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.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cyclone Paul comes ashore hard

Tropical cyclone Paul has been a rather strange storm in my opinion. First of all it forms right on and along the coast and then intensifies even with the interaction from land.

Monday morning Paul turned towards the west and headed inland. Even after making landfall and coming completely on shore, this storm continued to strengthen or remain an organized storm fairly far inland.

Cyclone Paul not spent despite crossing coast (ABC News)

The Bureau of Meteorology says Tropical Cyclone Paul crossed the Northern Territory coast near Blue Mud Bay overnight and is causing wild weather around Borroloola and the Gulf country.

The bureau says Arnhem Land communities need to remain vigilant.

Senior forecaster Sally Cutter says Groote Eylandt has had about 157 millimetres of rain since yesterday morning and winds came close to gale force on Elcho Island last night.

"Since about midnight they've been getting pretty close to gales and some pretty good gusts and down on the southern end of the gulf, we've got some pretty gusty, squally showers and storms," she said.

"Borroloola at the moment is underneath a band feeding into Paul so they're getting a bit of wild weather down there as well."

The bureau says Cyclone Paul is still a Category 2 system but is showing signs of weakening.

However, they expect it to strengthen again.

A cyclone warning is in place for coastal and island communities from Milingimbi Island to Numbulwar, including Nhulunbuy and Groote Eylandt.

There is a cyclone watch for coastal and island communities west to Maningrida and south to Port McArthur.

Mark Hentschel from the bureau says Cyclone Paul is expected to head back out to sea. "[After crossing the coast] in the 24 to 48-hour period we are expecting it to then recurve back towards the coast," he said.

"And once it gets back over the water again in the Gulf of Carpentaria it's likely to redevelop into a tropical cyclone again.

In the meantime, Paul is battering the area with heavy rain and strong winds.

Cyclone Paul batters Arnhem Land (Sydney Morning Herald)
Heavy rain and destructive winds from cyclone Paul have battered Arnhem Land for 24 hours, bringing down trees and causing flooding.

Cyclone Paul crossed the east coast of the Northern Territory on Monday morning and remains a category two storm, with winds of up to 130km/h.

More than 300mm of rain has fallen in the past 48 hours at Groote Eylandt, where schools and a BHP mine remain closed.

The cyclone has also caused stream flooding in parts of Arnhem Land, while trees have been brought down across roads in some areas.

The Bureau of Meteorology expects the cyclone to weaken below cyclone strength on Tuesday, but warns it could strengthen again later in the week.

"It's not necessarily all over... if it does get back over waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria it could re-intensify fairly quickly," forecaster Michael Foley told AAP on Tuesday.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tropical Cyclone Paul loops and intensifies

Tropical cyclone Paul's storm track nearly traced a 'figure 8' along the NT coast today dumping heavy rain on the coastal regions along the Gulf of Carpentaria. The tight meandering of this cyclone is essentially the same as it being stationary with all rainfall falling on the same area.

Tropical Cyclone Paul soaks the Top End (North Queensland Register)

Tropical Cyclone Paul developed in to a category one system off the northeast coast of the Northern Territory this morning.

The cyclone has been skirting along the coast, bringing persistent and heavy rain to northeastern parts of the Top End as it slowly intensifies.

Nhulunbuy has been receiving persistent rain after a relatively dry start to the month. The city had received 57mm up until this past Wednesday when rain amount increased due to the developing Tropical system.

Nhulunbuy has seen 232mm of rain in the last five days, helping to bring them 20mm above the monthly average, with more to come.

Even with the interaction with land, Paul has intensified to a Category 2 cyclone and has drifted slightly further into the gulf.

Cyclone Paul intensifies off NT coast (ABC News)

The category two system has remained almost stationary north of Cape Shield off the Territory's east coast.

Forecaster Greg Browning predicted that more than 400 millimetres of rain will fall near the coast and Groote Eylandt in the next four days.

"To the south of the system, we have received reports of wind gusts up to about 70 or 80 kilometres per hour. And some pretty substantial rainfall," Mr Browning said.

"There would certainly be some communities that would be experiencing some heavy rain as well as some stronger winds."

Graphic courtesy of Weather Underground

As the satellite image shows, this storm is rather large covering approximately half of the Gulf of Carpentaria. As a result northern Queensland is also being drenched by the outer rainbands. As the storm moves further to the south, far north Queensland will likely see increased rain chances later this week.

Cyclone Paul to blow in to Far North Queensland (

UPDATE, March 29, 6.30am: The effects of category two cyclone Paul are expected to be felt in Far North Queensland as early as Wednesday.


The cyclone is currently near-stationary on the coast near Cape Shield and is expected to move further inland later today.

Destructive winds with gusts to 130km/h may develop between Nhulunbuy and Numbulwar today and tomorrow.

Gales with gusts to 110km/h are currently being experienced between Nhulunbuy and Port Roper, including Groote Eylandt. Gales may extend north to Elcho Island and west to Milingimbi later today and further west to Maningrida tomorrow if the system takes a more northerly track.

A storm tide is expected between Cape Shield and Port Roper. Tides are likely to rise significantly above the normal high tide, with damaging waves and dangerous flooding today.

Heavy rain may lead to localised flooding and significant stream rises over the eastern Top End and northern Roper-McArthur Districts today and tomorrow.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cyclone 22p forms on Australian coast

A tropical low pressure system has moved in from the north striking land at Nhulunbuy, Australia. The center of the storm moved along the coast to the south over land and certainly interacting with land as shown on the graphic above.

This morning, local time, this storm moved to slightly off-shore and is organizing and strengthening. Cyclone 22p is expected to be classified as a Category 1 cyclone by this evening.

