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 20, 2017

Updated. Major Hurricane Maria and Puerto Rico... Then Where Does Maria Go NEXT WEEK... Jose Looping.. Lee Out There Somewhere

A look at Cat 5 Maria

You rarely see a hurricane such as this one.
This year oddly we have had several.

I will be offline until Saturday Night for the Jewish High Holidays and the Jewish Sabbath which is over on Saturday at sundown. I'm not 100% sold on any one solution. The models that today say Maria will not regain Major intensity said less than 48 hours ago that it would. Until Jose is either gone or has fallen totally apart I cannot say for sure what will be with Maria. I can say that it should pull North sailing past South Florida (they will be happy to wave goodbye) and it could come awfully close to the coast of the Carolinas. With any luck it will be picked up by a frontal system and taken out to sea. Should that front not grab Maria, then we may have to deal with Maria down the road. Due to upwelling with cooler waters due to Jose continually looping over the same waters the fuel is not currently there for Maria to regain Major intensity. Things often change. And, some shear my exist down the road for Maria. 

Please refer to the National Hurricane Center for all information as they are the bottom line. But as always for more information go to Spaghetti Models online as Mike has a pleuthora of information be it loops, maps, models and the whole enchilada. I'll be back refreshed and ready to talk about Maria and any other tropical systems we have to deal with down the road. And, again we are watching an area in the SW Caribbean carefully to see if anything might develop there. It's a favorable area for this time of year and convection has been congregating. 

As for the damage from Maria .. power is out, people have lost their homes, their rooftops and mud slides have created havoc, destruction and probably sadly death. It is what it is... it's another of the 2017 Category 5 Hurricanes that have made landfall.  Add in the earthquake in Mexico City where they are still looking for survivors. I'll be adding my prayers, for what they are worth, and giving charity to the groups who help survivors of the storms and earthquakes. Be well and may we have better news to talk about down the road then the trio of Category 5 Hurricanes that made the 2017 Hurricane Season historic. 


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Generally good.
Some concerns there..
Intensity models below:

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It stays strong and then weakens some.
Models are horrible at intensity forecasting.
I'd expect it to intensify in the short term.

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A frontal boundary begins to approach.
Late down the road.
That would cause some shear.
IF timing is off...
It misses the front.
A ridge builds in above it.
Due to that "however"
I do think Maria could get close to the coast.
The high pressure ridge may strengthen.
I'm talking way down the road.
We have to watch the high pressure.
Best place is on the WV Loop above.

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Jose and PR

This highest elevation in Puerto Rico is 4,393 feet. There are mountains along the backbone of the island. And, Hurricane Maria is tracking across the width of the Island and as Maria is a storm small in size the mountains will have a larger impact on her than had she been huge in size such as Irma. On one level the mountains weaken Maria some, on another level small systems ramp up in intensify fast so it may be a temporary weakening not to celebrate about that much. Once back over warmer water, being a compact hurricane, it should become a Cat 5 again soon. And, it will in the most simplistic way in the short term follow Jose so where Jose goes so should Maria go. However, I know there is always a however, rarely does a hurricane exactly trace the track from the one that went before. Jose opens up the door for Maria to escape North and let Florida continue their long term clean up from Irma. However, how close Maria comes to the East Coast will rely on how wide of an opening Jose will make for Maria. Think of this like two children playing in the woods, the first one leaves painted rocks with arrows to show the one behind it which way he went.  But, will Maria follow exactly or will Maria do what's best for Maria. Again..... Hurricanes try to stay alive and away from high pressure following Low Pressure (In this case Jose) so what the High Pressure does also has it's own part in the future track of Maria.

