08.28.17

Potential Cyclone Ten Gets a Bit Stronger as it Hugs South Carolina Coast

Posted in Storm Track, Storm Preparation, Storm Warning, Storm Safety, Tracking the Tropics at 9:48 pm by gmachos

Winds Have Increased; Gusty Winds and Heavy Rains Along South Carolina Coast

As we continue to watch the continuing saga with Harvey in not only Texas, but also Louisiana now, Hurricaneville is also monitoring Potential Cyclone Ten, which is yet to acquire enough tropical characteristics to become a tropical cyclone. Winds have increased a little while pressure has dropped slightly over the last 24 hours.

In the most recent advisory from the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida at 8:00 PM EDT, the disturbance was located some 35 miles to the South-Southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, or approximately 160 miles to the Southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina. The disturbance had been stationary earlier in the day, but is now moving again to the Northeast at 12 miles per hour.

Maximum sustained winds have increased a little to 40 miles per hour. Minimum central pressure in the low has fallen slightly to 29.71 inches of Hg, or 1006 millibars. A Tropical Storm Warning is still in effect for North of Surf City to Duck along the North Carolina coast as well as Albermarle and Pamlico Sounds. A Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect from Surf City, North Carolina to the South Santee River.

Last night, the NHC had given PTC Ten a high chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm over the next 48 hours to 5 days. This evening, the odds have decreased to just a medium threat with a 60 percent probability of development over the next 48 hours to 5 days. Gusty winds and heavy rains have been already impacting the South Carolina coast, and tropical storm conditions are possible within the next 24 to 36 hours.

Rainfall is likely to be the biggest threat from PTC Ten, or if it becomes a named storm, Irma. Forecasts are calling for rainfall amounts between 3 to 6 inches along Northeastern South Carolina, North Carolina, and Southeastern Virginia coasts. Isolated amounts could reach 9 inches. There is also a chance of dangerous surf and rip current conditions from swells generated by the disturbance as well as tornadoes.

Looking at the most recent forecast discussion from the NHC, the intensity forecast is calling for PTC Ten to become a tropical storm or depression within the next 12 to 24 hours. Afterwards, the disturbance is expected to become post tropical, or extratropical but still having its winds increase to as high as 70 miles per hour by 72 hours thanks to an energy conversion resulting from the storm morphing from a tropical or barotropic system to an extratropical, or baroclinic system.

Moving on to the forecast track, the cone of uncertainty has narrowed a bit since last night. The disturbance is expected to remain quite close to the coast until the mid-afternoon on Tuesday, and then turning more to the east and out to sea. By early Wednesday morning, PTC Ten is forecast to be several hundred miles to the Southeast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Within twelve hours after that, the storm will race well to the south of the Gulf of Maine. Extreme Southeastern Newfoundland is on the edge of the cone of uncertainty by late Thursday.

The Harvey Saga Continues As Storm Moves Out Over Water Again

Posted in Storm Track, Storm History, Storm Facts, Storm Aftermath, GWC News, Storm Warning, Storm Safety, Hurricane Intensity, Hurricane Records, Tracking the Tropics at 8:58 pm by gmachos

The Relentless Storm Regaining Strength Again From Warm Waters of Gulf

The City of Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, is in a state of desperate paralysis as flood waters continue to rise from torrential rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey. Once a Category Four Hurricane prior to landfall down the Texas coast at Rockport on Friday night, has brought about as much as 39 inches to areas in Southeastern Texas.

So far, there have been 2,000 rescues attempted. Earlier in the day, the rain relented as the storm’s rain bands rotated to the east and Beaumont, which had already received over 18 inches of rain. Rain has moved into Louisiana, where it has gone as Far East as New Orleans. The Crescent City, which has also seen its fair share of rain the past two summers, has received 4 to 6 inches from Harvey’s outer bands.

Other areas in South Central Louisiana could receive between 5 to 15 inches. Southeastern Louisiana including New Orleans could receive between 5 to 10 inches before the storm finally heads out. Even areas in Arkansas could receive a foot of rain from this system, which has re-energized and strengthened to have maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour, and a minimum central pressure of 997 millibars, or 29.44 inches of Hg.

Meanwhile, back in Texas, Dayton, a town in Liberty County, Texas, has received 39.72 inches of rain. According to Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University, this amount represents the fourth highest rainfall ever from a tropical cyclone in Texas. The Houston metropolitan area receives about 42 inches of rain per year. During Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001, there was about 35 inches of rain. Forecasts are calling for Harvey to bring another 10 to 15 inches over the next day or two to these same waterlogged areas.

