ashore - dissipates

The remnants of tropical depression 5 are drifting into southern Louisiana near New Orleans. The storm did not develop as expected and is now essentially dissipating. As the models show (above) the system will spread to the north and northeast bringing rain to Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

This morning the local radio reported that North Georgia is entering the beginning stages of a mild drought so this tropical weather comes just at the right time. Hopefully this will break the heat as well.

Final Tropical Depression 5 Update: August 11, 2010 (Wakulla)
A general northwest track is expected to continue through Thursday morning, but is forecast to turn more north and northeast beginning Thursday night while dramatically slowing down and lingering over the region through Saturday.

Forecast Weather Map for SaturdayThe official forecast track brings the center of the system onshore the north-central Gulf Coast near southeastern Louisiana and New Orleans early Thursday morning as a 40mph tropical storm.

No one should focus on the exact track of the system, because most of the associated weather with weak tropical cyclones is typically removed from the center.

Impacts to the Florida Gulf coast are expected to be minor, but may include minor coastal erosion, isolated waterspouts or tornadoes, high waves of 3-5 feet at the beach and an increased threat for rip currents along Florida beaches.

Tropical storm winds of 40mph may only occur in the gusts of passing squall bands, beginning late Wednesday afternoon or early Wednesday evening.

Heavy rainfall will likely be the main threat. Rainfall amounts may reach as high as 3-5 inches, especially along the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend coast.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tropical Storm Dianmu crosses South Korea

Tropical Storm Dianmu crossed South Korea yesterday bringing heavy rain and gusty winds to the Peninsula. The storm made landfall Wednesday morning local time west of Pusan, crossed the southern part of the country and then entered the Sea of Japan.

Tropical Storm 05W (Dianmu), # 9(Stars and Stripes)

Weather advisories remain in effect until 3 p.m. for Areas III (Camp Humphreys), IV (Daegu) and VI (Kunsan Air Base) as Tropical Storm Dianmu rumbles its way across the southeast part of the Korean peninsula.

Dianmu made landfall just after 9 a.m. about 70 miles west of Pusan, packing sustained 46-mph winds and 58-mph gusts at its center. Forecasters say Daegu can expect wind gusts of up to 50 mph, while as much as 2 inches of rain may fall in all the above locales by the time Dianmu exits the peninsula later this afternoon.

The storm left 3 dead in Korea and caused much flooding. It also brought heavy rain and flooding to the northeast China coast as it passed by on its way towards the Korean peninsula.

Tropical Storm Dianmu Weakens After Report It Left 3 Dead in South Korea(Bloomberg)
Tropical Storm Dianmu weakened as it passed over the southern coast of South Korea, the nation’s weather agency said on its website.

Sustained winds slowed to 86.4 kilometers (54 miles) per hour as Dianmu moved toward Pusan overnight, the Korea Meteorological Administration said in a bulletin at 9 a.m. Seoul time. Three people died and more than 100 buildings were flooded, leaving 200 people stranded during the night, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing Korea’s National Emergency Management Agency.

Dianmu was about 317 kilometers south-southwest of Seoul and moving northeast toward Pusan at 30 kph, according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency. It will head out into the Sea of Japan and is forecast to skirt Japan’s northern coastline from tomorrow, the agency said.

The storm yesterday passed China’s northeast coast in the East China Sea, dumping more rain in Shandong province, where torrential downpours on Aug. 8 forced the evacuation of 158,000 residents, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

Tropical Storm Dianmu is expected to remain at tropical storm strength as it skirts along the northern Japanese coast tomorrow.

Tropical Depression 5 forms in the Gulf

As expected, a tropical depression formed in the Gulf of Mexico last night. TD 5 will likely strengthen into a tropical storm later today or tonight. The storm is not expected to become too intense of a tropical storm or become a hurricane but will instead remain as a low level tropical storm as it approaches the New Orleans area.

Tropical Depression 5: A Nuisance to Central Gulf Coast (AccuWeather)

The Hurricane Center reports that the depression should intensify into a tropical storm later today.

The depression, however, will fall short of strengthening into a hurricane or even a strong tropical storm. The depression will move inland and will encounter disruptive wind shear (strong winds high in the atmosphere) before becoming a powerful tropical system.

Landfall is expected from coastal points east of New Orleans to Mobile late Thursday afternoon or night. Again, the depression will be a minimal tropical storm at this time.
The system is heading for the BP oil spill area and will stir up that portion of the gulf before moving on towards landfall. BP has suspended drilling operations for the relief well until after the storm passes.

BP Suspends Relief Well Drilling On Possible Gulf Cyclone (Wall Street Journal
BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) on Tuesday said it would suspend drilling activity for a relief well in the Gulf of Mexico, citing a National Hurricane Center prediction of a 60% chance of a tropical cyclone forming in that region.

