Thursday, November 5, 2015

Late Season Action?

We are almost done with hurricane season, that being the end of this month, yet Mother Nature is keeping us a little busy.  Two areas are being watched for possible development. One has not even materialized yet, and the second is in the Western Caribbean Sea. The "Worry Factor" is zero regarding any of these systems making it to Florida.


The area being watched near Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Haiti is being forecast by models to maybe develop over the weekend.

 There is nothing there now but NHC says there is a 20% chance that an area of low pressure will develop just north of the area.




It will be a tad difficult, though not impossible, for systems to develop since we are in the middle of an El Niño year.

This phenomenon helps cut the tops down of any developing system.  All we can do is watch, wait and see what happens.

If it does make it, it will probably move northwest until upper winds begin pushing it back out to Sea.


The second area, is a low in the Western Caribbean Sea.

It should provide rain over the Yucatan, then move into the Gulf of Mexico, where it may dump rain across the Gulf States and finally get absorbed by a front.

This front may bring us rain here by the weekend.




We'll keep you posted. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Asteroid Close Call - by Universe standards

It has been dubbed the "Halloween Fly-by" and nicknamed "Spooky" by scientists. Its official name is "Asteroid 2015 TB145".

This is a recent discovery by NASA, spotted for the first time October 10th. Its making a bee line for our neck of the woods and should pass by, from a safe distance, on Halloween afternoon. It should stay as far away as the moon, it may seem far but by Space Standards, its a close shave. The asteroid will fly past Earth on Oct. 31 at 1:05 p.m.

This Halloween Asteroid is about 1,300 feet wide, and it will supply NASA with plenty of data for research. It will be close enough for all sorts of earthbound instruments to track.




NASA says:
According to the catalog of near-Earth objects (NEOs) kept by the Minor Planet Center, this is the closest currently known approach by an object this large. By the way, the next close Asteroid fly-by will be "Asteroid 1999 AN10". Its about 2,600 feet in size, and will pass about the same distance from earth as the moon is from us (238,000 miles) in August 2027.

The "Halloween Asteroid" should pass just over 300,000 miles away. Even though its close it will not be easy to see. You will need at the very least a small but powerful telescope.

Any Scary Impacts from this Asteroid?
NASA says:  The gravitational influence of the asteroid is so small it will have no detectable effect on the moon or anything here on Earth, including our planet's tides or tectonic plates.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Interesting 48 hours

The forecast over the next 2 days will be a little tough. We are surrounded by many features that could make for a soggy weekend. You can even throw into the mix some tropical activity in the long term.

We begin with a front aiming for us.
This front should stall over South Florida over the weekend. Depending on where it sets up, this will dictate where it will rain.

If it stalls by the Straits... more rain for the Keys and less for us, but if it stalls over Miami-Dade & Broward, the rain will impact the mainland.

Add to the mix, a broad area of low pressure, presently featured as just clouds and rain.

 Its located in the Western Caribbean Sea, loaded with moisture and moving west. 

If it can survive its trek over land, it should emerge across the Bay of Campeche in the SW Gulf of Mexico.

NHC is giving this feature a 20% chance for development over 5 days.

If it can make it there, everyone across the Gulf States should monitor it closely.

For the time being, its expected to drop plenty of rain across Honduras, Belize, and the Yucatan Peninsula.

This may lead to localized flooding, land and mudslides. We'll be watching closely.




Back to South Florida. 
As the front approaches, winds should veer out of the Southwest.

This may give the front a chance to tap into all the tropical moisture related to the broad low. This connection could make for a soggy weekend.

The local NWS office expects the wind to pick up making for choppy seas. This may not be the best of weekends to be out on a boat.

Check out the latest outlook:

INCREASING NORTHEASTERLY WINDS WILL BRING BUILDING SEAS AND
DETERIORATING BOATING CONDITIONS FOR BOTH THE ATLANTIC AND GULF
WATERS LATE THIS WEEKEND AND THE BEGINNING OF NEXT WEEK.