Since the storm made landfall on Friday, the Brazos River has risen some 35 feet in the area of Sugarland, Texas, and may reach 59 feet there later this week according to CNN. In addition, much of Southeastern Texas, is also still battling with tornadoes. So far, 12 have been confirmed, but there have been at least 60 tornado warnings since the storm made landfall. Tornado Watches have shifted eastward to Beaumont and the Sabine Pass area of Texas into Southern Louisiana.

Harvey continues to be a record breaker by remaining a tropical storm some 72 hours after landfall. According to Klotzbach, which is the longest on record that a Texas landfalling hurricane has remained a named storm. FEMA director Brock Long asked for all hands on deck this morning as he urged all three levels of government: federal, state, and local as well as ordinary citizens to pitch in. Volunteers with boats have been urged by Houston Police to come help.

The Cajun Navy, which was created in response to flooding events in Louisiana, have also stepped forward to assist. As of 7:00 PM EDT this evening, there has been a total of 7 deaths so far from the storms. However, there are only about 5,500 people in the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. Another 1,000 people have found shelter in nearby Friendswood. People are getting desperate in trying to get help. Volunteers with boats have reported being shot at or being rushed at by people that they are unable to rescue.

The Houston School District has cancelled classes for some 215,000 children, and schools aren’t expected to reopen until at least September 5th. Sporting events such as this coming weekend’s college football game between BYU and LSU at Houston’s NRG stadium is going to be moved to another venue. One of the possibilities is moving the game to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, but that area is also beginning to feel the affects of rainfall from Harvey. The exhibition game between the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys scheduled for this Thursday is also in doubt with the Texans practicing in Frisco, Texas.

Another 15 to 20 inches is expected to fall in Houston over the next few days so we could end up seeing a record shattering 50 inches of rainfall from this storm when it is done. The highest rainfall total from a Texas tropical storm or hurricane according to Klotzbach was Amelia in 1978. Hurricane Mitch, which had been a Category Five Hurricane at one point in October 1998, reportedly dumped 75 inches over Honduras and Nicaragua putting portions of those two countries back 50 years according to experts at the time.

08.27.17

Watching Potential Cyclone Ten off Southeast Coast

Posted in Storm Track, Storm Facts, Storm Preparation, GWC News, Storm Warning, Storm Safety, Tracking the Tropics at 8:05 pm by gmachos

Invest 92L Getting Its Act Together, and Could Be Irma Within Five Days

While the catastrophic flooding is taking place in Southeastern Texas from Tropical Storm Harvey on Sunday, the Atlantic Tropics continue to stir up as Invest 92L is getting its act together. The National Hurricane Center has noticed, and issued its first advisory on what is now, Potential Cyclone Ten off the Southeast coast.

As of the most recent advisory from the NHC at 8:00 PM EDT, Potential Cyclone Ten is located some 135 miles South-Southwest of Charleston, South Carolina, or about 270 miles South-Southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina. Maximum sustained winds are at 35 miles per hour with gusts up to 45 miles per hour. Minimum central pressure is 1007 millibars, or 29.74 inches of Hg.

The disturbance is currently stationary off the Southeast United States. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for South Santee River to Duck, Albemarle Sound, and Pamlico Sound. The NHC is presently giving a high probability for Potential Cyclone Ten to become either a depression or storm within 48 hours to five days. Regardless of its status, this potential cyclone is expected to bring somewhere between 2 to 4 inches of rain with isolated amounts of 6 inches to places along the South Carolina, North Carolina, and Southeast Virginia coast.

Although it is expected to become a tropical system over the next 24 hours according to the 5:00 PM Discussion from the NHC, it is not expected to remain tropical for long. The potential cyclone is expected to transform from a barotropic to a baroclinic or post-tropical system within 48 hours. The cyclone is expected to merge with an approaching cold front, and that will create a shearing condition that will limit development, and keep it on a path that will carry it over the Carolinas and Southeastern Virginia and then out to sea.

There is a chance that this cyclone will affect Newfoundland as an extratropical system later in the week. Coastal Newfoundland is within the Cone of Uncertainty for late afternoon Thursday although the forecast center of the system is expected to remain over the North Atlantic. If this potential cyclone does intensify and organize into a tropical storm, it will be named Irma. So far, the pace of this season is well above average with the 9th named storm usually coming on October 4th. Back in 2011, Irene was coming through New Jersey on this date.

As of right now, there have been 10 potential cyclones, 9 depressions, 8 named storms, 3 hurricanes, and one major hurricane. Things have really ramped up as expected over the past couple of weeks as we move into the peak of the season, and more classic Cape Verde storms take shape. Speaking of the Cape Verde storms, another wave moved off the West African coast today.

