Here is weather footage of the threatening skies over both South Amboy and Laurence Harbor in Middlesex County, New Jersey on the second Saturday of September 2015. Clouds gathered ahead of a storm system that was supposed to bring some rain to Central Jersey. However, at GWC in South Plainfield, the rain gauge only tallied 0.02 inches while the high temperature was only 77 with a dew point of 70 for a heat index of 80.
Here is a time lapse of the sun setting at Port Monmouth’s Waterfront Park on the evening of September 8, 2015. The sunset capped off a very hot day for this time of year in Central Jersey. At GWC in South Plainfield, the mercury climbed to 95 degrees. Combine that with a dew point of 68, the heat index rose to 101.
Here is a time lapse video of the sunrise at Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard during the morning of Labor Day 2015. On this day, GWC packed up and headed to Oak Bluffs for its eventual departure back to New Jersey. Before that though, it managed to capture the sunrise over Vineyard Harbor. There was some early morning cloudiness that got burned off by the sun. Temperatures eventually rose up into the low 80s with pleasant conditions.
Here is a slideshow of photos taken during GWC’s stay in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard on Labor Day 2015. The weather was simply fantastic. Plenty of bright sunshine. Very little in the way of clouds. Comfortable temperatures. Nice breeze. Back at GWC in South Plainfield, the mercury climbed to over 91 degrees for a high.
Here is a slideshow of photos taken during the first two days of a trip to Martha’s Vineyard in September 2015. It was the first time GWC took a trip out to Martha’s Vineyard. During the stay, GWC traveled to Vineyard Haven, East Chop, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown. Over the three day vacation, the weather was fantastic.
Tropics Have Been Relatively Quiet Since Record Breaking Season in Atlantic
Last week marked the 10th Anniversary of the most deadly and devastating storm in the modern era in the United States. Despite mercifully weakening just before landfall near Buras, Louisiana with Category Three strength 125 mile per hour winds after being as strong as a record making Category Five Hurricane with 175 mile per hour winds and a minimum central pressure of 902 millibars or 26.64 inches of Hg. Katrina then made a second landfall near the Louisiana/Mississippi border with 120 mph winds. The combination of the weakening with a track that took the storm’s strongest side east of New Orleans appeared to put the Big Easy in the clear. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.
A near natural disaster had become a major man-made disaster as the levee system around New Orleans failed, and waters began pouring into the surrounding parishes such as St. Bernard’s, and the section of the city known as the Lower Ninth Ward. Meanwhile, further to the east, Katrina was still powerful and large enough to generate a storm surge even greater than the monster storm of August 1969 known as Hurricane Camille. The storm struck many, if not all of the same towns along the Mississippi Gulf Coast such as Gulfport, Biloxi, Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis, and Pascagoula, and brought a storm surge that ended up being the highest ever in North America.
Hurricane Katrina ended up killing some 1,800 people, which seemed unfathomable in this day and age. On top of that, the storm left at least $80 billion dollars in damage, which is three times more than the previous high mark from a natural disaster set by Hurricane Andrew when it impacted Homestead and South Florida back in August 1992. The storm also brought out the worst in a country that is supposed to be the leader of the “free world.” Katrina exposed problems with federal government agencies such as FEMA, and even more glaring, the lack of coordination between local, state, and federal agencies so that the necessary resources could efficiently be distributed to those directly impacted by the storm.
Two examples of that failure were deploying resources such as National Guard Troops, buses, and other kinds of essentials to those affected in shelters of last resort such as the Superdome and the New Orleans Convention Center. Numerous horror stories from these two sites were brought into viewers homes by all the cable news and regular broadcast news networks. The storm’s aftermath provided an image of the United States that wasn’t one of superpower, but instead one of a third world country. It demonstrated how out of touch politicians in Washington and Louisiana had grown so far out of touch with its constituents in New Orleans. In addition, Katrina’s aftermath also showed the wide chasm between rich and poor in the United States.
The 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season didn’t stop with Katrina though. As a matter of fact, the year produced an astounding five Category Five Hurricanes on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Those kind of numbers are usually only seen with typhoons in the Western Pacific. However, the combination of several factors such as abundant moisture around the Atlantic Basin, above normal sea surface temperatures, La Nina conditions in the Pacific that brought about favorable upper level wind conditions, and the positioning of the subtropical ridge in the Atlantic, which helped drive these powerful storms into the Gulf of Mexico, and over the Loop Current there, where conditions were optimal for explosive tropical development. Katrina, Rita, and Wilma were prime examples of the effect of the Loop Current.