THE RISK OF ATLANTIC COAST RIP CURRENTS WILL ALSO INCREASE THIS
WEEKEND AND THE BEGINNING OF NEXT WEEK.

THERE WILL BE A SLIGHT RISK OF THUNDERSTORMS THROUGH THE WEEKEND
OVER SOUTH FLORIDA. THE PRIMARY THREAT WILL BE CLOUD TO GROUND
LIGHTNING STRIKES.

Keep it tuned to WSVN for the latest.









 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Joaquin: Can South Florida finally breathe easy?

UPDDATE: As of 11am, Joaquin is finally moving north.

Its very difficult not to be concerned when there is a category 4 system a mere 400 miles to our east. Its a big one also with its cloud canopy extending from Haiti/Cuba and throughout much of the Bahamas.

The Central Bahamas have been dealing with "Joaquin's" wrath since early Thursday morning, they are still getting hammered at this hour, and it may not be until tomorrow that the system will finally leave the area.

From e-mails and text messages I've received, it is not a pretty sight with wind, rain, and waves battering the islands with plenty of flooding.

I'm sure when the reports start coming in from the Central Bahamas, it will be devastating. My thoughts are with all of our neighbors to the east.

For South Florida, it appears the much anticipated turn has begun. It started Thursday night at 11 pm when Joaquin stopped moving WSW , slowed down and started drifting due west. By this morning , the movement is now in a NW direction and should eventually aim north later on today. This should finally end the misery for the Bahamas and start taking it away from us as well.

Outside of a few models, most are in agreement Joaquin should stay offshore through its duration.
This is the latest from NHC:

The forecast models continue to indicate a track offshore of the United States east coast from the Carolinas to the mid-Atlantic states, and the threat of direct impacts from Joaquin in those areas is decreasing.

However, there is still uncertainty in how close
Joaquin could come to Bermuda, extreme southeastern New England/Cape Cod,
and Nova Scotia during the next several days, and interests in those areas should continue to monitor the progress of the hurricane.

A Tropical Storm or Hurricane Watch could be required for Bermuda later today.

What can the US East coast expect?
From NHC:

Even if Joaquin remains offshore, strong onshore winds associated with a frontal system will create minor to moderate coastal flooding along the coasts of the mid-Atlantic and northeastern states through the weekend.

In addition, very heavy rains, not associated with Joaquin, are expected to produce flooding
over portions of the Atlantic coastal states.

Since it appears South Florida is spared, will we see any indirect impacts from Joaquin?

This is what our local NWS office expects over the next few days.

HAZARDOUS SEAS...ATLANTIC AND GULF STREAM SEAS ARE FORECAST TO
REACH 6 TO 7 FEET BY EARLY SATURDAY THEN CONTINUING THROUGH AT
LEAST SUNDAY WITH A SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY LIKELY TONIGHT.

POSSIBLE HIGH SURF ADVISORY...THE COMBINATION OF THE CONTINUING
HIGHER TIDES...THE EXPECTED ARRIVAL OF THE LONG PERIOD SWELL AND
RESULTANT BREAKING WAVES MIGHT WARRANT A HIGH SURF ADVISORY FOR
PORTIONS OF THE ATLANTIC COASTAL ZONE BY LATE SATURDAY THROUGH AT
LEAST SUNDAY...MOST LIKELY FOR PALM BEACH COUNTY AND NORTHERN
BROWARD COUNTY. ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE OVER THE NEXT DAY OR SO WILL
HELP IN REFINING TIMING AND LOCATIONS AND IF AN ADVISORY WILL BE
NECESSARY.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bahamas Hurricane Threat?

T.S. Joaquin is aiming for the Bahamas and getting stronger as of Tuesday night.


Satellite imagery suggests its getting well organized with feeder banding starting to show with some outflow being detected in the upper levels. Most of the models suggest additional intensification over the next few days.


Already the Southeastern Bahamas are getting some rain associated with this system.

"Joaquin" will prove to be a "Nerve-Tester" as it may reach 90 mph winds by Friday as it nears the Central and Northwestern Bahamas.

