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!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Tropics Today AND How Do We Repair the Saffir - Simpson Scale to Make It Convey Dangers of a Hurricane Better? It's Not All About WIND... People Die from INLAND FLOODING Not Just Storm Surge and Tornadoes In Bands... Even AFTER A Hurricane Is NO Longer MAJOR or "Just a Tropical Storm"

Note the tropics are not dead...
...because Florence is gone.
High chances for another high latitude system.
Subtropical or Tropical?
We've been here before.
Down in the Caribbean watching 97L
Been watching it for a while.

There is an area that could develop.
It has low chances.
It needs to be watched until it's dead, dead and deader.

There are silent runner waves ...
Getting past the SAL.
A ULL that could work it's way down to the surface.
Convection in the Caribbean.

I'll discuss that more tomorrow.
Today the big storm in the tropics is...
The discussion on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
The way we define hurricanes.
Cat 1 vs Major Cat 4.

Everyone is talking.
Everyone has an opinion.

The debate goes on.
Will change happen?
Or do we wait for the next Cat 1 where 38 people die.
And the dollar amount can't even be put...
...onto the damage yet?

Some voices from people I respect very much.

Note also what Rob said.

This is true... we discussed this on Twitter.
He wanted people to keep their guard up.
He is a paid service...
... he is paid for what he does.
Tho he tweets information to all.

Did the NHC going by the basic scale?
Let the ball drop in ways in conveying the danger?
They work by rules. 
They are the Government not a Private service.
They have rules and ways of doing things.
They show a cone to show where the eye is moving.
That comes up short often with Tropical Storms...
..or Category 1 Hurricanes winding down in strength
Do we find a way to fix the Saffir-Simpson Scale?
Improve it or lose it?
Make a new scale?
There have always been wind speed scales.
But a hurricane is more than just "WIND"

An incredibly useful tool to tell you how strong the wind is blowing was devised in 1811 known as the Beaufort Wind Scale. Try it sometime in a summer storm or a tropical depression... on any very windy day you can really tell how strong the wind is blowing with this scale shown below.

Mike has this graphic all the way at the bottom left.
Good to move around his page.
So much there.

Amazingly this scale really works.
Print it out.
You can keep it with you in case power goes out...
And you can really tell general wind speed by it.
It's a great rule of thumb.
Unless you live in some odd wind tunnel area.
Trust me this scale is as good as gold.
But hard to convey to the general public.

In 1971 the Saffir - Simpson Scale was came along.
It is very easy to convey.
Breaks hurricanes into 5 categories.
Seems logical doesn't it?

From Google:

The truth is they both are good. The Saffir-Simpson Scale is a general way of judging a hurricane in a media based world where they want a headline and the NHC wants to convey the strength of a hurricane and though it isn't officially said ... the idea was to show how dangerous a hurricane is vs ordinary. Obviously no hurricane is ordinary and all have dangers but it's inherently understood a Major Hurricane (Category 3 to Category 5) is a deadly, dangerous hurricane.

I wrote extensively on my blog on my belief that we need to change the way we convey the dangers of hurricanes and the NHC needs to update it's cone to show dangerous weather not just the track of the "center" where the winds are highest in the eye. It gives a poor understanding to the public who figures the worst dangers must be in the "center" that the NHC is tracking and as areas not in the center (parts of NC that were FLOODED) they feel as the intensity of the winds go down their dangers also go down and therefore don't evacuate or drive back to Wilmington from the safety of Raleigh as I met a few people who were doing when she was downgraded to a Category 1 and the NHC put out charts and discussion saying if she made landfall at all she would bounce back or slide SE along the coast as far South possibly as Charleston. I know they were trying to warn people as far South as Savannah they could be in danger but they gave people in North Carolina inland that the DANGER was less ....almost as if a flag had been lowered down to "only a Category 1" and sliding SE along the coast away from North Carolina the danger was less now. Yes, obviously being slammed by a Cat 4 would have been worse, but the extreme danger of flooding, tornadoes and river flooding was there even with a weak Cat 1 and yes the "center" drifted S into South Carolina. The forecast verified, but the true dangers were lost in the shuffle in my opinion.