(IN ADVANCE... there may be some typos as I am proofing this after I go shopping for the Jewish Holidays and I'll update later this afternoon. Sorry for any mistakes but I just got back from Florida and are still unpacking and rushed for time... )

While you have this time to celebrate not being a Category 5 before she becomes one again I might suggest to get to know Mike's Spaghetti Models better. There is so much information there on that site that you could spend days getting to know different parts of it. And, yet most people go to the main screen and what the main screen at the top shows is the basics. We have two Hurricanes in the Atlantic both affecting land as I type this and Maria may go where Jose has boldly gone already.  However, Maria has always been pretty direct in movement and intensity whereas Jose has been a looper. If only the weather from Jose would say offshore as neatly as this cute graphic below. I mean really does Hanna-Barbera make the graphics for the NHC? Sometimes I wonder... note the map below and compare and contrast.

There are many satellite loops on Mike's site.
The water vapor loop is below.

Maria will want to go where it's moist.
It's tropical after all.
Away from the dark black...
..or the muddy, maroon reds.
Maria is cut off from Lee.
You can see that above.

I'm not going to go deep on the NHC discussion this morning or their guidance package. For now this is straight forward and simple. The one thing we have learned, repeatedly, this season is the 3 day product is good and the 4 and 5 day produce it iffy; that continues with Maria . . . You can read the discussion yourself. I'm posting the "main points" you need to pay attention to as there are no surprises in the discussion other than we are not sure what Maria does down the road ... but we have a general idea. It follows Jose. We have been saying that for days. 

So let's look at Jose. Remember we were talking for days that New England might not escape totally from Jose without dealing directly with weather impacts? So yeah... that happened. Rather than Jose going out to sea (we didn't expect that) he is looping, again and again. However at that latitude his wind field spreads out (as we have said incessantly already) and his weather is far from the "center" of Jose so ... that happened. Tropical Storm Warnings for parts of New England. And, note we are not saying the "center" of Jose is making landfall but he is sort of blowing windy kisses towards Nantucket.  The graphic that shows this best is not the NHC cone. Doesn't get much simpler than that and a really cute, smart guy once told me to Keep it Simple Silly and I am... so Jose is blowing kisses to Maria and Maria wants to follow Jose. Plain and simple. Well........for now. 

The typical cone.

As usual....
How close does it get to the Carolinas.
Then how close does it get to ???

I really dislike the NHC cone.
So let's look at a map from Canada.
Canadian Hurricane Centre.
They do their own graphics.
They are better.
Sorry just telling it like it is...

This is a map.
It shows details.
It's got a cone.
The middle of the cone
It shows Jose .. up North.
It shows Maria...down South.
It shows Maria following Jose.
Nuff said ... for now.

As for our looper Jose.
He does what he does best.


Go to NHC site.
Read all about that graphic.
Main issue here is below.

I and everyone else online who does what I do has been telling you for days that Jose may impact Southern New England (including Cape Cod) and there would be beach erosion along the beaches of New Jersey. And, NHC discussion has tried hard to direct Jose out to sea and each update wanders back and forth slowly trying to get the forecast correct. As I have said before over and over a looper always loops and it does so to stay alive. If you were dying in the desert while trying to get from point A to point B you would not be following the map the NHC put out for you but along the way trying to find water to stay alive. And, that is what Jose is doing... he's knocking on doors of closed gas stations along the way trying to find water and in this case water would be gas for him to keep on going, looping and looping until one day... finally he goes out to sea or gets exhausted from looping. I'd say water temperatures will be impacted however he is already looping in cold waters and always walking the line between tropical and subtropical so that's a mute point. 

One thing I have learned this Hurricane Season is less people than I thought actually go to the NHC site and get to know it. As I said earlier, Mike's site is rich in details, yet most people just look at the front screen as it if's a Snapchat image getting ready to look at the next image. If you don't understand that, you may not have a Snapchat account. But you get the idea and now days people go to other sites that repackage the graphic from the NHC and put pretty graphics of their own  and then the average Joe moves on and checks out the Mexican Earthquake and to see who #Rocketman is and if we are or aren't going to war with Korea or if there was a terrorist attack in Europe or why Jimmy Kimmel is trending in Twitter. 