Then most models stop it on a dime and push it due North keeping it over the Atlantic Waters.

After that dead stop, the models fan out with some taking "Joaquin" into the Mid Atlantic States and others as far east as Bermuda.

 

The reason for this sudden stop and turn is due to a front being pushed along by the Jet Stream.

This combo will act as a wall deflecting the storm from the Bahamas. BUT, it may be a close call, everything depends on how fast the jet and front move down.


  Two things can happen, Scenario #1:

If the Jet and associated front are too slow moving south, this will allow for "Joaquin" to possibly impact the Bahamas.

It could be a 90 mph hurricane by then or maybe stronger. Intensity forecasting is not precise and it has a chance for further growth. 


Scenario #2:
If the jet/front move in fast enough, it should deflect "Joaquin" north keeping it away from land, at least for the short term.  We'll be watching.







Monday, September 21, 2015

Going Loony for rare Super Lunar Eclipse


This upcoming weekend you will witness a very cool lunar eclipse. Don't miss it because the next one won't take place until 2033.
 
Lunar eclipses are not that rare, but what makes this one unique, are three celestial events tied into one.

First you have a full moon, second a lunar eclipse, and third , all this takes place when the moon is closest to the earth. The moon's orbit is not circular but elliptical, this means its closer to us at times and farther at others.

The last time this "Supermoon Eclipse"  happened was in 1982; there were just five instances of it in the 20th century.

With these three features in place, it should be a  very cool event to witness.

So what can we expect:
  • The moon will be fully lit in all its celestial glory, a full moon this weekend.
  • The lunar eclipse happens on Sunday September 27th. This is when the earth blocks the sun's light from hitting the moon. In essence the earth's shadow will cover the moon.
  • Lastly, all this takes place during lunar perigee, when the moon is in the closest part of its orbit to Earth.(also known as a Supermoon)

The following is from Space.com
During lunar perigee, the moon appears larger and brighter in the sky, which is why a full moon coinciding with perigee is known as a "supermoon." (A "minimoon" is when the full moon is at its farthest point from the Earth.) This large moon will present the perfect canvas to watch the Earth's shadow slide over and block the moon's light. 

The moon will be shrouded in shadow Sunday night or early Monday morning.
It will enter the dark part of the Earth's shadow at 9:07 EDT Sunday, and it will enter a total eclipse by 10:11 p.m. EDT  before it begins to emerge from the shadow 12 minutes later. 
Areas that cannot see the full eclipse, because sunset comes too late or sunrise too early, may still be able to see part of the moon obscured.


And if that wasn't enough:
This eclipse carries another name as well, "Blood Moon"
The moon doesn't simply disappear into Earth's shadow during a lunar eclipse; instead, it's illuminated by an eerie, reddish glow of the light refracting through the edges of Earth's atmosphere.

Check out this explainer video, again courtesy of Space.com:
Click here for a quick video of the Lunar Eclipse




Wednesday, September 16, 2015

New Depression # 9 plus loss of Arctic Ice

NHC is watching two areas in the Tropics. One is a depression, the ninth of the season, and the other a low in the Far Eastern Atlantic with a good chance for growth.

Tropical Depression #9
Is roughly 1200 miles East of the Lesser Antilles. Top winds as of this posting are at 30 mph and it is moving slowly to the NNW at around 8 mph.

Its not looking too healthy on satellite imagery. Strong upper winds are impacting it already and most of the rain is to the east of the center. This feature may not last too long.

Most models keep this depression over the open waters of the Atlantic. NO Worries for Us or the Lesser Antilles.



There is another broad area of low pressure near the Cape Verde islands which continues to get its act together.

Its roughly 400 miles SW of the Cape Verde Islands.

Over the next few days, the atmosphere surrounding this low will become favorable for growth.

It could become a depression/storm over the next 5 days.

This is what NHC is saying about it:

They are giving it  an 80% chance for development over the next 5 days. Even if it develops, models here too keep it as a worry only for the shipping lanes. 

The models project its path almost following
the footsteps of TD #9.

