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, August 24, 2016

80% Red Chances Invest 99L ..Recon Goes in Today. If You Live in South Florida Monitor 99L For Updates. Do You Have a Hurricane Plan? Everyone in Hurricane Land Should Always Have a Plan. Memories of Andrew & Bryan Norcross

8 AM NHC RED 80% Formation in 5 Days.

Let's look at Invest 99L 

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Infamous morning visible below:

Shows a developing system.
Convection has increased and consolidated.
There is a ball like shape there. 
Some early signs of possible banding.

Put it in motion:

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Using funktop loop we can see where the most explosive action.

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Not there yet but getting closer.

Some data from the environment around 99L

There is some evidence of a weak West wind.
Need more than that. 
Recon goes in later this morning.

Hate to say this but remnants of Fiona has a stronger signature.
Gaston... so beautiful so far out ...for now.
Kink in the wind pattern near 99L
That is why it's an Invest not a named Storm.
Not a Tropical Depression yet.
Just a strong tropical wave with potential.
Models take this wave and develop it close in.
That's a hard job the NHC has making their forecast.


Models show a general pattern of movement towards South Florida.
Some of the islands in the Caribbean and Bahamas there as well.
It may get into the Gulf of Mexico way down the road.
It may curve towards a weakness in the ridge to the NNW.
The ridge may hold tight and not allow it through.
The ridge may force it West into the GOM.
Somewhere between a developing storm...
..and a strengthening ridge is the answer.
Does it become a hurricane or Tropical Storm?
Will the ridge have a weakness?
All questions to be answered down the line.

This is where we are today.
Florida is in the top left corner.
Invest 99L is center stage near Caribbean.

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A lot to discuss this morning and I feel bad in a way that I can't give you an end game as in where exactly is this going to go. I shouldn't feel bad as no forecaster knows that at this time and the models disagree. Being honest. What I can show is the potential storm, it's positives and negatives and the general pattern that may steer a named system towards a landfall.

Why you ask can't I put the tail on the donkey this morning? Because the storm has not formed yet and even if and when it forms it will be a weak system easily prone to the various stronger influences in the atmosphere. When you have a strong hurricane the atmosphere at time bends to the major hurricane as a high develops aloft over the hurricane and it begins to "make it's own steering currents" and is less affected by a trough, a ridge or an upper level low. Upper Level Lows appear slowly, sometimes faster, and become strong steering factors with a developing tropical storm.

Generally a weak named system will want to go west. A tropical depression or low end tropical storm leans "left" meaning west. The stronger a system gets the more vertically stacked it becomes in the atmosphere above it and it wants to to more to the North. Unless there is a total breakdown in the way the tropics work the variation is between West and North at this latitude. Further North they begin to turn towards the NNE and NE and go out to sea along with stronger cold fronts. Later in October and November many times tropical systems go NE across the Caribbean rather than NW. It really most often comes down to Climo and the pattern that is generally set. Note below a map for August Hurricanes.

Not always but often they begin out by Africa forming from waves rolling West bound. Strong waves feel that pull to go North and curve out faster the way Gaston is forecast to go out to sea. Again no path is set in stone as the atmosphere is fluid so even for Gaston take a forecast 4 or 5 days and see what happens next.  Some weaker waves that traveled through negative environment of shear, SAL and just generally dry air form closer to the Islands. Why? SAL begins to evaporate as a negative in that usually there is only so far Saharan Dust can travel in large quantities and it generally lessens later in the Hurricane Season. Dry air comes and goes as does shear as shear intensifies and lessens in real time and real time is never set in stone. Modeling helps.

That brings us to the models. We fell in love with the models for obvious reasons several years back as we want to give you the most reliable forecast and in theory a computer can nail formation days before a tropical forecaster believes a strong looking wave might develop. We use models every day not just during the hurricane season. Every rainstorm, snow storm or blizzard has models crunching out data that forecasters with the NWS putting out forecasts for every city on the map of the United States and that includes Puerto Rico and Guam and places such as those. Forecasters work tirelessly with the NWS updating in real time their forecasts when the next model run shows something different or the actual system changes in real time. I use that term "real time" often don't I? I do it because you have to understand the atmosphere evolves fluidly in real time.

So going to put this into an example most sports fans can follow and even if you don't like sports you should be able to get it as it's common. Take a NFL football team that generally has a good roster (players) and the previous season they had a season good enough to get into the Wild Card game but did not go to the distance. Their team roster is made up of some well known pros and many younger players picked up in trades or in the draft. They have a new quarterback that did great in college but no one is sure if he will make the transition to the NFL where he's playing against professionals not fellow college players. There were some injuries last year that hurt the team. Some games that were close and could have gone either way. A last minute long kick by the opposing team in the last seconds miraculously made it and they lost the game they thought they were going to win. A long Hail Mary pass got caught in the End Zone when the team down by 3 points had only a minute left on the clock after getting the ball back. Everyone says "wait til next season" and Sports Illustrated highlights them as a cover story as a contender for the coming season. The players are healthier, the young guys have more experience and they generally look to bust out this coming season and make a run for the Super Bowl. 

