Active 2011 season breaks ‘hurricane amnesia’

Irene was the first hurricane to hit the U.S. in three years

A NOAA satellite image shows Hurricane Irene making landfall in South Carolina.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season officially ends November 30 after producing a total of 19 tropical storms. Seven became hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. The activity matched NOAA’s predictions and continues the trend of active hurricane seasons that began in 1995.

Hurricane Irene was the lone hurricane to hit the United States in 2011, and the first since Ike struck southeast Texas in 2008. Irene was also the most significant tropical cyclone to strike the Northeast since Hurricane Bob in 1991. Its effects in the Caribbean and the United States lead to 55 deaths and accounted for the bulk of this season’s damage, more than $10 billion. Irene was the first landfalling hurricane in New Jersey in 108 years.

“Irene broke the ‘hurricane amnesia’ that can develop when so much time lapses between landfalling storms,” said Jack Hayes, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “This season is a reminder that storms can hit any part of our coast and that all regions need to be prepared each and every season.”

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Hurricane Kenneth sets record for Eastern Pacific storms

Late-season storm swirls far from land

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By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY— Measuring 300 miles across and generating sustained winds of 145 mph, Hurricane Kenneth this week set a record as the latest major hurricane in the eastern Pacific Ocean. More hurricane records are online here.

Dr. Jeff Masters, of Weather Underground, also commented on the unusual nature of the 2011 eastern Pacific hurricane season in his blog. Normally, La Niña conditions in the Pacific suppress the formation of intense hurricanes.

NOAA classifies those storms that reach category three status or greater on the Saffir-Simpson scale as major hurricanes. Kenneth reached that mark Nov. 22, but steered clear of any land areas. Mid-week, the storm was about 750 miles south-southwest of the tip of Baja. Continue reading

Hurricane warning issued as Jova approaches Mexico

Twin tropical systems pinwheeling toward Mexican coast

A NASA satellite image shows Hurricane Jova approaching the coast of Mexico with Tropical Storm Irwin trailing to the west.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Hurricane Jova, now a Category 2 storm with 100 mph winds, has triggered a hurricane warning along the coast of Mexico from Punta San Telmo north to Cabo Corrientes, Mexico. A tropical storm warning is in effect from Punta San Telmo south to Lazaro Cardenas.

The National Hurricane Center expects the storm to intensify to category 3 status in the next 48 hours. Jova could have winds as strong as 120 mph before making landfall, possibly somewhere around Manzanillo, early next week. Continue reading

Hurricane Maria makes landfall in … Newfoundland

In 2006, Hurricane Wilma became the strongest Atlantic Hurricane on record, with wind speeds reaching 175 mph. SATELLITE IMAGE COURTESY NASA.

Often viewed only as disasters, hurricanes play a key role in regulating global climate and sustaining coastal ecosystems

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — After starting way back on Sept. 5 as a cluster of thunderstorms moving off the hot tropics of Africa, Hurricane Maria is breathing its last gasp in the North Atlantic, where warnings are in effect for parts of the Newfoundland coast.

Maria still has sustained winds of 75 mph and could bring some extra-large and potentially destructive waves, along with one to three inches of rain, as it passes near or over southeastern Newfoundland sometime Friday. The National Hurricane Center forecasts Maria to become extra-tropical Friday night but will continue to pack a punch as it races across the North Atlantic, possibly bringing another round of stormy weather to northern Ireland and Scotland. Continue reading

Hurricane Katia veers north; 2 other tropical systems loom

Katia may brush Bermuda, next system may affect the Windward Islands

The GOES satellite image from NOAA shows Katia starting to veer north, and Tropical Depression 14 to the south and east, already showing signs of tropical development with wispy outflow clouds visible around the core of thunderstorms. The Gulf of Mexico disturbance is visible as a cluster of thunderstorms over the Yucatan Peninsula. Click on the image for the animated loop.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After spiking briefly to Category 4 status, Hurricane Katia is now a moderate Category 2 storm, with sustained winds of about 105 mph. Katia is expected to turn sharply to the north and then northeast in the next 24 to 36 hours without making landfall — but the storm will be felt in coastal areas with large swells causing potentially life-threatening surf and rip currents.

Hurricane Katia track

Hurricane Katia is expected to veer northeast the next few days, bypassing the U.S. Coast.

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Tropical Storm Katia nears hurricane status

Latest tropical cycline churning over the South Atlantic

Tropical storm Katia, Hurricane Katia

Tropical Storm Katia has the potential to develop into a powerful hurricane, but it's not clear if the storm will pose a threat to any land areas.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Tropical Storm Katia is expected to reach hurricane strength sometime Wednesday and continue its trek to the west-northwest for the next several days before turning north.

As of late Tuesday night, Katia was churning across the southern Atlantic with winds of 60 mph in an environment favorable for more strengthening, Katia could become a major hurricane, with sustained winds of more than 100 mph, in the next two days, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm is passing over very warm water and there is very little wind shear to prevent strengthening, according to a National Hurricane Center forecast discussion issued late Tuesday night.  For now, the forecast shows the storm developing 125 mph winds toward the end of the five-day outlook. Around that same time, a low-pressure trough over the western Atlantic is forecast to create a weakness on the subtropical high that will steer Katia more to the north.