During the historic 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season, there were a total of 31 depressions, 28 named storms, 15 hurricanes, and 7 major hurricanes. Of those 7 major storms, 71 percent of them reached the highest level possible for a tropical cyclone, which is extremely rare. It is very rare to have one Category Five storm in the Atlantic during the course of the season. So, when you have five: Dennis, Emily, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, that is record book material. Recently, I put together an article on the busy season in the WESTPAC where there have been 6 Super Typhoons of Category Five strength on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. This has been largely due to the emergence of the strongest El Nino at least since 1998. Remember, ENSO produces above normal sea surface temperatures and favorable upper level wind conditions in the Pacific. Rita appeared on its way to give another blow to the Big Easy.
Like Katrina a little less than a month earlier, Hurricane Rita tracked over South Florida and the Florida Keys and then grew into a monster as it traversed the Loop Current. The storm grew to be an even more powerful Category Five Hurricane than Katrina was in terms of wind (180 mph) and pressure (895 mb or 26.43 inches of Hg). Like Katrina though, Rita eventually weakened before making landfall, and spared the major population centers of New Orleans and Baton Rouge in Louisiana as it made landfall over to Louisiana Bayou. About a month after that, Hurricane Wilma spun up in the Northwestern Caribbean, and approached the Yucatan Penninsula. The storm grew to be even a notch better than Katrina and Rita with winds of 185 mph and the lowest pressure ever recorded in the Atlantic Basin at 882 millibars or 26.05 inches of Hg surpassing the marks set by Hurricane Gilbert and the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. After reaching its peak intensity, Wilma began feeling the effects of shear from a dipping jet stream over the United States, but it did re-energize before clobbing South Florida from west to east and causing significant damage along the Sunshine State’s Gold Coast.
Apparently, the 2005 Atlantic Season squeezed more than enough out of the earth’s atmosphere. Since that time, there hasn’t been a landfalling major hurricane in the United States. True, there has been active seasons such as 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012 with deadly and devastating storms such as Gustav, Ike, Irene, and Sandy, but none of them approached the pure power that the 2005 storms had. In addition, there have been quite a few below normal hurricane seasons since then including 2006, 2007, 2009, 2013, and 2014. The change in behavior pattern in the Atlantic since the 2005 season may be an indication that the active cycle that dominated the basin since 1995 may be coming to an end.
Grace Becomes Seventh Named Storm in Atlantic; Fred Downgraded to Depressiion, but Defies Forecast of Friday Demise
Although the Eastern, Central, and Western Pacific basins have all been active, the Atlantic, which had been relatively much quieter, continues to pick up. With the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season approaching the statistical peak, which is on September 10th, activity has picked up again with the formation of Tropical Storm Grace, the seventh named storm of the year in the Eastern Atlantic. Meanwhile, Fred, which was forecast to become a remnant low on Friday, is still hanging around in the Central Pacific despite weakening to a depression.
Grace had been in the crosshairs for the past several days after departing the west coast of Africa. The newly formed storm had shown signs of better organization as a disturbance on Saturday morning, and the National Hurricane Center indicated that if that trend continued during the day, then the disturbance would become a tropical cyclone. Not only did that happen, but Grace took it a step further by becoming a named storm. As of the 5:00 PM AST Advisory on Saturday, Grace became a tropical storm approximately 285 miles Southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.
The newly formed storm, which had been upgraded to a depression some six hours earlier, is a minimal tropical storm with 40 mile per hour sustained winds with gusts up to 50 miles per hour. Minimum central pressure is still quite high at 1007 millibars, or 29.74 inches of Hg. Grace is moving at a good pace to the West at 14 miles per hour. Currently, there are no watches or warnings in effect at this time. Further strengthening is possible on Sunday before Grace begins to weaken on Monday afternoon. The NHC forecast discussion has Grace with 60 mph winds by late Monday morning. A low to mid-level subtropical ridge is expected to keep Grace on a westerly track over the next five days.
Meanwhile, Fred continues to linger despite grim forecasts on Friday that called for the storm’s demise as a remnant low. Although Fred, which is now located some 1,340 miles to the southwest of the Azores in the Central Atlantic as of 5 PM AST on Saturday. The tropical cyclone has been battling very hostile weather conditions in the Central Atlantic. Strong shear has not been able to bring Fred down yet since the system still has a very well defined circulation. The shearing environment is expected to abate, and conditions are expected to become favorable again for Fred if it can survive a little longer. Sustained winds dropped to just below the minimum threshold to become a tropical storm with gusts above tropical storm force. Minimum central pressure has risen up to 1008 millibars, or 29.77 inches of Hg.