What happens? Do the Miami Dolphins ever pull it together? Will Carolina Panthers come back this year and win the Super Bowl with Cam learning from whatever mistakes were made last year in the final game? Only time will tell... Because there are so many moving parts in football as there are in tropical meteorology. Say that great draft pick gets hurt and is taken out for the rest of the season and his replacement is not up to the job. Many injuries hurt them or the team as a whole doesn't work together as they did the previously year or the best coach has to retire because he's ill and the point is many things can happen. Other teams that look weak come on strong and it's all fluid. It happens in real time and on any given Sunday any team can win. My father used to say it was easier to bet on the dogs because dogs are predictable, they are well trained and they run and when there is a good dog at the track he beats the pack. Jai Alai, something he loved, was harder to predict because you are dealing with people who are less reliable and they don't play the same always. One player could have a fight with his wife or gets sick or is just in a mood and he plays differently on those days. 

Tropical systems are each unique. The conditions for every tropical system are different even if there are some similarities. Yes Katrina and Andrew came in from the East and they tracked across South Florida West bound into the Gulf of Mexico and slammed into Louisiana and Mississippi. However Andrew exploded East of Miami in the Atlantic after fighting dry air and shear since his departure from Africa. Katrina pulled together just off shore East of Miami and gave us a good smack in the face but it was mostly a tree trimmer in the Miami area. The trees took out the electric and it was a busy season for us with multiple landfalls affecting our area. But Katrina exploded in the Gulf of Mexico over the Loop Current. Each storm is different, but there are patterns. We study the pattern to better forecast the next one and we use models to try and get a better forecast with more lead time to warn people living from Texas to Maine as those are places that Hurricanes make landfall in the United States.

Mike from was online last night from Chilis I believe. No advertisement here just telling it like it is and he was tweeting.  We discussed the frustration "why can't they just make a forecast" and in reality it's become harder not easier to decide to put out the package and later make changes. Everything is online now, it's just the way of the world. We live in a social world and we talk, exchange information and that's good. I'm part of an online group that discusses privately information between tropical meteorologists around the world who are able to talk and discuss without it being put online. It's an online discussion in email that is not subject to being recorded on some blog or on the Nightly News. In truth information gets out there but it's for educational purposes not entertainment purposes. I'm in a few groups with brilliant meteorologists with big degrees and years of experience and yet no one knows today what will be for sure. We are all learning, sharing and getting better at understanding Hurricanes.

The Internet allows every student of meteorology young or old to access the same models they are using at the NHC, NWS and even at TWC. And we have some excellent models that have bad days such as the GFS that cannot be counted out because generally the Euro is better at picking up tropical formation; the GFS has its good days too. In the old days few had access to models or sat images or radar from Cuba or Bermuda except the weather men or girls on the Nightly News. It's a new world... every word I say is analyzed by some one who has a masters degree in meteorology and worries I am giving out poor information that could lead to death. Really no one ever died from looking at a 10 day model unless, God Forbid, it leads to a heart attack when they see NYC in the cross hairs. And though I do not have a degree in meteorology I studied in it college and probably know climo, hurricane history and geography better than many as per my life long studies and I can write and I do so here regularly. I also write other material professionally, but this is my passion and I share my thoughts. Life in 2016. I agree on many levels with Mike, just make a forecast and or give your thoughts you can change them in real time this far out. I agree with Bryan Norcross about worrying on models vs watching and evaluating the wave itself.

Bryan Norcross addressed this last night. He's right. He's always right. When you see Bryan Norcross on TWC you know things are happening. And when you live in hurricane country you should have developed a plan at the start of the season. When a tropical storm moves towards Florida you put that plan in place. That simple. Hurricanes are one of the only natural disasters we can prepare for so we really are one step ahead of other places prone to sudden earthquakes or twisters And yet... all of us who have been through big hurricanes remember and never forget. It's one thing to chase storms, which I've done, and another to have a hurricane chase you and come to your home and your family. Trust me storm chasing is much easier than staying up all night upstairs huddled together in a hallway near the bathroom (safest spot often) listening to Bryan Norcross. It's something you never forget.

Alfred Spellman follows my blog and is a friend.
Alfred knows Miami and Hurricanes well.

Normally he's investigating stories for movies.

He knows Miami very well.
I'm sure Alfred has a Hurricane Plan.
Do you?
If so you may have to put it into place this weekend.
If you don't have a plan ...get one.

So those are my thoughts.
It's that simple.
If you choose to live in Hurricane Country.
Make sure you have a Hurricane plan.

South Florida may have to put it into action.
It may slide through the Florida Straits and miss a direct hit.
It may curve off shore towards Carolinas.
It may never really develop as more than a weak system.
Miami and the rest of the tropics are beautiful.
New Orleans... love it.
Love Savannah.
Those Carolina beaches...

Enjoy it, live it but keep a plan handy.
Just in case.

Bryan Norcross remembers like everyone else.

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter

Ps. I will update later today when we have more data from recon.
But what I said here when I went long is the real story.
Potential is potential. Until it's realized it's just that.
Don't say we didn't warn you.
Don't say we didn't share long day models...
Stay informed.
Have a Hurricane Plan.

You are lucky to live today in paradise.
In 1900 and 1926 they didn't see it coming.

A lot of songs below were popular in 1992.
Some I don't remember.
I'll always remember the voice of Bryan Norcross

I was on Miami Beach during Andrew.
I remember it well.
Could hear the sound of the surf over the wind..
..far off in the distance.
The sounds of a hurricane.


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