Why It Has Been So Warm So Far?

It has been so warm lately despite being October and Halloween is around the corner. It is like summer does not want to leave despite the calendar saying otherwise. Why is it so warm right now?

Let’s take a look at the upper atmosphere at the 500 millibar level or 18,000 feet.

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There is upper level ridging over the Lower 48. It is mainly over the Central US. The ridging prevents any cold air from coming down south. There is troughing off the Pacific Northwest, which has kept things wet for them, including California. There is also ridging over Alaska, which is a negative East Pacific Oscillation (EPO). A negative EPO normally supports cooler weather. However, the ridging over Central US is blocking any cold air. There is also troughing over Eastern Russia, which is a positive West Pacific Oscillation (WPO). WPO is similar to EPO as a negative EPO favors cold air being shunted down south. A positive WPO like positive EPO and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) keeps cold air from being shunted southward. There is also ridging centered around Yuzhny Island and Svalbard. It is a large area of ridging. I am surprised no one has created an index for that area. I suspect it is an oscillation like NAO and EPO. Would be interesting to check it out. Where are the cool and warm spots?

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Not surprisingly, the warmest areas are where the ridging is most strongest. It is also very warm over the Arctic. The coldest area is over Central Asia, mainly over Kazazhstan. It is cold over most of Siberia. The Eastern tip of Russia is very warm. Rule of thumb, if there is upper level ridging, it will be warmer and drier, while upper level troughing will be cooler and wetter. The upper level trough has deep cold air, there can also be snow fall. Case in point, let’s look at two snow events in Southeast Texas; February 12, 1960 and December 10, 2008. February 12, 1960 is the biggest snowfall event since February 14-15, 1895. The December 10, 2008 gave Houston an early start in the snowfall department before places that see snow like Chicago and New York. Let’s start with 1960.

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There is a deep trough over Mexico and is moving eastward towards Texas before the February 12, 1960 snowfall. It is a very large upper level trough.

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The trough has deep layer of cold air. That is very favorable for snowfall. Snow happens when there is a deep layer of cold air. One reason why snow can fall at above freezing temperature. Shallow layer of cold air is not conducive for snowfall. More likely there will be sleet or freezing rain. One reason why Southeast Texas does not get snow often is cold air is shallow, not deep. Let’s also look at December 10, 2008 snowfall.

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The trough in the 2008 snow event is smaller than the 1960 snowfall event.

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Like the 1960 event, it also had deep layer of cold air. If one wants to compare February 1960 snowfall, the closest is December 2008 in terms of atmospheric setup. Perhaps we will see snow this winter.

Latest On Typhoon Haima As Of 10:00 PM CST October 19, 2016

Typhoon Haima made landfall as a Category 4 typhoon on Baguio Point in the Cagayan Province with 140 mph winds. The highest wind on land is 119 mph with gusts of 179 mph. The highest measured gust was 124 mph, which is no picnic. One weather station recorded 7 inches of rain in one hour! That would cause a flood for sure. 7 inches of rain in one hour has happened in Southeast Texas during Tropical Storm Allison on June 8-9, 2001. That resulted in 28 inches of rain in 12 hours! As of right now, Haima is a Category 2 typhoon with 110 mph winds. Haima is moving at 14 mph west northwest.

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Where, Typhoon Haima go next after it ravaged the Philippines? Most have Haima making landfall on the Southern China coast. Hong Kong and Macau are also at risk for landfall. That part of China is heavily populated. Everyone China should prepare for Haima as it can be a dangerous storm for them. Interestingly, some models have Haima lopping back towards the Philippines again, like Hurricane Matthew with Florida. That never happened by the way.

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How intense will Haima be by the time it is on China’s door step? Despite being a Category 2 typhoon, Haima is forecast to weaken. It could still maintain its intensity and get stronger. Intensity forecast is not an exact science. One factor is when Haima gets closer to China, it will draw in dry air, which can weaken Haima further. Most forecast have Haima making landfall as a Category 1 typhoon with 92 mph winds. That means most areas will see 50 to 75 mph winds with gusts of 75 to 85 mph.

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Haima is going to be more of a rain maker. Many areas could see 8 to 12 inches of rain with isolated totals of 20 inches. Even if Haima makes landfall as a Category 1 typhoon, it should not be taken lightly. Heavy rain and flooding will be the main issue for China.

Latest On Typhoon Haima As Of 10:00 PM CST October 18, 2016

Super Typhoon Haima is now a Category 5 typhoon with 160 mph winds and central pressure of somewhere between 904 to 930 millibars. This is not measured directly. Hurricane force winds extend up to 60 miles, while tropical storm force winds extend up to 210 miles. It has grown as it has intensified. Where it does is very concerning. Haima is moving 16 mph to the west northwest. It looks to affect the Philippines in the next day.

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Looks to be making landfall on the Northern Philippines as a Category 4 super typhoon with 150 mph winds. The size forecast is also worrying. Haima is getting larger. By the time it is over the Philippines, hurricane force winds could extend up to 75 miles with tropical storm force winds extending up to 260 miles. Once it crosses over and weakens, but tropical storm force wind field gets larger.

