Ian’s Death Toll. Sometimes, when a deadly disaster happens, and the death toll starts to come in, you can get a feeling for how absurd the initial numbers are, and for what the order of magnitude of the final count is likely to be. And indeed we were seeing some pretty low and absurd numbers a few days ago for Ian’s mortality count, but I have no idea where this is going. There are neighborhoods where it seems like every single person present must have been killed, but what we don’t know is how many had left before the storm tide came in. Yesterdays estiamte was round 35, thius mornings estimates range from 44 to 67. The highest current estimate I know of is 77.
Barrier Islands. Barrier Islands are barriers, and thus, take the brunt of the daily shoreward energy the ocean throws at them. This energy, including offshore winds, waves, and littoral currents that move sand that can then infill the inlets and outlets, forms the barriers, and in a sense nurtures them. But a storm like Ian can have the opposite effect. Water building up behind a barrier beach can be trapped if outlets are clogged either by the storm pushing in sand, or debris plugging the channel on the way out. In this way, floodwaters can go in open inlets, then overtop the barrier and erode from the top on the way out. Remeber Condominium* by John MacDonald? That’s what took out the [SPOILER ALERT] condominium. (The hurricane science in that old book should not be regarded as up to date.)
Barrier Islands took it in the neck (pun intended) with Ivan.
Eastern Pacific. Even though our focus here is on the Atlantic Basin it is a good idea to keep an eye on the Eastern Pacific. We are interested here in the Atlantic because Atlantic hurricanes can directly affect North America, but some (rare) Eastern Pacific storms also hit Mexico or, more infrequently, California. Also, the occasional Eastern Pacific hurricane crosses over into the Gulf of Mexico, perhaps as a large wet former hurricane, where it may reform into a meaningful storm.
Well, one storm may be doing that now. Orlene is currently a major hurricane, and is expected to weaken a little bit before slamming into the west coast of Mexico over the next two days. All of the current evidence suggests that Orlene will dissipate on the mainland in Mexico, and isn’t likely to turn into a Gulf hurricane. But there is one spaghetti model that has a sick sense of humor. Note: This is 99.99% sure to NOT happen, but have a look anyway:
Tampa, model TABD (Deep-Layer Trajectory and Beta Model Track Forecast) has it in for you. (Note: This type of model is notoriously random in looking at weaker systems, which Orleans will be in a couple/few days.)
What’s Next?. There are two storms forming in the Atlantic, both in early stages, and one seems likely to not develop at all, or if so, much later. The more likely of the two storms, known currently as “1,” is:
A tropical wave located several hundred miles south of the Cabo
Verde Islands continues to produce disorganized showers and
thunderstorms. Environmental conditions are forecast to be favorable
for some gradual development during the next several days.
Therefore, a tropical depression is likely to form during the early
or middle part of next week while the system moves westward, then
turns northwestward or northward toward the end of the week over the
eastern tropical Atlantic.
* Formation chance through 48 hours…low…30 percent.
* Formation chance through 5 days…high…70 percent.
The key news about former hurricane Ian is that it is about to become a Lazarus hurricane. Ian will re-strengthen shortly, in the global warming enhanced warm waters of the Atlantic, into a hurricane before it hits South Carolina, in just over 24 hours from now, as a physically large Category 1 hurricane.
- There is a danger of life-threatening storm surge through Friday
along the coasts of northeast Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.
Residents in these areas should follow any advice given by local
Hurricane-force winds are expected across the South Carolina
coast beginning early Friday, where a Hurricane Warning has been
issued. Hurricane conditions are possible by tonight along the
coasts of northeastern Florida and Georgia, where a Hurricane Watch
is in effect. Preparations should be rushed to completion since
tropical-storm-force winds will begin well before the center
approaches the coast.
Ongoing major-to-record river flooding will continue across
portions of central Florida, with considerable flooding in northern
Florida. Considerable flash and urban flooding is expected across
coastal portions of northeast Florida through Friday. Local
significant flooding in southeastern Georgia and eastern South
Carolina is expected through the end of the week.
September 28, mid morning
Ian is a strong Category 4 hurricane and is expected to maintain this level until it is very close to, and overtaking, the coast. It is close enough to a Category 5 hurricane that it could venture into that territory at any moment. The very dangerious eyewall is moving on shore now, maybe a little earlier than expected because the eye grew stronger and larger overnight. This landfall event will go on for the next 12 hours, near the end of which the storm will weaken slightly.
Storm surge is now estimated to be between 12 and 16 feet above GROUND level in areas where it will be at maximum, on top of which will be destructve waves, along the Florida coast from Englewood to Bonita Beach and including Charlotte Harbor. If that is where you are you have to get out of there right away.
Wind gusts of nearly 200 mph is the right front quadrant will remove buildings and trees in or near Port Charlotte, Came Coral, and Fort Meyers, and very strong winds will affect areas from Naples to Sarasota. So yes, locally, and freqruently, buildings, trees, infrastructure, will experience the equivalent of F3 or F4 tornado winds. (Plus there will likely be actual tornado outbreaks spawned by the hurricane). Hopefully people will be out of these areas in time.
Ironically, the biggest risk of spawned tornados and very heavy rainfall may be on the opposite side of the Florida Peninsula from landfall, over by Cape Canaveral, and Daytona Beach.