Catastrophe Unfolding in Southeastern Texas

Posted in Storm Track, Storm Facts, GWC News, Storm Warning, Storm Safety, Hurricane Intensity, Hurricane Records, Tracking the Tropics at 6:31 pm by gmachos

As Bands of Rain Continue to Pour In Houston Area, Historic Flood Builds

Over the past several days, I have woken up in the middle of the night, but at about 3:00 AM this morning, there was a different feeling that I had. Once I took a look at my Twitter and Facebook feeds on my cell phone, I saw that many forecasters fears were being realized along much of coastal Texas including the Houston area.

I saw and retweeted or shared information from the National Weather Service office in Houston indicating that some 6 to 10 inches fell in just a matter of about four hours. Some of my Facebook friends that live in the Houston metro area and further east along the coast at Beaumont, and Southwestern Louisiana, were discussing how the flood waters were rising, and how the rain just wasn’t stopping.

Eventually falling to sleep again, I woke up again at about 7:30 AM this morning, and turned on HLN, which was formally CNN’s Headline News, and watched as the morning anchor was speaking with a resident of the Houston metro area as well as someone from the Harris County Sheriff’s Department so that they could arrange some sort of rescue from the rising flood waters in this resident’s home.

Fears have been growing that the rainfall amounts could get as high as 50 inches. Looking at the most recent rainfall amounts from around the Houston area and Southeastern Texas, those prospects are very likely. Some places have already seen close to 25 inches already, and we are only some 43 hours since Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor with 130 mile per hour winds and a minimum central pressure of 938 millibars.

Harvey, which is the strongest Category Four Hurricane to come ashore along the Texas coast since Hurricane Carla in 1961, did make quite an impact to the Texas coast in the area of Rockport. Many buildings were devastated if they didn’t fail completely, roofs were completely torn off homes, and large signs were torn off like sheets of paper from a notebook. The storm remained a hurricane for another 15 hours after that until about 3:00 PM on Saturday.

With the storm’s fury along the coastline now past, the real fear is now setting in, and that is the fact that Harvey has slowed to a crawl, and with its abundance of tropical moisture, and no steering currents to take it somewhere else, the result is what many feared, a catastrophe of enormous proportions with flooding that is likely to easily surpass that of Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001. Allison is the only tropical storm on record, which had its name retired.

Highways are now submerged under many feet of water. The flooding has reached the extent where large Interstate Exit Signs and highway video cameras are almost completely submerged in water. Panoramic views of the city of Houston show significant flooding nearly everywhere around the city. Cable news showing footage of people wading through the high flood waters in order to find refuge wherever they can find it. With the storm forecast to linger in the area for the next several days at least, rainfall amounts around the affected area could easily be doubled.

In addition, the Houston Metro area as well as much of Southeastern Texas has been pummeled by the onslaught of rotational thunderstorms and tornadoes caused by the friction between the landfalling Harvey and the Texas landmass. The National Weather Service in the Houston area has had to issue at least 60 Tornado Warnings since Harvey made landfall on Friday night. Now, usually, these twisters are not of the EF3, EF4, or EF5 variety, but they’ve easily piled on to the misery that is unfolding.

As of the most recent advisory from the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, Harvey remained a minimal tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour, and a minimum central pressure of 1000 millibars, or 29.53 inches of Hg. Tropical Storm Harvey continues to move slowly, and now to the Southeast at 2 miles per hour. Harvey is located some 25 miles to the Northwest of Victoria, Texas, which also received a tremendous amount of rainfall.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Port O’Connor to Sargent along the Texas coast while a Tropical Storm Watch has just been issued from North of Sargent to San Luis Pass. Tropical storm force winds still extend some 140 miles from the center of Harvey. Isolated storm totals could reach 50 inches along the upper Texas coast including the Houston and Galveston area. Residents of Southwestern Louisiana should also be wary of Harvey. The NHC urges residents not to travel in the affected area if you are in a safe place, and not to drive onto flooded roadways.

The Federal Government has been constantly monitoring the situation, and helping Texas officials with search and rescue operations. Texas Governor, Greg Abbott said in a news conference earlier today that the main priority is to save lives. President Donald Trump has indicated that he will be traveling down to Texas to assess the situation on Tuesday. Abbott has been quite happy with the federal response saying that he gives “FEMA a grade of A+.” FEMA director, Brock Long is not only focused on the current situation and getting the proper response out, but also focusing on the long term help as well according to NBC’s Dallas/Fort Worth affiliate.

