It was a great weather day for a sightseeing trip to New York City via the Seastreak from Conners Highlands near Sandy Hook. The day got off to a cloudy start, but gradually cleared out just in time for the trip. Conditions were still a bit muggy, but there was plenty of wind to make things comfortable. The video contains footage of the Verrazano Bridge, New York Harbor, Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower, Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, and the Queensboro Bridge.
Here is a video of a shower developing at Waterfront Park in South Amboy on the day before Independence Day. Clouds were on the move near the Jersey Shore as conditions continued to remained humid in the Mid-Atlantic. Temperatures were not as warm as they were last week, but dew points were still in the mid to upper 70s.
Here is storm footage from Waterfront Park in South Amboy as Hurricane Sandy barreled her way up the Eastern Seaboard in late October 2012. Surf was getting rough in Raritan Bay where this video was shot. Waves had been on the increase since Saturday afternoon prior to the storm. Winds are increasing out of the North and Northeast, and it was a chilly wind, which was uncharacteristic of a hurricane.
Government Agencies And Media Give Hybrid Sandy A Halloween Feel
People love to give names to storms. You’ve heard it before. Back in 1993, it was Superstorm 1993, or the Storm of the Century. Same thing was said of Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The winter storms of 2010 were given the name Snowmageddon by President Obama, and then this time last year, our little October Snowstorm was given the moniker of Snowtober. Now, we have Hurricane Sandy, which is now a minimal hurricane, and soon to be less of a tropical entity, and more of a hybrid entity.
On Thursday night and early Friday morning, I was watching the news on several different media outlets, both local and national, and heard the term Frankenstorm used to describe Sandy. Then, on Friday morning, I take a look at the front page of the newspaper, and I see the title of “Rise of Frankenstorm.” Why not call it Young Frankenstorm? I say that facetiously, but there is some truth to it because the storm is still evolving. Obviously some people feel that by calling Sandy a Frankenstorm, it makes the storm sound more sinister and dire, which could help getting the word out to people about it. In addition, Halloween is around the corner so it gives weather, which is not as popular or sexy a topic to most people as say sports or entertainment can be, more appeal to the masses.
There have been other terms given to Sandy over the past 24 hours as well such as The Perfect Storm after the 1991 storm that had Hurricane Grace as a component, and was a subject of a book by Sebastian Junger, which eventually became a movie starring George Clooney. There is also the term hybrid that I’ve been using since it has a little of both tropical and mid-latitude cyclone characteristics. Snow hurricane, or snowicane is another term although, I would find that a bit unlikely here in Jersey since temperatures aren’t going to be cold enough to produce snow. It could produce the white stuff in more mountains areas along the Appalachians such as West Virginia, Virgina, and Central Pennsylvania, where you have higher elevation.
And with a storm like Sandy, a potentially unprecedented weather event bearing down on the largest and most densely populated region of the country, using the moniker of Frankenstorm is an attempt to capture people’s attention. Using names for hurricanes and tropical storms have become commonplace now. These storms come in stages so it is appropriate to use names to describe them. It also makes it easier for people to identify with and remember, especially in the Caribbean and Central America, where English is a second language.
There has been some backlash to the use of the term, Frankenstorm to describe Sandy though. CNN announced on Friday that it will not be using the term Frankenstorm in its broadcasts. One of the lead meteorologists, Chad Myers indicated that it “trivializes” the storm, which is already responsible for 20 deaths in Cuba, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. Myers and CNN’s reasoning for this policy is a valid one because it may give people the idea that the storm is a joke, or shouldn’t be taken seriously. With the potential damage and destruction from this storm, a possibly difficult aftermath to follow in a part of the country that has been quite lucky during this active cycle of tropical storms and hurricanes, and a population that tends to be more cynical about such storms in this part of the world, the last thing you want to do is trivialize it.
Continuing on the idea of naming storms, the Weather Channel is taking things a step further by using names to describe significant winter storms, which has caused some controversy in recent days. TWC recently announced that it is going to begin giving names to winter storms this coming season. Forecasters and specialists there believe this is a good way to get the word out to the public on the severity of a snowstorm. When I was younger, there was a weatherman at FOX5 in New York named Hurricane Schwartz that used to give nor’easters and winter storms names. One problem meteorologists have with this though is that Nor’easters and blizzards don’t form in stages like tropical entities do. They are also hard to predict in the sense that a winter storm might not always bring snow. Sometimes, temperatures will be warm enough for the precipitation to come down as rain instead.
