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!

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Tropics Quiet. Hurricane Betsy 50th Anniversary .. Watching Remains of Erika off FL now. Dramatic Betsy Video

The tropics in the Atlantic are fairly quiet today. Officially nada happening. There is some discussion online that it could be possible that some remnants of Erika could develop a bit off the East Coast of Florida. In truth it needs more than remnants of rain, it needs a center and Erika was always messy on the detail of having a closed center. Note the water is very warm off areas of the East Coast. Shear is relatively low close in so it is possible that something could spin up close to shore. Rare to not have a Labor Day Storm out there... so go out and please stimulate the economy and give those beach towns one last burst of money before many shut down for the season.

Water close in is hot.
Remember that.

The CMC model . . . always one to spin up something does spin up a small, closed low. I'd take that with a large grain of sea salt but mentioning it just the same. Note I said "small" closed low. Note it also allows a tropical wave to get under the High and move West closer to the islands.

Feel free to loop the loop below.

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Fred is still far away and losing his convection.

There is a purple grape splotch in the Atlantic.

Keep watching.
Note the Texas coast has been slammed with tropical rain today.
Again the flow is strong. Lots of shear there.

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You can also see the remnants of Erika off the East Coast here as well.
And you can see the fast flow of the atmosphere.

Now let's move foward with a look back to the past.

How many times have you heard me say weather is locational?

Note the article starts off with the story of Louisiana and rightly so looking back.

"Early on Sept. 10, 1965, Hurricane Betsy came ashore in Louisiana, bringing devastating flooding to New Orleans.  Betsy became one of the most expensive storms up to that date, and it’s erratic path leading up to that landfall caused considerable consternation for the public, forecasters and research scientists alike"

To me Hurricane Betsy was a Florida Hurricane, one of the 1960s ones that gave us the impression that it was normal to have a hurricane every year in South Florida.

I tracked her as best as I could, being a little girl, and called the Weather Service phone number every few hours looking for updates on her position ...not wanting to wait for the Nightly News at 6 PM. The Beatles were all the rage, though I wasn't their biggest fan then. They were all about older teenage girls going to the airport to see them land and screaming their hearts out at them. Seemed kind of silly to me. I'm a Capricorn. I'm more fun as an adult than I was as a little girl. I was into maps, geography, history, weather and your local Miami girl kind of stuff. It was late August and Betsy seemed our best chance of getting a few days off of school.

A neighbor of my grandmother flew into storms, he flew into Betsy. I had heard the term "Project Storm Fury" but it sounded more like a 1960s Sci Fi Drama than a real scientific experiment. His mother's house was lined with pictures from inside the plane that he had taken. Pictures like the one below.

Seemed sort of larger than life in some ways and yet in other ways sort of seemed natural. Another friend's relative worked at the NHC and did recon. Growing up in Miami in the 1960s it was all about aviation. Eastern airlines employed a good percentage of my friend's parents or uncles if they didn't work for Pan Am or one of the utility companies. On a bored Sunday we'd drive out to the airport and park on the side watching planes take off and land. Seaplanes flew over the Bay coming in for graceful landings on Watson Island and the Goodyear Blimp flew over our house daily with it's blinking lights and loud humming noise.  

Many a time after Hurricane Betsy someone would insist "that storm turned because of Project Storm Fury" with an annoyed sound in their voice as many people talk online about HAARP and other weather modification programs today. So, I wanted to learn more myself about what this whole "Project Storm Fury Box" was about. I remember being upset when I heard a hurricane came close, but missed the box and suddenly the box was gone and the project was no longer mentioned. As I grew older and studied meteorology in college I studied the Project Storm Fury I had earlier only heard whispers on. Amazingly as an adult I met several people who were actually intricately involved with Project Storm Fury. It's name always comes up when people mention Betsy and her weird track. Google the terms with the name "Hurricane Betsy" and you can read for hours trust me.

Joanne was a woman in a man's world. She plugged on and did her job while being a mother and being happily married. This was a woman who lived life and lived it well. But her random interest in weather began as a young girl on Cape Cod watching clouds

Simpson recalls that she was fascinated by clouds as she sailed her small catboat off Cape Cod. But she didn’t get excited about science until she entered the University of Chicago, where she took a course in astrophysics. “Had it not been for World War II, I probably would have tried to go into astrophysics,” she says. But as a student pilot, she had to take course in meteorology.

Funny how many of our greatest meteorologists came out of War World 2 stories. This really isn't about Joanne Simpson as much as it is Betsy, but the names of both are often linked together.

Note the next paragraph taken from the article above that you must read. 

Dr. Joanne Simpson, Project Director, had ordered the fleet of Navy and Weather Bureau research aircraft to deploy to Puerto Rico on August 28th.  Over the next two days, the planes monitored the storm’s slow progress toward the designated part of the ocean where they could carry out their weather modification experiments.  By August 31st, Betsy had just managed to crawl into the area as a hurricane, so a seeding experiment was scheduled for the next day.  The first aircraft had already taken off from Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station, PR the morning of September 1st when word came from the National Hurricane Center that overnight Betsy had completed a loop in its track and was now headed southward and out of the allowed seeding area.  The seeding experiments were called off and the mission changed to a ‘dry run’, where the same patterns were flown but no silver iodide was released into the storm.  Unfortunately, no one informed the press which had been alerted to STORMFURY’s seeding intentions the previous day.

Note they never seeded Hurricane Betsy. Yet speculation always was that they did in the same way many don't believe that Oswald was a lone shooter. Something about the 1960s and rumors that will not end. 

Also note the phrase "Dr. Joanne Simpson, Project Director, had ordered the fleet of the Navy and Weather Research aircraft to deploy to Puerto Rico"  Pretty impressive ability she had to break through that glass ceiling. Pretty impressive Hurricane to loop and turn NW and then loop back and turn SW towards a date with South Florida on her way to Louisiana. She also wrote about "Hot Towers" something we are still studying to try and grasp the holy grail of Intensity forecasting.

I dare you not to watch this video and promise if you do you will soon understand the constant fascination Miami kids have with hurricanes. The first 5 minutes explain in great but dramatic detail how and why Betsy turned South and became a "Yankee Hurricane" 

Miami Beach and Key Biscayne were warned they would be underwater. People shopped, boarded up and did then what we do now. And surfers went surfing.....

Note stores closed due to the Labor Day Holiday were asked to open up so people could prepare for Betsy, an unwanted guest. A guest that we in Florida thought was gone for good. A headline in the local paper told me that. I didn't want to believe it. I didn't know hurricanes can't come back, but everyone said it was gone, gone, gone. We used that paper to board up a broken window the night of the storm. I had a little baby brother Ronnie was about 6 weeks old, my mother worried on him while I played with my "older baby brother" Jay who was 2. I sat by his bed, we drew, talked and listened to the wind. In my childish mind Betsy showed me that storms are not gone for good ever until they die. My adult mind knows they are dead when they are not stacked and tilted or they catch a trof. But, storms like Jeanne remind me they can come back and loop back at you sometimes. In the same way my son reminded me Andrew wasn't strong until he hung left and missed the trof.

Oh what a night it was and oh what a storm she was and oh what an amazing woman Dr. Joanne Simpson was ... feel free to google Storm Fury and Joanne Simpson for yourself.

Read the article at the top of this post.
Betsy tore up the Florida Keys badly.
Gave Miami a good taste of a dangerous Hurricane.
She went on to sink the 9th ward in New Orleans...
....before Katrina did.

Makes you wonder how we didn't not properly prepare down the road.
Happened once, will happen again.

Read more about Project Storm Fury:

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter


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