Speaking of television, Harvey’s rains have also impacted some of the coverage by local TV stations in the Houston metro area. Earlier on Sunday, CBS affiliate, KHOU-TV in Houston had to go off the air after flood waters began to move in on the first floor of their studios. The storm is not done yet, we are still at the very beginning of this weather driven drama.

08.26.17

Still Watching Disturbed Weather Over Florida

Posted in Commentary, Tracking the Tropics, Model Forecasts at 4:41 pm by gmachos

With Harvey Getting All the Attention, Invest 92L Can’t Be Forgotten

Although Harvey has moved inland, and has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm over Eastern Texas, it will still be a news story for the next several days as it slows down to a crawl, and dumps torrential rains over the region. Nevertheless, we can’t forget about what else may be happening in the rest of the Atlantic Tropics.

One of those other things is an area of disturbed weather in the South Florida that has been spreading a good deal of rainfall and unsettled weather for that area as well as the Bahamas. This elongated and unorganized area of disturbed weather stretches from Southwestern Florida into the Western Atlantic. Upper level winds in the area of Invest 92L is not favorable for development, but that could change over the next several days.

The disturbance is expected to move off Florida on Sunday, and move up toward the Southeastern coast of the United States including Georgia and South Carolina, and merge with a cold front by the middle of next week. Gusty winds and rough surf to the Georgia and Carolina coast is expected to develop during the course of the week. Heavy rains are expected in Central Florida over the next couple days.

Currently, the National Hurricane Center gives Invest 92L a medium chance of development, which translates to a 40 percent chance over the next 48 hours to a 50 percent chance over the next five days. Looking at the forecast models, the European model has Invest 92L in the area of Wilmington, North Carolina within the next 72 hours, and then heading out into the Atlantic by 96 hours. The GFS has the disturbance hugging the Georgia and South Carolina coast within the next 48 hours, and staying along the southern coast of North Carolina by 72 hours.

The GFS also has Invest 92L a little more closer to the Mid-Atlantic coast, but still offshore in 96 hours, and then approaching the Canadian Maritimes within five days. The Canadian, or CMC model, has a similar approach to the GFS with the storm deepening a bit off Cape Hatteras within 72 hours, and then staying a bit closer to the Mid-Atlantic coast than the GFS by 96 hours before heading up towards the Canadian Maritimes by the end of five days.

Elsewhere in the Tropical Atlantic, there is another tropical wave in Western Africa poised to move into the Eastern Atlantic on Sunday. Sea surface and upper level wind conditions are expected to be supportive for development over the next few days as the wave moves westward at a very brisk clip of 20 miles per hour. The NHC currently gives a low probability for development over the next 48 hours to 5 days. Remember, the Cape Verde season is beginning to heat up as we move toward the statistical peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season on September 10th.

The Real Problem Begins as Harvey Weakens to Tropical Storm

Posted in Storm Track, Storm History, Storm Facts, Storm Aftermath, GWC News, Storm Warning, Hurricane Intensity, Hurricane Records, Tracking the Tropics at 2:52 pm by gmachos

The Focus with Storm Now Goes to Heavy Rain and Flooding

Late Friday night, Harvey came ashore as a Category Four Hurricane near the town of Rockport at about 10:00 PM CDT, or about 11:00 PM EDT. Wind gusts in Rockport were as high as 132 miles per hour, and the devastation in the town is widespread and catastrophic with many building and roof failures. The real problem begins though as Harvey transitions to a potentially devastating rainmaker.

Harvey lasted as a hurricane for some 15 hours before just being downgraded to a tropical storm with 70 mile per hour winds as of 2:00 PM EDT, or 1:00 PM CDT. Corpus Christi ended up dodging a huge bullet with the storm moving further to the north, and placing the city on the western, and more weaker side of the storm. The result was winds that were less than half that in Rockport. Peak wind gust at Corpus Christi was 63 miles per hour according to CNN.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott indicated in his latest press conference that rainfall amounts have ranged from 16 inches in Houston well off to the north and east to 20 inches in Corpus Christi. The disaster declaration has been expanded to 50 counties. Approximately 1,000 people are involved in search and rescue operations across the area affected by the storm. The Southeastern portion of the Lone Star State is under a Tornado Watch as Harvey’s circulation continues to move further inland. About 50 Tornado Warnings have been issued since the storm made landfall.

Inland areas such as Victoria, Texas are currently being lashed by strong winds and heavy rains. Many of the rivers in Eastern Texas are either under major or moderate flood stage. According to Robert Smith of Garden State Weather, there are over one million people that are without power at the moment in Texas. Although the storm has weakened, Harvey still contains plenty of tropical moisture, and now that the steering currents over the storm have broken down, and the storm has slowed to nearly a crawl, torrential rains and flooding are becoming a huge concern.