Tropical Cyclone Technical Bulletin (Bureau of Meteorology)
The tropical low has maintained a well-developed structure during the past
6 hours, with deep convection persisting over a well-defined LLCC. (Low Level Circulation Center) --snip--

Intensification expected in the next 6 to 12 hours as system moves off shore. The broadscale environment remains favourable, with low upper shearand good outflow channels to the south and north of the system.

The current consensus track keeps the system over water for about 12 hoursbefore it adopts a westerly track and moves inland.

The storm track shows that this cyclone will remain close to shore so any development should be minimal.

Tropical Storm Public Advisory (Weather Underground)

The LLCC is located just off the coast of northern Australia in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The initial intensity was based on pgtw, knes, and adrm Dvorak estimates of 35 knots. Upper level analysis shows the system islocated beneath the subtropical ridge axis with good radial outflowand low vertical wind shear.

Tc 22p is currently located in a weak steering environment and is slowly tracking southward under the influence of a near equatorial ridge. Tc 22p should begin to turn southwest and westward as a subtropical steering ridge to the south builds in.

As tc 22p continues tracking over the warm waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria, it is expected to intensify until reaching landby tau 48 and begin dissipating as a significant tropical cycloneafter tau 72.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fwd: TSR Storm Alert - Tropical Storm TWO

The second tropical depression in teh Western Pacific has developed into a tropical storm. Tropical Storm Two has sustained winds of 40 MPH (35 kts) with wind gusts of 50 MPH.
This storm is headed directly towards or slightly north of the island of Yap. This storm is expected to increase in strength slightly to around 45 kts and then diminish as it heads further north.

NW Pacific: Storm Alert issued at 22 Mar, 2010 18:00 GMT
Tropical Storm TWO (02W) is forecast to strike land to the following likelihood(s) at the given lead time(s):
Yellow Alert City(s) and Town(s)
    Yap (9.5 N, 138.0 E)
        probability for TS is 65% within 12 hours

Note that
    Yellow Alert (Elevated) is CAT 1 or above to between 10% and 30% probability, or TS to above 50% probability.
    CAT 1 means Typhoon 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, March 21, 2010

Uilui pounds Queensland

Tropical Cyclone Ului came ashore early Sunday as a major Category 3 cyclone with winds as high as 200 km/hr (124MPH). Ului was downgraded to a category 2 storm as it made its way inland and threats from flooding remain and high probablility.

Cyclone batters Australian coast (CBC News)

A cyclone with winds gusting to 200 km/h hit the northern coast of Australia early Sunday, causing power outages and damaging homes in Queensland.

About 60,000 homes were left without power as Tropical Cyclone Ului crossed the coast at Airlie Beach as a Category 3 storm.

No injuries have been reported.
Raw Video: Cyclone Hits Northeastern Australia (Associated Press)

Queenslanders battered as Ului roars through (Sydney Morning Herald)
AS FORCEFUL as a jet engine, as loud as a freight train and something
residents ''never want to experience again''.

Queenslanders were battered by Cyclone Ului early yesterday as the vicious storm powered through Proserpine, Mackay and the Whitsundays region, pounding towns with 200km/h winds, horizontal rain and cutting power to 55,000 homes.

Floods continued to isolate towns in northern NSW last night. At Airlie Beach, several boats were pushed on to land or smashed onto rocks.

Authorities say no one was injured or killed by the tropical weather system.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tropical Cylone Ului making landfall

Tropical Cyclone Ului is now in the process of making landfall on the Queensland coast. The eastern edge of the storm is now crossing the coast with light to moderate rainfall. The cyclone has increased to a Category 3 storm over the past 12 hours as the eye of the storm approaches the city of MacKay.
The Australia Bureau of Meteorology is reporting dangerous conditions for the coastal regions as Ului comes ashore as a major cyclone. A tropical cyclone warning is in effect for the coastal regions from Carwell to Yeppoon and inland to Hughenden
The cyclone is expected to cross the coast between Ayr and Mackay, most likely
between Bowen and Proserpine as a severe tropical cyclone early Sunday. The
cyclone is then expected to weaken inland later on Sunday.

VERY DESTRUCTIVE wind gusts to 200 km/hr near the cyclone centre may affect
coastal and island communities in the threatened area overnight and early

DAMAGING winds are expected to develop between Cardwell and Yeppoon overnight,
then extend to adjacent inland parts during Sunday.

TIDES between Bowen and St Lawrence are expected to rise above the highest tide
of the year overnight with very rough seas and dangerous conditions along the

HEAVY RAINFALL and flooding are likely to develop about coastal and adjacent
inland areas between Bowen and St Lawrence early Sunday.

DANGEROUS SURF conditions are expected to continue about exposed beaches south
of the cyclone until later on Sunday. A separate Severe Weather Warning is
current for these conditions.

SW Pacific: Storm Alert issued at 20 Mar, 2010 6:00 GMT
Tropical Storm ULUI (20P) is forecast to strike land to the following likelihood(s) at the given lead time(s):
Yellow Alert Country(s) or Province(s)
        probability for CAT 1 or above is 20% within 12 hours
        probability for TS is 95% within 12 hours
Yellow Alert City(s) and Town(s)
    Mackay (21.3 S, 149.1 E)
        probability for CAT 1 or above is 15% within 12 hours
        probability for TS is 95% within 12 hours
    Bowen (20.0 S, 148.2 E)
        probability for TS is 90% within 12 hours

Green Alert City(s) and Town(s)
    St. Lawrence (22.3 S, 149.5 E)
        probability for TS is 50% within 12 hours
    Charters Towers (20.0 S, 146.3 E)
        probability for TS is 50% in about 24 hours
    Townsville (19.2 S, 146.8 E)
        probability for TS is 45% in about 24 hours
    Clermount (22.8 S, 147.7 E)
        probability for TS is 40% in about 24 hours

Note that
    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 Tropical Cyclone 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.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tropical Cyclone Ului weakens significantly - heads towards Queensland

Tropical Cyclone Ului has weakened significantly since reaching category 5 status earlier this week. Ului is now a Category 2 cyclone, the equivalent of a tropical cyclone with winds as high as 140 km/hr and is heading towards the southwest.

