First Major Hurricane Of 2018?

Hurricane Chris is now a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph 169 km/h 90 knots winds. It looks quite impressive on satellite from the National Hurricane Center. It looks almost like a major hurricane to me. Some of the intensity forecast models have Chris as the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic Season.

Quite frankly, I would not be surprised if Chris becomes a Category 3 hurricane. It could very well be Category 3 by tomorrow morning. A major hurricane in July is rare, but not unheard of. The last time there was a major hurricane in July was Bertha in 2008. We also have two hurricanes so far, Beryl and Chris. The last time we had two hurricanes in July was 2005, which were Dennis and Emily. Emily is the earliest know Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic. Both 2005 and 2008 were devastating seasons. Both affected Texas in the form of Rita in 2005 and Dolly and Ike in 2008.

The next question is where does Chris go?

The consensus is that Chris is moving away from the US coast and moving rapidly due to a cool front. Rough seas will be the main problem for the Eastern Seaboard. Some of the forecast models have it making landfall on Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Canada as an extratropical storm. That will be a major problem for them. Some have Chris making landfall on Iceland, United Kingdom, and Norway.


Subtropical Storm Alberto Is Here

Subtropical Storm Alberto formed earlier today, which was Invest 90L. It is clearly a subtropical storm based on satellite image.

A subtropical storm has thunderstorms away from the center, mostly to the east in the Northern Hemisphere or west in the Southern Hemisphere. They look more like extratropical cyclones than tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones have the most intense thunderstorms near the center.

Tropical storm force winds in Subtropical Storm Alberto are are up to 253 miles 407 kilometers 220 nautical miles across from northeast to southeast quadrant. The winds are east of the center. That is typical of a subtropical storm. The biggest question is where will Alberto go?

This is a heat map from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance. The heat map is within 300 miles (480 kilometers) from the center. The forecast models have a consensus that Alberto will go somewhere between Southeast Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, or Florida Panhandle. There is a small chance it go could deviate. The next question is how strong will Alberto be?

Most forecast model keeps Alberto as a tropical storm. However, one intensifies Alberto into a Category 1 to near Category 2 hurricane. I think Alberto will be a tropical storm at most. A hurricane is very remote at this time. I do not think Alberto will become a hurricane. It will more then likely become a full fledge tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico. I would be more concerned of heavy rain and flooding from Alberto than wind.

Future Alberto Part 2?

The National Hurricane Center is keeping an eye on Invest 90L. They think in the next 5 days it has a high chance of developing into something tropical.

Interestingly, the intensity forecast keep Invest 90L as a tropical depression. One has it as a tropical storm in 36 hours.

This is not the latest intensity forecast model. It should come out later tonight. The biggest question is where does Invest 90L go?

This is a heat map from data from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance. The general consensus is it will linger over the Caribbean and possibly move into Mexico or Belize. From there, it goes north. The forecast models tend to congregate around Southeast Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. There is a small risk that Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas could get hit by Invest 90L. This is still a rather low confidence forecast of where future Alberto will probably go in the next 5 days.

I would not be surprised we see Tropical Storm Alberto this weekend. The question is where does it go. Everyone in the Gulf of Mexico should keep an eye on Invest 90L. It can go anywhere it wants.

Future Alberto?

The first Invest for the 2018 hurricane season has been tagged as Invest 90L. It is in the Caribbean off the coast of Belize. It is an area of low pressure that is producing a lot of heavy rain. The question is where does it go in the next 5 days.

This is a heat map from data from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance. It looks like a low confidence forecast as it is all over the place. Some forecast models have it heading towards Alabama. Some have it towards Texas or Florida. It is low confidence because no surface low has formed yet. If a surface low was to form, than we could have a better idea including intensity.

Most forecast models want to keep Invest 90L as a tropical depression. Some want to intensify it to a tropical storm. If 90L is to become a tropical storm, it would be Alberto. I consider the intensity forecast low confidence. Truth is, intensity forecasts are not high confidence for the most part. Forecasting intensity is difficult despite better forecasting technology. I think 90L could become Alberto. Here are my reasons.

Let’s start with the Gulf of Mexico water. The Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential (TCHP) is greatest in the Caribbean, but not so in the Gulf of Mexico. It is May, so the Gulf of Mexico is not going to be this warm.

However, the depth of warm water in the Gulf of Mexico is fairly deep. If the water is very warm at the surface, but not so deep, then that can help weaken tropical cyclone development. If the water is warm, but not super warm, but deep, that is more favorable for tropical development. I would look at depth of warm water more so than surface temperature.

Another factor to look at is wind shear from Tropical Cyclone Formation Probability Guidance Product.