Part of the problem is the NHC as they move so slowly in a fast paced world they almost become irrelevant as they refuse to stay relevant and timely. In a world where Joe Jr can go online and see the actual data from the recon plane and find out fast that the pressure in Maria has been dropping down below 909 MB they have no time or interest in waiting to see on the next scheduled advisory the NHC will bring up the winds. They get it... the pressure goes down and the winds go out and most likely the NHC will put out a special update and by that time they are sadly irrelevant for those who are most interested. And, many aren't interested they are checking out celebrities and watching Netflix and keeping up with Maria on Snapchat. It's a fast paced world and we move even faster than a New York minute these days and that includes baby boomers like me who talk to my kids on whatever social media they are using and that's a fast moving target itself.

They are the bottom line and their work hard on their site to explain how it works. Why don't you study it over the next few days while Maria begins her northward trek. I don't think there are youtube tutorials but you never know. 

The next part is finding other voices you trust online, as it has become apparent to me that most people just repost something their friend sent them or share on Facebook what their Aunt Martha posted. There are great sources, good sources, okay sources and "oh my gosh what is he saying" sources. There are people posting great graphics and doing graphical shoot outs with models to see who best can show you the model. Sigh....... go to and see what works best for YOU. But, if you are going to really follow someone's advice make sure they really know what it is to be in a real hurricane. A hurricane, a Major hurricane, is NOT a snowstorm or a Noreaster or a Winter Storm. It's a whole different sort of animal and unless you have been in one and watched it rip parts of the roof off of one house, leave another mostly untouched as a large flying object did not knock the shutters off your friends house but yours went flying in the wind ... they are clueless. They are good with graphics and great with computer programming and they have studied the details in college and aced courses but until they have been out there like Cantore or Goodloe they are merely watching an interactive video game. They may be great at playing the game but they don't feel it inside ... they can't feel the tremor of the building under their feet, the pain in their ears as a hurricane brings low, low pressure nor the sound of the roar of the wind over the nonstop rainbands slamming into the house they pray is holding together.

And for anyone who says "the Florida Keys" are just fine they have to clean up I'll add get a life or wake up and smell the coffee. I'm sorry there are stuctures standing and that all traces of life were not erased but spoiler alert those homes that don't look so bad from the air or as you drive by have all been damaged. Even the nice, expensive white boxes on pilings meant to withstand a Cat 5 need repair. Some trailers were smashed to smithereens and their debris smashed into another home that is badly damaged and others oddly look just fine. It's as if Irma was a tornado not a hurricane. I've seen it up close and without going into details there isn't a structure in the Florida Keys (Lower and Middle Keys) that does not need some repairs and many will need to be repaired and rebuilt or the lot will be sold to someone else who wishes to live in paradise while they move back to wherever they came from before they bought the beautiful cottage on Cudjoe Key or in Marathon. They can fish somewhere else ... And others will stay even if it means facing another hurricane next year. But don't think every thing is hunky dory. Lastly if you do not within 48 hours start ripping out moldy walls, floorboards and panels then you are kind of screwed. And, as the first responders were looking for bodies and being sure you could drive across the highways home no one was allowed in so by now the mold issue is as big as the roof leaking and the windows being blown  out. It's easy to say it's not so bad when you can go home to your nice air conditioned home that has the most minor tree damage and go on with life. Life is not going on so fast in the Florida Keys or Naples as it is in Miami Dade county where gas is available again and power is back on (though I have some friends without power still) and the cell towers are working again. The oak tree was trimmed and the palm tree actually fell over rather then doing it's bending dance but it was a tree trimmer storm and you didn't get the real hurricane. 

