Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Jim Leonard Stormchaser Battling Cancer. Tee Shirts for the cause... 40% Wave in the Atlantic.

The State of the Tropics Sunday Night..
That orange colored asterisk in the Atlantic now has a 40% chance of developing

That translates all eyes in the Atlantic are on the Tropical Wave moving WEST....

Otherwise there is pretty much clear sailing in the tropics this weekend with the exception of a wave that looks promising in the long term as a possible candidate for the next Invest we might be watching...

A closer up look shows an area of strong convection followed by another wave departing Africa currently.

Yes it's that time of year when the models begin to show development far out in the Atlantic. 

The GFS is showing the wave making it across the Atlantic... 
Time will tell....

(everyone waits on the European Model before they are believers...)

So... we watch the wave and we wait... and we go on with life.

For some of us going on with life is not as easy as others...  

Jim Leonard, one of the most well known stormchasers, is battling terminal cancer. Jim is a very private man in many ways. If you are talking about hurricanes he will talk a blue streak. He isn't one to talk much on his personal life. These past few weeks many of his friends have been talking about Jim and the imprint he has made on all of us in the stormchasing world.

For many they heard on message boards or on Twitter that he was ill and that his friends have taken up the cause to help him by selling tee shirts with the monies going to Jim to help pay for his medical expenses.

On CaneTalk, a message board on Jim William's people found out from Jim Williams of Jim Leonard's battle with cancer. 

I kept the messages there and in other posts private but it was sad news for many of us who knew Jim Leonard was ill that his cancer was indeed terminal. 

Posts on Facebook began to circulate. 

I bought one earlier today. My brother bought one. I'm asking all of you to buy on or contribute to the cause.. please.

If you love weather... storms........hurricanes or twisters his work is legendary.    

Some of the gang got together with Jim Leonard recently...'s some pics....

They say a picture is worth a thousand words...

Here's Jim Williams modeling the shirt he got in the mail recently...

Please donate to the cause. 


Besos Bobbi

Friday, July 25, 2014

Nada Happenng in the Tropical Atlantic... Tropical Vacation on Siesta Beach

Nada happening in the Tropical Atlantic....

The Caribbean has the remnants of TD2 cruising through..
kicked up her heels a bit in the Antilles

In the Atlantic.........nada... 

Nice wave over Africa... dry tropical highway for it's cruise West... 
Another wave is low nad about to crash into the coast of South America.
Strong, strong high...

There are rumors that the MJO will be coming back to our basin for an August vacation.
That means August may see changes fast in the tropics.

For now.. watching weather where ever I find it.

Alligator Alley yesterday ... no gators but lots of clouds & storms..

Then a rainbow...

So I suggest you find a beach..
put on lots of sunscreen as it's really HOT in Florida right now..
and stick your toes in the water and enjoy the beauty of it all.

My brother and I stopped at Siesta Beach near Sarasota yesterday.. 
gulf side heaven
warm, crystal clear water

And the skies always putting on a show...
White powder sand..........
warm almost silky water
and clouds climbing higher and higher..

So... I'll be back soon when I have some tropical weather news..

Sweet Tropical Dreams.. 


Ps... In 1960
This beach was not so quiet... Hurricane Donna came ashore here. Earlier hurricanes helped transform the area for the better (taking the long view) so read up on Sarasota's hurricane history.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tropical Depression 2... Still Alive. Forecast to weaken...

Let's look at the newest cone for Tropical Depression #2

Here's a view from the NHC site of the Depression

I look at this image from the NHC & all I can think is...
"Wow! Look at the wave behind TD 2!!"
It's hard to see the small cyclone that is TD 2 because their red circle is directly over it.
But it is worth noting there are waves behind it coming off of Africa

Let's look close up at the TD2

A healthy looking strong red ball.
Ironically we've had better bigger Tropical Storms that didn't have this perfect a center.
Alas... it's not forecast to live much longer according to the NHC.
A bigger question is how did it form and maintain itself this long?

So let's talk about Tropical Depression #2...