No worries for the islands, nor for us
here is South Florida.


Meanwhile, we are losing Arctic Ice very fast. A new NOAA reports a record loss coming in, in 4th place among the worst ice losses since the 70's.

This is their update:

Scientists report (today, 9-15-2015) that the Arctic sea ice summertime minimum is 4th lowest on record.
 #1.  Analysis of satellite data by NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center indicates that the accelerated summer melting trend since the late 1970s continues.
 #2.  This increased melting is a response to the warming global temperatures.
 #3.  It is unclear whether this year's strong El Niño has had any impact on the Arctic sea ice.
Tag:  Weather and climate researchers are continuing to study the possible effects of 
the increased open Arctic waters in the autumn might have on jet stream patterns over the United States and snow storm development in the winter season.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Strongest El Niño ever?

We've heard a lot about "El Niño" this year. This is a warming of the Equatorial waters of the Pacific Ocean that not only impacts marine currents, but atmospheric ones as well.

It has a global reach...rainy where's it typically dry and vice versa. It also helps keep hurricane formation in check in the Atlantic basin. Strong upper level winds ride out of the Eastern Pacific only to cut down the tops of any developing system on our side of the world. For us in South Florida,"El Niño" is our Tropical Friend.

Forecasts have been calling for a very strong "El Niño" this year, maybe even a record setting event.

NOAA says:
The three-month, June-August average of sea surface temperature ran 1.22°C (About 2 degrees F) above normal.
This is the third-highest June-August value since records started in 1950, behind 1987 (1.36°C) and 1997.

The "El Niño" event of 1997 was one of the strongest on record. This image shows a side by side comparison on 1997 and now.
 
NOAA adds that:
“There is a greater than 90% chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere winter  2015-16, and around an 85% chance it will last into early spring 2016.”

The red tones indicates hotter temps, while the blues show cooler water temps. Typical temps are in yellow.

So what does this mean?
A strong "El Niño" during the winter typically means wetter weather for the West Coast. This could mean much needed rain for California and its drought.

It could also mean land and mudslides with very strong gale force winds.


For South Florida?
El Niño conditions usually bring cool and wet conditions to our region, specially from December through February. 



These are the possibilities of a Freeze for the counties in Florida during an "El Niño" year.


  We'll keep you posted on the progress of this Possible Record Setting El Niño.










Monday, September 7, 2015

Steady pace "Grace"

Tropical Storm "Grace" is moving due west looking healthier as of Monday morning, but this may not last too long.

Satellite imagery shows:

  • Plenty of rain around its center. This usually means a well organized system
  • Satellite pictures also captured more rain in a couple of feeder bands. Feeder bands are those long spiral cloud bands that soak up all the heat energy from the ocean and transfer it to the center. If this process continues , then "Grace" should have no problem getting stronger

This growth spurt may not last long:
The same satellite imagery shows that shear is starting to make a move on "Grace".

Shear, is when strong opposing upper level winds cut the tops down of thunderstorms growing in the storm. This can weaken a system or sometimes kill it all together.

This year we've had more shear in the Atlantic Basin from "El Niño". This warming of the Pacific Ocean has made hurricane activity very difficult in the Atlantic. Most systems since Danny have been shredded by these strong winds. We can expect the same with "Grace".

This current "El Niño" event , is on its way to become the largest ever. If you want to know more click on this link.  What is "El Niño"? 

Here is a look at the latest model runs. They are working on the assumption "Grace" will survive the increasing shear.



What's next for "Grace"?
Most models agree it will continue to aim for the Lesser Antilles as a Tropical Storm, but the shear will increase. NHC says,"Environmental conditions are forecast to become less favorable by tonight as westerly vertical wind shear increases and dry mid-level air over the tropical Atlantic impinges
on the circulation. "

This means "Grace" will have a hard time dealing with those opposing upper winds and so it should weaken as it nears the islands. "Grace" may even fall apart completely.

This would be good, no one wants to be hit by a storm, but they sure could use some rain. Much of the Lesser Antilles remain in drought status.