Fred is about to escape the clutches of the subtropical ridge, and will be moving into a steering current regime that is much weaker. Now, the NHC forecast discussion not only believes that Fred will be around by the end of the five day forecast period, but it will regain tropical storm status with winds of 45 miles per hour. With the development of Grace in the Eastern Atlantic on Saturday, there have been 7 named storms, 2 hurricanes, and one major hurricanes. After being dormant for the first two and a half weeks of August, the Atlantic has had 4 named storms, 2 hurricanes, and one major hurricane in the last 18 days. Breaking down the number of storms by month (in parenthesis): May (One), June (One), July (One), August (Three), and September (One).
Goni, Kilo, and Soudelor Top Another Big Season of Typhoons
Last night, Hurricaneville reported on Kilo crossing the International Date Line on Tuesday, and becoming another Typhoon for the Western Pacific. Kilo appears to be on course to be the longest lasting tropical cyclone of 2015 although it will fall far short of the record set by Typhoon John back in 1994. Kilo is one of many noteworthy typhoons that have traversed the Western Pacific this summer. Soudelor and Goni are two other storms that left significant impacts in Taiwan and Japan respectively.
Those aforementioned storms are just the tip of the iceberg for this year’s typhoon season in the Western Pacific though. According to Wikipedia, there have been a total of 24 depressions, 18 named storms, 11 typhoons, and 6 super typhoons. The Super Typhoons in 2015 include: Maysak (Chedeng), Noul, Dolphin, Soudelor (Hanna), and Atsani. In addition, there were four powerful typhoons of Category Four stregth named Higos, Chan-hom (Falcon), Nangka, Goni (Ineng). The first system formed right after the start of the new year on January 2nd. A total of 135 deaths and $5.1 billion in damage around the Pacific Rim have been attributed to these storms. Here are capsules on the more notable storms in the WESTPAC:
Higos was a Category Four typhoon with a peak intensity of 940 millibars, or about 27.76 inches of Hg, and winds of 105 miles per hour. The storm lasted for just under a week from February 6th to February 12th. At its peak, Higos became the strongest typhoon recorded during the month of February since 1970. The storm weakened just as rapidly as it had to become a powerful typhoon. Higos didn’t impact land.
Typhoon Maysak (Chendeng)
Forming originally to the southwest of the Marshall islands of March 26th, Maysak lasted nearly two weeks, and had a minimum central pressure of 910 millibars, or 26.87 inches of Hg and maximum 10 minute sustained winds of 120 miles per hour at peak intensity. One minute maximum sustained winds topped 155 miles per hour. Maysak moved through portions of Micronesia where it caused extensive damage. Initial reports indicated that five people had lost their lives in the storm.
Typhoon Noul (Dodong)
Noul was the 2nd Super Typhoon of 2015. Forming on May 2nd near Micronesia, the storm lasted for approximately 10 days. At peak intensity, minimum central pressure with Noul was 920 millibars, or 27.17 inches of Hg while 10-minute maximum sustained winds were 125 miles per hour. The storm underwent some fluctuations in intensity before rapidly deepening in a Super Typhoon on May 10th. Noul eventually made landfall over Pananapan Point, Santa Ana, Cagayan in the Northeastern tip of Luzon in the Philippines. The storm began to weaken afterwards.
Dolphin was the third Super Typhoon of the season, and the second straight. Forming southeast of Pohnpei, Dolphin would linger in the Western Pacific basin for two weeks from May 6th to May 20th. Reaching peak intensity on May 16th, Dolphin’s minimum central pressure dipped to 925 millibars, or 27.32 inches of Hg while its 10 minute maximum sustained winds topped out at 115 miles per hour. Dolphin sustained Super Typhoon intensity for 30 hours. Fortunately, the storm recurved well east of Japan and Russia.