From the NHC:
- Catastrophic storm surge inundation of 12 to 16 feet above ground
level along with destructive waves are expected somewhere along the
southwest Florida coastline from Englewood to Bonita Beach,
including Charlotte Harbor. Residents in these areas should urgently
follow any evacuation orders in effect.
Catastrophic wind damage is expected along the southwestern
coast of Florida beginning in the next few hours where the core of
Ian makes landfall. Preparations to protect life and property
should be urgently rushed to completion.
Heavy rainfall will spread across the Florida peninsula through
Thursday and reach portions of the Southeast U.S. later this week
and this weekend. Widespread, life-threatening catastrophic
flooding is expected across portions of central Florida with
considerable flooding in southern Florida, northern Florida,
southeastern Georgia and coastal South Carolina. Widespread,
prolonged major and record river flooding expected across central
It is now estimated that Ian will approach landfall as a strong Category 4 hurricane with maximum windspeeds of 155mph. That makes it an F2 tornado in strength, but a gazillion times bigger. Landfall will very likely be as expected for the last day or so, with the eye crossing somewhere near Englewood, and the right front quadrent pushing water up Charlotte Harbor. It looks to me like the storm surge and inundation maps have been updated to show a larger area of extreme flooding.
The worst of the hurricane effects are from about now, through the day, and through tonight, and into the morning. More a little later after the morning update from NHC.
Added at 6PM central:
Ian the hurricane, as they do, got stronger than projected, a little, and is expected to potentially be a full on Category 4 (or just barely a 4) storm while it is off the coast of Florida just prior to landfall. Forces that were supposed to weaken Ian did not materialize. This has been sufficiently important and rapid that it seems that the NHC put out an update a little sooner than usual. After landfall the storm will remain at hurricane strength or nearly so for many hours (maybe 24 hours?) At roughly 5 or 6 PM local time tomorrow, the eye will be passing over the shore, probably somewhere between St. Petersberg and Naples, with the center of the prediction range being near Port Charlotte. So tomorrow mid day through late Thursday, Florida is going to be a mess.
And now the bad news. If the hurricane obeys the laws of probability very strictly and stays right on track, the dangerous right front quarter is going to bash into Bokeelia, Cape Coral, Sanibel, St. James City, and Port Charlotte. There are two inlets there, a narrow one going up to Fort Myers, and a much broader one that goes up to Port Charlotte, either of which could have really severe highly concentrated coastal flooding. The NHC experimental storm surge and flooding models show these two areas suffering flooding greater than 9 feet above sea level. But it will be a wavy, wind blow 9 feet, so this is bad. In the following graphic, the red is over 9 feet, the orange over 8 feet. Much of this land is less than 10 feet above sea level. These are neighborhoods with numerous homes.
Now here I have to say something really important. If the storm does not come in with the eye over Englewood and the right front quadrant hitting these embayments, then there would be much less flooding here. The way to read this map, I’m pretty sure, is not “this is where the flooding will be and how much.” Rather, it is “if the flooding hits maximum at this spot, this is what the flooding would likely be.” That is a much better planning tool, but is a little difficult to grok.
The two most important updates regarding Hurricane Ian are:
1) It is now projected to very likely come ashore between Tampa/St Petersburg and Bonita Springs, but it, as is true of most hurricanes, is a large storm. Therefore storm surge, high winds, and some degree of flooding can be expected anywhere from Steinhatchee to the Keys.
2) The storm will likely remain as a major (probably Category 3) hurricane right up to landfall.
The keys are under direct and immediate threat, and we will be seeing worsening and maximally bad conditions there just as we are hearing news from Cuba about their local devastation. Landfall on the Florida coast will be as soon as late tomorrow, but tropical force winds will be arriving in the keys today (Tuesday) mid afternoon, and by nightfall tonight on the mainland in the southern part of the state. Wednesday will be a day of high wind, torrential rain, and coastal flooding in much of Florida, and that will continue for a day. Storm surge of up perhaps 10 feet will occur in the worst areas, but the exact location and severity will not really be known until it happens given the vagaries of wind, coastline, and hurricane track.
Since this is not a dynamic up to the second medium, I probably won’t be keeping up here on this blog post. For now, just take these items from the NHC into consideration:
- Life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds, flash floods
and possible mudslides are expected to continue in portions of
western Cuba today. Devastating wind damage is expected near the
core of Ian.
Life-threatening storm surge looks increasingly likely along much
of the Florida west coast where a storm surge warning is in effect,
with the highest risk from Fort Myers to the Tampa Bay region.
Residents in these areas should listen to advice given by local
officials and follow evacuation orders if made for your area.
Hurricane-force winds are expected in the hurricane warning area
in southwest and west-central Florida beginning Wednesday morning
with tropical storm conditions expected by this evening. Residents
should rush all preparations to completion today.
Heavy rainfall will increase across the Florida Keys and south
Florida today, spreading into central and northern Florida tonight
and Wednesday, into the Southeast U.S. by Thursday and Friday,
likely causing flash, urban, and small stream flooding. Considerable
flooding is expected across central Florida into southern Georgia
and coastal South Carolina, with widespread, prolonged moderate to
major river flooding expected across central Florida.
