Hurricane Carlos raking the Mexican Riviera

Strengthening El Niño fueling tropical storms in eastern Pacific

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A NOAA satellite image shows Hurricane Carlos strengthening off southern Mexico.

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Hurricane Carlos is moving slowly northwestward along the southern Coast of Mexico. Via National Hurricane Center.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Taking a track parallel to the southern coast of Mexico, Hurricane Carlos has spurred warnings and watches along a long section of shoreline. Parts of southern Mexico could get pummeled by high winds, rain and surf the next few days, although the National Hurricane Center says the the storm’s path is still uncertain.

For now, a hurricane warming is in effect from Punta San Telmo to Tecpan de Galeana, with a hurricane watch extending west from Punta san Telmo to Manzanillo. Carlos is generating winds of about 80 mph and could strengthen in the next couple of days, with winds of up to 90 mph as it nears the coast. Continue reading

Will Pacific hurricanes dampen the Southwest?

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NASA’s Terra satellite captured this visible image of Hurricane Andres on May 31, clearly showing the storm’s eye. Credit NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response.

Early tropical systems churning off the coast of Mexico

Staff Report

FRISCO — The eastern Pacific has already brewed up two tropical systems, with Hurricane Andres churning well off the coast and headed out to sea, and Tropical Storm Blanca, expected to reach hurricane force June 2.

Neither storm is a threat to Mexico, though the National Hurricane Center says some of Blanca’s outer rain bands could brush the coast. Continue reading

Climate: Studying thunderstorms in Africa may lead to better hurricane forecasts for the U.S.

A NASA visualization of Hurricane Floyd approaching the Florida coast.

A NASA visualization of Hurricane Floyd approaching the Florida coast in 1999. Hurricane Floyd formed from a tropical wave moving off the coast of Africa to become one of the largest and strongest Atlantic Hurricanes on record.

Spatial cloud coverage offers clues to tropical storm formation

Staff Report

FRISCO — Closely monitoring thunderstorms over Africa may help meteorologists develop better forecasts for Atlantic hurricane development.

“Eighty-five percent of the most intense hurricanes affecting the U.S. and Canada start off as disturbances in the atmosphere over Western Africa,” said Tel Aviv University Prof. Colin Price, who recently published a new study on hurricane formation in Geophysical Research Letters. “We found that the larger the area covered by the disturbances, the higher the chance they would develop into hurricanes only one to two weeks later.”

Working with graduate student Naama Reicher of the Department of Geosciences at TAU’s Faculty of Exact Science, Price analyzed satellite images of cloud cover to track the variability in cloud cover blocking the earth’s surface in West Africa during hurricane season.Using infrared cloud-top temperature data gathered from satellites, Prof. Price assessed the temperatures of the cloud tops, which grow colder the higher they rise. He then compared his cloud data with hurricane statistics — intensity, date of generation, location, and maximum winds — from the same period using the National Hurricane Center data base. Continue reading

Hurricane Odile takes aim at Baja

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Powerful Hurricane Odile is taking aim at Baja. Photo courtesy Servicio Meteorológico Nacional.

Hurricane watches issued; major storm impacts expected

Staff Report

FRISCO — Much of the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula could see high winds, coastal flooding and mudslides as Hurricane Odile takes aim at the area, packing sustained winds of up to 135 mph.

The approaching tropical storm has prompted hurricane warnings and evacuations in Baja, where the storm surge could peak at 33 feet above normal sea level, according to the Servicio Meteorológico Nacional, which is also warning of tropical storm conditions along parts of Mexico’s mainland Pacific coast. Continue reading

Climate: Are tropical storms migrating north?

Along with affecting the marine food chain, declining concentrations of phytoplankton in the oceans could impact global weather patterns.

Tropical cyclones appear to be migrating north.

Study finds that point of maximum intensity has moved poleward by 35 miles per decade

Staff Report

FRISCO — Tropical storm trackers say that the location where cyclones reach their maximum intensity is shifting north by about 35 miles each decade. The changes could put more coastal infrastructure at risk, while other areas that rely on tropical storms for water could be left high and dry, researchers said.

The amount of poleward migration varies by region. The greatest migration is found in the northern and southern Pacific and South Indian Oceans, but there is no evidence that the peak intensity of Atlantic hurricanes has migrated poleward in the past 30 years. Continue reading

Climate: Will hurricanes threaten South Africa?

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A tropical storm in the Indian Ocean. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Study shows tropical cyclones moving south

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Global warming is driving southern hemisphere tropical cyclones farther south, potentially putting South Africa at risk by mid-century, according to a new study from Wits University.

At the same time, the study debunked assumptions that tropical cyclones will become more frequent. A statistical analysis of the numbers for the past few decades show no trend of increasing cyclones. Continue reading

2013 hurricane season ends with a whimper

2013 saw fewest number of storms since 1982

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Most of the tropical storms that formed in 2013 didn’t develop into full-fledged hurricanes and many of them stayed well out to sea.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Despite early projections for above-average hurricane activity in the Atlantic, the season ended Nov. 30 with a whimper after the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982. Even so, the storms that did form killed more than 140 people and resulted in $15. billion in damage.

In a release, NOAA attributed the low activity to persistent, unfavorable atmospheric conditions over the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and tropical Atlantic Ocean — especially early in the season, when dry and dusty air dominated the atmosphere off the coast of Africa and into the central tropical Atlantic.

This year is expected to rank as the sixth-least-active Atlantic hurricane season since 1950, in terms of the collective strength and duration of named storms and hurricanes. Continue reading

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