06.06.07

Rare Tropical Cyclone Headed Towards Persian Gulf

Posted in General, Storm Preparation, Indian Ocean, Hurricane Anomalies at 12:18 am by gmachos

Good evening everybody. Well, Barry’s remnants have left the scene, and much to the relief of everyone here in the Garden State, some severe weather that was forecasted for Tuesday afternoon and evening didn’t pan out. However, there are some other tropical features that will be worth watching as the week progresses, particularly in the Central Atlantic. Anyway, while nothing is currently going on in terms of tropical activity in the Atlantic, there is a rare tropical system moving into the Persian Gulf.

This storm, which originated in the Indian Ocean, was as strong as a Category Five Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale with winds of 160 mph. Although it weakened to a moderate Category Three Hurricane with 120 mph winds early Tuesday, Tropical Cyclone Gonu was still a formidable storm as it closed in on the country of Oman on the Arabian Peninsula. As of Tuesday morning, the intense storm was located approximately 265 miles to the Southeast of Muscat, the capital of Oman according to CNN. The reason why this storm is so rare is that tropical cyclones are not known for impacting the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf. These areas aren’t impacted usually because they are made up of deserts with very hot temperatures, low humidity, and sinking air, that inhibits tropical activity.

As a matter of fact, Cyclone Gonu is the strongest such storm to threaten the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, and the rest of the Persian Gulf in some 60 years. Despite the fact that this storm has weakened even further to below major or intense hurricane intensity with 90 knot, or 105 mph winds according to the latest advisory out of the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, it still will at least provide a lot of rainfall to the region especially Southeastern Iran, which is the ultimate destination for this system. Looking at the latest satellite imagery, Gonu still has good outflow to it, and its core of thunderstorms is still intact. One big concern about this storm is the potential for heavy rains as it moves inland over Iran, which has rugged and mountainous terrain. Obviously, there are concerns for the precious oil industry across the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, and Iraq. In addition, there is the presence of American soldiers in the region as well as other U.S. military interests. However, there is the possiblity that we could see tremendous flooding and mudslides, which could create a disaster in Iran.

Presently, the storm is creating havoc on the world’s oil markets since it represents a huge obstacle for ships trying to leave the Persian Gulf region, where there are many oil fields in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates. If ships are caught up in this storm and damaged, or have to take a longer route to get their petroleum cargo to customers in places such as China, Europe, and the United States, that could spell trouble for the price of a barrel of oil, which will also filter down to the price at the gas pumps here in the U.S. Knowing how gas prices have skyrocketed this spring, it wouldn’t be very helpful if a significant storm disrupted production in the Middle East. Meanwhile, the United States military is also taking precautions tp protect its interests including troops in the Iraq War theatre, and in other parts of the region including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar as well as naval ships in the area.

Now over the past dozen or so years that I’ve been running web sites on weather and hurricanes, I’ve seen a couple other rare storms like this. The most recent one was back in March of 2004 when a rare tropical cyclone struck Brazil. This storm was such a rare event for the South Atlantic that there was actually considerable debate on whether this was actually a tropical system. Tropical activity in the South Atlantic is normally non-existent due to the fact that the sea surface temperatures are much colder than in the North Atlantic, Eastern North Pacific, and Western North Pacific. In addition, because there isn’t much land area in the Southern Hemisphere, winds are usually stronger. The combination of cooler ocean temperatures and stronger upper level winds creates a very hostile environment toward tropical development. Prior to that, there was also a rare tropical storm in the Mediterranean many years ago.

06.04.07

Barry’s Remnants Pack A Wallop For New Jersey

Posted in General, Storm Track, Storm Experiences, Storm Facts, GWC News, Storm Footage, YouTube Videos at 8:20 pm by gmachos

Good afternoon everyone. Although the remnants of Tropical Storm Barry just brought a relatively moderate amount of rain here in Northwestern Middlesex Coounty in New Jersey, it did pack a wallop in other places. The storm brought 1.36 inches of rain to South Plainfield, which fell within the expected rainfall amounts of one to two inches. However, other parts of the Garden State as well as New York City, Westchester County in New York, and Long Island received much more as heavier rain bands swept through during the early evening hours on Sunday, and returned for the morning rush hour on Monday. Anywhere from one to three inches fell during the overnight in the New York Metropolitan area, and up to another three inches fell during the early portion of the day on Monday.