According to the National Hurricane Center, there is a high chance the system could become a tropical or subtropical cyclone during the next 48 hours. It noted a low-pressure system located over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, a little less than 100 miles west of the southwest coast of Florida, is accompanied by a large area of showers and squalls.

BP and other producers evacuated workers and shut down oil and gas output of some facilities ahead of Hurricane Alex in June, which after making landfall in northeastern Mexico was downgraded to a tropical storm.

Graphics courtesy of AccuWeather

Monday, August 09, 2010

Tropical Storm Dianmu (Ester) forms in West Pacific

Tropical Storm Dianmu formed yesterday north of the Philippines. The storm, named Ester by the Phillippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration was heading to the north away from the archipelego. Heavy thunderstorms and gale force winds were felt in the northern islands.

Ester intensifies into storm, continues moving away from RP (GMA
Tropical cyclone Ester on Sunday afternoon intensified into a tropical storm as it continued to move away from Philippine territory and toward the southern islands of Japan.

In its 5 p.m. advisory, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Ester will still enhance the southwest monsoon and bring rains over Luzon and Visayas.

"'Ester' will continue to enhance the Southwest Monsoon and bring rains over Luzon and Visayas and the coastal waters over these areas will be rough and dangerous to small seacrafts and fishing boats," it said.

It reminded residents in low-lying and mountainous areas under Signal 1 and areas over the western sections of Luzon and Visayas against possible flashfloods and landslides.
Dianmu is skirting past Okinawa bringing heavy rain and wind to the Japanese island.

Tropical Storm 05W (Dianmu), # 5 (Stars and Stripes)

According to Tech Sgt. Randy McKillop of Kadena's 18th Wing Weather Flight, Okinawa can continue to expect southerly winds of between 23-35 mph overnight Monday. Winds will diminish to 17-29 mph out of the southwest on Tuesday and continue to taper off throughout the day.

As far as rainfall, Dianmu will continue to drench Okinawa with rainbands in its south and southeastern quadrants. Tuesday may bring a morning shower or two, but by afternoon the worst should be over, McKillop said.

Japanese weather Web sites still forecast rain continuing into Wednesday.
Tropical Storm Dianmu is heading directly for the southern regions of South Korea. The storm is expected to gain strength but remain at tropical storm strength as it makes landfall in southern Souther Korea passing near or over the city of Pusan.

Typhoon 'Dianmu' to hit Korea (Korea Times)
Torrential rain, coupled with strong winds, is expected to hit Jeju Island from Tuesday night as a typhoon is fast approaching the country’s southernmost island, the state weather agency said Monday.

The entire country is forecast to come under the influence of typhoon Dianmu with heavy rains expected nationwide from Wednesday, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA). But the typhoon is expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm and is unlikely to cause floods or major damage, it said.

Dianmu, which means “the goddess governing thunder and lighting” in Chinese, is forecast to cross the peninsula by Thursday and move northwards.

Given the overall weather conditions, the typhoon is unlikely to get stronger, but is expected to drastically cool the current heatwave affecting the peninsula, according to the KMA.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Tropical Storm Collin rakes Bermuda

Tropical storm Collin formed very briefly in the Caribbean last week and then broke apart as quickly as it formed. A few days later this same system re-organized back into a tropical storm in the North Atlantic heading to the north towards Bermuda.

Today the center of TS Collin crossed the island of Bermuda as a weak tropical storm. The storm was expected to bring flooding and some heavy surf along the southern beaches.

Tropical Storm Colin threatens Bermuda (Examiner)

Forecasters believe the center of Colin will pass near or over Bermuda Sunday.

“Colin is expected to produce coastal flooding and large and battering waves in Bermuda, particularly along south-facing beaches,” the NHC cautioned.

The storm is expected to bring one to three inches of rain to the island, as well as strong winds. The storm was packing maximum sustained winds of near 40 mph with stronger gusts. The winds extended outward up to 105 miles from the center of the storm. Tropical storm force winds were expected to begin reaching Bermuda tonight.
As Collin crossed Bermuda, it dissipated to a tropical depression prompting thunderstorm advisory and a small craft warning from the Bermuda Weather Service. The effects of the storm have been minimal with no damage reported.

Colin weakens to tropical depression west of Bermuda (Reuters Africa)
The Miami-based NHC said the depression now had maximum sustained winds near 35 miles per hour (55 kph) as it passed about 45 miles (75 km) west of the Atlantic island of Bermuda, a British overseas territory that is a center for the global insurance industry.

Bermuda residents reported some rain, but no really severe weather.

"Colin could dissipate as a tropical cyclone later today," the NHC said, adding the system would move away from Bermuda later on Sunday.

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