Atlantic’s Hermine Is A Big Deal (UPDATED)

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For the latest post on Hermine GO HERE.

Update Thursday PM

Hermine has grown in strength, and may even make landfall as a Category 2 storm. At least a strong Category 1.

The right front quadrant of the storm is where the main “punch” (of winds) is located. If the storm winds come into an embayment, they can really build up the storm surge. Look at this image:


You can see the right front quadrant of the storm heading right into Apalachee Bay. Barrier islands to the west of the bay’s head, and the communities right in the bay, are very much at risk for severe flooding.

Here is a blowup of part of the NWS’s experimental storm surge product for the area:

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 7.51.24 PM

You can see the increase in storm surge intensity/risk in the bay.

Also, there is a small possibility that the storm, which will turn “extratropical” as it passes over Florida and joins an existing storm system, will later move out to sea in an area conducive to re-formation. Not too likely but the idea is being bandied about.

Update (Noon Thursday):

It is very likely that Hermine will become an actual hurricane by the end of business day today, or during the early evening. It is really starting to look like one now, as of this writing.

The storm is likely to make landfall (as a hurricane?) before mid day tomorrow (Friday). There is a very serious storm surge threat from some point east of Apalachicola, all the way over to about Spring Hill, or even a bit farther south (heading towards Tampa). Especially at risk are areas around Big Bend Wildlife Management area and Suwanee River, where embayments may focus the storm surge.

Some of these places may have storm surges over over 9 feet above the ground.

After that, the National Weather Service is trying to be vague, because Hermine will interact with a large existing low pressure system. How much rain, where, how much wind, where, all that, is not clear. By the time the storm gets to near Norfolk, it might not even be near Norfolk. This could become a land threatening Nor’Easter affecting New York or Boston, or it could to out to sea and rain mainly on boats. Stay tunes.

This is not a major hurricane, but it is likely to be a significant flooding and rain event for a lot of people over a large area. This is also going to mess up Labor Day weekend, which will have a significant economic impact on many areas where people usually visit and recreate.

Original Post:
For a while there it looked like the Atlantic might develop up to four simultaneous named storms, but that has not worked out. One of the storms will never get a name, one of the disturbances now looks like it may never be a storm. Gaston continues to chug away towards the Azores.

But one of these four weather events is now a named storm that will matter.

Tropical Storm Hermine is a global warming enhanced storm that will produce record rainfall events, catastrophic inland flooding, and likely, coastal storm flooding, in many locations in the US east.

Paul Douglas of Aeris Weather notes that this storm reminds him, somewhat of Sandy, because of its bigness and wetness and potential to reach far inland. It will not be as bad as Sandy, but, he notes, “there is a growing potential for disruptive weather all up and down the East Coast from Friday into Sunday; coastal Georgia and the Carolinas right up I-95 into Washington D.C. and New York City may be impacted by 40-60 mph winds, flash flooding and coastal flooding and beach erosion as Hermine churns north.”

Also like Sandy, a blocking pattern in the Atlantic will cause Hermine to stay longer off the coast than otherwise.

Places that normally flood are likely to flood. The storm will come over land at the base of the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Panhandle. It is possible that the storm will be a weak Category One hurricane just before landfall, but not likely. It will then cross florida and run up the coast, either just on land or just off shore. One model h as the storm curving back from the Atlantic into southern Newe England, another model has it staying on land until New York City, then curving back out over Long Island. That gives you the range of uncertainty for the storm’s activity in several days from now.

But the track for the first several days is pretty well understood. Across the base of florida, then across Georgia, South Carolina, and into or near the Tidewater area, staying near the coast the whole time, more or less straddling the strandline.

It will be windy and wet with a lot of rainfall. The loss of Labor Day business will be bad for tourism regardless of any damage to such facilities that may occur as well.

Is Hermine enhanced by global warming?

Hermine is a weather event. Global warming caused by the human release of greenhouse gasses (and other human effects) is a climate phenomenon. So how can we possibly connect them?

Well, we have moved well past the days when one could pose such a lame brained question. Climate is weather, long term, and weather is climate, here and now. So, if climate is fundamentally changed, then the wether is fundamentally changed. The question is not whether weather that drenches or withers and climate wither are bound! The question is, what ways are a particular untoward weather event and the recent changes in the climate bound?

Here’s how.

Warmer seas and warmer air, causing generally more moisture in the air; and changes in air currents due to Arctic warming and other effects, causing a more uneven distribution of moisture in the air causing big dry areas and big wetter areas, and large wet blobs to form up and then move more slowly than usual across the landscape, make something like this storm (which at the base of it could have happened anyway) be bigger, wetter, slower-moving and thus rainier.