The Jersey Shore and Northeastern New Jersey had heavier bands of precipitation pass through their regions on Sunday afternoon, evening, and then on Monday morning. These bands contained some embedded thunderstorms according to the radar imagery. Much of this heavier precipitation stayed to the east of Northwestern Middlesex County, which didn’t really start getting steadier and more moderate intensity rainfall until after 8:00 PM on Sunday night. Barometric pressure in South Plainfield dropped to 29.26 inches of Hg, or 991 mb according to the GWC Weather Station. Winds ranged between 15 and 25 mph in the center of town according to observations made early on June 4th in the Firefighters Memorial Park. At GWC, winds were between 1 and 5 mph due to the close proximity of the weather station to the ground, and the fricition caused by the trees and houses nearby.

Here is some video footage of the storm posted at YouTube.com:

Enjoy

When It Comes To Hurricane Seasons–It’s Not How You Start, But How You Finish!

Posted in General, Commentary, Storm Preparation at 3:30 am by gmachos

There has been some discussion here in the blog about the fast starts both the Eastern Pacific and the Atlantic Basins have gotten off to so far in 2007. After a quiet first two weeks, the Eastern Pacific got itself going with two meager tropical systems in Alvin and Barbara this past week. Meanwhile, in the Atlantic, we had our first named storm on May 9th, and our second and first tropical storm of the year within the first eighteen hours of the official start to the season on June 1st.

However, before people get to excited and caught up with the numbers, there is one thing to keep in mind: Hurricane Seasons are marathons, not sprints. It is how each season finishes that matter. Let’s take last year for example. In the Atlantic, there was a storm within the first week of the season, and two named storms by the middle of July, which is average. Then, the El Nino kicked in, and we only ended up with nine named storms, five hurricanes, and two major hurricanes leaving 2006 as only the second below average season since the latest active cycle began in 1995. Speaking of 1995, we had our first named storm within the first 72 hours of the start of that season, and we ended up with 19 named storms, 11 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes. Furthermore, in 2005, we had two named storms within the first month of the season, which had only happened previously twelve times, and then we ended up with a record of 28 named storms, 15 hurricanes, and a near record 7 major hurricanes including four that were Category Five.

While a storm or two during the first month of the hurricane season can be a good indicator of what’s to come, it doesn’t always work out that way. For instance, recent seasons such as 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004. there was no named storm for the first six weeks to two months, and they all ended up slightly or well above average in terms of activity. Conversely, 1997 had four named storms, an unnamed subtropical system, and a depression by the next to last week in July, and ended up with only eight storms, three hurricanes, and one intense hurricane for the year. So, the moral of the story here is don’t get too caught up with how many storms there are in June. Instead, worry about how many we have in August, September, and October.

Nevertheless, there are a couple tropical waves that we are now watching in the Atlantic Basin this evening. One is interacting with the Northern Coast of South America, and another is a very impressive wave just off the African Coast. I happened to see the satellite imagery of this wave while talking to Barometer Bob of Hurricane Hollow on the phone, and I must say, it’s a pretty good wave for just the first few days of hurricane season. So, perhaps these early storms are just a harbinger of things to come. More on this strong wave and other features will be out later in the Tracking the Tropics report.

06.03.07

Barry Headed Towards New Jersey

Posted in Storm Track, GWC News at 5:44 pm by gmachos

Making up for lost time as far as our Barry coverage, Hurricaneville.com is getting ready for the arrival of its remnants. Tropical Storm Barry, the second named storm of the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season formed in the Southern Gulf of Mexico near the Yucatan Channel on Friday afternoon, strengthened a bit during Friday night, and made landfall near Tampa, Florida late Saturday morning. Maximum sustained winds with this system were no more than 50 mph while minimum central pressure was no lower than 997 mb, or 29.44 inches of Hg, and it really didn’t have much of a chance to get any stronger due to the fierce upper level winds that not only sheared the fledgling storm apart, but also pushed it up the Eastern Seaboard very rapidly.

According to the latest advisory from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Maryland, pressure has actually fallen to 992 mb, or 29.29 inches of Hg while the winds have increased to 40 mph. However, what’s left of Barry is no longer tropical in nature. Rather, it has become extratropical. One way you can tell is by the satellite imagery of the storm. On Friday and Saturday, the storm had a more circular nature about it. Now, it has the classic comma shape that is a familiar characteristic of mid-latitude or extratropical cyclones that we come to now as Nor’easters, coastal storms, blizzards, and snowstorms. I’ll have more details on the specific of the storm in the first Hurricanevile Storm Report of 2007.