The current heading will bring Ului to the Queensland coast within the next 24 hours making landfall just south of Proserpine.

Cyclone Ului to hit Queensland coast (Sydney Morning Herald)

Tropical cyclone Ului is bearing down on Queensland's north coast and generating destructive winds of up to 40 kilometres an hour.

The cyclone is 550km northeast of Mackay and is still rated a category two system, easing fears of extensive damage in the state's coastal areas, but severe flooding in some areas is expected.

A Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said on Saturday the cyclone was travelling at a speed of 26km/h and was expected to cross the coast between Townsville and Mackay early on Sunday morning.

BoM forecaster Vikash Prasad said despite the storm being downgraded on Friday, it could still have a devastating effect when it crosses land.

With the clockwise rotation of Cyclone Ului, the worst portion of this storm will be the south and southeastern quadrants as the storm crosses the coast. This will put the strongest winds and storm surge over the cities of McKay and St. Lawrence.

Coast on alert as Cyclone Ului nears (ABC News)

Emergency crews remain on standby as Tropical Cyclone Ului edges closer to the north Queensland coast.

Weather bureau spokesman Mark Hentschel says the cyclone is moving south-west at 13 kilometres an hour.

He says damaging winds will develop between Townsville and Yeppoon later in the day.

"We are expecting it to maintain at a category two intensity and cross the coast somewhere between Cardwell and Mackay early Sunday morning," he said.

"So we are expecting a category two impact on the coast."

Senior forecaster Brian Rolstone says the storm will bring severe weather to north Queensland.

"There's going to be falls in probably localised areas, getting up to near 200 millimetres," he said.

"But over a bigger area there'll be falls of probably 50 to 100 millimetres, and that'll be stretching across to the northern parts of the central highlands and probably the goldfields.

"Flooding is likely to develop about the coastal and adjacent inland areas between Bowen and St Lawrence early Sunday.

The storm claimed its first life in Australia when a life-saving champion was killed during a competition in high seas yesterday.

Teenage surfer dies while competing in life-saving championships (Times On-Line)

A teenage Australian surfing and life-saving champion was killed on Friday while competing in a national competition held in rough seas whipped up by a tropical cyclone.

Saxon Bird, a 19-year-old from Sydney, died during a heat of the Australian Surf Life Saving championships at Kurrawa Beach on the Gold Coast in Queensland amid strong winds and 2m (6ft) waves.

Graphic courtesy of BoM

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Damage to Fiji overwhelming

Damage caused by Very Intense Tropical Cyclone Tomas to the northern islands ofFiji have been described as overwhelming by Fiji Prime Minister. So far only one death has been reported but communications with the affected regions has been out for several days so this could change. Damage to homes, buildings, crops and infrastucture is quite severe.

Fiji cyclone damage overwhelming, leader says (Associated Press)
SUVA, Fiji — The South Pacific island nation of Fiji has suffered overwhelming damage from a powerful cyclone that battered its shores for more than three days, the prime minister said Wednesday as relief operations were launched in the country's northern regions.

Fiji sent naval patrol boats laden with supplies and support staff sailing for the northern islands that bore the full brunt of the storm, while Australian and New Zealand air force planes began airlifting emergency supplies to the island group.

Only one death has been reported, but the full extent of the damage has yet to be determined because communications to the hardest hit areas were cut off for days.

"It is evident that wherever (Cyclone) Tomas has struck, the damage has been overwhelming," Commodore Frank Bainimarama, Fiji's prime minister and military chief, said Wednesday as the first reports began to roll in.

Cyclone Tomas, packing winds of up to 130 mph (205 kph) at its center and gusts of up to 175 mph (280 kph), started hitting Fiji late Friday. It blasted through the northern Lau and Lomaiviti island groups and the northern coast of the second biggest island, Vanua Levu, before losing strength as it moved out to sea Wednesday, the nation's weather office said.

Matt Boterhoven, senior forecaster at Fiji's Tropical Cyclone Center, said "the good news is it's accelerating away from Fiji ... and weakening in the cooler waters."

Storm surges as high as 7 meters (23 feet) were reported on the island of Lau. The surf will remain high for a couple of days as the energy from this cyclone slowly dissipates. The damage includes houses blown away, trees uprooted, and roads blocked with rocks and coral from the sea. Power, water and sewage are not functioning in many areas.

All storm and strong wind warnings for Fiji have been canceled, he said. Earlier sea surges of up to 23 feet (7 meters) were reported in the Lau island group, which was hit head-on by the cyclone, causing major flooding. The surges would take at least 36 hours to subside, he said.

On the northern island of Koro, seven of the 14 villages have been badly damaged, said Julian Hennings, a spokesman for the island's Dere Bay Resort.

"Some of the houses have blown away. A lot of trees have been uprooted, some of the roads have been blocked off because the waves have picked up rocks and coral and have dumped it on the road," he said. One of four landing jetties was also severely damaged.

Video: Cyclone Tomas batters Fiji (ITN News)

Tropical cyclone Ului maintains strength

Very intense tropical cyclone Ului reached a Category 5 cyclone classification yesterday, the first cat 5 in this region since 2005's Severe Tropical Cyclone Percy.

Ului continues to batter the southern Solomon Islands with its outer rain bands. The center of the storm is south of the island nation and is slowly moving towards the west-southwest and is expected to turn more southerly.

The category four cyclone battering the Solomon Islands is moving only slowly from the southern part of the country but is maintaining its strength.

Transport services in the Solomon Islands have been largely brought to a halt by the destructive conditions of Cyclone Ului which is moving in a west south-west direction at about four knots.

