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, September 03, 2006

EL NINO 101 - Anniversary of the Labor Day Hurricane 1935

Good morning America! My son Shuky is back in the USofA! Home from his extended stay in Israel. Welcome home Shuky! Let the hurricane season roll..

So, my topic for this morning ... for the current class in Tropical Weather (or lack of) is El Nino 101.

Please cut and paste the following website into your browser and look at the pretty picture of the world.

No, the world is not flat.. it's just a picture.
Yes, it is colorful.
Move the scroll bar on the bottom over so you can see America.
See the pretty colors off of the West coast of Mexico extending westward out into the Pacific?
That is not sunrise.. that is El Nino.

It looks like someone took a paintbrush and painted a little color there... just a dab, just a start of a bigger painting that will look like Sunset Over The Pacific...

El Nino indeed.

Now, some people will tell you that I am just going through that stage of "there is no season" freaking that most trackers go through every year before hurricanes begin forming.

Wrong. Nope.

This is Labor Day and there is not a hurricane on the map. Not a tropical storm to be seen. Not a depression on the horizon and this is not about tropical depression but about the reality that something is going on over there in the Pacific Ocean where El Nino lives, sleeps and hides.

And, before you "SEE" an El Nino you "FEEL" an El Nino. You feel it in subtle ways.

1) It's too quiet in the Atlantic Basin.
2) Shear seems strong in the Caribbean and nothing wants to develop in areas previously hot for development in non-El Nino years.
3) Strong hurricanes start to develop in the Pacific and move more to the right of their normal, tropical, shipping routes.. for example John... who didn't go out to sea but crawled his way straight up the Baja Peninsular.
4) Something changes in the atmosphere, in the patterns.

You notice all of this way before fishing fleets in Peru begin to get territorial and South American local politics heat up.

Seriously... before the first oranges are dabbled onto the Tropical Satellite canvas.. you see signs of El Nino.

I have been seeing signs all season but for once, for once in my life the NHC and everyone else has jumped on the Bobbi Bandwagon of the importance of Saharan Dust in the Atmosphere. I have been singing those blues for a long time and everyone was like "yeah, yeah" and gave me other initials besides SAL.. and talked on all sorts of reasons for the lack of Cape Verde Hurricanes and for years now I have been screaming dust in the wind and suddenly it is the hot topic of the month.

Even if the SAL wasn't there... the strong head winds that Cape Verde storms would have to face would be too strong for the waves to develop, in my opinon. And, the water temps in the Atlantic are barely warm enough for a hot bath which wreaks and speaks of El Nino.

Yes. There is SAL aka Saharan Dust in the atmosphere. But, SAL is not the only reason to complain.. EL Nino, also known as EN is here and finally showing his sunburned face.

So... although, we may have some tropical storms this year and a hurricane or two.. the big rush on Hurricanes is over and there will be less talk of Global Warming and it's effect on the Atlantic Hurricane season and possibly talk of Global Warming and it's effect on Ocean Currents but note that the Gulf Stream is not hot, hot, hot and the area once known in 1997 off of the Western Coast of Mexico is hot, hot, hot and that should be a big wake up call to all of us in the field of Tropical Weather analysis to take a cold shower, get out the history books and see what usually happens in El Nino Autumns.

It's Hurricane Season going into Peak of the Season and the football games have begun, school has started, the Jewish High Holy Days are around the corner and leaves are beginning to turn.. this is the Peak of the Season and the only thing peeking through is.. El Nino.

Next subject... freebie.. The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, as this weekend reminds of always of that horrible, hurricane event.

Happy Labor Day Sunday... you all know my thoughts on the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, strong but maybe not as strong as the history books say.

However, really what is the difference of 5 or 10mphs between a Cat 4 or a Cat 5? It is all as Dina says, a matter of perspective. When Andrew was a 5 and they demoted him to a Cat 4 John Hope was real happy on TWC and I was sitting there at home like "oh thrills, its five mph less, don't I feel better?" (as I was in the crosshairs and ready to be hit by Andrew) Yet, Cat 5 is officially called an Act of God even though I would think it would better called an Act of the Devil's Wind.

Many a Katrina special recently explained how storm surges build up in the Gulf and cause damage hard to describe because such a surge doesn't happen easily in Florida because of the differences in the Continental Shelf, something about coral reefs and the songs of the Coral Reefers but supposedly it did in 1935.

Also, I read recently in a book about Key West that talked about as bad as it can be in Key West in a Major Hurricane the water actually would rush over it and around it and you would never have that same sort of storm surge that you have in some places along the Atlantic Coast because also... there is no big coastline for it to damn up against as there is in other places. I didn't write it, someone else did and saw it in a few places online and off. I know, never believe what you read....

Hmmmnnn, well so if you want to live in Key West and not worry on Hurricanes blowing your house down... build on Solares Hill I suppose is the general idea or try and ride out a Cat 3 or higher from the rooftop bar at the La Concha. Got to tell you, if you have to go... what a way to go.

Either way, many people lost their lives and were blown out to sea or buried in mangroves in the Labor Day Hurricane and it should be remembered and appreciated for how a small, storm can intensify so quickly in such a short time and how vulnerable we are in South Florida (especially the Keys) to a Killer Cane. follow up question is this..

