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!

Friday, May 01, 2020

2020 Hurricane Season - 1 Month til June 1st. A Busy Hurricane Season Forecast with Possible Landfall Patterns. Looking Back at 1999, 2007 and 1886 & the Indianola Hurricane Matagorda Bay Texas.

Remember when?
2017....  a year few of us will forget.
Could we see a replay of such a busy season?
Yes, it's very possible.
In 1886 before satellite imagery......
... 3 storms all danced close by as they did in 2017.
We know that from the track information.

Note the month of August below.
And know September had multiple storms too.
3 Major Hurricanes in August 1886

 Storm #5 
8/15 Hispaniola
8/20 Indianola

Storm #6
8/19 Jamaica
8/21 Cuba
8/22 Nassau

Storm #7
8/20 TS forms near Bermuda
Becomes a Cat 3... 
Impacts George Bank
Vessels lost, ship damage.
Becomes a N Atlantic player.

The time frames overlap.
Landfalls overlap.
Imagine the satellite imagery today.....

Note 1886 is most famous for Storm #5
Indianola Hurricane - Matagorda Bay, Texas

Yes similar track to 1900 Hurricane... 
Similar but different.

Something to think on as its a month til Hurricane Season.

So Happy May 1st! New Month here as we zip through 2020 always wondering "what's next?" as it's been a slow, motion train wreck since the virus began spreading across the country and masks became all the rage to show off your favorite team, hobby or level of hypochondria. Okay, seriously I've tried to go slow with news of a forecast busy hurricane season that many experts have predicted could include multiple landfalls along the US coast as highly possible. I don't like pulling the mask off the old Lone Ranger nor do I like pouring oil onto a fire or screaming "FIRE!" in a crowded theater but the time has come to get serious about the Atlantic Hurricane Season that begins one month from now officially, but can begin earlier in reality should something in the Gulf of Mexico or off the East Coast spin up impressively enough for the NHC to give it a name and begin issuing advisories.

Let's look at 3 possibly analog hurricane seasons that began early and ended way too late for most of us. Remember every hurricane season is unique, however many have commonalities from positive conditions that deliver a busy season to the similar tracks taken due to obviously similar atmospheric and oceanic conditions. They are other years I'm concerned on but going with these three today as they all were busy seasons when the water was warm, the wind shear was low (allowing for vigorous waves to develop into Major Hurricanes) and had similar tracks as predicted as possible by many concerned on this hurricane season.

Let's work backwards and begin with the 2017 Hurricane Season as it began extremely early on April 19th with a very early season system and multiple warnings in the media by experts that an early hurricane season doesn't mean it will be a busy hurricane season. That is true as often a May storm forms and then we wait until late August for the next storm to form but it's not rule that isn't always broken but a much repeated statement when a system pops up before the local networks have even begun airing Hurricane Preparations stories.

2017 was an odd year in that weather was in the news often and everyone watched in real time as New Orleans itself had a tornado in February. In June Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall near that part of the Gulf of Mexico to be followed by Harvey that made landfall to the West of there but slid back into the GOM and made a second landfall. Finally Nate made landfall on that general part of the GOM coastline making people in Nola and much of Florida and Houston and elsewhere wish the 2017 Hurricane Season would be one for the history books.

Next we have 1999 another busy hurricane season with tracks similar to the predicted areas of concern for 2020. Again we see long trackers and hurricanes aimed at the US coast as well as some Caribbean and Cuban activity. The first storm formed on June 11th and ended on November 23rd leaving many of us happy to see it go. With 8 hurricanes and 5 major hurricanes it was one for the record books. Also warm water, light shear and all the typical positive factors that bring Hurricanes to our door along the Hurricane Coast. As a trivia point it's worth noting Louisiana and Texas had tornadoes on Easter Sunday in April of 1999. Obviously I'm watching for years with similar severe weather prior to the Hurricane Season that coincide with other factors forecast for the 2020 Hurricane Season.


Now I want to go back into history ... far distant history to 1886 when the Atlantic saw a very busy hurricane season that when no less than 7 storms made landfall. The season began on June 13th and ended on October 26th, but it is worth noting the numbers are very similar to what is forecast for this coming year ... especially when you add in the 1886 Hurricane Season didn't have satellite imagery available so one can only imagine the additional storms that may have existed further from the coastlines nor not mentioned in ship reports; in those days if the ship went down with the storm there wasn't always a record of it being hit by a tropical system.

Note that all 3 of these seasons...
...look similar when glancing at the maps.
Each is different but many commonalities.

