Hurricane experts still see active season ahead

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Hurricane Sandy as seen from NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite on October 28, 2012. Photo courtesy NOAA/NASA.

Warm ocean temps, strong West Africa rainy season boost chances for tropical formation

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Federal weather experts this week reaffirmed their earlier projections of an active hurricane season in the Atlantic, with hemispheric patterns similar to those that have produced many active Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995.

Ingredients for tropical storm formation include above-average Atlantic sea surface temperatures and a stronger rainy season in West Africa, which produces wind patterns that help turn storm systems there into tropical storms and hurricanes.

The peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is just ahead, from mid-August through mid-October. Continue reading

Hurricane Erick moving up the coast of Mexico

Hurricane watches in effect for parts of the Mexican coast

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Hurricane Erick, with winds up to 80 mph, is hugging the coast of Mexico and heading toward Baja California, where a tropical storm watch is in effect.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The fifth named tropical cyclone of the season in the Eastern Pacific has developed into a full-fledged hurricane and threatens parts of Mexico’s west coast with storm surges, high winds and heavy rains.

Hurricane Erick is generating winds of 80 mph and is expected to hug the coast of Mexico for a few more days, according to the National Hurricane Center. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the mainland Mexico coast from Zihuatanejo to Cabo Corrientes, while a hurricane watch has been issued from Punta san Telmo to Cabo Corrientes.

Parts of Baja, from Santa Fe to La Paz, are under a tropical storm watch. The center of the storm is expected to approach the southern tip of Baja by late Sunday. The official forecast calls for Hurricane Erick to veer more toward the west before reaching Baja under the steering influence of a strong ridge of high pressure over Mexico and the southwester U.S.

The storm could weaken quickly if it interacts with land or when as moves across cooler waters on its northwesterly track.

Tropical Storm Andrea forms in the Gulf of Mexico

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Tropical Storm Andrea is heading north in the Gulf of Mexico.

Florida, Southeast to feel impacts of first tropical system

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Just a few days into hurricane season, the first tropical storm of the year has formed in the western Gulf of Mexico and could make landfall in Florida Thursday afternoon or evening, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Tropical Storm Andrea is generating winds up to 40 mph and will deliver 3 to 6 inches of rain across much of the Florida Peninsula, with tropical storm warning already hoisted from Boca Grande north to the Ochlocknee River. A storm surge of 2 to 4 feet is expected from Tampa Bay north to Apalachicola, with a storm surge of 1 to 2 feet expected south of Tampa Bay, according to the first NHC advisory on the system. Continue reading

National Hurricane Center develops new storm surge warning

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The National Hurricane Center is preparing a storm surge warning product to help prepare coastal areas for dangerous conditions.

Climate change, population growth making more people vulnerable to coastal threats

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Though climate change wasn’t mentioned directly during the first panel session at this year’s Glenn Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit in Breckenridge, it may have been the invisible 800-pound gorilla in the room.

Looking back at the 2012 season, National Hurricane Center director Dr. Rick Knabb said this year’s tropical storms were all about the water, rather than winds. Rainfall and storm surges from storms like Isaac and Debby had significant impacts while the centers were far offshore and even though their winds weren’t particularly strong, Knabb said.

Those impacts are only expected to increase in coming decades, both because of the steady rise in sea level, as well as the fact that an ever-increasing percentage of the American population is living in coastal areas. Continue reading

Colorado: Weather and climate summit returns to Breckenridge

Hurricane Isaac satellite image

Hurricane Isaac moving into the Gulf of Mexico in August, 2012. Satellite image courtesy NOAA.

Extreme weather communications, sea level rise and Arctic meltdown on the agenda

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Following a year that ended up being the warmest on record for the contiguous 48 states, and that included a monster drought and superstorm Sandy, weather experts have a lot to talk about.

This week, broadcast meteorologists will have a chance to meet face to face with climate researchers and other experts during the annual Glenn Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit in Breckenridge, Colorado (Jan. 14-18).

This is the second year the summit is being held in Breckenridge, but the main purpose is stil the same — building relationships between broadcast meteorologists and scientists who are doing groundbreaking research, said conference organizer Dave Jones, president and CEO of StormCenter Communications, Inc. Continue reading

At 21 days, Tropical Storm Nadine enters books as one of longest-lived Atlantic storms on record

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Tropical Storm Nadine, the fifth-longest-lived storm on record in the Atlantic Basin. Map courtesy Supportstorm.