Mandatory evacuations have been issued for residents along the Brazos and San Bernard River. Harvey came ashore with 130 mile per hour sustained winds and a minimum central pressure of 938 millibars. The low pressure ranks Harvey as among the Top 65 storms of all time in the Atlantic. Harvey’s pressure at landfall makes it stronger Texas hurricane than Celia (1970) with 945 millibars, and Allen (1980) with 948 millibars. Harvey was the first major hurricane to come ashore in the United States in almost 12 years, and the first Category Four system to make landfall since Hurricane Charley in August 2004.

Harvey became the first major hurricane to make landfall in Texas since Hurricane Bret did in 1999. Bret was a much smaller storm that struck a relatively uninhabited area at that time, and therefore didn’t cause much death or destruction. Harvey, which had weakened to a depression on Sunday, and then was downgraded to an open wave shortly afterward, began to get better organized on Wednesday night, and then rapidly intensified with a pressure drop of 65 millibars in about 57 hours.

Reasons for the rapid deepening with Harvey was due to the fact that the upper level wind shear that had been hampering it during the day on Wednesday, had relented. High pressure built up aloft and Harvey’s structure became more symmetric or circular, and fed off the high octane energy from the very warm water of the Gulf of Mexico, which have ranged between 85 and 90 degrees during the course of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Prior to Harvey’s landfall on Friday night, the United States coastline had not endured a landfalling major hurricane since Hurricane Wilma came ashore in Southwestern Florida in late October 2005, which was 4,324 days ago. With the dearth of landfalling major hurricanes over the last dozen years or so, many people living along the coast have not experienced a major hurricane. This fact may have influenced many residents including about 50 to 60 percent of the population of Rockport, decided to ride out the storm according to media reports.

About a couple weeks ago, there was a lot of chatter going around the internet, Twitter, and Facebook about the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season being a disappointment to date, and some didn’t expect much to happen the rest of the season. Harvey is a simple and powerful reminder that large numbers to not always translate into a huge season. All it takes is just one.

08.25.17

Harvey Getting Stronger As It Reaches Finish Line

Posted in Storm Track, Commentary, Storm History, Storm Facts, Hurricane Intensity, Hurricane Records, Tracking the Tropics at 8:38 pm by gmachos

Storm Intensifies to Category Four Intensity with 130 MPH Winds

Hurricaneville continues to track Hurricane Harvey as it continues to ramble toward landfall along the Texas Coast to the north of Corpus Christi. Within the past few minutes, the National Hurricane Center issued another update on the position and intensity of Hurricane Harvey.

The scenario with Harvey is becoming somewhat reminiscent of when Hurricane Hugo slammed into the South Carolina coast just to the north of Charleston in McClellanville in September 1989. If you recall with Hugo for those who were around then, the storm had been a Category Five on the Saffir-Simpson Scale before it went into Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Hugo appeared to have been wounded by the encounter with those islands in the Northeastern Caribbean. Winds had decreased to just Category Two strength at about 105 miles per hour. However, Hugo would become a memorable storm as it crossed the Gulf Stream, a warm water current that lies just off the Atlantic coast of the United States.

Once Hurricane Hugo touched those warm waters, it re-energized, and became a marathon runner that was sprinting toward the finish line. Winds grew back to 135 miles per hour and Hugo became a Category Four Hurricane again. The storm ended up causing some $16 to $17 billion dollars in damage. Harvey has some similarities to this storm, another Gulf coast monster in Hurricane Frederic in 1979, and even in some ways to Superstorm Sandy.

The major similarity between those storms and Harvey is that like Hugo and Sandy, Harvey is making his big move as it approaches the finish line or landfall along the middle Texas Gulf Coast. On Sunday, Harvey was struggling to hang on as a depression in the Central Caribbean, and eventually was downgraded to an open wave. It eventually came ashore in Central America, and moved across the Yucatan before re-emerging on Wednesday.

Like Hugo, Harvey was re-energized once it went into the Bay of Campeche and Southern Gulf of Mexico. The difference between these two storms was that Harvey had a much farther way to go in order to get to the point where it is at now. Hugo still had a solid core as it moved into the Gulf Stream in September 1989. Harvey basically went from remnants off the Yucatan to a historic major hurricane with 130 mile per hour winds within a period of only 48 hours.