For the latest Advisory click on the link below:
Latest on "Grace"l

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Lesser Antilles Eyeing Grace

A typical "Cape Verde" systems is chugging along in the Eastern Atlantic and aiming for the Lesser Antilles.

For you with family and friends, or those in the forecast path of "Grace", there is an uneasy feeling in your gut right now.

About a thousand miles to the east lays Tropical Storm "Grace" gaining strength and moving due west.

Satellite Imagery:

  • Shows more thunderstorm activity
  • Its looking better organized, with better banding, and what appears to be a well defined inner core.
  • The low level center is located further south than in previous advisories and NHC adds, "Grace is  well organized...(and its) intensity could be conservative."

The reason why the southward jog of the center is worrisome, is that its path will remain almost in a straight due west trajectory, with the islands in its sights.

As large and as strong as tropical systems can be, they don't move by themselves. They need something even larger to push them along and in this case its the Bermuda High.

This huge dome of high pressure has winds moving from West to East. These winds will keep pushing  "Grace" on a consistent course for the next 5 days.


The environment surrounding "Grace", has little shear. These are opposing upper level winds that help cut down the tops of developing t-storms and help keep storms in check.

These winds will remain weak over the next few days giving "Grace" a chance to grow stronger.

By days 4 and 5 of the forecast, NHC thinks the shear will get stronger and weaken "Grace" considerably.

Forecasting strength is the most difficult thing to do. The science is just not there. NHC is trying very hard with new technology to figure out a way to improve this, but for the moment its still illusive. This is why The Lesser Antilles should watch the progress of "Grace" this upcoming week.

For the latest National Hurricane Center advisory click on link below:
Update "Grace" advisory


Saturday, September 5, 2015

New Depression #7

Cape Verde season is in high gear and a new depression, number 7, has formed off the west coast of Africa as of Saturday morning.

For the latest advisory on this system click on the link below:
Advisories from National Hurricane Center

We've been following this robust wave even when it was still over land.  Satellite imagery showed it was getting its act together with more banding and thunderstorm activity.
Even though there is some rain, its not that heavy, but it does have a good spin to it.

Special satellite data was used to detect circulation found in the mid levels of the wave, indicative of a developing depression.

NHC contacted ships near the area and confirmed it had stronger winds and thus this wave has now been upgraded to Tropical Depression Seven.

The surroundings of this depression seem to favor slow strengthening over the next few days while it stays in the far Eastern Atlantic. Its about 300 miles SSW of the Cape Verde Islands.

Models suggest it will continue to move almost due west for the next 5 days being pushed along by high pressure to its north. There is very little shear or strong opposing upper winds to keep it in check so it could become Tropical Storm "Grace".


In about 4 to 5 days the models indicate strong upper level winds will develop, slowing the system down and possibly weakening it. High pressure will move north allowing "Grace" to also make a turn for the North-Northwest.

This combination of strong shear and a jog to the north may just be enough to knock it out. This is what NHC says regarding the long term outlook:

Most of the global models forecast a significant increase in shear. This should halt any additional strengthening, and most likely the cyclone will weaken or could even dissipate well east of the Lesser Antilles.

This is the official forecast cone from NHC:

Hopefully this will just remain a worry for the shipping lanes.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Hurricane History Made

A Hurricane making History !

Can you imagine living in an area that is the birth place of many tropical systems and yet never get hit by a hurricane? Well, that came to an end on Monday.

Hurricane "Fred", became a hurricane Monday at 2 am in the Far (and we mean FAR) Eastern Atlantic. It is impacting the Cape Verde islands with wind and rain. The Cape Verde Islands are just off the West Coast of Africa. 

Satellite imagery:
Shows a well defined system that should remain as a hurricane for at least another day.

It is moving northwest however, and will be entering into some cold waters soon.

That will spell the end of "Fred" and it should dissipate by the weekend if not before.


Cape Verde Season:


This time of year is known as "Cape Verde Season", because plenty of disturbances move off Africa and move either over or near the islands making their way across the Atlantic.