Late Week Muggy Weather Typical For August In Jersey
About a month ago at this time, I had posted an article in the blog about how it was the heat, not the humidity that was dominating our weather. It was true then that we were dealing with a dry heat. However, that is not the case for the past 48 hours here in Northwestern Middlesex County. As a matter of fact, the opposite has happened.
The latter portion of this week’s weather has been dominated by a truly tropical air mass. It started out on Wednesday with torrential downpours from strong and slow moving thunderstorms. Places in the Garden State such as Keansburg, Morristown, and Bernardsville were hit hard. Meanwhile, over in New York City, the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island were all under a Flash Flood Warning in the afternoon. Some locales in Queens received two inches of rainfall in a short amount of time.
Flash Flood Warnings did eventually go into effect in Middlesex County, but here in South Plainfield, there was only 0.38 inches of rain when it was all said and done. What those storms did though was make the air feel very tropical with increasing humidity. The atmosphere over the Garden State became muggy like it usually does during these dog days of August. On Thursday, the temperature creeped up to near 90 degrees while the dew point rose to 75 and the heat index topped out at 97. Cumulus clouds built up in the afternoon, but they lacked the vertical development that the ones prior to Wednesday’s storms had.
Fast forward to Friday, and the weather outside has become downright oppressive. As of 11:58 AM this morning, the temperature was at 85 degrees, but the humidity was soaring up to 80 percent for a dew point of 78 and a heat index of 96. Rare to see humidity that high during this time of day. The air outside is very thick and stifling while the skies are quite hazy. The humidity is so high that the front porch door windows still have a bit of dew on them. Heat Advisories and Air Quality alerts are in effect for parts of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southwestern New Jersey including the Philadelphia Metro Area.
Forecast for South Plainfield is calling for temperatures to get into the low 90s over the next several days. High on Friday is expected to climb up to 94 with a chance for isolated thunderstorms during the afternoon. The next chance at severe weather is on Sunday and Sunday night with a slight risk of severe thunderstorms.
Here is weather footage of the first cold snap of the winter season in Northern Middlesex County. It also brought some nice footage of some of the different birds at Roosevelt Park in Edison, New Jersey.
Sun Activity Picking Up As It Approaches The Peak Of 11 Year Cycle
With all the crazy things going on in our weather over the past 13 months or so, you can add something else. However, this latest development involves something beyond our atmosphere. The sun has been sending out solar flares and massive coronal ejections over the past few weeks, and they should continue as our star approaches the peak of its 11 year cycle.
The latest solar flare and coronal ejection occurred a little over a week ago, and the flare did cause a disruption of radio communication. The flare was classified as an X1.9 flare, which is the most powerful one that the sun can release according to an article on Space.com. Within a few hours, a coronal ejection occurred on another part of the sun, and headed toward Venus.
A solar flare is defined as a powerful release of energy that brightens the sun, and is often linked with increased magnetic activity on the star. This latest flare came from a large and very active part of the sun known as AR11339, and is approximately 50,000 miles wide. More of this kind of activity is expected from the sun, which will reach the peak of its 11 year cycle around 2013. Within the past two months, there have been other solar flares that have made news.
Back in late September, there was a solar flare that created an electromagnetic storm which resulted in quite a display of aurora in the higher latitudes according to an article from the Washington Post. A little more than two weeks ago, another solar flare brought northern lights as far south as the Southeastern United States. These two instances of solar flares were graded as G1 and G2, but there can be stronger ones.
Some solar flares can be rated as G5 on the high end of the scale. Those flares are capable of causing significant electromagnetic storms capable of knocking out electricity and affect spacecraft and satellites. The most notable solar storm was back in 1859. The storm was so powerful that it provided enough light to read in the middle of the night, and disrupted telegraph service for two days. Another solar storm in 1921 was only one fourth as powerful as the one in 1859. However, if the 1921 storm were to occur today, it will knock out power to 130 million people, cost up to $2 trillion in damage, and take 4 to 10 years to recover from.
Massive Storm Brings Snow And Category Three Hurricane Force Winds
Over the past couple weeks, there have been some notable storms across the United States. Locations along the front range of the Rockies such as Denver, Colorado have seen a couple snowstorms already while the Northeastern United States experienced its biggest October snowfall on record when a Nor’easter came up the coast two days before Halloweeen. For the state of Alaska, these storms are commonplace even this time of year.