He is surrounded by dry air as has been stated over and over by everyone at the NHC. Still... TD2 keeps hanging in there firing up and then looking weak and then firing up. I'm sure there are few meteorologists who take this personally who would like to seed it with pamphlets saying "Die TD2, Die!!"

Being silly, but honestly it's easy to say it will fall apart. Not because of dry air (which hasn't stopped it from forming) but from shear as it approaches the Lesser Antilles. That's what I've heard.

However when you look at this image showing shear I don't see it being that bad.

If I look around look enough I could find a graph that shows a worse scenario.. 
There's always an image to try and prove whatever point you are trying to prove.

The NHC says this about TD2

1100 PM AST TUE JUL 22 2014

The tropical depression is producing a little more deep convection
than it was earlier today.  Satellite images indicate that the
convective pattern consists of a small circular area of
thunderstorms near the estimated center, with limited banding
features surrounding it.  The initial wind speed remains 30 kt
based on a Dvorak classification from TAFB and ADT values from

The global models show the depression becoming highly titled in the
vertical during the next day or so due to a substantial increase in
shear.  These unfavorable environmental winds combined with a dry
air mass should prevent significant strengthening.  The cyclone is
forecast to become a remnant low or open into a trough in 36 to 48
h, but this could occur sooner as suggested by some of the models.

The depression is moving west-northwestward at about 16 kt.  An even
faster westward to west-northwestward motion is predicted, taking
the depression, or its remnants, across the the Lesser Antilles
late Wednesday or on Thursday."

So what will be?

It's hard to say really. Easy money is on this small, but stubborn system to finally give up the ghost.

But for now I'm just watching her confound her critics and keep moving west.

Let's look at the moisture loop that shows how she has more moisture available than anyone really says in discussion. She is small, very small but she has moisture around her.

The 2 shows TD 2 and the pink is moisture ahead of her that she keeps utilizing. 
TD 2 is what you call an over achiever.

latest_wv_loop.gif (535×440)

The loop above that may or may not show up for you... shows TD2 pulsing up again after going dim. It's the loop used by most meteorologists who want to prove how there is no way for TD2 to ever become Bertha.

This is the image that the NHC is referring to when they said "The tropical depression is producing a little more deep convection than it was earlier today."

Truth is I'm like most of you. I go on and off all day looking at the satellite loops thinking.. "is it still there?" "Did it fall apart yet?" "Come on be there" because it's become a drama of sorts that is huge despite the small size of TD2.

Again why do we care if it's there??

Because the models show the following:

Here's another:

Note a path over the islands would, could be a problem.


She is here in the tomorow still...

I want to highlight one last thing... 

Off the East Coast there is an area mildly worth watching. Not officially, but hey the area has been ripe so far this year so I wouldn't count it out. A new cold front should pick it up and blow it out to sea but still.. I'm watching. Always watch the tail end of stalled out frontal boundaries.

On a personal note I'm in Tampa tonight. Beautiful city, great lighting storms and wandering around with my brother on a family quest looking at mostly empty lots where my family once lived in what was once upon the time known as Tampa Heights. And where my Great Uncle had cigar store offices in the Tampa Bay Hotel and offices in Ybor City.

Besos Bobbi... 
Stay tuned.. it's not over ... til it's over :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

TD 2 Forms in the Atlantic. Low Confidence by NHC in their Forecast & her ability to be Bertha...

Good call for a small, solid cyclone that is rolling west just underneath a wall of Saharan Dust. No over hype... good logical discussion.

It is what it is and it is a Tropical Depression.

Salient part of the discussion is quoted below:

"The initial intensity of 30 kt is based on data from the ASCAT pass.
The environment is marginal, at best, for development during the
next couple of days, as the depression will be moving over marginal
SSTs and into a region characterized by dry air and subsidence as it
approaches the Caribbean Sea. Most of the global model guidance and
the HWRF shows the system weakening and dissipating by 48 to 72
hours. The official forecast follows suit, but the cyclone could
dissipate sooner than shown here. The SHIPS and LGEM intensity
forecasts seem much too high in this scenario, and are not given
much weight in the official forecast."

