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 16, 2020

Severe Flooding From High End Category 2 Hurricane Sally Made Landfall, Moving 3 MPH Slowly ... Pensacola Looks Like Wilmington and New Bern After Hurricane Florence. We Need to Learn From This & Hurricane History. Invest 90L Forms in the GOM & Huricane Teddy a Huge Monster of a Hurricane.

Memories from 3 AM last night watching Sally..
...Sally doing her thing at 105 MPH
Now at 100 MPH still.... as I type this.

Sally inland over the Alabama and Florida border.
An area in the BOC with a 60% chance of forming.
Now Invest 90L in the GOM... 
I talked on this the last few days.
That area has been anchored down there ...
...and pulsing up and down in intensity.
Yesterday I showed it was on a leash of sorts with Sally.
We can talk on that later.
And Hurricane Teddy is HUGE in the Atlantic.
We are going to talk about Teddy a lot soon.
But now about Sally's Landfall further East and Stronger ...
...than forecast in the more recent advisories from NHC.
Ironically they did originally say it would be a Cat 2 
More on 90L and Teddy later today.
This is Sally's hour.

Sally made landfall in the early morning hours as a strong Category 2 hurricane with winds of 105 MPH slamming the coast with a bad combination of storm surge and torrential rain; literally a rolling tide of heavy rainfall inundating the area with high water causing Flash Flooding. And the ROLLING TIDE takes everything in it's path and pushes it around slamming it into other objects that don't move as easily ... then weakening them and well it's a different sort of disaster from a Category 4 wind storm. Each type of hurricane has it's own moment when the devil comes to town and the devil showed up last night in Gulf Shores and Pensacola and what people will find this morning when they wake up in Gulf Breeze where many did not put up shutters or in Gulf Shores where they didn't move the emergency vehicles to higher ground will be a landscape they were not prepared for because perception is everything when it comes to a hurricane. People went to sleep expecting the impact of a weak hurricane in Pensacola and that to me is extremely sad and was unnessary as it was obvious earlier in the day that this was going more to the East.. 

Yes, you always worry and watch and apparenly the honest fact is those of us who have been through this do not totally count on the details in the advisories, but search online and listen to our local experts who know, they just know more about what will happen in our own area and stay up into the late hours of the night reading new data from recon on Twitter. But, a majority of people do not do that, they watch the headlines at 5 PM or 11PM when the news still comes on or what they saw online earlier and then they are caught totally off guard when they were hit with 105 MPH winds and their truck floated away while they were sleeping. Others stay online watching Mike from Spaghetti Models and checking Twitter for every piece of news from Recon and people who they trust who discuss weather and local meteorologists who warn you of late changes that may and often do happen.

Around 2 AM Jim Edds and I were talking on Twitter, he's a fantastic storm chaser and a really good guy. The reality that the winds had strengthened after recon found higher winds and the NHC speedily wrote new advisories and strength forecasts and the reality that the Florida side of Mobile Bay was getting a much stronger hurricane than expected, much further East than most expected. And, the reality that many did not put up shutters or move their vehicles to higher ground.

This was the screen shot from Jim Edds

This is the Tweet discussion.

This is what I mean by...
...we need to be better than this.
We know so much....
...we need to learn more.
Especially regarding Rapid Intensification.
And wet, slow moving hurricanes.

The press played up New Orleans and Louisiana up until about 24 hours ago. News crews deployed taking video of Nola's most beautiful sites for days and yes it offers many but when it seemed obvious to most of us that Sally was not doing Nola nor was it doing Gulfport but that it would come ashore "somewhere to the East" as a weaker storm the news crews packed up and went home. Okay, many set up in Mobile and various towns in Mississippi but few talked on the possibility that the Florida Panhandle would see eye wall impact and possibly the eye. Gulf Shores is as far as you can go in Alabama pretty much so using Gulf Shores as landfall the NHC at least was saved from saying the hurricane that less than 3 days ago that was supposed to slam into New Orleans was now smashing into Florida as a Category 2 hurricane moving 2 MPH.  

I wrote about this area being one unique area and hurricanes don't pay attention to borders nor do they read their advisories, Sally has always from the start done what it wanted to do and didn't follow the forecast. From day one it was a strong system as it passed over South Florida and delivered record rainfall to the Florida Keys much like Georges that took a similar track after leaving Key West. And, to add here I said days before the NHC did that "something" would form from the heavy moisture flow that called for something to form somewhere near South Florida around the tip of Cuba and until models picked up on it no yellow circle was posted. And, yes just like last night that yellow circle went orange and red fast as they tried to play catch up with a tropical system forming from a pattern that produces tropical systems vs a long tracked tropical wave. That is what Tropical Meteorology is about,it's meteorology but there is a layer of knowledge of history that needs to be layed over models that either show the wrong solution or do not show anything forming. Don't call my son in Seattle a Computer Programmer because he works with computers, he's way above a Computer Engineer when it comes to doing what he does and yet most people do not understand that...they say "he works with computers right" and that's like saying any meteorologist can work at the NHC and be a Tropical Meteorologist. And, that's all I'll say about that. You want a general practioner doing brain surgery on you? I'm pretty sure you'd want a specialist. I said days before a yellow circle went up the set up was calling for a storm to form as I said the area in the BOC with 20% forever was going to be a player before the ICON and the EURO showed it in their models, that's an understanding of how things work in the tropics and what the flow knows and what the Water Vapor Loop shows.