However, earlier this week, the worst storm to hit that state in 40 years, came roaring ashore with blinding snow, tremendous winds, and even storm surge. The storm was the most powerful since a Bering Sea storm back in 1974. It generated a 10 foot storm surge along with blizzard conditions thanks to blinding snow and 100 mile per hour winds according to a post to the weather blog on CNN.
The Huffington Post stated that emergency responders dealing with the storm said it was one of “epic proportions.” There was coastal flooding while roofs were torn up, and power lines were downed. I had seen some video footage of the storm from several morning shows on the cable news circuit, and it reminded me of the part of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer when Burl Ives, playing the part of the lovable snowman telling the story said, “the storm of storms.”
This massive and powerful storm has passed, and is now being replaced by a much weaker storm with winds only between 20 to 40 miles per hour. However, the energy from this historic system is being transferred further to the south and east, and is expected to impact the Canadian province of British Columbia within the next day or two. Parts as far south as Oregon could also be affected. While the storm, which is forecast to break up into several parts, will not be as strong, it could be the most powerful storm to strike the Northwest this season.
Places from Norton Sound to Point Hope along the West Coast of Alaska such as Kivalina, Tununak, and Kipnuk were hard hit. Many flights to Western Alaska out of Ted Stevens International Aiport in Anchorage were cancelled. The surge levels from this storm rivaled only the 1913 storm. The system was forecast to bring up to 8 inches of snow to Anchorage. The year of weather extremes continues across the United States, and is no longer limited to the lower 48 states.
Slow Moving Storm Nearing Major Hurricane Strength
It has been a while since we’ve reported on the tropics. Not just in the Atlantic, but also in the Eastern Pacific and Western Pacific, where the bulk of activity has been taking place since the beginning of this month. We’ll have details on all of that in another blog post soon. Right now, Hurricaneville is monitoring a new threat in the Atlantic Basin.
Within the past several days, we’ve had a new named storm emerge in the Western Caribbean. Hurricane Rina first became a depression on late Sunday afternoon near the border between Nicaragua and Honduras. In the past 54 hours, the storm has exploded to the point where it is on the cusp of becoming the fourth major hurricane of the 2011 season. Rina has benefited from a rapid intensification that has taken advantage of the conducive conditions currently in the Western Caribbean.
As of this time on Monday night, Hurricane Rina was a Category One Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale with winds of 85 miles per hour. By Tuesday morning, the storm had strengthened further to a Category Two system with 100 miles per hour, and a minimal central pressure of 970 millibars, or 28.64 inches of Hg (Mercury). After going through a bit of a holding pattern during the day on Tuesday, Rina intensified to be just shy of becoming a major hurricane. Churning slowly to the West at 3 miles per hour, Rina is now located some 250 miles to the Southeast of Cozumel or 240 miles to the East-Southeast of Chetumal on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.
Maximum sustained winds associated with this hurricane are now at 110 miles per hour with gusts in upwards of 130 miles per hour. Barometric pressure has fallen to 966 millibars, or 29.53 inches of Hg. Hurricane force winds extend some 30 miles from the eye while tropical storm force winds reach out some 140 miles. The eye has a diameter of 10 nautical miles. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the East Coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from north of Punta Gruesa to Cancun. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from north of Chetumal to Punta Gruesa along the East Coast of the Yucatan. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Belize from Belize City northward, and for the islands of Roatan and Guanaja in Honduras.
Looking at the latest forecast discussion from the National Hurricane Center, Rina is in a very favorable area for development with light wind shear at the upper levels and very warm sea surface temperatures. The storm could become a major hurricane within the next 12 to 36 hours. However, with a major trough over the Eastern United States extending into the Gulf of Mexico, Rina should begin to weaken to a Category Two storm by 48 hours. Within three days, the storm is forecast to be a Category One storm, and weaken below hurricane status by four days.
The latest forecast track shows Hurricane Rina approaching Cancun by this time Thursday night before turning to the right toward Western Cuba. Earlier on Tuesday, the GFDL model was showing Rina moving across South Florida in a track very similar to Hurricane Wilma back in 2005. However, the storm is not expected to stay that strong for long, and that will prevent the jet stream from picking up this storm, and carrying it eastward into South Florida. Hurricaneville will continue monitoring developments with this hurricane.