They have seen their fair share of killer tropical storms, but never a full blown hurricane. The deadliest Tropical Storm was in 1984 by the name of "Fran". It had torrential downpours that caused major floods  killing over two dozen people.


Even though the Cape Verde islands have a season named after them, they rarely get hit by a hurricane.

According to NHC's official Hurricane records, "Fred" is the first hurricane to impact the islands since 1892.

They caution that records began in 1851, but those records are unreliable to a certain extent because they can't be verified.

Since the advent of weather satellites in the 1960s, those eyes in the sky help to verify the existence of a storm.

The previous close-call was "Jeanne" in 1998. It reached hurricane strength as it passed south of the islands by roughly 100 miles. 

In the long run, this history making Hurricane will die out over the Middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Erika Leftovers and New Fred

By now we all know the story of Erika.  It caused great havoc across Dominica with more than 12 inches of rain, leading to flooding land and mudslides. Almost two dozen people lost their lives.

More tropical downpours barreled their way through Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Haiti, before the system fell below tropical depression standards over Cuba.

The remnants slowly made their way into the Florida Straits by Saturday drenching South Florida overnight.

This is what NHC is saying about Ex-Erika on Sunday morning:

It appears there are no signs of re-development at this time, but it could still drop plenty of rain and cause gusty winds across Florida and the eastern Gulf of Mexico later today and Monday.

But, they add- IF upper-level winds become favorable, it could once again become a tropical cyclone.

These are the chances of Erika's remnants coming back to life.

  • Formation chance through 48 hours...low...10 percent
  • Formation chance through 5 days...low...10 percent

What can we expect?  This is from the local NWS Office:

  • DEEP TROPICAL MOISTURE ASSOCIATED WITH THE REMNANTS OF ERIKA WILL CONTINUE MOVING INTO SOUTH FLORIDA THROUGH TONIGHT.
  • THIS WILL CONTINUE THE THREAT FOR VERY HEAVY RAINFALL ACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA WITH RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES...ALONG WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF MUCH HIGHER AMOUNTS WHERE SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS MOVE OVER THE SAME AREA.
  • FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH MONDAY MORNING FOR THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS:


* A PORTION OF SOUTH FLORIDA...INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING COASTAL
  BROWARD...COASTAL ...COLLIER...COASTAL MIAMI DADE... COASTAL
  PALM BEACH...FAR SOUTH MIAMI DADE...GLADES...HENDRY... INLAND
  BROWARD...INLAND COLLIER...INLAND MIAMI DADE...INLAND PALM
  BEACH...MAINLAND MONROE...METRO BROWARD...METRO MIAMI DADE AND
  METRO PALM BEACH.


In the Tropics:

There's another new Tropical storm by the name of "Fred".  Its way out in the Far Eastern Atlantic.

These are the top lines from NHC regarding "Fred".

  • Satellite imagery show more rain developing in the system.
  • That rain is wrapping around the center
  • It has a well defined inner core
  • The atmosphere ahead appears favorable for Fred to grow stronger
  • The models take Fred to hurricane status in 24 hours
  • Those same models show weakening in 36 hours.

Based on this track and intensity forecast, the Meteorological Service of the Cape Verde Islands has issued a Hurricane Warning for those islands. We believe this may the first such advisories on record for this region.

Below, you will find the latest model runs, along with its forecast cone. This should just be a worry for the Cape Verde Islands and the shipping lanes.






Friday, August 28, 2015

Error-ka?

What a forecast nightmare for NHC regarding Erika or should I say Error-ka. Just a mere 24 hours ago on Thursday, most of the dynamical models were showing a Category 1 system over South Florida by the early part of next week. Then Mother Nature happened and Erika decided otherwise. As of Friday night, those same models are showing the possibility of Erika falling apart over the weekend.

The 11 pm advisory from Friday night keeps Erika at 45 mph winds. According to the advisory's placement of the center it looks like it made landfall between 8-10 pm. 

What we know for sure is that it will continue to dump plenty of rain for Puerto Rico, Dominican, Republic, and Haiti through Friday morning.