Hurricane Nadine spins over the open waters of the Atlantic on Oct. 2, 2012. Satellite photo courtesy NASA.

Only four other storms have survived longer during the observed era

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Most tropical weather systems make the news when they get really big and threaten coastal areas, but Tropical Storm Nadine, spinning near the Azores, will enter the record books as one of the longest-lived storms in the Atlantic Basin on record.

Nadine has been at tropical or subtropical strength for 21 days. Only four other storms have lasted longer, most recently Kyle, in 2002, which managed to survive for 22 days after forming near Bermuda, looping around for a while, and then cruising up the southeastern seaboard, where tornadoes spawned by storm caused significant damage. Continue reading

Hurricane Miriam headed toward Baja

Major Pacific storm with winds of 120 mph expected to weaken before reaching Baja coast

Hurricane Miriam is generating winds of 120 mph off the coast of Baja, Mexico. Photo courtesy NOAA.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — One of the strongest hurricanes of the year has formed in the eastern Pacific and could affect the weather in the southwestern U.S. late in the week, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Miriam, southwest of the Baja Peninsula, is generating sustained winds of 120 mph and could strengthen a bit more in the next couple of days before weakening as it encounters strong winds from the west.

The storm is forecast to track northward, and even northeastward, which would put the system on track for a landfall along the Baja coast next weekend or early next week, potentially with tropical storm force winds.

Miriam’s outflow is already streaming over the southern tip of Baja. No coastal watches or warning have  been issued for the storm, but the system will likely soon pump up the surf along the Baja Coast.

Isaac reaches hurricane strength just before landfall

New Orleans threatened by flooding

Hurricane Isaac swirls in the Gulf of Mexico.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The National Hurricane Center has upgraded Isaac to hurricane status just hours before the storm is expected to make landfall in Louisiana, with warnings and watches in effect for a big stretch of the northern Gulf Coast.

The slow-moving storm is expected to generate a six- to 12-foot storm surge along parts of the coast, and heavy rains will also contribute to flooding in low-lying coastal areas. Sustained winds of 70 mph could increase by another 10 mph before the storm moves ashore later Tuesday evening, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Forecast rainfall amounts from Hurricane Isaac.

For now, the forecast track takes the storm up the Mississippi River Valley and straight into Arkansas, one of the areas hit hardest by this summer’s drought. Moisture from the storm could help ease the drought in the area, with two to five inches of rain forecast.

The storm is also cutting a swath through the heart of the offshore oil production area in the Gulf, shutting operations temporarily on many oil and gas drill rigs. Visit the SkyTruth blog for more information on hurricanes and offshore oil drilling.

Forecasters are warning that, even though Isaac isn’t a high category storm, its slow speed and large size will result in significant impacts. Hurricane-force winds extend about 60 miles outward from the center, with tropical storm-force winds up to 185 miles outward.

Even in the best of times, southern Louisiana is prone to flooding

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The area around Venice, Louisiana, near the mouth of the Mississippi River, is at or below sea level. Even during calm weather, roads are often inundated by water.

Tropical Storm Isaac taking aim at Florida

Twin trouble in the Atlantic

Tropical storms Isaac and Joyce are both visible in this NOAA satellite image of the southern Atlantic Ocean.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT VOICE — Two tropical weather systems are now churning across the Atlantic Basin, with Tropical Storm Isaac expected to cause problems in Haiti and potentially in Florida in a few days. And Joyce, just upgraded to tropical storm status by the National Hurricane Center, is still far out to sea, but may take aim at Bermuda next week. Continue reading

Tropical activity increasing in Atlantic

Peak of hurricane season could be active

Tropical activity is picking up in the Atlantic Basin.

Hurricane Gordon nears the Azores Sunday, Aug. 19 with 100 mph winds. MODIS satellite image courtesy NASA.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Tropical trouble may be brewing in the central Atlantic as two areas of disturbed whether heading west have to potential to develop as named tropical systems.

The National Hurricane Center is keeping a close watch on the westernmost system which has a 90 percent chance of becoming Tropical Storm Isaac within the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, an area of disturbed weather in the far western Gulf of Mexico also has slight potential to develop as a tropical storm, as Gordon, once a Category 2 storm, dissipates between the Azores and the coast of Portugal. Continue reading

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