Some forecasters are already predicting that the storm will swing out to sea and away from any potential landfall, but the official National Hurricane Center forecast doesn’t extend that far ahead. But the current projected track shows Katia veering well to the north of the Windward Islands, Puerto Rico and Haiti.

Weather service ups Atlantic hurricane forecast

Atmospheric & ocean conditions ripe for tropical storm development

Tropical storm Emily on August 3 — photo courtesy NOAA

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — NOAA issued its updated 2011 Atlantic hurricane season outlook today raising the number of expected named storms from its pre-season outlook issued in May. Forecasters also increased their confidence that 2011 will be an active Atlantic hurricane season. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, updates its Atlantic hurricane season outlook every August.

“The atmosphere and Atlantic Ocean are primed for high hurricane activity during August through October,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center.  “Storms through October will form more frequently and become more intense than we’ve seen so far this season.”

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Tropical Storm Emily fizzles, Eugene headed out to sea

Emily could regenerate as a tropical cyclone in the next two days

Hurricane Eugene reached Category 4 strength over the open Pacific, with winds of 140 mph, but the storm is headed out to sea and poses no threat to land. Click on the image to visit the NASA Earth Observatory page and learn more about this powerful storm.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Tropical Storm Emily is no more, the National Hurricane Center said Aug. 4, reporting that the Caribbean storm fell apart as it interacted with the rugged mountains of Hispaniola. Emily is now just a trough of low pressure that will bring some heavy rains and gusty winds to the Dominican Republic, Haiti, eastern Cuba and possibly parts of the Bahamas.

The hurricane center says there is some potential for the storm to regenerate in the next few days as it moves northward. There is a 60 percent chance it will reorganize itself as a tropical cyclone in the next couple of days, according to the Atlantic tropical weather outlook. The storm never had a strong center of circulation to begin with, and the most recent reconnaissance flights showed that the storm lost its closed circulation.

In the Pacific, Hurricane Eugene reached maximum strength Aug,. 4 with sustained winds of 140 mph, then rapidly started to weaken as it moved northwest over cooler water and into a drier and stable environment. Eugene is far from any land area and is only of concern to marine traffic as it tracks westward.

Weatherblog: Tropical Storm Emily likely to form soon

Monsoons persist across the desert Southwest

Tropical storm formation is expected over the eastern Caribbean in the next few days.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Tropical Storm Don proved no match for the persistent Texas drought this weekend, literally running out of steam as it made landfall early Saturday morning.

Weather watchers were hoping that the storm would bring some relief to the region, where rainfall totals for the year are 10 to 15 inches below normal. But as the storm approached the coastline near Corpus Christi, dry air wrapped into the system, damping convection, collapsing vertical development and generally dismantling the structure of what was once a strong tropical storm.

Meanwhile, another area of low pressure east of the Leeward Islands is under conditions favorable for development and the National Hurricane Center says there is a 90 percent chance that the system will develop into Tropical Storm Emily. That storm could reach tropical storm-force strength by the time it reaches the vicinity of the Lesser Antilles early next week. Forecasters said it’s still too early to project the path of the system, or if it will present a threat to the U.S.

In Colorado, the monsoon flow is expected to strengthen Sunday and Monday, bringing a good chance of thunderstorms and showers to much of the high country. The moisture should linger through the first half of the week before a drying trend returns under a northwest flow Wednesday. Continue reading

Hurricane Dora spurs tropical storm warnings for Baja

The AIRS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this infrared image of Hurricane Dora's cold cloud temperatures on July 21 at 09:05 UTC (5:05 a.m. EDT). The strongest thunderstorms and convection (purple) surround the very obvious, cloud-free eye. Image from NASA?JPL, Ed Olsen.

Storm expected to weaken Friday, but will still be felt along the Baja Peninsula

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Exactly one month after Hurricane Beatriz raked the coast of southern Mexico, another major storm is moving up the shoreline of the the country, taking aim at Baja, where tropical storm warnings are now in effect.

Hurricane Dora verged on Category 5 status Thursday before starting to weaken as it moved over cooler water and ran into some wind shear. At its peak, Dora had sustained winds of 155 mph. Friday night, Dora was rated as a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 125 mph.

Dora’s center will likely remain off shore, but the large storm battered parts of the Mexican cost with large swells, resulting in some coastal flooding. Tropical storm force winds extend out 150 miles from the center of the storm, with hurricane force winds extending 50 miles from the center of the storm.

Tropical storm conditions, including heavy rain, high winds and pounding surf are expected to reach the warning area by Friday night, with large swells generating life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

The remnants of Dora could also become a player in the Colorado weather the next few days, as some of the moisture it’s carrying up from the Pacific may funnel across the desert Southwest and into the high country. That moisture could bring some relief to drought-stricken parts of the Southwest, including Arizona and New Mexico.

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