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
INIT 27/1500Z 23.0N 83.5W 100 KT 115 MPH
12H 28/0000Z 24.4N 83.3W 115 KT 130 MPH
24H 28/1200Z 26.0N 83.0W 115 KT 130 MPH
36H 29/0000Z 27.1N 82.5W 110 KT 125 MPH
48H 29/1200Z 27.8N 82.1W 75 KT 85 MPH…INLAND
60H 30/0000Z 28.5N 81.7W 60 KT 70 MPH…INLAND
72H 30/1200Z 29.5N 81.5W 50 KT 60 MPH…INLAND
96H 01/1200Z 33.0N 81.8W 35 KT 40 MPH…INLAND
120H 02/1200Z 35.0N 81.5W 25 KT 30 MPH…POST-TROP/EXTRATROP
The interactive track map is a handy tool for planning your week if you live in Florida. Like this:
Finally, watch the rain. Rainfall up op to two feet is predicted near the coast and some ways inland, near Tampa Bay. Predictions vary, but I believe it is hard to predict rain at the higher end of the scale. It will rain everywhere in Florida and nearby Southeastern State of Georgian and South Carolina, and in mamny areas the rainfall amount will be round 6 inches or well over that amount.
The storm is expected to track diagonally across Florida to come near the Atlantic coast near Jacksonville by around Friday, then pass through Georgia and the Carolinas, affecting Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, later on. Presume that in hilly or mountainous areas, heavy rain will cause deadly flash flooding.
Hurricane Ian is a hurricane. As of the latest update, Ian is a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds, but is likely to be a Category 2 storm within hours from now.
The storm track has been adjusted somewhat easterly so now the chance of encountering the northern west coast is higher than striking the panhandle, but all those areas will be affected by Ian. It is the opinion of storm chaser Reed Timmer (he noted this a few minutes ago) that Ian is liking the European models best, which would cause the storm to go right over the Cuban land mass at or near Havana, and possibly strike Florida’s west coast farther to the south than the NHC currently suggests.
The collection of the more reliable models show landfall of the eye as far west as Panama City, and as far east/south as Venice (just north of Fort Meyers). After that the storm will proceed inland over the Southeast, including Georgia, South Carolina, Etc. Hard to predict, but there is then a good chance that the storm will re-enter the Atlantic north of the Carolinas or behond.
The storm will be as far north as it is going to get before landfall by somewhere between Thursday night and Friday midday, at the latest, based on current estimates.
OK here’s the nuanced part: almost every model has Ian reaching the Category 3/4 boundary at some point. There is an excellent chance Ian will be a Category 4 storm. But that is an ephemeral conditions. While it is true that for humans once a goatf@cl3r always a goatf@ck3r, not so for hurricanes. Ian will reach its maximum strength while it is bnetwen western Cuba and aligned with (but not at) the southern tip of Florida. It will then begin to weaken. The center of Ian, which at this point may not be an eye, may reach landfall as a Tropical storm. It is possible that most of the wind realted damage Ian does in Florida will be wel lbefore landfall. Flooding inland is, of course, the biggest problem, and that will be determine by a combination of wetness of the storm and local terrain.
Because of this nuance, you will be hearing breathless reporting by the less than ideally informed press (are they expert on ANYTHING??) talking about Ian as a “Category 4 storm” hitting the coast at the time of landfall, but it won’t be. It may well be a Category 1 storm, or even a mere Tropical storm, as that magical moment of the center of the storm comes ashore.
This means that the most sever impacts may occur before, and south of, landfall. For example, the NHC suggests that the regions around Tampa Bay and Orlando, and a bit north, may experience severe flash flooding Wednesday night trhough Thrusda morning, while the storm’s eye is well off shore.
Bottom line: If you are in western Cuba, the Keys, or anywhere in Florida expect inclement weather and possibly deadly conditions at some time this week, lasting for several hours or even a day or so. Then, if you are in northern Florida, Alabama, Georgia, or the Carolinas, expect serious inland flooding late this week, through the weekend, and beyond a bit. If you are anwwhere in Appalachia, the Piedmont, or the coastal plain north of Georgia, expect heavy rain and flooding. One thing is for sure: There will be no snow.
My personal guess: Tampa is in for it, and coastal surge flooding from Tampa all the way south through the Everglades is highly likely. The storm is likely to come ashore as a hurricane, but less than a Major hurricane, somewhere between Tampa and the curvy part where the panhandle starts. What exactly happens there depends on exactly how strong the right front quadrant is, and the shape of the shoreline. If the storm comes ashore very near Cedar Key, for example, there may be severely flooded rivers and marshes.
Right now the highly experimental storm surge flooding estiamtes from the NHC suggest flooding abot 6 eet, possibly above 9 feet in some places, between at some locations (but not everywhere) between Clearwater (north of St Petersburg) and Marco Island (mostly 1-2 feet there). Storm surge estimates are subject to major change as conditions change.
Here is the most current NHC estimated track. Note the “M” for “Major” and “H” for non-major Hurricane.