2 years ago ...

..another Category 1 Hurricane Florence

Flooding on an epic level.

And lastly this morning what bugs me is this was more a Florence problem of a slow moving hurricane barely moving flooding Eastern North Carolina the same way that Sally is flooding Alabama and Florida and it won't go away quickly, and as I said last night mold is already beginning to grow in living rooms and in cars and structures that have been underwater for hours already. Two years ago to the day I wrote that blog shown up above and many others during Florence, you can go back and read them they are on record so to speak not corrected after things change but a real, live diary of events of the tropical kind.

Hurricane History, to the day as Jim Cantore says, Hurricane Ivan made landfall in that same area, that's Hurricane History and history repeats often when similar situations are present in the atmosphere. Trust me when Jim Williams decided to travel from South Florida to Gulf Shores he knew this was going to happen because he knows hurricane history and he's got great instincts, I know him well you can find him on ... he knew this was going to be hurricane history not a weak messy system as many did who wrote it off early on. Josh iCyclone didn't move from his perch at his Hurricane House in Mississippi to Alabama if he thought he could watch Sally come in from his rocking chair on his beautiful porch that looks out over the Gulf, iCyclone knew. I knew it was not going further to the West but further to the East, that's why I showed maps of various storms and talked on Ivan and Georges because history teaches us things we can learn from when models seem odd and the reality is on the Water Vapor Loop and the MIMIC happening in real time.

I said yesterday the damage seen from a slow moving hurricane of any strength moving 2 MPH will do damage on the scale of a Major Hurricane. It's not that the Scale we use to measure the strength of a hurricane by wind speed is wrong, it's a great measure that defines damage and destruction, it's an update of an excellent detailed Beaufort Scale but easier to understand with less categories. Below is an good explanation in that link to Tevin Wooten on Twitter explaining the type of surge and flooding that exists this morning in the areas inundated from Hurricane Sally. He's a great addition to TWC most excellent in the field explaning in real time on air.

So ending this now as I was up very late last night into the early hours of the morning. Jim Wililams was on air live, Josh was posting incredible videos and TWC coverage was compelling.  More links and news later, but again this is a Hurricane Florence sort of hurricane disaster and Pensacola this morning looks like Wilmington and New Bern did after Florence. We need to really learn from history and spend less time chasing models; models are only good as a suggestion for what may happen. The NHC originally days ago said Sally would come in as a strong Category 2 but then the models changed and Sally changed and they changed their forecast and then last night at 1 AM they were forced by Sally to change it again. And, Sally like her ancestor Georges never paid attention to what the NHC said and we need to understand the real quirkiness of these storms and of Florence that was written off as a FISH storm and swam across the Atlantic to make landfall in the Carolinas. Each hurricane is different but similar to others and each set up is similar but different. The HWRF was insistent on it being strong and its made fun of often but it did well and the lunge to the West and the boomerang back than I never believed did not happen and it wobbled, crawled along over hot water close in and ramped up to a s "surprise" of 90 MPH and then 100 MPH and then a 105 MPH landfall further East than expected.

You want to know where a storm is going? Follow the Storm Chasers, they know trust me I've chased and I know many of them personally and they know... we know things that are hard to explain and you can sniff out the water vapor loop, talk to the locals, review history and you just know. If they can do that the NHC should be able to do that and this year they have been off too many times sadly. Yes, they update at 2 AM but when people went to sleep last night in the tip of the panhandle in Florida this was the strength forecast for Sally; it had to be updated and revised in real time but if a tree falls in the middle of the night in a Cat 2 Hurricane does anyone hear it....well if it crashes through their living room they do.

The 11 AM up above.
The breaking news updated one 2 hours later.

Only off by 20 MPH...
...further East.

We must get better at how we convey dangers and the UNPREDICATBLE nature of Hurricanes and less discussion of how a Cone aligns with a model that some kid at home is watching, we can all watch models, we need a real sense of the unpredictableness even in 2020 of hurricanes and trust me Neil Frank drove that message home when he was director, he ranted on it and made people aware that as much as they knew back then... expect the worse, prepare properly.. Neil Frank understood what a Rolling Tide was trust me. Neil Frank made my mother jump into action and take every precaution. Many forecasters do but the obsession with the models and the wind speed category needs to be evaluated and revised. A hurricane is more than the high wind speed and some have heavy weather, tornadoes far from the small eye and often even today in 2020 they ramp up on landfall and change directions because hurricanes are unpredictable, they try really hard but they are still unpredictable, we need to learn more. We hoped they had learned from Florence just two years ago.

After Hurricane Florence.... 
... the lesson should have been learned.

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter and Instagram.

Will add some storm chaser video links below later.
I need more coffee, I barely slept.


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