Hurricane Frederic, which is a storm that might have been forgotten by many since it came on the heels of memorable Hurricane David in September of 1979, but Frederic, like Harvey had its share of struggles before slamming ashore along the Gulf of Mexico. Frederic’s track was further to the north in the Caribbean as it crossed the rugged mountainous terrain of Hispaniola and Cuba and weakening to a Tropical Depression at one point before hitting the Northwestern Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

About 72 hours later, Frederic was heading toward the Central Gulf Coast and Mobile, Alabama with near 130 mile per hour winds. Hurricane Frederic came ashore as a Category Three Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale with 125 mile per hour winds. Superstorm Sandy was a much different storm in terms of its structure. Sandy ended up being more of a hybrid storm in the end, and occurred much later in the season. Occurring during the last days of October, Sandy was once a Category Three Hurricane in the Caribbean, and gradually weakened along the East Coast of the United States.

Then, approximately less than 18 hours before coming ashore, Sandy made the memorable left hook in response to a blocking ridge of high pressure, and moved across the Gulf Stream toward its eventual landfall in Cape May County, New Jersey. Winds in the storm grew to a strong Category One Hurricane with 90 mile per hour winds. Sandy was also a very large storm. One of the largest on record. The storm’s size and momentum brought about devastation along the Jersey Shore, New York City, and Long Island that had never occurred before.

Now, Harvey, Hugo, Frederic, and Sandy came in all shapes, sizes, and strengths, but they have one major thing in common, and that is that these four storms all were like marathon runner’s sprinting toward the finish line. These storms overcame difficult odds at some point in their journey to restrengthen and approach their eventual landfall point with plenty of momentum and power. Harvey and Frederic may be the most similar since they were both Gulf storms and re-energized to major hurricanes after becoming a depression or open wave.

As of the 7:00 PM CDT Advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Harvey was located approximately 35 miles east of Corpus Christi, Texas, or 50 miles to the South-Southwest of Port O’Connor, Texas. Winds again have grown to 130 miles per hour, which is now Category Four on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Wind gusts are near 155 miles per hour. Minimum central pressure has fallen off to 941 millibars, or 27.79 inches. Over the last 48 hours, pressure has dropped 62 millibars, or about 1.83 inches of Hg.

Hurricane force winds still extend some 35 miles from the eye of Harvey while tropical storm force winds also still reach about 140 miles from the center of Harvey. The powerful hurricane has slowed down even more with its forward motion to the Northwest at 8 miles per hour. So, in another sense, Hurricane Harvey has some similarities to Hurricane Frances in terms of its slow motion across Florida during the 2004 Atlantic season.

Hurricane Harvey Continues to Close in on Texas

Posted in Storm Track, Storm History, Storm Facts, Storm Preparation, Storm Safety, Hurricane Intensity, Tracking the Tropics, Model Forecasts at 3:35 pm by gmachos

Pressures Continue to Fall; Storm Becomes First Major Hurricane of 2017

Hurricaneville continues to monitor conditions along the Texas coast from Brownsville to Galveston as Hurricane Harvey, the third hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, continues to edge closer to the coastline in the Lone Star State, and has now strengthened into the season’s first major hurricane.

As of the 3:00 PM EDT, or 2:00 PM CDT Advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Harvey was located some 75 miles to the East Southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, or about 80 miles to the South of Port O’Connor, Texas. Winds have crossed the threshold of Category Three strength on the Safari-Simpson Scale at 120 miles per hour. The pressure has dropped five more millibars from this morning to 943 millibars, or 27.85 inches of Hg.

Harvey is moving toward the Northwest at 10 miles per hour. Hurricane force winds still extend some 35 miles from the eye, which has become even more pronounced. Tropical storm force winds are still reaching out some 140 miles. Harvey is poised to become the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States in almost 12 years (Wilma in October 2005), and the first such storm to come ashore in Texas since 1998 (Bret).

The storm, which according to Homeland Security Adviser to President Donald Trump, Tom Bossert, will affect approximately 4.6 million people, could be the strongest hurricane to affect The Lone Star state since Hurricane Allen in August, 1980. Allen, which had been a Category Five storm at one point in its lifetime, came ashore with a minimum central pressure of 948 millibars. Currently, Harvey is a few millibars lower at 945.

The storm is already producing a tremendous amount of rainfall along the coast. Add to that the fact that Harvey is slowing down, and there is a huge fear of a major deluge in Eastern Texas. Some areas of Texas could get well over a year’s worth of rain. According to a rainfall model shown on CNN, some portions of Eastern Texas could see anywhere between 44 and 52 inches. The National Hurricane Center is calling for rainfall amounts between 15 to 25 inches with isolated areas receiving as much as 35 inches along the middle and upper Texas coast.