As for a voice I like who does easy to understand graphics here is one below. I'll be adding more at the bottom of this blog today and updating at the top. Look him up on Twitter and do not tell me you don't do Twitter. You go to the bathroom and flush the toilet right? It's that easy. Easier than Facebook as it doesn't beg you to post or tell you how people are responding to your posts. Make a name, it takes about 5 minutes at the most. Go online and find what you are interested in and choose your news sites and regularly scan the news and tweets. You never have to tweet, post a meme or show everyone your cat loves looking out the window or that your child now smiles cute. Just do it... it's super easy and you will get news from reliable sources in real time. I follow the Cranky Weather Guy below. He's not all that cranky but he does have excellent information. Maria's future is that easy to understand and you don't have to wait for the NHC (the bottom line) to put out a scheduled carefully worded advisory. When the new models come out... meteorologists update almost as fast as my kids drink cafecito, do their make up or eat their picture perfect sushi in Florida on Snapchat. Trust me Twitter is easy and as Dabub says if you just want to follow him or me you can get information faster, but pretty sure you'll follow more than just me or him. He also has a website, but he's been trying to come back up to speed after Irma messed up his home turf in Jacksonville.

As for me... 

I have the Jewish High Holy Days coming up tonight and they run through late Saturday. You can Google it but most of you who have followed me over the years know this dance of the Jewish New Year hitting at the same time as the peak of the Hurricane Season. The 1926 Great Miami Hurricane actually made landfall on Yom Kippur that will come along down the road. I am in Raleigh (currently home base) for this year though it seems I'll be back in Florida for the final part on Simchas Torah (most likely) so I'm sort of a moving target this year. I'll be updating after the holiday late on Saturday. I will update later today in between cooking sweet foods and unpacking from my recent trip to Florida.

I learned much on this "vacation" and interviewed many people. When the tropics quiet down I will go long on what I learned. One is that cone needs to go... it doesn't explain the complexities of a hurricane or a tropical system like Jose. This picture was taken in St Marys Florida just North of the Florida Georgia Line and the boats that were washed ashore from the storm surge FAR TO THE NNE of IRMA WHILE Irma was down near Naples still did not prepare anyone from what really happened. There is an eye, an eye wall, storm surge and weather associated with the hurricane that dramatically rearranges the lives of people far from the eye. And in a world where every student of meteorology trying to get his doctorate degree hoping to get a job at the NHC is able to put out elaborate upgraded model versions someone at the NHC should be able to put together a better map with more detail showing you what could happen for people in any particular area. The boat below actually is called the S.S. Minnow... so keep that in mind next time you think you have a cute name for your new boat. There are also sailboats, big ones, wrapped up around the Minnow and the dock is out and until it is fixed no one is taking day trips to the Cumberland Islands. No one I interviewed could remember this sort of damage in St. Marys and that makes sense as Bryan Norcross said that he had never seen on air he had never seen a hurricane like Irma. One of my favorite small towns, trying to pull it together far from the center of the cone that was aimed at the Florida Keys.... Miami or Tampa. Nuff said

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter. Your homework if you are not already on Twitter during the next few days while I'm dipping apples in honey and eating sweet foods with friends wishing and praying on a good year is to make a Twitter account.

My son who is a Jewish Music Producer and is better at graphics than the NHC put this up and I'm going to use the nice graphic the same way I take from everyone else ... wishing you all a very safe, healthy, happy, wealthy ... creative, sweet New Year. Pray for those that were affected by Irma and Maria and Harvey and please give charity when you can to those in need. The Jewish New Year is going to be 5778. It's a thing...

Sandy Koufax didn't play in the World Series on the High Holidays and well I don't write online about them either... it's a thing. But I will be back and I promise you this Hurricane Season is going well into early November or late October so there are many others to pay attention to and I know you all are on Spaghetti  Models and listen to Mike on Facebook Live so... handing this over to him. I know he's got it... he's incredible.  As for the NHC... fix those cones please....

To better understand this Island that is intricately linked to America you might want to read though this link a bit to learn more about Puerto r

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At 8:58 PM, Anonymous George Desmond said...

Global Warming .It's time humans rose up and began to do the right thing before it gets out of hand.


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