Reports emerging from the country show the province of Rennel and Bellona has been the worst hit so far with at least ten houses destroyed and crops severely damage.

Ului weakened slightly to a Category 4 cyclone yesterday but is forecast to strengthen back to a Category 5 cyclone. It is forecast to turn to the south or southwest later today or tonight but Ului does not pose a threat to the Australian coast. Current projections are very uncertain regarding the path of this storm but it will not be approaching the coast until later this week.

Strong winds and heavy surf are being felt along the coast so caution should be observed near the water.

Cyclone Ului is expected to intensify to a category five cyclone overnight as it continues to slowly move west-southwest over the northeast Coral Sea.

At 4pm, Cyclone Ului was about 1250km northeast of Mackay and 1370km east of Cooktown.

It is moving west southwest at about 7km/h.


A gale warning remains in place for Cooktown to Burnett Heads, with southeasterly winds of 25/33 knots expected to gradually increase to 30/35 knots in open offshore waters in the evening, and seas rising 2.5m to 3.5m.

A strong wind warning continues for Lockhart River to Cooktown, with southeasterly winds of 25/33 knots between Cape Melville and Cooktown expected to gradually extend north to Lockhart River during the evening, and seas of 2.5m in open waters.

The windy conditions over much of the Queensland east coastal waters will continue throughout the week due to the tight pressure gradient generated by a combination of a high pressure system situated in the Tasman Sea and Severe Tropical Cyclone Ului.

Seas and swell are expected to gradually increase along much of the Queensland east coast.

Ului is eventually expected to turn to the southwest towards the Queensland coast but the storm path this far out is too uncertain. Residents should be prepared to take future action but at this time only an alert weather eye is warranted.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Very Intense Cyclone Tomas pounds Fiji

Tropical Cyclone Tomas is now a very intense Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 170 - 200 km/hr and gusts as high as 270 km/hr near its center. The cyclone is currently passing over the eastern end of the northern island of Vanua Levu.

Hurricane warning remains in place (Fiji Village)

Severe Tropical Cyclone Tomas centre Category 4 was located near 16 decimal 8 South 179 decimal 6 West or about 120km East Southeast of Labasa or 255 kilometres North East of Suva at 2.30 this morning.

Close to its centre, Tomas is estimated to have average winds of 175 kilometres per hour increasing to 200 kilometres per hour within the next 12 hours with momentary gusts up to 270 kilometres per hour.

The hurricane is intensifying and moving South at 10 kilometres per hour.

On this track, the cyclone centre is expected to be located about 190 kilometres East of Suva or 105 kilometres west of Lakeba at 3pm today and about 230 kilometres South Southwest of Lakeba or 320 kilomerters Southeast of Suva at 3am tomorrow.

Nadi Weather Office Duty Forecaster Terry Atalifo said the situation is not expected to change over the next few hours as the system is very slow moving.

Tomas is causing much damage due tot he high winds and heavy rains. Flooding is cauing evacuations in many villages and as many as 5000 people are currently without shelter.

Cyclone Tomas batters Fiji islands; thousands left unsheltered (Entertainment & Showbiz)

CNN and Australia Networks report that Fiji’s northern islands have been slammed by Tomas, the Category4 cyclone with a wind speed of 275 km/h (170 mph) and heavy rain. The storm grew up into a Category4 storm overnight which is one of the most destructive storms, as reported by the Nadi Weather Center.

More than 5000 people are left unsheltered as they are evacuated from the overflowing villages and moved to relatively safe places in Fiji’s northern island of Vanua Levu. Schools, banks and other institutes have been ordered to stay closed for some days.

Much damage has been done in the region.There is no power supply in Labassa and a curfew is expected to begin overnight, as told by a resident Alifereti Fisaitu to Radio Australia. Besides Labassa, which is comparatively in a better position, Wainiika, Nuku and Vatu are all under seawater and the residents are evacuated.

Most of the houses are blown away in the cyclone while the stronger buildings expect damages tomorrow as the cyclone is expected to grow deadlier.

The weather officials haven’t reported of death casualties or severe damages till now.

Cyclone damage widespread in Fiji (UPI)

SUVA, Fiji, March 15 (UPI) -- A cyclone Monday swamped Fiji's northern islands, killing at least one person and injuring dozens with heavy rain and gusts as high as 170 mph, officials said.

"Squatter houses have been blown away," Alipate Waqaicelua, forecaster for the Nadi Tropical Cyclone Center, told CNN.


One woman drowned off the island of Vanua Leva while trying to rescue others from huge waves and eighteen patients at a hospital on Tavenui Island were evacuated after part of the hospital's roof blew off, TVNZ reported.

Dozens of injuries were reported and several villages in northern Vanua Leva were evacuated after rising water threatened bridges and swamped roads, Fiji's Disaster Management Center said.

The cyclone caused significant damage to water and power supplies in northern Fiji, but authorities had yet to fully assess the damage, TVNZ reported.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cyclone Ului grows to a very intense Category 5

Tropical Cyclone Ului has intensified to a very intense storm with sustained winds of 290 km/hr. Current storm tracks indicate that Ului has turned towards the southwest and continues towards Australia's Queensland Coast. The worst of this storm appears likely to miss the Solomon Islands but the islanders will likely still experience some heavy rain and winds.

Powerful cyclone charges towards Queensland coast (

A CATEGORY five cyclone is charging across the Coral Sea towards north Queensland.

Tropical cyclone Ului is now southeast of the Solomon Islands after building rapidly from a category three on Saturday to a category five this morning.

Queensland's Bureau of Meteorology says the cyclone is packing wind gusts of up to 290 kilometres an hour.

Senior forecaster Brett Harrison said at midday (AEST) today it was more than 15,000 kilometres northeast of the Whitsundays.