"Note that the global models are having a difficult time tracking the small
vortex, and confidence in the details of the track forecast is lower
than usual."

Note they end the discussion by saying confidence is low in the forecast... the details. And, yes the devil is often in the details. IF things change down the line they will change their forecast as they always do as is warranted.

Small cyclones do not translate well with the big global models. Often details get lost in the translation. An example of that is that none of the big models picked up development today in the Atlantic.  She is small, but she is also solid. She has a window of opportunity to pull herself together, get a name and have a fighting chance with the shear and dry air.

The new models on the block are not impressed. SHIPS is... so time will prove which ones were right.

She is solid looking right now. How she managed to develop is up for discussion and is being discussed, but my job is to give you the facts in a way that you can understand without a Masters in Meteorology.  

She is what she is... despite the Saharan Dust and less than perfect conditions. She is, like many other storms, a product of the Monsoon Trough that is out in the Atlantic. At some point some storms spin and continue on their own when they leave that region. Think of it like a child learning to ride a bike with training wheels. For now she is holding her own and moving fast, despite the negative discussion written by the NHC on their doubts on her even making it to be a Tropical Storm let alone Hurricane. I would not be surprised to see her become Tropical Storm Bertha. 

She has a long way to go and she's rolling along fast so we will know soon enough!

Official stats currently:

LOCATION...11.6N 43.8W

If she continues to surprise the NHC and continues to develop the models show her moving into a part of the tropics where she would really need to be watched.

I don't want to hype this storm.
I don't want to be a naysayer either.

It's just the honest truth that it is up to Tropical Depression 2 to keep doing what she has done all day and continue to impress us. Or she can give up...  It's the ones that do not give up that often go on to be memorable storms. Keep that in mind.

One thing worth remembering is that if she continues to intensify and exist she moves into warmer waters. Yes, there is shear and yes there is dust .... but that didn't bust her up from getting this far so logic and experience says that often a storm learns to function in negative conditions. She wouldn't be the first or the last. 

Keep watching... she seems to enjoy putting on a show. Is she a one hit wonder or will she continue to entertain us with her dust buster moves?

Besos Bobbi

Invest 92L Goes Red 70% Chance ... Will it be Bertha This Evening?

Tropics are alive and kicking.

Model Tracks

Despite the Saharan Dust breathing down it's back it has managed to come together well enough today to impress the NHC to upgrade it to 70% chances. 

Worth noting that small cyclones are less likely to be picked up in advance by models or handled very well. If and when we get recon in there we would get better data. It was obviously there the last few days but without much model support few would talk on it expecting the dust to get it before long. That still could happen, but it's looking pretty impressive this afternoon.

Question remains can Invest 92L... possibly TS Bertha go the distance?

Please read the earlier post as the thinking is still the would be the track. Note the current track puts the SE Coast under the gun after it would tangle with Haiti and/or Cuba...or it could ride up and over the island. First it has to form...then it has to stay together. Talk about a long shot!

Besos Bobbi

Will Invest 92L Become Tropical Storm Bertha? Where would Bertha Go? What is in a Name? Bertha 1996...

Fast changing situation as the NHC puts out a "special outlook" hours ahead of their normal update.

ABNT20 KNHC 211507

1110 AM EDT MON JUL 21 2014

For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:

Special outlook issued to update discussion of system in the
central tropical Atlantic.

Updated: Shower activity associated with a small area of low
pressure located about midway between the Cape Verde Islands and the
Lesser Antilles has increased a little during the past few hours.
Although this activity remains limited, it continues to show signs
of organization. Satellite data also indicate that a closed
circulation could be forming and that the system is producing a
small area of winds near tropical storm force. A tropical depression
could develop during the next couple of days while the system moves
westward to west-northwestward at 15 to 20 mph. After that time
however, environmental conditions are expected to become less
conducive for development. Interests in the Lesser Antilles should
monitor the progress of this system.
* Formation chance through 48 hours...medium...50 percent.
* Formation chance through 5 days...medium...50 percent.