The key messages from the NHC
1. Ian is expected to produce heavy rainfall and instances of
flash flooding and possible mudslides in areas of higher terrain,
particularly over Jamaica and Cuba. Considerable flooding impacts
are possible later this week in west central Florida. Additional
flash and urban flooding, and flooding on rivers across the Florida
Peninsula and parts of the Southeast cannot be ruled out for later
- Life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds are
expected in portions of western Cuba beginning late today, and
Ian is forecast to be at major hurricane strength when it is near
western Cuba. Efforts to protect life and property should be
rushed to completion.
Ian is expected to be a major hurricane in the eastern Gulf of
Mexico during the middle of this week. Regardless of Ian’s exact
track and intensity, there is a risk of a life-threatening storm
surge, hurricane-force winds, and heavy rainfall along the west
coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle by the middle of this
week. Tropical Storm and Hurricane Watches have been issued for a
portion of the west coast of Florida and additional watches may be
required later today.
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
INIT 26/0900Z 18.2N 82.0W 65 KT 75 MPH
12H 26/1800Z 19.7N 83.0W 90 KT 105 MPH
24H 27/0600Z 21.7N 83.9W 105 KT 120 MPH
36H 27/1800Z 23.6N 84.1W 115 KT 130 MPH
48H 28/0600Z 25.3N 84.1W 120 KT 140 MPH
60H 28/1800Z 26.7N 83.7W 115 KT 130 MPH
72H 29/0600Z 27.7N 83.4W 100 KT 115 MPH
96H 30/0600Z 29.2N 83.0W 80 KT 90 MPH
120H 01/0600Z 32.0N 82.9W 35 KT 40 MPH…INLAND
Remember Hurricane Irma (2017)? That storm hugged the Florida Coast and caused all sorts of problems. From Wikipedia, “In Florida, the storm damaged numerous homes and businesses, including more than 65,000 structures in the west-central and southwestern portions of the state alone. Approximately 50,000 boats were damaged or destroyed. At the height of the storm, more than 6.7 million electrical customers were without power. The storm also left flooding along at least 32 rivers and creeks, especially the St. Johns River and its tributaries. At least 84 deaths occurred in the state and damage was estimated at $50 billion. In other states, such as Georgia and South Carolina, Irma left some wind damage, tornadoes, and coastal flooding. Irma resulted in at least 92 deaths in the United States.”
Ian will not follow that coast-hugging path, most likely, but probably a more oblique approach to the west coast, and Ian will likely be stronger as it moves farther north, depending on what land mass it interacts with and how closely. But people of Florida will remember Irma while experiencing Ian.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Atlantic:
There is a stormy system forming in the middle of the Atlantic west of Cape Verde that is likely to reach namable tropical storm status, but then peter out. Otherwise nothing going on at the moment.
Updated after 5PM reports from the National Hurricane Center
Remember, yesterday, when I cleverly avoided giving Blob 9 the name Gaston (which was next in line)? I was thinking that other forming systems in the Atlantic might grab a name or two first, and I was (by chance, I assure you) correct. As Fiona departs in the general direction of the Arctic, we now have a Gaston, a Hermine, and Ian. Ian is the one to be most concerned with so we’ll start there but briefly discuss all five (yes, five, because there is also an unnamed system out there). For reference and orientation, from the NHC:
Yesterday, it looked like Ian as going to slam into Cuba pretty much running right trough Havana’s back door. The estimated track has now shifted to the west a little, though Havana is still in the cone of uncertainty.
Yesterday, it looked like Ian was going to plow through Cuba as a Category 1 or maybe 2 hurricane, then increase in intensity to Major status (Category 3 or higher) over the Gulf of Mexico before, probably hitting Florida. Now, it looks like Ian may achieve Major status earlier than that.
Monday night through Tuesday morning: Ian will probably develop to Major Hurricane status while beginning to severely affect the far western area of Cuba.
Tuesday daytime: All of the more reasonable looking projections have Ian crossing Cuba near or just west of Havana or, perhaps, the eye crossing at the westernmost tip or even at sea to the west of the island nation. This puts some very tricky areas at a very high level of danger, where the right front quadrant of a major hurricane could cause significant storm surge. Most of the reasonable models have Ian at Category 3 level at that point, with wind speeds over 100 knots (110mph) and possibly close to 115 knots (130+ mph). Since the estimate itself is increasing in intensity, we should assume the worst just to be safe.
Wednesday, approximately: The storm will be grown and churning off the west coast of Florida, menacing the coast and about to land, or possibly, moving north toward the panhandle. Even over the last few hours, the likely track has shifted westward, and it seems that the most likely landfall of the eye will be the Florida Panhandle, plus or minus. But, the storm will likely have a strong impact all along Florida’s west coast.
You can see possible positions on this graphic:
The good news about this storm scraping the west coast of Florida is that it may weaken to a Category 1 storm before actual landfall, so coastal regions wherever it hits would experience a major disaster, rather than a disaster of epic proportions.
There is still uncertainty as to where the storm might land. Remember, hurricanes are huge. Tropical storm force winds are likely to arrive at the Florida Keys Monday late PM (8:00 or so), and along the coast of the panhandle 24 hours later, with similar levels of storminess affecting inland Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, and the east coast of the Southeast, through ?Wednesday and possibly beyond. There will be a lot of rain in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina before Thursday morning.
Note that the Yucatan of Mexico is going to get very wet and windy as well.