Wind will not be a big issue, but the rain will lead to flooding, land, and mudslides.

If it survives its trek over Haiti, it will then aim for Eastern Cuba. Heavy rain is also expected from there through the Turks and Caicos.


After that, Erika will hug the Northern Coast of Cuba. If it stays over land it should fall apart, but if it can somehow remain over water there is a chance it could keep it together.

NHC is holding off on issuing any advisories for us, just in case Error-ka, decides to ramp back up over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream that run through the Florida Straits.

As of Friday night, Broward is out of the cone of concern, and only extreme Southern Miami-Dade and the Keys remain. Now just because you are not in the cone doesn't mean you won't get some squally weather, on the contrary it looks like heavy rain may be in store from Sunday through Monday.

Stay tuned, and we'll keep you updated.

Do or Die for Erika

Its a crucial day for Erika. Its aiming for our friends in Dominican Republic and Haiti.
It has not gotten any stronger, remaining with winds of 50 mph, and its still not that organized... but don't let that fool you.  Erika dumped plenty of rain over the Leeward Islands on Thursday flooding parts of Dominica and claiming at least 4 lives.

Its been raining in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands all night long. This will be the biggest threat
over portions of the the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti today. These rains could produce flash floods and mud slides.

Satellite, most of the rain remains to the east of the center as well as the strongest of the winds.

The center is not looking healthy and its hard to pin down. This is not good for the models because if they do not have a good staring point, there will be no good ending points.

A recon plane is investigating to get a better idea of Erika's health.

Right now:

  • Tropical storm winds of 39 mph and above are impacting the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico for a few more hours. 
  • Those winds will travel next to portions of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas
  • By Saturday near the Central Bahamas
  • NW Bahamas Saturday night.
  • Rain totals are expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches with maximum amounts of 12 inches

So far according to NHC this is what the models are thinking.:

  • The global models have shifted westward with a faster forward speed.  
  • A west-northwestward motion is expected for the next 2 days. 
  • After that, a northwestward and northward turn and a decrease in forward speed are forecast as Erika moves around the western edge of the Bermuda high.


The updated cone is to the west of and faster than Thursday night's cone.
After that time, the NHC models are not consistent and are left more or less the same to keep some continuity since they really don't have a good grasp on what will happen.


Impacting Erika:
Strong upper winds will continue to shear it.
This may is may even increase during the 48 hours.

What next?
If Erika survives its run-in with Dominican Republic which is home to the largest mountain in all of the Caribbean,  there is a chance for some intensification Saturday and Sunday.

The NHC track now takes Erika inland over Florida, weakening as it moves over the Peninsula.

NHC says: Confidence, as expected with the bad model output, in the intensity forecast remains very low.
In the long run Interests in eastern and central Cuba, as well as the southern Florida Peninsula and Florida Keys, should monitor the progress of Erika.

WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:

The Government of France has discontinued the Tropical Storm
Warning for St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* Puerto Rico
* Vieques
* Culebra
* U.S. Virgin Islands
* British Virgin Islands
* Dominican Republic
* Haiti
* Southeastern Bahamas
* Turks and Caicos Islands
* Central Bahamas

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...
* Northwestern Bahamas

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are
expected somewhere within the warning area.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are
possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

This is from the local NWS Miami office:
GLOBAL MODELS ARE IN GENERAL AGREEMENT THAT IT WILL HAVE
SOME IMPACT ON SOUTH FLORIDA LATE IN THE WEEKEND INTO MONDAY AND
THEN MOVE NORTH OF THE REGION THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK.
MOISTURE WILL LINGER HOWEVER AS SOUTHWESTERLY FLOW DEVELOPS SO
CHANCES OF RAIN WILL REMAIN HIGH THROUGH MUCH OF NEXT WEEK.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Crucial days for Erika

As of Thursday morning, Erika's winds have picked up a little but remains poorly organized.
An early morning recon mission  detected winds of around 50 mph, thats a jump from 40 mph from Wednesday night.