"It is moving about 15 kilometres per hour and it will get close to the north Queensland coast around mid-week, probably Wednesday,'' Mr Harrison said.

"It is expected to be a very intense system for the next couple of days and will most likely be a category five (if it reaches north Queensland's coast).''

Storm track forecasts indicate that Ului will move slowly to the south-southeast and then head south as it weakens on Wednesday. It is too early to forecast where along the Queensland coast this storm is likely to hit, however, the above artice reports that there is a high pressure system in the Tasman Sea that, in combination with Ului, is creating high surf in southern Australia.
The cyclone, in combination with a high pressure system in the Tasman Sea, is creating big swells and strong winds north of Cairns.

It will be interesting to see if this high acts as a block, steering Uliu into the Australian coast or preventing it from heading too far south.

Cyclone Ului heading for Queensland coast (Courier Mail)
AN extremely dangerous tropical storm is moving towards Queensland, with gales and big seas expected to hit the coast by the middle of the week.

Cyclone Ului has intensified to category 5 – the worst on the Weather Bureau's cyclone category system – and is expected to be about 1200km off the coast this morning.

It was southeast of the Solomon Islands yesterday afternoon, with winds to 290km/h and travelling southwest at 15km/h.

Fiji braces for Cyclone Tomas

Tropical cyclone Tomas has grown further to a major Category 3 cyclone that is continuing its track for the Islands of Fiji.

Fiji braces for Cyclone Tomas (
Fiji is bracing itself for what experts fear is going to be a brutal storm, passing right across the two main islands and hitting major population centres, including the capital Suva.

The Fiji Meteorological Service expects Cyclone Tomas to reach a Category Four storm - one short of the maximum storm - just before it hits the Vanua Levu near Udu Point tomorrow.

It is coming from the north and will pass right over Fiji with its full intensity.

Tomas is estimated to have average winds of 120km/hr, increasing to 160kmh with momentary gusts up to 220kmh in the next 18 to 24 hours.

In advance of Tomas' approach, warnings have been issued for several islands or parts of islands. The public is being advised to take proper precautions immediately including storing food and water, secure property and make sure people are safe from wind and flooding waters.

Current windspeeds are in excess of 140 km/hr and are expected to increase to 165 km/hr with gusts of 230 km/hr over the next 12 - 24 hours.

Warning for Cikobia Island (Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, Ltd)
A Hurricane Warning is now in force for Cikobia Island with average wind speed of 185km/hr and momentary gusts to 230km/hr.

A Storm Warning is now in force for eastern half of Vanua Levu, Rabi, Kioa and nearby smaller islands with average wind speed of 90km/hr and momentary gusts to 130km/hr.

A Gale Warning is now in force for the rest of Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Qamea, Laucala, Eastern coast of Viti Levu, Lomaiviti group, Northern Lau and nearby smaller islands with average wind speed of 75km/hr and momentary gusts to 110km/hr.

A Tropical Cyclone ALERT is in force for the rest of Fiji with wind speed of 60km/hr and momentary gusts to 110km/hr.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tropical Cyclone Tomas heading to Fiji

Tropical Cyclone Tomas is gaining in intensity as it heads towards the Fiji Islands. The projected storm track idicates Tomas will cross directly over the two main islands likely on Monday.

Cyclone Tomas forecast to roar across the centre of Fiji from Monday (Radio New Zealand International)
The Fiji Metservice says Tomas is a category two system but is likely to significantly intensify over the next day or so.

Forecaster Alipate Waqaicelua says by then the cyclone could threaten Vanua Levu and Viti Levu with winds of up to 125 knots.

“At the moment all the model guidance is agreeing to bring the track right across Fiji, starting from Vanua Levu, the big island to the north, and then come down through Fiji on its way southward.”

Tropical Cyclone Tomas heading straight towards Fiji Group (FijiVillage)
Tropical Cyclone Tomas has now heading Southwest and his heading straight towards the Fiji group and is expected to start affecting the country from late tomorrow or early Monday morning.

Nadi Weather Office Director Rajendra Prasad said Tropical Cyclone Tomas has slowed down and is intensifying rapidly and is expected to be upgraded to a hurricane status within the next 12 hours.


Tropical Cyclone Tomas was located 545 kilometers North Northeast of Udu point at around 11am today and is moving Southwest at 11 kilometers per hour.

Close to its center, Tropical Cyclone Tomas has average winds of 100km/hr to 140km/hr and on its current track, it may bring gale force winds over most parts of the country within the next 24 to 36 hours.

Cyclone Tomas is moving slowly and is intensifying steadily. This storm has the potential to become one of the strongest that Fiji has experienced. Strong winds and heavy rains are expected to begin Sunday afternoon and increase throughout the night as the bulk of the storm makes landfall.

The slow movement of Tomas provides ample time for the storm to intensify potentially becoming a very severe tropical cyclone. Sea surface temperatures in this region are quite warm providing plenty of fuel for intensification provided that wind shear remains low.

Tomas coming slow, but getting stronger (Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, Ltd.)
Tropical Cyclone Tomas could develop into one of the most devastating hurricanes Fiji has ever faced, says the National Disaster Management Office.

A DISMAC statement just released a while ago says that Cyclone Tomas is expected to intensify into a Hurricane by this evening and possibly develop further into a Category 4 system just before reaching landfall.

Based on rather slow movement of TC Thomas to date and its new projected path, the cyclone is expected to start affecting Fiji from early on Monday 15 March.


The fact that the cyclone has been moving rather slowly, though giving ample time for warning and for people to prepare, is not so good news for Fiji as it gives the system good opportunity to develop into a more severe Hurricane (Category 4) as it approaches the country.