The best and simplest estimate of what is going to happen is shown in this NHC graphic:
ass=”aligncenter size-large wp-image-34764″ />
The NHC key messages are:
1. Ian is expected to produce heavy rainfall, flash flooding, and
possible mudslides in areas of higher terrain, particularly over
Jamaica and Cuba. Limited flash and urban flooding is possible with
rainfall across the Florida Keys and Florida peninsula through mid
- Hurricane or tropical storm conditions are expected on Grand
Cayman beginning early Monday.
Ian is forecast to be a major hurricane when it passes near or
over western Cuba, and there is increasing confidence in a
life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds in portions
of western Cuba beginning late Monday.
Ian is expected to remain a major hurricane when it moves
generally northward across the eastern Gulf of Mexico during the
middle of next week, but uncertainty in the track forecast is higher
than usual. Regardless of Ian’s exact track, there is a risk of
dangerous storm surge, hurricane-force winds, and heavy rainfall
along the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle by the
middle of next week, and residents in Florida should ensure they
have their hurricane plan in place, follow any advice given by local
officials, and closely monitor updates to the forecast.
Meanwhile, Fiona hit Canada today and wreaked havoc. The storm was still producing hurricane force winds as of this morning’s update from the NHC, and flooding and stomr surge are concerns. Key messages from the NHC:
1. Fiona is forecast to continue to affect portions of Atlantic
Canada during the next day or so, and significant impacts
from high winds, storm surge, and heavy rainfall are expected.
Hurricane and Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for much of
- Heavy rains from Fiona are expected to continue to impact
portions of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and western
Newfoundland today, persisting across eastern Quebec and Labrador
into Sunday. This rainfall is expected to produce flooding, some of
which could be significant.
Large swells generated by Fiona are expected to cause
life-threatening surf and rip current conditions along the coast of
the northeast United States, Bermuda, and Atlantic Canada during
the next couple of days.
Gaston is a tropical storm far out ijn the Atlantic, and it is weakening. It is not going to become a hurricane, and will move west and southwest as it transitions from storm to mere depression.
Named storm Hermine is a weak tropical storm being shorn up by shearing winds, and is expected to move into an area even less conducive to development. It too is likely to peter out over the next few days.
There is a new wave coming off the African coast, as yet unnamed, that has a modest chance (30%) of being a named storm in five or so days. Some models have this storm turning into a hurricane in several days from now. It is moving roughly west, or west northwest. This is one to keep an eye on.
The blob of the Eastern Caribbean is real, a threat, and about to be named something other than “Number Nine.”
This morning, the NHC reports that this weather feature is having a hard time with shear and keeping a good shape. Aren’t we all. It is still heading west-northwest, and is likely to turn northwest and north on its way to Cuba. But the factors that would cause that to happen are multiple and rely on other weathery things to occur as well. However, right now, it is becoming very likely that this storm will cross the island nation of Cuba, with Havana dead in the middle of the most likely track (but Havana is on the north side, so it won’t won’t be a direct sea-ward hit).
The storm will likely be a Hurricane before hitting Cuba, presumably to weaken over land, but then, the best predictions have it be a major hurricane before hitting Florida, along the West Coast. However, it is way to early to presume it would not hit in some other area of the Gulf Coast.
No, Mar-a-Largo is not likely in the path of this storm, but will presumably take some rain. The most likely areas to be affected are somewhere along Fort Meyers north to north of Tampa, somewhere in there. IE, no clue at this point. Or, many clues, too many clues. There are several models that have this storm striking even farther north, along the Florida Panhandle, and a few models that have it curving so tightly it actually does graze Florida’s Atlantic coast as it heads up across the Atlantic.
This is the prettiest and most chaotic map showing different models that is currently available, to give you a sense:
As contrasted with this more paired down map showing a more likely set of scenarios, or at least, limited to a more manageable time period of projection:
And finally, the National Hurricane Center’s much more paired down version:
Note that this map features the following key moments:
By about 72 hours from now, this will be a hurricane with maximum winds at about 75 knowts (85mph), looming south of Cuba.
By about 96 hours from now, the storm will have CROSSED THE ISLAND and will be re-entering the sea near Havana, and will have maximum winds close to 90 knots (105 mph). The amount of destructive rain on the high and back side of Havana and on the southern coast may be devastating.
By about 120 hours from now, so next Wednesday or so, the storm may be coming ashore as a MAJOR HURRICANE with winds maximum winds of 100 knots (115 mph) and gusts of 120 knots (140 mph). That’s a Category 3 hurricane. For the record, the middle of that track at US landfall is Cape Coral, Florida, but the Zone of Uncertainty includes the Bahamas on the right, and perhaps Panama City on the left. So don’t count your chickens, but do make sure their coup is battened down.
Note: At this point, Key West has to assume it will be served with the right-front-brunt of this storm, with 100mph plus winds, by Tuesday morning. The storm may change its course or strength development, but this is a vulnerable spot possibly about to face a near worst case scenario.
The NHC Key Messages are:
1. The depression is expected to produce heavy rainfall and
instances of flash flooding and possible mudslides in areas of
higher terrain in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Heavy rains are also
likely to spread into Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and Cuba in the
- The depression is expected to approach Jamaica as a tropical
storm on Sunday and the Cayman islands as a hurricane on Monday.