I cannot say enough about how horrendous the loss of life was from the 1886 Hurricane Season during a time when communities with busy, Boom Towns woke up totally unprepared for what the next day or two would deliver to their doorstep. In a time before Hurricane forecasting all they knew was the barometer was dropping and weather was moving in but rather than a typical afternoon thunderstorm a deadly hurricane packing winds of 150 mph washed away some communities such as Indianola Texas and many bodies were never found in small bayou towns along the coast so the death toll could be much higher. In those days when some single young man managed to survive such a catastrophe he got out of town fast whatever way he could and he didn't document his trip on Instagram... he simply left for greener pastures .... often ones where he decided a snow storm was better than whatever it was that just wiped his home off the map. 

In 2020 we complain about how bad a long term forecast is because it was predicated that it was possible that the African Wave would develop into a hurricane and impact Georgia and it made landfall in South Carolina; oh my goodness the critics on Twitter and in WhatsApp groups go crazy. A storm tries to form down near the Yucatan and everyone debates if it will live or die off and doubts it can possibly become a strong hurricane than slams into the Florida Panhandle as a Category 5 Hurricane. 

I'm not saying 2020 will look exactly as the above mentioned hurricane seasons did but I can tell you that according to the forecast conditions and track patterns expected it could end up looking very similar. What I can tell you is that unlike the citizens of Indianola in 1886 you will be given much warning way before it makes landfall, but before waiting for a Hurricane Warning to be posted you better be ready early this year. Unless something miraculous occurs, Covid-19 is expected to be a factor in our lives throughout this coming hurricane season especially early in the season. Supply chain factors have already become a problem for certain products such as the ever important paper products and protein from pork to chicken to beef being at some times hit hard. Note if you have a lake, river or any place to fish near you ... you may want to learn to take up fishing and if you are a vegetarian ... good luck with Tofu. If there's no tofu stock up on dried beans and pasta if you can find them... Oh, yeast is apparently worth more than toilet paper currently across the nation.

Recent quick trip to the Grocery Store.
We went during a rain storm yesterday.
 A food Lion in Raleigh.
Extremely clean.
Aisles marked carefully for 1 Way travel.
Employees had masks and gloves on... did the customers.

Publix moved into North Carolina.
Many transplanted Floridians live here.
As much as I love Publix... not as clean.
At the registers they wore  masks... no gloves.
My husband ran in for some Kosher chicken..
... grabbed it, got pictures for me.
They are limiting popular non-perishables.

Yeah that happened.
We are stocked... not going out for a while.
Well, for walks and exercise maybe.
But not shopping any time soon.
Amazon has been working well otherwise.

So I am begging you.......
....prepare EARLY for the Hurricane Season.
Every trip to the store by one extra thing.
Because I can't imagine how people will shop...
... if they have to wait hours to get into the storm.
With proper social distancing....
...and many items already gone.
It won't be pretty.
Prepare early........
... you can use non-perishables anytime.
That's why they are popular.

If you have a Panera type store near you.
Buy bread early, freeze it if you have space.
Yeast is gone and the bread aisles aren't full.
Okay, lot's of Dave's Killer Bread.
I buy it, use it sparingly.
Lasts, great bread but expensive.
The cheap white bread is gone, gone, gone...

One last note on 1886......
...a picture after the Fire of 1886 in Key West.
While they were spared hurricanes....
...they were in rebuilding mode from the fire.

A personal footnote to this discussion on 1886 is that it's the year my family moved to Key West. The timing was most likely dictated to by the 1886 fire that destroyed a good part of the town as people needed products and they were already there because of the Cigar Industry. A great, great grandfather was in the Tinware Business originally from England and as after the fire Key West insisted buildings have metal rooftops and that's how we ended up with tin roofs for the cat to walk on and how he established his tinware and crockery business while his sons traveled to Cuba often buying tobacco and involved in the cigar business.

So those are my thoughts. There are models showing a "low" forming off the East Coast and other long range models are trying to close off a low pressure system in the North Gulf of Mexico and down in the Caribbean there has been an on and off spin going on that isn't that uncommon in busy years to see. The Epac is forecast to come alive again soon with what should be a named storm.

Have you started making a list yet? 
Please do so... a list for food, supplies and to figure out where you would go and shelter if you need to evacuate in the Year of Covid-19.

Good luck. 
Prayers to everyone to stay safe, well and sane this weekend.

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter and Instagram.

Ps... check this video out, it's short and informative... packing of beef in tin cans began here apparently so next time you buy Spam for a hurricane... remember Indianola!

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