What’s left of Barry has rapidly moved up the East Coast, and is already bringing rains to parts of New Jersey as well as Philadelphia, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia. Much of the Garden State has already seen its share of wet weather this spring. After receiving nearly 8.6 iniches of rain in April, and 2.53 inches in May. On top of that, the last two weeks or so of March saw 2.32 inches. As a result, New Jersey is well above normal for the year despite the recent stretches of dry weather that we have enjoyed. To put things into perspective, we could stay completely dry until late August, or September, and still be above average for 2007. Barry’s remnants will move quickly though as the system should be out of the Tri-State area by Monday morning. However, showers and thunderstorms are expected to linger in the region until Wednesday with the approach of a cold front early this coming week. So, we’ll continue to get our share of rain.

Currently, there is a Flood Watch in effect for Central Jersey as well as surrounding areas. One to two inches is expected with as much as four inches possible in some areas. In addition, there are Gale Warnings and High Surf Advisories out for the Jersey Coast, Long Island, Connecticut, Delaware, and the Chesapeake Bay region.

More Preparation For Hurricane Season And Barry’s Arrival

Posted in General, Storm Preparation, Storm Safety at 4:55 pm by gmachos

As mentioned in a previous blog post on my latest storm footage, I spent Saturday continuing to gear up for this hurricane season, and anticipating the arrival of what’s left of Tropical Storm Barry by buying a NOAA Weather Radio with SAME Technology along with some digital video cassette tapes at Radio Shack. Now, for those of you, who don’t have a Weather Radio, I strongly urge you to get one. I already had a Weather Radio in the house, but I wanted to have something that was a bit better. With this new radio, I have the ability to customize it so that I don’t have to listen to the weather reports for hours on end, and still get the watches and warnings that I want. You can also configure the radio to receive things such as Amber Alerts, Earthquake Alerts, and Local Emergencies.

In addition, you can taylor the storm alerts to come up only when your area is threatened. For example, living in Middlesex County in New Jersey, I can program the radio to alert me only when severe weather threatens the county. All I have to do is go to the NOAA web site, and get the six digit FIPS code, and enter that into my weather radio, and I’ll be alerted the next time a severe thunderstorm, heavy rain, or a tropical storm threatens my area. I can also set it up for neighboring areas as well like Hunterdon, Mercer, Monmouth, Somerset, and Union Counties as well. The FIPS code is a six digit code that breaks down like this: the first two digits are for the region your county is in, the next two are for the state, and the last two are for your county itself. FIPS stands for Federal Information Processing Standards. More importantly though, this weather radio has better reception, and I can take it on the road.

With my latest purchase, I have so far done the following to get ready:

  • Got a fresh supply of AA, AAA, 9 volt, C and D batteries.
  • Made sure that all my electronic gadgets used for severe weather had fresh batteries.
  • Made sure all flashlights, shortwave, and weather radios were in working order.
  • Purchased a portable shortwave radio.
  • Purchased a portable NOAA weather radio.
  • Purchased a first aid kit.
  • Obtained storm preparedness and safety literature from my local Emergency Management Office.
  • Ordered an evacuation procedures CD Rom from my local Emergency Management Office.

Despite all these things that I’ve done in recent weeks, I still have a long way to go as you can see, but I’m very happy with the progress made. I also mentioned that I was getting ready for the arrival of Barry’s remnants. Tropical Storm Barry made landfall near Tampa, Florida on Saturday after becoming the second named storm of the season late Friday afternoon. The storm brought much needed rain to the Sunshine state as well as neighboring Georgia before weakening to a depression, and then transitioning to an extratropical system. More details will be posted on this shortly.

Storm Footage Of May 20th Thunderstorm Now On YouTube And Weather.com

Posted in General, Storm Footage, YouTube Videos, Weather Channel Video at 4:25 pm by gmachos

Good afternoon everyone. I spent much of Saturday gearing up for the arrival of Tropical Storm Barry as well as continuing to prepare for this hurricane and severe weather season. I went out to radio shack to purchase a NOAA Weather Radio and some digital video cassettes for my Mini DV Camcorder. I’ll have some details on this trip in the blog shortly. However, I did manage to put some time in to set up a brief four minute video of storm footage from May 20th. On that day, which was exactly two weeks ago, I captured some of a late afternoon thunderstorm, and have since posted it on both YouTube and Weather.com.

You can also view a copy of the video here:

Enjoy.