Tropical Cyclone Ului strengthens

Tropical Cyclone Ului has crossed the northern islands of Vanuatu and is intensifying as it moves towards the west. The cyclone is already a category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale and is expected to increase to category 5 by Monday.

Ului is causing flooding in Vanuatu even though the eye of the storm has crossed the islands. Heavy rain and gale force winds are still being experienced, especially over open ocean.

Tropical Cyclone Ului forecast to intensify as it heads away from Vanuatu (Radio New Zealand International)
Tropical Cyclone Ului is currently 150 nautical miles Northwest of Vanuatu’s northern islands.

David Gibson, from Vanuatu’s metservice heavy rainfall and flooding will continue to affect the northern and parts of the central islands.

“The system is still in close proximity to the Nothern Islands. We get a lot of rain, and so flooding is possible over low lying areas and also seas are very rough at the moment, up to 35 knots in the open waters, so boats, open vessels, are still advised not to go out to sea at this time. It is heading towards the Solomon Islands and is likely to intensify because it is towards the open waters.”

Cyclone Ului is expected to continue towards Australia's Queensland coast after strafing the Solomon Islands.

Cyclone Ului heading for coast (Courier Mail)
EMERGENCY Management Queensland is closely monitoring a tropical cyclone that could threaten the Queensland coastline this week.

Category two Tropical Cyclone Ului was about 250km northwest of Vanuatu and 1800km east of Queensland last night, tracking west at six knots.

Packing winds up to 140km/h, it is expected to intensify to a category three cyclone today and shift to a southwest course towards the central Queensland coast.

Weather bureau senior forecaster Tony Wedd said it was too early to tell whether TC Ului would cross the coast but forecast models suggested it would track "well into the Coral Sea".

AccuWeather issues first forecast for 2010 tropical season

AccuWeather meteorologist Joe Bastardi has issued the first forecast for the 2010 Atlantic tropical season. 2010 is going to be a rough year for tropical storms and hurricanes.

Several factors contribute to this forecast of an increase in the number of storms for this year including a weakening of El Nino in the Pacific.

2010 Hurricane Season Will Be More Active, Joe Bastardi Predicts (AccuWeather) Hurricane Center meteorologists, led by Chief Long-Range Meteorologist and Hurricane Forecaster Joe Bastardi, have released their early hurricane season forecast for the Atlantic Basin for 2010.

The forecast is calling for a much more active 2010 season with above-normal threats on the U.S. coastline.


There are a number of physical drivers that have Bastardi concerned for this upcoming hurricane season.

These include:

--The rapidly weakening El Niño

--Warmer ocean temperatures in the typical Atlantic tropical breeding grounds compared to last year (tropical storms draw energy from warm water)

--Weakening trade winds which reduce the amount of dry air injected into the tropics from Africa

--Higher humidity levels which provide additional upward motion in the air and fuel tropical storm development.
At the end of last season, your humble hurricane hobbyist speculated that the unusually low activity 2009 Atlantic hurricane season was caused by the presence of a strong El Nino in the Pacific. Blame El Nino for 2009 tropical season (Part 1) and 2009 Atlantic tropical wrap-up discussed how El Nino surpressed Atlantic tropical activity primarily by driving an increase in upper level wind shear that prevented storms from forming and broke apart those storms that did form.

El Nino also contributed to the rather cold and harsh winter much of the US and Europe experienced this year as well.

Now with El Nino expected to break apart as the tropical season comes into force, hurricane formation can be expected to increase. Likewise, the Eastern Pacific may experience a little relief but it is really too early to tell.

We suspect that we will be busier in 2010 and we all have to keep a weather eye out for approaching storm systems.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rare tropical storm forms in South Atlantic

Only seven tropical storms have formed in the Sputh Atlantic in recorded history. The reasons for this are primarily due to strong upper-air wind shear and cool sea surface temperatures (Source: Earthweek). This week Invest 90Q did indeed form off the coast and grow to tropical storm strength.

90Q: A curious short-lived 'tropical' cyclone in the southern Atlantic (R&D Mag)

Tropical cyclones typically don't form in the Southern Atlantic because the waters are usually too cool. However, forecasters at the Naval Research Laboratory noted that a low pressure system off the coast of Brazil appeared to have tropical storm-force winds yesterday.

On Wednesday, March 10 at 1400 UTC (9:00 a.m. ET) "System 90Q" was located near 29.8 degrees South latitude and 48.2 degrees West longitude, about 180 miles east of Puerto Alegre, Brazil. The Naval Research Laboratory said on March 10 the system had maximum sustained winds near 39 mph (35 knots) but has weakened today below the tropical storm-force winds threshold.

Weather Underground meteorologist Dr. Jeff Masters has discussed this system over the past few days. He pointed out that the system had a defined circulation and windspeeds that approached tropical storm speeds.

Brazilian tropical/subtropical storm deserves a name (Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog)

The South Atlantic tropical/subtropical storm we've been tracking this week has moved over colder waters and has now transitioned to a regular extratropical storm. Earlier this week, the storm became just the 7th tropical or subtropical cyclone on record in the South Atlantic. According to a statement put out by MetSul Meteorologia, a Brazilian weather company, this storm is now named "Tropical Storm Anita:"

The regional weather centers and the private weather enterprises of both Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, southernmost Brazilian states, in a joint decision, named Anita the rare tropical storm of March 9th and 10th in the coastal areas of the region. The name was chosen considering a historic figure of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, both states affected by the tropical cyclone. Anita Garibaldi (1821-1849) was a heroine of the Farroupilha Revolution (1835-1845), one of the most important events in the Brazilian history that took place in the Southern part of the country. Anita was used in the past to designate tropical cyclones in other basins: North Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

Tropical torm Anita is moving away from the Brazilian coast and is weakening. By the week end Anita will be extratropical and become absorbed in the cold front over the South Atlantic Ocean.