If storm surge, really BIG storm surge, is the result of a hurricane moving towards a land mass and it is about the dome of water that is pushed towards the coast line over time as the storm gets closer and closer..

Wouldn't it be hard for such a storm surge of recorded heights to have formed prior to the development of the Labor Day Hurricane even becoming a Hurricane? It would be hard to think that a storm surge like that could develop from what was practically a Tropical Storm a day earlier and infact was a very small storm in size .. where did all that water come from???

The 1926 Hurricane traveled from far to hit the South Florida area with a 20 something feet storm surge, it pushed that water out ahead of it all the way from the West Indies, it was a slow mover, it was HUGE... much, much bigger than Andrew and much, much, much bigger than the 1935 Labor Day Storm.

So, I ask... how could a storm that is small, not even on the map a few days before traveling towards Florida from that angle as a weak, small, barely there Tropical Storm develop a Storm Surge that high in ONE day that rushed over the Island chain devastating a few of the Keys but barely buffeting the others by anything but some strong winds? Hurricanes can develop in a day. Category 5 storms can blow up fast.. but can storm surges blow up that high in one day as well?

Or was it the way the railroad was built and set up that created a funnel like effect in Florida Bay and the sucking in of the water on the Bay side combined with a strong onshore wind and growing surge from a Major Cane created as the survivor reports describe, a massive Tidal Wave that rushed across the tracks and grabbed the train right off the tracks and dumped it on it's side depositing the lost and unlucky souls who never made it to the safety of Miami and the mainland into the mangroves where they died a horrible death as a milder but Major Hurricane rolled over them. A Hugo like hurricane maybe, it doesn't take a Category 5 to wipe out a barrier island or a Key that is only a few blocks wide.

Do exposed, naked, dead bodies hanging in the trees in a strong Cat 3 look that different from those who died in a Cat 5? A Cat 4 or a Cat 5? Is a corpse any less sandblasted 2 days later after a very strong Cat 3 as opposed to a Cat 5?

Just my opinon. Just my question for old times sake..

How do we know for meteorologically sure.. that the Labor Day Hurricane was the worst hurricane ever or was it just politically correct to say so and to keep continuing the lie?

No one wants to take on that battle but I think it needs to be looked at and reviewed and re-evaluated. No one wants to pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger and no one wants to rewrite history, not really and maybe it doesn't really matter but it just always bugs me personally.

So, that's my question for hurricane researchers (smiling, YKW UR) with the big money and the big brains and deep down I know that question nags at him too... good question my hurricane friend, Who and What Killed the Vets? You know the quote better than I about the water rolling over them as you sent it to me when I was looking for it.

Either way... the general broader answer is..

Hurricanes Kill. Major Hurricanes Kill More People.

El Nino modifies hurricane development in the Western Atlantic and the Gulf Of Mexico so it is indeed your friend, your savior, your pre-Christmas present that shuts down what is left of the Hurricane Season.

My predictions?

Jim doesn't agree with me on the Labor Day Question but someone else does, deep down it really bugs him too.

Now that Shuky is back, the wonder, weather, wizard of the family... something will spin just so he can play with the water vapor loop and yeah Daddy is your Daddy, no I didn't have an affair with anyone. (honestly, the things your kids will ask you one day.........)

Something may develop around Florida from all this messy rain and low pressure but it won't be much.

It will be hard to get a good Cape Verde Storm rolling as much as I would love to if I could for BURNS but..I can only do so much. I'm not Miss Cleo :P

Florida will have a brush with a Cane but it won't be 2004 or 2005.... it will be 2006, a kinder, more gentler year.

You will start hearing about EL NINO in the newspapers (mark my words) and...

I will have a nice Labor Day Weekend.. whether you find me at Starbucks or in Barnes and Nobles or at the beach or the pier or even at home in my tank top and short jean skirt staring at loops, looping around and reading up on some of the hurricane books I have put away to read for a rainy day...

Somewhere I will be thinking on the Labor Day Cane and wishing I was celebrating this Labor Day down in the Keys, grabbing something to eat at that nice market across from the Hurricane Memorial and toasting the quiet with a margarita wearing a hibiscus behind my ear and feeling the tropical breeze.

El Nino 101.
Modifies tropical development in the Western Caribbean as it creates shear across the basin inhibiting storms from forming and blowing their clouds away and instead of the Gulf Stream being hot, hot, hot... the El Nino current is hot, hot, hot...

Welcome to El Nino and have a Wonderful Labor Day safe from hurricanes pounding the shores and yet a clean up for those still suffering from the after effects of Tropical Storm Ernesto.. the only known hurricane so far in the Atlantic Basin in 2006.

Taking a shower, giving thanks that Shuky is home and going to put on that wonderful CD that someone here sent me for days when I can't get down to Margarittaville.

Lastly, thank you Skeetobite for having a good sense of humor :) Good to wake up to a giggle in my email box! Thanks for the great maps and easy link for satellite loops and images.

Going over to HurrCity to see what Target and gang has to say about the tropics today...and then stopping in at Flhurricane and then........going to relax and see what happens next this weekend.

Over and out...
Bobbi watching the tropics even though El Nino is coming out of hiding...


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