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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

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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

Weather: NOAA predicting active Atlantic hurricane season

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Hurricane Sandy near peak strength on Oct. 25, 2012. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Feds say now is the time to get ready

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal weather experts said they are expected an above-average to active Atlantic Hurricane season this summer, urging residents of coastal and near-coastal areas in the southeastern U.S. to start preparing now.

Based on a combination of climate factors, NOAA predicted as many as 13 to 20 named storms, with seven to 11 of them developing into full-fledged hurricanes and potentially three to six major hurricanes with winds of more than 100 mph.

Factors involved in the forecast include a continuation of overall climate conditions that have resulted in an active pattern since the mid-1990s: Above average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and ENSO-neutral conditions in the Pacific which leads to less windshear, lower air pressure and overall atmospheric circulation that’s more conducive to hurricane formation. Continue reading

Global warming could fuel European hurricanes

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Tropical storms are more likely to affect Europe as Atlantic sea surface temperatures rise.

Severe winds to increase in the North Sea and the Gulf of Biscay, especially during autumn

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — European climate scientists say global warming will drive a northeastward expansion of the tropical Atlantic hurricane breeding ground, with four times as many storms of tropical origins affecting parts of Western Europe in coming decades.

In the Bay of Biscay, the number of storms with tropical-storm-force winds could increase from 2 to 13 by the end of the century, said researcher Reindert Haarsma.

The initial results suggest that the impacts may not be as great in the low-lying Netherlands as in some other areas because the strong winds associated with the events will generally be from the southwest, Haarsma said.

With hurricanes forming farther north and warmer sea surface temperatures in the region, tropical storms are more likely to reach the mid-latitudes, where they will merge with the prevailing westerlies. Even if they lose hurricane status, they are likely to remain stronger, and sometimes re-intensify before landfall, potentially with serious impacts in parts of Europe.

“Our model simulations clearly show that future tropical cyclones are more prone to hit Western Europe and do so earlier in the season,” said the researchers with the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. Continue reading

Climate: Discussions raging on possible links between global warming and superstorm Sandy

Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast. Satellite image courtesy NOAA.

Record-breaking storm spurs more public awareness about the potential for more frequent extreme weather events

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — With several all-time weather records shattered and early estimates that Hurricane Sandy may cost the U.S. economy some $20 to $25 billion, it’s clear that the storm lived up to its billing. Along with the cleanup, there’s also a raging debate about whether global warming was a factor in the storm’s development and path.

On the one side, environmental activists seeking to limit heat-trapping greenhouse gases have jumped on the so-called super storm as an opportunity to tout their cause. On the other side, global warming deniers and others have pulled out timeworn statistics about past hurricanes that supposedly were equally as strong.

The arguments at the extreme sides of the spectrum don’t ring true. Of course, there is no way to scientifically prove that increases in air and ocean temps directly contributed to this storm. There’s still so much natural variability in nature that you just can’t establish a causal link. Continue reading

Activists claim Hurricane Sandy is product of global warming

Storm expected to have widespread impacts on East Coast

A satellite view of Sandy spinning near the southern tip of the Florida peninsula.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A summer that started with a powerful and destructive Derecho across large parts of the eastern U.S. could end with a monster hybrid storm slamming the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, putting a punctuation mark on six months of extraordinary record-breaking weather, including heat waves and drought.

Hurricane Sandy, generating winds of 75 mph, is heading northward from the Caribbean and could make landfall early next week, bringing devastating winds and flooding to wide swath of the Eastern Seaboard, according to the National Weather Service.

Many forecasters are calling the storm and unprecedented event, while others are comparing it to the so-called perfect storm of 1991, when another tropical weather system merged with an early winter system from the north, sinking the Andrea Gail, a long-line swordfish boat. Continue reading

Tropical Storm Sandy forms, likely to hit Jamaica

Slow-moving storm headed for Cuba, Bahamas

Tropical Storm Sandy is quickly gathering strength in the southwestern Caribbean and could rake much of Jamaica with 70 mph winds.

Tropical Storm Sandy gathers strength over the Caribbean.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Tropical Storm Sandy, the 18th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, is generating winds of 40 mph and gaining strength over the warm waters of the Caribbean, south of Cuba. Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Jamaica and Haiti, where five to 10, and up to 16 inches of rain may fall, leading to dangerous flash flooding.

The storm is expected to be at or near hurricane strength when it approaches the south coast of Jamaica Wednesday, with sustained winds of 80 mph. For now, Tropical storm-force winds extend out about 70 miles from the center of the storm.

Once the storm tracks across Jamaica and Cuba the forecast models diverge, with some forecasts turning the storm out to sea, while others bring the system closer to the U.S. East Coast.

The storm is expected to intensify the next couple of days, then weaken as it interacts with the mountainous terrain of the islands, and starts to encounter southwest wind shear, but could still be packing winds of 65 mph as it nears the Bahamas later in the week.

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

Study: Hurricanes strongest where fresh water inhibits mixing of cooler water from deep in the ocean

Researchers studying Hurricane Omar in 2008 found that the storm intensified when passing over areas with high concentrations of fresh water near the surface of the ocean. Photo courtesy NASA.

Research may help increase accuracy of hurricane intensity forecasts

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Hurricanes can intensify significantly when they move over areas with high concentrations of fresh water, including near-coastal areas where large rivers empty into the oceans.

Researchers with the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Ocean University of China and Texas A&M studied 10 years worth of hurricane data, finding that significant quantities of fresh water can form a barrier layer near the surface of the ocean that prevents cooler water from mixing to the surface. Typically, hurricanes can weaken themselves as they churn up cooler water from the depths.

The probability that hurricanes will hit such conditions is small, ranging from 10 to 23 percent, but the impacts for affected populations can be significant, according to the study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition. Continue reading

Tropical Storm Debby heading north

Latest forecast suggests the storm won’t move west

Tropical Storm Debby is swirling over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico.

Most forecast models now suggest Tropical Storm Debbie will move north and inland somewhere near the Florida panhandle.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Tropical Storm Debby could continue to lash large stretches of the northern Gulf Coast with huge waves, tropical storm force winds and rain the next few days before heading inland toward the second half of next week.

The storm was also generating tornadoes in northwestern Florida late Sunday afternoon, as well as heavy rain along the northern Gulf Coast. Apalachee Bay could see a storm surge of up to 6 feet, and widespread areas will see 2 to 4 inches of rain.

In its latest update, the National Hurricane Center backed away from a previous forecast model that would have brought the storm westward and possibly into Texas. Instead, the system, now with sustained winds of 60 mph, is expected to meander slowly northward.

Tropical storm warnings extend from the Mississippi-Alabama border to the Suwanee River in Florida, with a tropical storm watch extending all the way to Englewood, Florida. The storm could intensify slightly in the next few days, according to the official NHC forecast.

 

 

 


 

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