This graphic is the last one Wundergound posted.
When it was a Tropical Depression.
Dumping HUGE amounts of water on NC.
Where is that conveyed in warnings?
Where is that conveyed by the Saffir-Simpson scale?

Again many areas outside the "cone" for the "center"
Were swamped by flooding.

Currently there is a storm of controversy over the use of the Saffir-Simpson scale that is not new but often discussed over and over after hurricanes that suddenly drop down in intensity before landfall are suddenly underestimated by the general public as "not as dangerous." This did not begin with Florence as Hurricane Sandy, a once stronger hurricane, was downgraded just prior to landfall much as Florence was as it approached the Carolina coast. Earlier in Sandy's track people in Florida were terrified it would make landfall in Miami as a Major Hurricane and for some time it looked as if it would be stronger. But the NY area rarely gets hurricanes at all so the fears were real but with every drop in wind speed people let their guards down. Then it was downgraded just before landfall as it was falling apart as it climbed in latitude as hurricanes often do and then the damage began on a historic, major level as it flooded communities, swamped subways, leveled trees and became a disaster that some areas along the coast 6 years later are just moving past. Many whole blocks were leveled, torn down and new subdivisions had to be rebuilt. Would people have left the Breezy Point area that was leveled by flood water and a fire at the height of the storm for safety if the emphasis on the dangers of Sandy were based on flooding damage and storm surge and less on wind especially in that part of the world? Maybe.

Not Cat 1 damage.

Again Hurricane Matthew.
A monster Major Hurricane in the Caribbean.
Weakens as it climbs North.
But the damage was Major.

So what is the answer?

Is the problem the scale?
Is the problem the media?
Is the problem at the NHC?

Who and what is the real problem?
Ignorance or denial?

Every area has it's own unique concerns. In Miami, except at the coast where flooding is a problem from storm surge, wind is a huge concern if people do not board up their homes and coconuts or roof shingles go flying in the wind shattering windows not boarded up and once the wind gets into a house it does obscene things. Wind tunneling through skyscrapers does it seem huge damage even when people were told their windows were hurricane proof. While only a Category 2 Hurricane, after being downgraded from Category 5 in the Caribbean, Wilma wiped out the power grid in the Miami area, smashed windows said to be "hurricane proof" and walloped the general South Florida area badly for "only a Category 2 Hurricane" as people complained for weeks waiting for power to come back. Some areas had Category 1 winds yet the whole power grid went out with substation problems and poorly maintained lines prior to the hurricane.

What is the answer?
I don't know.
The Saffir - Simpson Scale is a good one.
The old Beaufort Wind Scale is great.
I think the cone sucks personally.
Sorry... but 38 people died.
The cone did not convey the real dangers.
Again the main page at the NHC...
..should be split with other graphics perhaps?
They are trying so hard to add warnings.
Storm surge was added after Sandy...
The earliest arrival of winds was added.
But the media just shows the cone.
The media just talks about wind speed.
Category 2... WOW ... MAJOR CANE CAT 3
Downgraded to a Cat 1.

What is the answer?
Hope we figure it out.
38 people died at the last count.
Many injured severely.
People homeless from floods.
As I said in my blog before...
The flooding in Mitch was not when she was a Cat 5!
Mitch stalled as a Tropical Storm and people died.
This happens all the time.
We need to get better at warning the public.
That starts at the NHC.
The MEDIA is a huge part of the problem.
And I mean mainstream media.
People like Mike on Facebook spoke on this.
I wrote on it.
The newspapers and TV media needs to change.
Just my thoughts.

Here are some thoughts from online .

Showing this one again on purpose.
I love Spectrum Weather.

Sorry but I don't feel that threat was conveyed well.
With the cone showed below.

We need to find the answer.
Because it will save lives.
Any lives saved are worth it.

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter

Kinston is far inland.
Not sure if it was in the cone.
Doubt it was in the cone.
But the cone went S into South Carolina.
The flood waters inland rose....
Lumberton, Kinston so many communities.
Dillion, South Carolina.

If the audio doesn't work turn it to mute.
It's currently live.
Read the comments.

Not on the coast.
But it floods.
Far from where Florence turned S and went down to South Carolina.
Far from Wilmington NC where it made landfall.

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