Watches for these locations may be required later today or on
Early next week the system is forecast to move near or over
western Cuba as a strengthening hurricane and then approach the
Florida peninsula at or near major hurricane strength, with the
potential for significant impacts from storm surge, hurricane-force
winds, and heavy rainfall. While it is too soon to determine the
exact magnitude and location of these impacts, residents in Cuba,
the Florida Keys, and the Florida peninsula should ensure they have
their hurricane plan in place and closely monitor forecast updates
through the weekend.
The blob in the southeastern Caribbean is a concern. Over the next few days, it will move through the Caribbean from east to west, trending slightly north, and likely turn into a Category 1 hurricane. It is possible that it will become a much stronger hurricane, and it is possible that it may curve dramatically north at some point, maybe running into Cuba. But most likely it will go west and northwest far enough to either run into the Yucatan, or head north into the Gulf of Mexico between Cuba and the Yucata. But really, it could end up anywhere between Honduras and the Atlantic Cooast of Florida (after running over Cuba) and it could end up in strength anywhere between a Category 1 and a Category 4 hurricane.
Short version, to not take your eyes off of this storm. The next three names in line are Hermine, Ian and Julia. This storm is likely to take the next one in line, but there are three blobby stormy things going right now, so avoid placing bets.
I’m putting a spaghetti model image here. Don’t put much faith in this yet, but this storm is real and is not going to disappear, so this provides an idea of where on the map one should be concerned.
One of those other blobs is just sliding off the west coast of West Africa, into an area conducive to development. We could have a named storm by the end of the weekend. Early modeling suggests very little of certainty, but this storm, while developing quickly, might be a nothingburger.
There is a slower developing storm already in the middle of the Atlantic that some models have developing to a Category 1 or stronger hurricane, with little good information on what it might do or where it might go.
Fiona is still menacing Puerto Rico and nearby islands, dumping literally feet of rain in some areas. The electricity remains off in much of PR, and people are asking questions about what happened to the supposed attempts to improve infrastructure there since the devastation caused by Maria.
An active tropical wave is forming east of the Windwards, and is expected to develop into a named storm over the next few days. It may have a major impact on Trinidad and Tobago, hitting that region as a strong tropical storm, then lifting into the southeastern Caribbean where it would fester into a Category 1 hurricane (with potential to become stronger) after which it would head towards somewhere between Central America and Jamaica. Too early to say any of this for sure, but that is the current plan. Plans change, especially for tropical storm. But, in any event, this storm will be interesting and a little unusual with its southern track.
Fiona is now a Hurricane, and is menacing Puerto Rico. The island has lost all of its power. Fiona is expected to turn north and head out to the mid North Atlantic over the next day or so.
OK this is getting boring. Fiona is a storm heading for Puerto Rico. It will then graze the Dominican Republic and probable enwetten the Bahamas. It will not become a hurricane an time in the future. Or ever. That is all have a nice day.
Earl, a hurricane, is heading off to the North Atlantic Hurricane Graveyard. Nothing else is happening in the Atlantic, all other possible storms having dissipated.
As expected, “Disturbance 1” has turned into a named storm, and it is named Earl. Different from origionally suspected, Earl will become a hurricane in about 48 hours from now, plus or minus, so say, by Tuesday late. On the way to that process, the storm will move north towards the upper-middle of the Atlantic, and strengthen slowly, perhaps reaching Category 2 or even Category 3 status. Some models have Earl kissing Category 4 in about four or five days, and after that, who knows what it going to happen?
Meanwhile, Danielle continues to be a hurricane, and is expected to peak over the next day or so, then peter out as it heads roughly towards the part of Europe that has both England and France in it. Could be a storm hitting Spain, could e a storm hitting Irlenad, one crazy model has it menacing Iceland. We shall see. But it won’t be a hurricane at that time.
Meanwhile, Active System #1 is slipping off the west coast of West Africa, and has a mere 20% chance of developing over the next five days or so.
Danielle is a hurricane.
One of those stormy blobs floating around in the Atlantic has gone and turned itself into a hurricane.
For the next few days, Danielle is going to sit there in the middle of the Atlantic, spinning up to Category 2, maybe Category 3 strength. Then it will move north slowly, remaining as a hurricane for the reasonably foreseeable future. So, if you are in a boat in the Atlantic you might want to drive around it.
Danielle is way north for a forming hurricane, so the usual top down photo is at an odd angle, but you can see the storm clearly here:
Meanwhile, farther south, “Disturbance 1” is working hard to become Earl the Hurricane. “East of the Leeward Islands: Showers and thunderstorms associated with a broad area of low pressure located several hundred miles east of the Leeward Islands have recently decreased in coverage. Although environmental conditions remain only marginally conducive, any additional development of the system over the next few days would lead to the formation of a tropical depression. The disturbance is forecast to move slowly west-northwestward, toward the adjacent waters of the northern Leeward Islands.” A nameable storm has about a 50-50 chance of forming by Saturday, a somewhat better chance of forming by early to mid week next week. As noted earlier, this storm is likely to recurve up into the middle/north Atlantic, but Leeward Islands eastern Greater Antilles, keep an eye on this storm. Wanna-be-Earl is likely to not exceed Category 1 strength.