Areas in South Texas, the Texas Hill Country, and Southwest and Central Louisiana could still see anywhere from 5 to 15 inches. Storm surge amounts were ranging from 6 to 12 feet along the coast from Padre Island to Sargent. However, with the pressure fall and increase in wind speed, the storm surge values could go up a little bit. Another problem with the storm is that it is quickly closing in on the coast so the window of opportunity to evacuate is closing if it isn’t closed already. The storm’s expected landfall could be late Friday evening rather than early Saturday morning.

Reading the latest discussion from the National Hurricane Center, the current forward motion with Harvey is expected to slow down as a result of “strong mid-level ridging building over the western United States.” Many if not all of the forecast models have the storm slowing down and hovering over Eastern Texas for anywhere up to a week as steering currents in the area of the hurricane break down. This is the reason why rainfall amounts are going to be so significant since the rainfall total is based mostly on how fast the storm is moving.

Residents in Eastern Texas should pay close attention to their local news and radio outlets for updates on the storm, should have a weather radio handy, and have finished up final preparations for the storm. After a dozen years of no landfalling major hurricanes, the United States is about to experience something it hasn’t been used to in quite a while.

Harvey Bears Down on the Texas Coast

Posted in Storm Track, Commentary, Storm History, Storm Aftermath, Storm Preparation, Storm Warning, Storm Safety, Hurricane Intensity, Tracking the Tropics, Model Forecasts at 11:34 am by gmachos

Storm Poised to be 1st Major Hurricane to Make Landfall in U.S. Since 2005

Over the past 24 hours since my last blog post on Harvey, the storm has not only become the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season’s third hurricane, but it has become a strong Category Two system on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, and could be on the cusp of being the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States in almost 12 years, and the first such storm to come ashore in Texas in 18 years.

Feeding off the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and no longer feeling the effects of shear from an upper level low, Harvey’s now circular and symmetric structure has been able to flourish. Harvey, which dropped 16 millibars in just 8 hours as of 10:00 AM yesterday morning, has deepened even further with its minimum central pressure falling another 38 millibars to 947 millibars, or 27.97 inches of Hg.

As of the 10:00 AM CDT Advisory, maximum sustained winds with Harvey have increased to 110 miles per hour, which is just one mile per hour below the threshold for a Category Three, or major hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Wind gusts are estimated to be as high as 125 miles per hour. Harvey is located some 115 miles to the Southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, or about 120 miles to the South-Southeast of Port O’Connor, Texas. Forward motion has slowed to the Northwest at about 10 miles per hour.

Hurricane force winds extend some 35 miles from the eye while tropical storm force winds reach out some 140 miles from the center of circulation. Harvey is expected to slow down even more, and linger around the Texas coast for at least several days. The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center does indicate that this storm is expected to dump anywhere from 15 to 25 inches along the middle to upper Texas coast with some isolated areas receiving up to 35 inches, or just under 3 feet of rain.

Another dangerous effect from this storm is storm surge. The majority of people who die in tropical storms and hurricanes, are from the effects of storm surge. Portions of the Texas coast from Padre Island to Sargent is expected to get a storm surge anywhere from 6 to 12 feet. Further along the coast from Sargent to Jamaica Beach and from Port Mansfield to Padre Island are expected to receive a storm surge from 5 to 8 feet. The NHC has numerous watches and warnings issued for the Texas and Northern Mexico.

One more thing to worry about, especially in Texas, is the possibility of tornadoes. Now most tornadoes spawned in hurricanes, especially in the dangerous and notorious right front or northeastern quadrant, are not the type of twisters that can occur during the peak of Severe Weather season, but they can be numerous. For example, in Hurricane Beulah, a Category Four Hurricane in 1967, there were 150 tornadoes spawned.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect from Port Mansfield to High Island, Texas. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect from south of Port Mansfield to the mouth of the Rio Grande River. A Hurricane Warning is in effect from Port Mansfield to Sargent, Texas. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from north of Sargent to High Island, Texas and south of Port Mansfield to the mouth of the Rio Grande River. A Hurricane Watch is in effect from south of Port Mansfield to the mouth of the Rio Grande River. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from south of the mouth of the Rio Grande River to Boca de Catan, Mexico.

Looking at the latest infrared satellite imagery from the Western Gulf of Mexico, you can see the storm has grown in size somewhat, and more deeper reds, an indication of higher and colder cloud tops, have increased, and a pinhole eye feature has become more noticeable. The water vapor imagery clearly shows a very potent storm with good outflow and a well defined eye. The latest forecast track from the NHC has Hurricane Harvey coming ashore along the lower to middle Texas coast at about 1:00 AM CDT, or 2:00 AM EDT on Saturday as a major hurricane.