Climate Signals has a nice summary here.

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10 thoughts on “Atlantic’s Hermine Is A Big Deal (UPDATED)

  1. If GW is progressing and is causing bigger, wetter hurricanes, it’s odd that NOAA say a record 127 months have passed since a major hurricane has made landfall in the continental United States.

    1. Yes, it is a little odd!

      This is far beyond your tiny little mind to contemplate, See, as we know from past experience. But, for those looking on …

      The total amount of energy that ends up in hurricanes globally is predicted to go up with global warming. It did. It is still going up.

      The total number of hurricanes that ever exist in the Atlantic in a given year is a small percentage of the total number of hurricanes. The total number of those hurricanes that ever make landfall is very small. Locally, we actually do expect a lot of low activity years in the Atlantic because of the pecularities of that basin under global warming (increased Sahara dust, increased wind sheer) but there may end up being more there in the end, and there may end up being bigger hurricanes.

      A storm like Sandy, which was a hurricane until it stopped for a snack and ate a giant no’easter and became a Superstorm, much bigger and more dangerous than a normal hurricane, may be more of a typical storm in the Atlantic in the future. The Perfect Storm may have been one of those as well, in a sense. That didn’t count as a land falling hurricane in some databases, because Sandy became Too Big And Powerful To Be A Hurricane (TBAPTBAH) just before landfall. Just.

      What is really odd here is that you are cherry picking data in order to disrespect the victims of Sandy, and to make it look like global warming is not real.

      Global is real. Hardly anyone any more thinks it is not. Shame on you.

    1. RickA: I had no idea global warming is assumed to have started in the 1970s. Huh.

      First you have to understand (ha! I know that’s not going to happen, but for those looking on from the sidelines…) that a landfalling hurricane is a statistical maverick in a herd of hurricanes, which are in turn, statistically lousy subjects (lots of variation, not a large sample size). So it is probably better to look at tropical storms more generally. In the Atlantic, the average number of tropical storms since about 2000 has been abuot 15. In the period prior to about 1990, it was about 9-10. Huge increase.

      ACE is not regarded as the best measure of total energy. There are a few different measures. Science deniers pick the one measure that shows a flat line and ignore all the other data. That is because they are bad people. Assholes. Like you, RickA, and See Noevo too. Stupid, nefarious, foolish, assholes.

      Anyway, if you want to know more:

      Read this:

      Read this:

      Read this:

      Watch this (a fairly conservative take):

      RickA, and See Noevo, we re not going to let what is essentially a public service post about a dangerous weather event to be your anti-science soap box, so don’t bother posting any more of your bullshit here. Find a different post.

  2. RickA: Thinks his ability to argue denial is so strong that it will stop a hurricane in its tracks.

    (Instead, it just tracks bullshit across blogs.)

  3. Worldwide tropical cyclone activity seems to be increasing. We’re not 100% sure of that yet, because the length of the satellite record for basins other than the North Atlantic isn’t long enough–we may have been missing a bunch of storms before satellite data were routinely available. And there is a fair amount of noise in the data–tropical cyclones are discrete events, with some basins only seeing a few per year (or per decade, in the case of the South Atlantic) and even the most active basin (the Northwest Pacific) generally seeing 20-30 per year. But it is becoming increasingly likely that the trend is real.

    We’re also seeing hurricanes in places that rarely if ever saw hurricanes before. The Azores, already hit by Alex in January, are likely to take a hit from Gaston in the next day or two. There have been at least two hurricane watches for the Big Island of Hawaii, which saw a grand total of one landfalling tropical storm between 1950 and 2010. The Arabian Peninsula, which rarely if ever saw tropical cyclones before 2010, has had at least three since then (one in Oman and two in Yemen). Combine that with weird weather of other kinds happening in many parts of the globe, and it looks more and more like something is off.

  4. I actually doubt we have missed many storms, in the Atlantic. The hurricane basin has been crisscrossed with ships taking records at such a density and frequency that it is impossible to imagine totally missing a hurricane.

    When the 38 storm came through New England, the fishermen who lived and worked there had to learn a new word: “Hurricane.” Or so it is said. They were really rare up north then, much more common later.

    Anyway, I think there is a way around this. There are many points that occasionally get hit with a hurricane that have excellent records going back very far. Like any given British colonial site (eg Bermuda). Looking at only those records, it should be possible to estimate change over time.

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