Typhoon Chan-hom (Falcon)
Forming in the final days of June near the island of Kosrae, Chan-hom reached Category Four strength on July 9th with 935 millibars, or 27.61 inches of Hg minimum central pressure, and 105 mile per hour 10-minute maximum sustained winds. The typhoon lasted for about 15 days before weakening after going through an eyewall replacement cycle, and coming ashore southeast of Shanghai in China. The weakened storm also traveled into the Korean Peninsula before transitioning into an extratropical cyclone. Chan-hom was responsible for just under a billion dollars in damage in East China while indirectly contributing to the deaths of 4 people and $90,000 in damages in the Philippines.
Another powerful typhoon that lasted over two weeks in the Western Pacific, Nangka formed on the 2nd day of July. At peak intensity on July 9th, Nangka with a minimum central pressure of 925 millibars, or 27.32 inches of Hg, ten minute maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour, and a one minute maximum sustained wind of 155 miles per hour. The storm had some fluctuations in intensity from July 9th to July 12th when Nangka reached its secondary peak as a Category Three strength typhoon. The typhoon then made two landfalls in Japan on July 16th. The first one was over Muroto, Kochi while the second landfall was hours later over the island of Honshu.
Forming on July 29th, and lasting some two weeks before dissipating, Soudelor has been the most powerful storm to date in the WEST PAC, strengthening to Super Typhoon status with a pressure that dropped down to 26.58 inches of Hg, or 900 millibars on August 4th, making the storm an equivalent of a Category Five Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
Soudelor’s highest 10 minute sustained winds were 130 miles per hour while its one minute sustained wind topped out at 180 miles per hour. The storm’s path took it through the Philippines, Taiwan, Mariana Islands, Japan, East China, and South Korea. The storm left behind damage that has been initially estimated at $3.2 billion while causing 38 deaths.
Typhoon Goni (Ineng)
A fierce storm that was documented going through the southern portion of Japan by iCyclone, Goni first formed to the southeast of Guam on August 13th, and lasted for a dozen days as it first headed westward toward the northern Philippines before turning to the north just to the east of Taiwan, and coming through Southern Japan before going between the rest of Japan and the Korean Peninsula in the Sea of Japan.
At peak intensity, Goni had a minimum central pressure of 935 millibars, or 27.61 inches of Hg with 10 minute maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour. The storm underwent rapid intensification prior to becoming a Category Four storm the first time. Then, Goni underwent some fluctuations in strength before reaching Southern Japan as a Category Four storm again. See video of Goni impacting Southern Japan at iCyclone.com
Forming around the same time as Goni (actually a day later), Atsani took a path to the north and east before recurving well to the East of Japan. The storm lasted just under a dozen days and peaked on August 19th with a minimum central pressure of 27.32 inches of Hg or 925 millibars with a 10 minute maximum sustained wind of 115 miles per hour and a one minute maximum sustained wind of 160 miles per hour. Wind shear and dry air entrainment doomed the storm soon after that.
Kilo actually originated in the Central Pacific where it peaked as a Category Four Hurricane with 145 mile per hour winds as it trekked past Hawaii. Moving past the International Date Line on Tuesday, Kilo became a Category One Typhoon with 85 mile per hour winds. The storm is expected to strengthen to Category Four intensity as it approaches Japan around September 15th. The storm is expected to become the longest lasting tropical cyclone this year, but fall short of the duration mark set by Typhoon John in 1994. See more details on Kilo in the blog at http://www.hurricaneville.com/blog/?p=1530.
Normally, the Western Pacific is the most active basin in the tropics with the most intense storms as well, but with the emergence of El Niño, more storms are forming in the Eastern and Central Pacific, and in the case of Kilo, crossing the International Date Line into the Western Pacific as Typhoons.
Central Pacific Hurricane Crosses International Date Line
Things continue to be active in the Pacific, especially in the Eastern and Central basins. We now have four tropical systems from the West Coast of Mexico to beyond the International Date Line. First, in the Eastern Pacific, the 11th named storm of the season formed as Kevin emerged within the past 24 hours. Meanwhile, in the Central Pacific, Hurricane Kilo, which had been one of three Category Four Hurricanes in the Pacific earlier this week, crossed the International Date Line, and, as a result, became a Typhoon.
Although it is rare, hurricanes that form in the Eastern and Central Pacific have traveled far enough over the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean to cross the International Date Line, and become a typhoon, which is the name given to tropical systems in the Western Pacific. The most memorable example was Hurricane/Typhoon John in 1994. The storm began in the Eastern Pacific, and spent some 31 days, an entire month traversing the Pacific Ocean. While Kilo’s feat is quite impressive, and will probably make it the longest lasting tropical cyclone this year, it will likely fall about a week short of John’s mark.