Forecaster Brennan/Roberts"

And suddenly there was a yellow X that has been updated to an Orange X and there is an Invest in the Atlantic.

After days of posting predictions of nothing happening for the next 48 hours....the NHC put up a yellow X this morning with 20% chance of development citing the difficulties down the road for this system. Then, suddenly, this morning based on satellite imagery and model support they put out a Special Outlook hours ahead of their normal update scheduled for this afternoon.

I wouldn't be surprised if they issue advisories at 5Pm or later this evening if it continues organize to the way it has been doing all day.

Invest 92L has a very tightly, recognizable low level center that is moving quickly west. It is a small system and small systems often spin up quickly and models do not always work well with small systems. The SHIPS model likes it so much it predicts it will become a Tropical Storm soon and even shows it nearing hurricane strength in 120 hours. Note RaleighWX is not predicting that, they are just showing what the models show...

Why would we worry on this so far out? Because if Bertha does form from this the models show a classic Cape Verde Track up and over or through the islands.

Closer up view of the models so far...

IF and that is a real IF the NHC begins advisories a 5 Day Cone COULD look something like this:

This is NOT a product but a guesstimate of an approximate long term track for Invest 92L and shows why the NHC would take it so seriously despite it being early in it's development.

Surprisingly Invest 92L is that type of wave I talked about yesterday that finds a way to develop despite the High, despite the SAL and despite climo that would say it's too early for July. 

A great map was posted this morning by the NWS in Key West that shows where storms usually form in the tropics this time of year. Note one of those early rare dots in the Central Atlantic was another Bertha storm in 1996.

What is in a name? Previous Arthurs formed close to where this year's Arthur formed. Now we have a Bertha like July system forming again. Go figure...

With regard to patterns...
Note that Bertha followed a path similar to this year's Arthur tho a bit different.

A close up look at Invest 92L shows how dusty her environment is...

Oddly being a stubborn wave it almost looks as if she is sticking her finger up at the dust..

Loop shows this better:

She is intensifying where she should be struggling. 
Is this a long term intensification or a short term one... time will tell.
But the NHC is on it and running models and watching her frame by frame.

There Invest 92L stubborning sits.. nestled just below SAL

Note again how it looked yesterday when I put up discussion on SAL 

And this is what bothers me and why I rant on not listening to sound bites and headlines writing off the Hurricane Season based on:

1) SAL
2) Low Water Temps
3) El Nino Forming
4) Bermuda High
5) All of the above.

Because despite all of the above hurricanes always happen. The water temps in July are always too low. The Bermda High is usually in place moving waves west but making it more difficult for them to form. El Nino is always forming it seems...yet the models this year have been as off on that prediction as they were last year in calling for a very busy 2013 season...

Somewhere some family that has been debating buying a generator decided not to this year based on a quick sound bite or headline that the 2014 Hurricane Season would be a no show. Yes, they will have nicely painted new bedrooms or a newly landscaped yard but alas no generator if a hurricane happens to show up threatening them.

I prefer we discuss hurricane seasons in retrospect, after they are over and we know for sure what they brought vs a forecast for what they might not bring. I'd prefer people to prepare, check with their local weather people/apps daily and stay on top of fast changing situations that are common in the tropics. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best and always stay on top of the ever changing situation.

Invest 92L will have a hard time down the road if it becomes Tropical Storm Bertha. But, being a small storm she has the ability to spin up fast and do what a larger, lumbering sort of storm might  not be able to do. Only time will tell.

Can't wait for the next model run and watching NHC to see what they say later today.

I'd guess that unless something changes fast Invest 92L will become a Tropical Depression if not get the Bertha sooner rather than later. Some say based on visible images the circulation is closed and very there...  but waiting to see what the NHC says.
Invest 92 L is definitely rolling along...

Besos Bobbi

Ps...for old timers here's some video from TWC in 1996 of their coverage with John Hope of Hurricane Bertha.