Eastern Tropical Atlantic stormy thing 2 is just off the African coast and not expected to do anything over the next several days.
Between Thursday and Saturday, there is a good chance that the system we have been talking about will become a namable tropical storm. This would occur northeast of the Leeward Islands. By late in the weekend or early next week, there is a small possibility that it will grow to Category 1 Hurricane strength. However, there is a greater likelihood that this storm will never make hurricane status. That will be about the time the storm, probably, begins to change course and head north to travel up into the Atlantic following the usual curved pathway of death many hurricanes follow.
The storm just coming off the African coast is expected to maybe develop into something the peter out pretty quickly.
In sum, the late August promise of hurricanes forming during the actual hurricane period was overstated.
Don’t take your eyes off the Atlantic Hurricane Basin.
The stormy zone we’ve been looking at for a few days is highly likely to develop into something by Saturday or so. If it does, it will almost certainly trend north of the Leeward Islands, and quite possibly not go near any major land masses, though there is always Bermuda to run into. Way too early to say. But to the extend that we want an early look at spaghetti, almost all models have this storm recurving out into the Atlantic, though some have it menacing the Bahamas. But, the storm could develop into an actual hurricane, maybe even a Category 2 hurricane.
Meanwhile, a second storm is creeping off the African coast, and the National Hurricane Center gives this one a 40% chance of developing over the next 5 days. Most likely, this storm will move over cooler water and peter out.
There is still plenty of Saharan dust out ther but it is diminishing and breaking up.
August 27th later that hour
Oops. As I was getting the previous update ready, “Disturbance 1” vanished and is no longer being tracked. So old Disturbance #2 is now New Disturbance4 #1, and Old Disturbance #1 is noted as item 2, a possible trough of low pressure that could develop later. There is now an item 3 which is “A tropical wave … forecast to move off the west coast of Africa early next week. Some gradual development of the system is possible during the middle of next week while it moves generally westward across the far eastern tropical Atlantic. This may be the one to look out for since it may be moving over waters a bit warmer as Saharan dust moves northerly or diminishes in intensity over the next few days.
The 2022 Atlantic Tropical Storm Season is starting to make snuffling noises and shift around in bed like it is about to wake up.
First, let us dispense with disturbance #2. This is an area of low pressure that might develop by late next week into something, as it moves from the northwestern Caribbean Sea towards the Yucatan. This might end up being an important rain event, but the chances of it turning into an actual tropical storm are low.
Disturbance #2 is in the central tropical Atlantic. It is according to the National Hurricane Center, “An elongated area of low pressure associated with a tropical wave over the central tropical Atlantic Ocean” … “producing some disorganized showers and thunderstorms. Environmental conditions are forecast to be generally favorable for some gradual development of this system over the next several days, and a tropical depression could form by the middle of next week as it moves west-northwestward at 10 to 15 mph toward the waters east of the Leeward Islands.”
The chance of formation of a storm over a five day period is 40%. Not super impressive but it is all we’ve got right now.
The problem continues to be the dust off the Sahara, which attenuates hurricane formation. There is still a lot of dust:
Things might be getting a little interesting. Suddenly there are three things to look at in the tropical Atlantic. One is number 2 on this map, and this is the system we’ve been looking at over the last few days. It is expected to fizzle. Two is number 2 on this map, and it is near the coast of South America. Small chance of developing, I’d estimate, but we’ll keep an eye on it.
Three is a hopeful wave coming off the West African coast, not even in the Atlantic yet, but as they say in tropical meteorology, there is importance in being earnest.
From the NHS:
A tropical wave is forecast to move off the west coast of Africa in
a couple of days. Environmental conditions could support some slow
development of this system late this week or over the weekend
while it moves westward at 10 to 15 mph.
* Formation chance through 48 hours…low…near 0 percent.
* Formation chance through 5 days…low…20 percent.
This one may come of the coast in time to pick up some good atmospheric conditions, like I’ve been promising you. We’ll know by the middle of next week is system #3 is a charm.
OK so that blob near Mexico is done. Now we have a new disturbance sitting, as I write this, on top of Cape Verde. There is a modest chance that this stormy area will develop into a named storm, but unlikely. Perhaps we need a few more days for the Saharan dust blobs, attenuators of Atlantic tropical storms, to settle. The current plume of Saharan dust is large and dense. It is expected to decrease in intensity soon. In fact, the largest blob of dust seems to be followed by a somewhat more broken up blob of dust. I would expect this current possible form to dissipate, and perhaps the next one (in five or six days?) have a much greater potential to form.
There is a notable disturbance in the SW Gulf of Mexico that has an excellent chance of developing into a named storm before passing over land in the vicinity of NE Mexico. It is remotely possible that this storm, if it continues to exist, will become a factor in the Western Pacific Basin in several days.
A wave of Saharan dust killed that last possible storm, and this was one of several waves of dust that have apparently attenuated the hurricane season so far. But other than dust, all the other conditions for hurricane formation are in place and suitable for significant activity. It is expected that the dust will clear, as it were, around August 25th plus or minus a couple of days, so the last week of August should see the actual start of an actual season of actual hurricanes.