As of Wednesday, Kilo had weakened to a strong Category One Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale with 85 mile per hour winds. The much cooler waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands in the Central Pacific took the starch out of Kilo, which had been a major hurricane over the weekend. However, as Kilo heads into the high octane warm waters of the Western Pacific, the storm is forecast to undergo a major rejuvenation, and return to Category Four strength and become a Super Typhoon. Some model forecasts indicate that Kilo could become a threat to Japan by next weekend according to an article written by the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang.
On Tuesday, satellite imagery depicted the western half of Kilo in the Western Pacific, and classified as a typhoon on September 2nd while the eastern half was still on September 1st and a hurricane. Looking at the future of Kilo, the GFS produced a scenario where Kilo will pass through Japan into the North Pacific by September 15th, and then move into Alaska, where it become a powerful extratropical system that will create a dip in the jet stream, and push eastward into the continental United States. The Western Pacific has been active as well as the Eastern and Central Pacific this year as a result of the El Nino.
The WESTPAC has seen more than its fare share of typhoons including Souledor recently, which created havoc in Taiwan including tornadoes. Meanwhile, Typhoon Goni lashed portions of Japan with fierce winds. Sometimes, these typhoons recurve much like hurricanes that come up the East Coast of the United States. As they recurve, they gain new life as an extratropical system that can pull down the jet stream and much colder air from the arctic and Alaska. There were a couple of occasions this past winter when typhoons in the West Pacific recurved into the North Pacific, and spawned a “polar vortex” episode for the Continental United States.
Third Time in the Past Four Days Temperatures Get Above 90 Degrees at GWC
Compared to the past two summers at GWC in South Plainfield, temperatures have been much warmer. The latest example are the 90 degree temperatures that have popped up over the past four days around the New York City Metro Area. Here are GWC, the mercury has climbed to just at or above 90 in three of those past four days. After 90 degree temps on Sunday and Monday, the mercury dipped to only 88 on Tuesday at GWC, but the thermometer went back up to 91 for a high on Wednesday.
To make matters worse, humidity levels have been on the rise over the past 36 to 48 hours. Winds shifted during the afternoon on Tuesday causing the dew points to rise and conditions to become more muggy and uncomfortable. For instance, the peak dew point on Wednesday at GWC was 73 degrees making the temperature feel like 97 degrees (top heat index). While it is still only the second day of September, today’s high was still 0.6 degrees short of equaling the high temperature for the month of September 2014. The heat and humidity is expected to linger for another 24 hours before a cold front moves through with some thunderstorms on Thursday night and Friday morning.
Looking at the GWC climate data for the summer of 2015, the maximum high for the month of June was just under 90 degrees at 89.8. Then, the maximum highs for July and August were 96 and 95 respectively, which were above those for the same time in 2014. The max high for August 2015 was actually the highest recorded for the month of August since the new weather station at GWC was installed in mid-June 2011. The warmest summer on record at the new GWC WX station remains for the year of 2012 with max highs of 97 in June, 102 in July, 92 in August, and 90 in September that year. In addition, max highs in April and May of 2012 were 90 and 92 respectively.
Taking a closer look at the temperatures for the Summer of 2015 at GWC in South Plainfield, you will find some pretty impressive numbers. After a cooler summer in 2014, the heat was back this year with 16 days of at or above 90 degree temperatures. Another story has been the humidity. From June 1st to this afternoon, the dew point has peaked at or above 70 degrees 44 times. Despite the abundance of moisture at times here at GWC, there has not been a lot of rain, especially lately. So far this year, there has been a total of 19.54 inches of rain that has fallen at GWC, and only 10.99 of that has fallen since April 1st. The bulk of the rain from April 1st to today came during the latter portion of May and about the first 20 days of June. Since June 20th, there has been only 2.46 inches of rain in South Plainfield.
The lack of rain has prompted some counties in New Jersey to put into effect drought restrictions such as watering lawns and washing cars outside while also advising people to take showers instead of baths to conserve water. The heat and humidity wasn’t met with a lot of enthusiasm by the youngsters around the Garden State either. Many children in New Jersey had their first day of school, and the weather made them yearn to be at the beach instead. In most years, the school year in New Jersey begins two days after Labor Day, but this year, the schedule for school systems such as South Plainfield and Piscataway began today with classes going until the end of this week before a four day weekend kicks in capped off by Labor Day on Monday.