Photo courtesy of NASA via Weather Underground

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Two cyclones form in South Pacific

Graphic courtesy of AccuWeather

Two tropical cyclones have formed in the South Pacific yesterday. Both of these storms are expected to become intense tropical cyclones by the weekend.

Tropical Cyclone 19P is located just west of Samoa and is currently tracking towards the southwest towards Fiji. 19P is currently at tropical storm strength and is increasing in intensity. This cyclone is expected to reach hurricane strength by Sunday morning local time and eventually reach Category 2 strength on the Saffir-Simpson scale by the end of the weekend. The cyclone is also expected to turn to teh southeast and increase forward speed.

Tropical cyclone 20P is located west of 19P and is moving to the westward towards the Solomon islands.

UPDATE: 20P is currently crossing very near to Vanuatu with Tropical Storm force winds and is projected to cross the Solomon Islands within 72 hours as a strong tropical storm or possibly as a Category 1 hurricane.

This cyclone is expected to become a very intense storm reaching a category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Tropical Cyclone Hubert pounds Madagascar

Tropical Cyclone Hubert slammed into the coast of Madagascar ravenging the city of Ambatondrazaka. The cyclone struck land with tropical storm force winds and heavy rains.

Initial reports seem to indicate that while the destruction was severe due to flooding, it does not appear that there were any deaths. Over 300 homes were flooded out and the entire district is essentially underwater.

Photo courtesy of Zinfos 974

Le district d'Ambatondrazaka sous les eaux après le passage d'Hubert (Zinfos 974)

Devenue dépression sur terre, la tempête tropicale modérée Hubert a causé de nombreux dégâts dans le district d'Ambatondrazaka, sans la région d'Alaotra-Mangoro. Plusieurs centaines de maisons sont sous les eaux, ainsi que de nombreuses infrastructures.

Si ces derniers jours, la menace du 13ème système de la saison cyclonique s'éloignait progressivement de la Réunion, elle s'approchait également de la côte Sud-Est de Madagascar. Résultat, de nombreux dégâts relatifs à l'arrivée sur terre de la tempête tropicale modérée Hubert.

En proie à de fortes pluies, la région d'Alaotra-Mangoro située dans la province de Tamatave, a connu une nuit mouvementée. Selon l'Express de Madagascar, plusieurs centaines de maisons du district d'Ambatondrazaka ont été la cible d'importantes inondations. Le BNGRC (Bureau national de gestion des risques et catastrophes de Madagascar) évoque ainsi une dizaine de maisons détruites et d'une cinquantaine de sans-abris.

Dans le fokontany (quartier) de Madiotsifafana, plus de 300 maisons sont inondées tandis que le quartier de Manakambola enregistre 44 sans-abris à l'heure actuelle. Côté infrastructures, la route reliant Ambatondrazaka à Manakambahiny a été endommagée par la montée rapide du niveau des eaux.

English translation courtesy of Google Translate

The island is very mountainous and the heavy rain makes the potential for mudslides a very real possibility.

Madagascar : la ville d’Ambatondrazakaravagée par un cyclone (

La ville d’Ambatondrazaka, à l’est d’Antananarivo, capitale de Madagascar, a été ravagée par le cyclone tropical Hubert qui passe actuellement dans le pays.

Selon le bilan provisoire du Bureau National de Gestion des Risques et Catastrophes (BNGRC), 44 personnes ont été sinistrées, mais aucun mort ni blessé n’est enregistré, alors que dix maisons ont été détruites, 300 maisons inondées suite au passage du cyclone Hubert au large de Toamasina, ville portuaire à 360 km à l’est d’Antananarivo, les 7 et 8 mars.


La partie Sud-Est de la Grande île est menacée des éboulements de terre dans les trois jours à venir selon la dernière prévision météorologique, parce que Hubert est déjà entré à Madagascar vers 23h00 (20H00 GMT) mercredi et continue sa route vers la partie Nord-Ouest avec une vitesse de déplacement de 5km à l’heure associé de rafale maximale de 91km à l’heure. (Xinhua)

English translation courtesy of Google Translate

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Tropical Cyclone 18 forms in South Indian Ocean

Graphic courtesy of Weather Underground

Tropical Cyclone 18 has formed in the South Indian Ocean and is heading into central Madagascar. The storm currently has 40 MPH (60 km/hr) sustained winds with gusts up to 50 MPH (80 km/hr) which makes it a minimal tropical storm.

Tropical Storm Risk is projecting this storm to increase slightly in strength before striking land and then diminishing to a tropical depression.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Exposure to the cold causes illness?

This winter has been colder for a longer period of time then I remember since I moved to the southland 22 years ago. Last year we were in for a rude awakening having moved from Houston all the way up north to Atlanta. We expected another mild winter like we had become used to and instead had to run to the store for coats for the kids and us.

This year we have seen 5 inches accumulation of snow at the Atlanta Hartsfield airport since November. This was over three snowstorms but for us it is a lot... my parents have has several nor'easters dump 1 - 2 feet of snow on them each storm in New Jersey so we really don't have anything to complain about.

The thing is that for the eastern 2/3rds of the US it has been cold this year.

So what if the teenager refuses to wear a coat in the morning when the temperatures are in the upper 20's or low 30's? Looking at the majority of the teens at the high school, very few wear jackets or coats and some even show up in short sleeves.

We had a bout of poetic justice last week in our home. The teenager refused to wear a jacket all week. Morning lows ranged in the upper 20's with highs only in the 40's. Sure enough, by Friday he had a sore throat and from Saturday through Tuesday he laid in bed sleeping with a sore throat and no energy missing Church and two days of school.

Now let me state right up front that I understand that colds are caused by viruses and not from cold weather. I also understand that exposure to the cold is dangerous and can be damaging to the body. Unfortunately, it seems to me that many people, especially teens, interpret the fact that colds are caused by viruses to mean that they do not need to protect themselves from the cold if they plan to be out for fairly short durations or if they are going to be active (as in a basketball pickup game).