At present there is a large wet spot off the east coast of Central America that has a low chance of formation over the next five days. I did not note the formation of a large wet spot off the coast of Texas a few days ago, which moved on shore. None of this is going to do anything, most likely.
In essence, today starts a 10 day countdown, or maybe an 8 or 12 day countdown, to the formation of the first storm, likely off the West African coast, that will a few days later become a named storm. Or, possibly, not.
The below mentioned possible tropical storm is now projected to have a zero percent chance of formation over the next five days.
This does not mean that this large wet spot won’t eventually do something interesting, but we’ll have to wait and see.
To date, this has been a relatively tranquil Atlantic Hurricane season. That is not unusual. It is typical for few named storms to form prior to August 1st, as shown in this graphic from Wikipedia:
The National Hurricane Center tells us that “A tropical wave located just off the west coast of Africa is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms over the far eastern tropical Atlantic. Environmental conditions appear generally conducive for gradual development of this system while it moves westward to west-northwestward at 15 to 20 mph across the eastern and central tropical Atlantic, and a tropical depression could form around the middle part of this week.”
The next named storm will be called Danielle. Will it be this disturbance? Yes. Or no. We don’t know. Stay tuned.
Although it is too early to say much, about half the known models now put this storm (as yet unnamed) strengthening to hurricane level, possibly reaching or going beyond Category 2. Most of the models also having it brushing the coast of South America and possibly making landfall in Central America, which is a bit odd.
There is a disturbance in the Atlantic.
It is off the coast of West Africa, and heading due west. It is expected to strengthen to Tropical Storm level and will probably be a named storm, but it may or may not become a hurricane. Then, early estimates suggest it will weaken. That does not rule out the possibility that this storm would then seed another cycle of strengthening, but it is way too early to say.
Sorry to intrude, and this is probably not a very important update, but here goes: There is nothing of interest happening in the Atlantic Basis with respect to tropical storms.
But, there is a new storm forming in the Eastern Pacific, and you know what happened last time that occurred! (See below.)
This newly forming storm is likely to become a tropical storm, but not likely to become a hurricane. It is likely to not land ashore, but it could bring some stormy conditions to Mexico’s pacific coast or along Central America’s coast. It is highly unlikely to make the transition to an Atlantic storm.
So, really, this wasn’t very interesting. Sorry.
Oh yea of little faith, shut up!
Alex Lives! Impressive and important Eastern Pacific Hurricane Agatha ran hard into Mexico, lingered as a giant wet spot over the land, emerged in along the Gulf/Caribbean border, rained on Florida, exited to the Atlantic, all the time being unnamable, but then got itself organized to become Alex the Tropical Cyclone!
So, one storm system, two names, each the first in it’s own basin for the year.
Alex nee Agatha will move across the mid Atlantic from west to east, menacing Bermuda, as a tropical storm, until it turns back into a tropical depression about a third of the way to Europe. There is a tropical storm warning in effect for Bermuda.
It turns out that the storm we have watching has failed to become sufficiently organized to be deemed a tropical cyclone. It remains a tropical storm, with several different centers, and is not expected to become a named storm. It will rain all over Florida, but will not exhibit the remarkable behavior of being the first of the season hurricane, or even just a named storm, in first the Eastern Pacific then the Atlantic.
This is the first day of the Atlantic Hurricane Season of 2022.
Nee Agatha is now heading towards the Atlantic the hard way, through the Yucatan. This is probably not good for the Yucatan. There is a high probability that this disturbance will turn into a namable tropical storm over the weekend or soon after. It would become Alex, unless another disturbance located near the Bahamas gets to that stage first (unlikely). For reference, here are the storm names for the Atlantic basin this year:
The list of names for 2022 is as follows:
Note that last year, the name “Ida” was retired from the list.
If you go right now (mid day Tuesday, 31 May, 2022) to the National Hurricane Center’s site and look at the Eastern Pacific and the Atlantic (go back and forth, look at Mexico) you’ll that the Pacific side shows the remains of Hurricane Agatha over the highlands, and being ripped apart into a possible tropical depression. Then, if you look at the Atlantic side you’ll see a “large and complex area of low pressure” that has a 70% chance of developing into some sort of tropical storm over the next 5 days.
And they are the same thing!
So, the first storm of the season in the Eastern Pacific basis, named Agatha, was the strongest storm recorded yet to hit the west coast of Mexico (most Eastern Pacific storms move westish and don’t hit Mexico), and that first storm of the season, a few days early by the way, is not crossing Mexico where, with good timing and the right conditions, it will become the first tropical storm for the season in the Atlantic.
I don’t think this has happened recently, if ever.
If and when this large and complex thing makes this transition, they will go from Agatha to Alex. Agatha will be Alex’s dead name, meteorologically speaking. Alex will have some work to do to break its own record, other than being a transitional Pacific to Atlantic storm, early in the season, and all that.
Of the too early to really use available models, most have Alex not developing past tropical storm strength, but some have it barely touching hurricane status. But if it is ever going to get to hurricane status, that would be in a few days from now. I wouldn’t put much faith in these predictions, either way, until at least two days from now, so mid day Thursday.
Those few models that have the storm moving away from the southern Gulf at all have it slicing Florida in half. Not literally, just in terms of its route. But again, tool early to say. This will be an interesting storm to track.