Recon is still checking Erika because today and tomorrow will be very important in determining how strong it may be as it aims for Florida.

Satellite imagery:
Indicates that the center is already in the Caribbean, west of Guadeloupe (aka the Butterfly Islands)), but most of the cloud cover and rain is lagging behind dropping needed rain over the region.

This situation where the western side of Erika is cloudless and and all the rain is on the east side, suggests very strong upper winds keeping Erika from organizing further.

The models show the environment around Erika remaining unfavorable for further strengthening over the next 48 hours.

Erika is churning along to the west with a turn toward the northwest expected by this afternoon or early evening.
If nothing changes,  the center of Erika will move near the Virgin Islands later today.

Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 105 miles mainly to the north and east of the center.

What is happening now?
Wind and rain will continue to impact the Lesser Antilles. Tropical storm conditions are expected to continue over portions of  Leeward Islands then reaching Virgin Islands later today and Puerto Rico tonight.

Erika will continue to drop rain in amounts of 3-5 inches and as much as 8 over portions of the Leeward Islands.

Next in Line?
Tropical storm conditions will reach Puerto Rico later this evening and parts of Dominican Republic by Friday and the southeastern Bahamas, Turks & Caicos Islands by Friday night.

Rain totals will be between 3-5 inches over the area.

This is from NWS in San Juan, PR:

From San Juan Office:
ON THE FORECAST TRACK...ERIKA IS EXPECTED TO PASS NORTH OF SAN
JUAN PUERTO RICO TONIGHT THROUGH EARLY FRIDAY MORNING.

MAJOR CONCERN CONTINUE TO BE RAINFALL ACTIVITY. RAINFALL ESTIMATES OVER
THE LOCAL AREA ARE EXPECTED TO BE BETWEEN 3 AND 5 INCHES WITH
ISOLATED MAXIMUMS OF 8 INCHES POSSIBLE. PLEASE REFER TO TCPAT5
AND WFO SJU TROPICAL PRODUCTS FOR DETAILS.

Erika's Future?
The shear that has been impacting Erika and keeping her in check will relax and allow the system to grow if it can survive the next 48 hours.

NHC says, the HWRF and GFDL keep Erika stronger than the statistical while the GFS and ECMWF keep Erika weaker than they did previously.

The forecast has been adjusted upward slightly late in the period, but is well below the intensity consensus given the large uncertainty and spread in the guidance.

So if Erika can defy the odds, it may be close to South Florida by early Sunday/Monday of next week. There is plenty of hot water just offshore to allow Erika to grow stronger. Models hint at the possibility of a category 1 storm.

What should you do?

Stay informed. Plenty of things can change between now and Friday.

For the time being just review your storm plans, make sure you have on hand the supplies you will, and sit tight and wait for Erika's next move.
Check out our on-line prep page for helpful hints.

Click here for a helpful prep guide

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* Anguilla
* Saba and St. Eustatius
* St. Maarten
* St. Martin
* St. Barthelemy
* Montserrat
* Antigua and Barbuda
* St. Kitts and Nevis
* Puerto Rico
* Vieques
* Culebra
* U.S. Virgin Islands
* British Virgin Islands

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...
* Guadeloupe
* North coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to Cabo
  Frances Viejo
* Southeastern Bahamas
* Turks and Caicos Islands

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are
possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

Meanwhile locally its not a Tropical Storm but it sure feels like it. We will remain with a good chance for storms through the end of the week and beyond if Erika is around.

This is from NWS Miami office:
WEAK MID LEVEL TROUGH AXIS ACROSS THE GULF OF MEXICO COMBINED
WITH DEEP MOISTURE IN PLACE IS ALLOWING NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS TO CONTINUE ACROSS THE EXTREME SOUTHERN TIP OF
FLORIDA THIS MORNING.

GENERAL SOUTHWESTERLY STEERING FLOW SHOULD
ALLOW FOR THE MAJORITY OF THE CONVECTION THROUGH THE DAY TO FOCUS
ACROSS THE INTERIOR AND NORTHEAST COAST.