Many experts point out that in cold weather it is important to wear layers of clothing and a hat to prevent heat loss. The Ohio State University points out the following with regard to exposure to cold:

Cold Weather Exposure (National Ag Safety Database)

Exposure to cold can lead to serious illness, so it is important to be aware of the temperature and how to protect yourself against it. Cold exposure can occur in weather that is not freezing. Wind, humidity and moisture remove body heat, which can eventually lead to hypothermia. The cold primarily affects the body's extremities. Hands and feet are further away the body core and have less blood flow. However, man can deal with low temperatures much better than high temperatures by just adding clothing.

Cold exposure prevention:

  • Wear several layers of loose clothing. Layering provides better insulation. Layers can also be removed if you become too hot.

  • Tight clothing reduces blood circulation. Warm blood needs to be circulated to the extremities.

  • When choosing clothing, be aware that some clothing may restrict movement resulting in a hazardous situation.

  • Boots should be waterproof and insulated.

  • By wearing a hat, you will keep your whole body warmer. It reduces the amount of body heat that escapes from your head.

  • Make sure to protect the ears, face, hands and feet in extremely cold weather.

  • Move into warm locations periodically. Limit the amount of time outside on extremely cold days.

  • Carry cold weather gear, such as extra socks, gloves, hats, jacket, blankets, a change of clothes and a thermos of hot liquid.

  • Include a thermometer and chemical hot packs in your first aid kit.

  • When working, avoid touching cold metal surfaces with bare skin.
These guidelines need to be adapted and used based on the amount of time that is to be spent outside and the temperatures. Below 40 F (4C) certainly qualifies as cold.

If cold doesn't cause illness, then why is cold weather associated with sickness? The answer may lie in hypothermia. Hypothermia is when the core body temperature drops below 95 F (or 35 C). When the temperature outside is colder than normal body temperature, the body works to produce heat to stay warm. Typically this is a balanced process. As the temperature outside decreases, the body has to work harder to stay warm.

Heat transfer between the body and the environment around it occurs any time there is a temperature difference. This is most obvious in cold water. Hypothermia can set in within minutes in 40 degree water due to the high amount of heat transfer taking place. In air the process still occurs, just at a slower rate. (Chart courtesy of

Wearing appropriate clothing for the weather conditions reduces the stress on your body to stay warm. Being under dressed increases the stress because the body has to work harder to stay warm. Even a 15 minute walk from the bus stop several days in a row will cause stress the body.

Stress has been shown to reduce the body's resistance to viruses.

So my gripe is that while you are a teenager, when it is cold out wear your coat. When you turn 18, if you want to show how tough you are then go right ahead. Wear short sleeves and tell me how wrong I am or get pneumonia. By then it's not my problem anymore. Extreme cold temperatures can cause death. Very cold temperatures have an effect on heath. Anything approaching or below the freezing point of water is very cold whether you want it to be or not.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Extratropical Xynthia ravenges western Europe

A very strong storm with hurricane strength winds raked the northern coastal area of Europe last week. The storm caused severe flooding, downed trees and caused the deaths of scores of people.

The storm caused at least 3 deaths in Spain and one small girl in Portugal Saturday.

Storms kill 15 in France, three in Spain (Nine O'clock)
Storms swept through western Europe over the weekend, killing at least 15 people in France, three in Spain and one in Portugal, officials said. Local authorities in France warned the toll could rise after three people died on Saturday and another 12 yesterday. Some drowned while others were hit by falling trees and branches. Two people were killed near the northern Spanish city of Burgos when their car hit a fallen tree and a woman died when a wall fell on her in northwestern Spain. Unusually strong winds also uprooted trees in many parts of Portugal. A girl of 10 died when she was hit by a falling tree. Heavy rain lashed many parts of the country and several rivers rose sharply, with flood warnings on Sunday for low-lying parts of second city Porto along the Douro River estuary.

The death toll increased in France and the storm continued through the weekend. Wind speeds reached 100 MPH - the equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane - in coastal areas with waves as high as 25 feet.

Europe storm Xynthia death toll rises to 62; in France, 1 million without power (Christian Science Monitor)

Xynthia, the storm that roared out of the Atlantic over the weekend and battered the coast of Western Europe from Portugal north to the Netherlands, had a confirmed death toll of 62 as of Monday morning.

At least 51 of the deaths were in France, the country hit hardest by the storm, which flooded coastal areas with 25-foot-high waves and 100-mile-per-hour winds in coastal regions.

The storm also cut power to roughly 1 million French homes. The national electricity utility said that all power should be restored by Wednesday


Xynthia led to storm surges in coastal towns that saw floodwaters rise to the second story of buildings and smash sea walls – some dating back to the 19th century, according to the French press.

"It is a national disaster, a human drama with a terrible death toll," President Sarkozy said. "The urgent thing is to support the families who have members missing or dead."

While France was hit the hardest, casualties were also reported from Spain, Belgium, England, and Germany.

Xynthia continued on into Germany Sunday night causing further destruction and several more deaths. Most if not all of the deaths were caused by trees falling on victims from the high winds.

Violent storm 'Xynthia' cuts deadly path (The Local)
The vicious Atlantic storm “Xynthia” ravaged Germany overnight, killing at least six and injuring dozens. National rail provider Deutsche Bahn said on Monday morning that commuter traffic was “relatively stable” after wind downed countless trees.

The German Weather Service (DWD) called off its storm warning for hurricane-force winds of up to 120 kilometres per hour in most places, but cities above 1,000 metres were still on alert after several casualties across the country.

In Lower Saxony a 46-year-old man died after colliding with a tree when his car was blown from the roadway, police said.

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