From that point, the forecast track is showing Harvey lingering along the Texas coast over the next several days, and moving as far north as Houston and Galveston as a tropical storm by early Wednesday morning. Looking at the models courtesy of Tropical Tidbits, the GFS is showing a track that takes Harvey inland over Texas on Saturday, and meanders it inland for a bit, and then treks it southward back along the coast before heading northward along the coast over the next five days.

The European model (ECMWF) has the storm tracking inland along the Texas coast, and meandering along the coast, and not going as far inland before going up the coast to the Houston area, and into Southwestern Louisiana within six days, and into Northwestern Louisiana by about a week’s time. The CMC, or Canadian model keeps Harvey to the south in Southern Texas, where it meanders inland for a few days before heading south and dissipating over the mountains of Northern Mexico. The HWRF model has a much different scenario.

The HWRF model has the storm moving inland over the low to middle Texas coast, and drift northward and weakening over the next several days, but then it has the storm moving back to the south over the waters of the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico, and then making a second landfall in the Sabine Pass area around Port McArthur, Texas within five days. Regardless of the track, residents in Eastern Texas from Brownsville to Houston to Port McArthur should expect a lot of rain over the next several days to possibly a week.

Harvey is forecast to become a Category Three Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale with 120 mile per hour winds over the next 12 hours, or just prior to landfall along the Texas Coast. If Harvey does reach major hurricane strength, and comes ashore that way, it becomes the first major storm to make landfall in the United States in almost 12 years. The last major hurricane to come ashore in the United States was Hurricane Wilma back in October 2005. Harvey would also be the first major hurricane to come ashore in Texas since Hurricane Bret in August 1998.

This is going to be the first significant test for the Trump Administration, which has really struggled to establish an agenda, maintain stability, and resist infighting amongst its staff and within the Republican Party. Memorable moments of poor presidential leadership have occurred during natural disasters. For example, the response by the George H.W. Bush administration to Hurricane Andrew after its landfall in South Florida in August 1992 contributed to that administration’s defeat to Bill Clinton in November that year.

Fast forward to August and early September 2005 and George W. Bush, the son of George H.W. Bush, and his administration’s poor response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall along the Central Gulf coast and the devastation it caused to the New Orleans area, particularly the Lower Ninth Ward, and the Mississippi Gulf coast, where storm surge levels reached record levels for North America at over 28 feet. President Trump’s efforts in response to Hurricane Harvey will be closely watched and under a media microscope that has been merciless.

08.24.17

Invest 92L Could Develop into a Problem for Eastern Seaboard

Posted in Storm Track, Storm Preparation, Tracking the Tropics at 11:42 am by gmachos

While Harvey Threatens Texas, East Coast Needs to Monitor 92L

The big story in the Atlantic Tropics is Tropical Storm Harvey, which has been rapidly deepening, and is likely to become a major hurricane prior to landfall. Harvey, which still only has winds of 65 miles per hour, but has a pressure of 982 millibars, and that represents a drop of 20 millibars within the past 10 hours. There is also another problem worth watching in the Atlantic.

Earlier this morning, the National Hurricane Center in Miami Florida issued a Tropical Weather Outlook that indicates a disturbance located in the area of Southwestern Florida and the Florida Straits is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms over a vast area that includes South Florida and the Bahamas. Right now, the NHC indicates that this area of disturbed weather has a 10 percent chance of development over the next 48 hours, and a 30 percent chance of development over the next 5 days.

Last night, Larry Cosgrove of Weather America indicated that Invest 92L was beginning to coalesce and had a fair chance of becoming a named storm with the potential of moving up the East Coast. So while many are going to be paying attention to Harvey, and rightfully so, others, particularly along the East Coast of the United States from Florida to the Mid-Atlantic should keep a close eye on Invest 92L.

Right now, the big problem with Invest 92L is the significant rainfall that it is producing across South Florida and the Bahamas. Wayne Neely, forecast at the Department of Meteorology in the Bahamas, cautions residents in the Northwestern Bahamas including Grand Bahama, Abaco, Andros, Eleuthera, New Providence, Bimini, and the Berry Islands that there will be about 2 to 3 days of unsettled weather with Thursday and Friday showing the greatest potential for rainfall and even waterspouts.

The path of Invest 92L is likely to parallel the East Coast of the United States from Florida to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and then gradually move away from land as it heads up toward the Mid-Atlantic and New England, but there are some indications that the disturbance, which could become tropical or subtropical, could turn back toward the coast near the Canadian Maritimes. Residents along the East Coast should monitor the progress of this disturbance.

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