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Once Haima passes Philippines, it is likely to weaken. The forecast models do not have Haima intensifying into a Category 3 storm once it passes Philippines. I think it has the potential to intensify into a Category 3 typhoon before it makes landfall on China.

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Another concerning aspect of Haima is heavy rain. Many areas could see 6 to 12 inches of rain. Mountainous areas could see 20 to 30 inches of rain. This can lead to deadly flooding on top heavy rain that has fallen from Typhoon Sarika. The heavy rain from Haima will make things worse. On top of the heavy rain and flooding, Philipines could likely see sustained winds of 80 to 120 mph winds with gusts of 120 to 180 mph! The highest sustained winds are in a small area and very few will experience it. The gusts is more dangerous as it can knock things over quickly! The Philippines better prepare for Haima. It will get very rough for them.

Latest On Typhoon Haima As Of 10:00 PM CST October 17, 2016

Typhoon Haima is ramping up in the West Pacific. It is a Category 4 typhoon with 140 mph winds and central pressure of 933 millibars. It is based on satellite estimates called Dvorak technique. I would take that with a grain of salt because it not measured directly. I suspect it is stronger, possibly around 150 mph with central pressure of 925 millibars. The ambient pressure in Typhoon Basin is lower, which is one reason why it is a very active basin. Hurricane force winds extend up to 45 miles, while tropical storm force winds extend up to 140 miles. Typhoons are generally larger than other tropical cyclones in the basin, including the Atlantic. The largest tropical cyclone is Super Typhoon Tip of 1979. Tip had tropical storm force winds extend up to 675 miles! Haima is much smaller than Tip thankfully.

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Where it goes has me concerned. This heat map forecast of where Haima will go has it focused on the Northern Philippines. It is moving at 14 mph to the west northwest. It is also getting more stronger as it goes over warmer waters off the Philippine coasts.

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The intensity forecast model mostly keep it as a Category 4. A couple have it as a Category 5 Super Typhoon. I think Haima will rapidly intensify into a Category 5 Super Typhoon. It will probably intensify to 180 mph with central pressure of 895 millibars before it comes close to the Philippines in two days. It is going to be severe typhoon for the Philippines.

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They could experience winds of 80 to 140 mph winds with gusts of 120 to 210 mph! They could see rain amounts of 8 to 12 inches of rain with isolated totals of 40 inches, especially in the mountainous areas. Deadly flooding and mudslides would be a major problem on top of the strong winds. The forecast shows Haima getting larger as it approaches the Philippines. It has hurricane force winds extending up to 90 miles and tropical storm force winds extending up to 235 miles. That is a large typhoon right there. That would be considered large in the Atlantic. Philippines better prepare for Haima. It is going to be very nasty for them.

Latest On Hurricane Nicole As Of 8:00 PM AST October 12, 2016

Hurricane Nicole is now the third major hurricane of the season. This hurricane has been around when Matthew was ravaging the Haiti, Cuba, and Southeaster US. Nicole has always carried along being overshadowed by Matthew. Now, Nicole has proven herself well despite Matthew. It has 115 mph winds and central pressure of 956 millibars. It is impressive on satellite.

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Hurricane Nicole has hurricane force winds extending up to 45 miles and tropical storm force winds extending up to 160 miles. Since, Bermuda is an island, they could easily experience 115 mph winds with gusts as high as 173 mph! Most likely, they will see winds of 60 to 100 mph with gusts of 90 to 150 mph.

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I think Nicole will intensify further. Afterwards, it should weaken as it heads to cooler waters of the North Atlantic. I would not be surprised if Nicole peaks at 125 mph. If that is the case, Nicole would be one of the strongest hurricanes to hit Bermuda since Fabian in 2003.

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The forecast is in disagreement of where Nicole will go. It could go directly over Bermuda or go east or west of Bermuda. Interestingly, northeast of Bermuda, there is a consensus that Nicole will go as an extratropical storm. Nicole’s path will have an impact on Bermuda. If Nicole goes east of Bermuda, than the effects will be less severe. If Nicole goes west or directly over Bermuda, it will be much worse with strong winds and heavy rain. To make matters worse, rain will be an issue as it is moving at 10 mph. That should dump around 10 inches of rain. Bermuda could see amounts of 5 to 10 inches of rain with isolated totals of 15 inches of rain.

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Hurricane Nicole will probably make landfall on Bermuda later tonight to early tomorrow morning. It will be a rough night for them. Hopefully they are prepared for Hurricane Nicole.

Latest On Hurricane Matthew As Of 11:00 AM EDT October 8, 2016

Hurricane Matthew made landfall on McClellanville, South Carolina with 75 mph winds and central pressure of 967 millibars. The highest wind on land is 64 mph with gusts of 96 mph. Many areas are seeing 40 to 60 mph winds with gusts of 70 to 90 mph.

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Hurricane force winds extend up to 25 miles, while tropical storm force extend up to 185 miles. Matthew is weakening and could be a tropical storm later today. Intensity forecast have Matthew weakening in the next few days.

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Doppler radar out of Wilmington, shows that Matthew is inland. Being close to land has weakened Matthew from a major hurricane.

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Despite it weakening, Matthew is dumping flooding rain. Flooding will be the major problem for the Southeast, especially for South Carolina and North Carolina. Doppler radar estimate has much as 15 inches of rain near the South Carolina and Georgia border. Areas where South Carolina and North Carolina meet, 6 to 8 inches of rain has fallen so far. More rain is expected to fall in South Carolina and North Carolina.

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South Carolina could see an additional 4 to 6 inches of rain, which means the total could be 10 to 15 inches of rain. North Carolina could see ab additional 10 inches of rain. North Carolina could see as much as 10 to 15 inches of rain. Some areas could see as much 20 inches of rain.

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On top of the heavy rain, there is dangerous storm surge. Many areas could see 5 to 7 feet storm surge with isolated areas seeing 10 feet storm surge. Storm surge is more related to size of storm, shallowness of water, and geography. A large Category 1 or 2 hurricane over large area of shallow water with funnel shape area will produce higher storm surge than a small Category 4 or 5 hurricane with deeper waters off the coast. Ike and Sandy produced high storm surge despite being under Category 3 because of their large size and geography of affected areas. Storm surge is the biggest killer in hurricanes. The storm surge will make flooding worse as flood waters cannot drain quickly enough.

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Forecast models are all over where Matthew goes. Most have it going eastwards into the Atlantic. Where it goes becomes more complicated. Some have Matthew looping southward towards the Bahamas and even entering the Gulf of Mexico. Some models have it going near Canada. Another fly in the ointment is Tropical Storm Nicole. I do not think it will have much influences due to the small size of the storm.

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Hurricane Matthew is going to be a huge problem for South Carolina and North Carolina. The southern part of Haiti is largely flattened by Matthew. 90 percent of some areas are leveled. The death toll is certainly going to rise. One district, Grand-Anse, at least 470 people have died. I suspect the death toll will be in the thousands. This could be Haiti’s worst hurricane since Hurricane Jeanne in 2004. Jeanne claimed 3,006 people in Haiti. Most of the death was from deadly flooding from heavy rain in the amount of 12 to 15 inches. Most of the death occurred in Gonaïves. Gonaïves had 2,826 of its residence die. Jeanne did not even make landfall as it was a tropical storm.

Latest On Hurricane Matthew As Of 11:00 PM EDT October 7, 2016

Hurricane Matthew has ravaged the Florida coast despite staying offshore and not making landfall. Now, it has its sight on South Carolina. Even though Matthew is a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds and central pressure of 948 millibars. It is still a dangerous hurricane. Not a forced to be reckon with.

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Even though Florida did not get hit by the “dirty” side of the hurricane, it did a number on the state in form of storm surge and flooding. Flooding and storm surge are very dangerous. More people die in them than from high winds. More reason to evacuate. Looking at Doppler radar, looks like South Carolina and North Carolina could be in a rough ride from the “dirty” side of Matthew.

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The heat map forecast of where Hurricane Matthew goes shows a possible landfall on South Carolina and North Carolina. Another possibility, it will stay offshore and still ravage South Carolina and North Carolina, like it did to Florida. This time, they are on the “dirty” side. The “dirty” side have the strongest winds and heaviest rain. Where Matthew goes is anyone’s guess at this point. It may go south and weaken into a tropical storm. Interesting to note another hot spot has it looping southward towards the Bahamas. The forecast intensity has a weakening trend.

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Most forecast models have Matthew weakening as it ravages the Carolinas. By tomorrow night, it could be a Category 1 hurricane or strong tropical storm. Regardless, it will be a dangerous event for the Carolinas because of heavy rain and flooding. Doppler radar estimates show 4 to 6 inches of rain has fallen over Savannah and Hilton Head. The heaviest rain looks to be over South Carolina and North Carolina.

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As Matthew gets closer, the winds will get stronger with heavier rains. Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina could experience winds of 60 to 90 mph with gusts of 90 to 135 mph. Rainfall totals for South Carolina and North Carolina could be in the neighbor of 10 to 15 inches of rain. Some areas could see as much as 20 inches of rain once it is all over.

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On top of heavy rain, South Carolina and North Carolina will have to deal with deadly storm surge. Many areas could see 6 to 9 feet storm surge. Some areas could see storm surge as high as 12 feet. The storm surge is mostly a problem in Georgia and South Carolina. The evacuation was the right call. As they say, hide from wind run from water. Storm surge is the reason why people evacuate.

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It is going to be a rough Friday night to Saturday for Carolinas. Hopefully everyone who needed to evacuate, evacuated. Storm surge from hurricane is not a force to reckon with.

In Haiti, 877 lives have been lost. The death toll in Haiti is staggering from Hurricane Matthew. The death toll is no doubt going to climb with potential epidemic of water borne diseases like cholera. There have been 17 reported cases of cholera in Haiti, which is the tip of the iceberg. This is could be Haiti’s deadliest disaster since the January 12, 2010 Earthquake, which claimed 316,000 lives.