Wind shear over the Gulf of Mexico is below average. More wind shear tends to put a lid on tropical development. Less wind shear is more conducive to tropical development. A tropical wave over very warm and deep warm water with plenty of wind shear is less likely to develop. If it is over not so warm water with low wind shear, it is more conducive to develop into something tropical. Wind shear blows thunderstorm tops off, which inhibits tropical development.

I think Invest 90L could develop this weekend. It bears watching.

Incredible Irma

Hurricane Irma is now a powerful Category 5 hurricane with 185 mph 296 km/h 161 knots hurricane. It has gusts of 235 mph 376 km/h 204 knots. It has a central pressure of 916 millibars. This is a very dangerous hurricane. Here is an infrared satellite up close of Irma.

Very impressive and scary I will say. Here is a wind radii map of Irma.

Hurricane force winds extend up to 50 miles 80 km/h 44 nautical miles. Tropical Storm force winds extend up to 175 miles 280 km/h 152 nautical miles. It is a fairly large hurricane. Antigua and Barbuda, Guadeloupe, and St. Kitts Nevis are experiencing tropical storm force winds. They could get hurricane force winds later tonight. It is going to be a very long night for them. If Irma makes landfall at its current strength, it would be one of the strongest tropical cyclones to make landfall in terms of wind. Antigua and Barbuda, Guadeloupe, and St. Kitts Nevis could see winds of 180 mph 288 km/h 157 knots with gusts as high as 270 mph 432 km/h 235 knots! The winds are enough to flatten buildings! There is also deadly storm surge and high waves battering the island. It is going to be really rough for them. Let’s hope they are prepared.

The latest Doppler radar shows that there is light rain right now. It is from Meteo-France and out of Guadeloupe and Martinique.

It shows the western eyewall, which could affect them later tonight. The eastern eyewall has the strongest winds and that could come while they sleep. It is going to be a nightmare for them.

Where does Irma go? Here is the latest heat map from various forecast models and GFS ensemble track guidance. The GFS goes up to 10 days.

The forecast models have going west-northwest towards Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. From there, Irma could make landfall on Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba. From there, Irma may hit Florida. Where it goes is anyone’s guess. The heat map generally shows once Irma reaches Florida, it goes northward. Keep in mind, this is 5 days away. The heat map shows a low chance that Irma may end up in the Gulf of Mexico. The reason the forecast has Irma going north is a cold front. The cold front is a major factor on where Irma will go. Keep in mind anything can happen and forecast is subject to change.

One wonders how long can Irma be a Category 5 hurricane. Category 5 hurricanes do not last long.

The forecast model keep Irma as a Category 5 hurricane for another 48 hours. If Irma is a Category 5 hurricane for that long, it would be the longest lived Category 5 hurricane. It would be the longest since Ivan in 2004. It may even exceed Ivan and challenge Allen in 1980 or 1932 Cuba Hurricane. That is very telling! Most forecast models have Irma weakening into a Category 4 hurricane, which is still extremely dangerous. However, intensity forecast models are not that reliable. I think Irma could still be a Category 5 hurricane by tomorrow and towards Florida. Again, anything can change.

Antigua, Barbados, Guadeloupe, and St. Kitts Nevis are going to have a long night tonight. Howling winds, heavy rain, high waves, and deadly storm surge are going to be very violent. They could see 8 to 12 inches/20.3 to 30.5 centimeters of rain with amount as high as 20 inches/50.8 centimeters.

Here is what I think will happen.
-Irma will maintain and may get stronger.
-The next morning will be horrible for Antigua, Barbados, Guadeloupe, and St. Kitts Nevis.

The forecast models came from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance, National Hurricane Center, and Meteo-France. Special thanks to all of them.

Tropical Storm Franklin For 8/9/2017 1900 CDT

The first hurricane of the season, Franklin, is getting ever closer to Mexico. It looks to be that way.

Franklin is a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph 120 km/h 65 knots wind. It has gusts of 94 mph 150.4 km/h 82 knots. Further intensification is possible as shown in the forecast model. Two models keep Franklin as a hurricane despite being over the mountains of Mexico. I am not convinced that will happen as the mountains tend to weaken hurricanes.

I would not be surprised if Franklin becomes a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph 168 km/h 90 knots wind right before landfall as looks to be intensifying further. Franklin is an average sized hurricane. Tropical storm force winds extend up to 140 miles 224 km/h 122 nautical miles. Hurricane force winds extend up to 35 miles 56 km/h 30 nautical miles. from the eye.

Most areas in Mexico will see at most tropical storm force winds with hurricane force winds. Hurricane force winds should be most likely confined to the coast. Here is a probability map of hurricane force winds.

If Franklin makes landfall as a 85 mph 136 km/h 74 knots hurricane, the strongest wind possible is 72 mph 115 km/h 63 knots with gusts as high as 108 mph 173 km/h 94 knots. I determine this by multiplying the strongest winds by 0.85. Land reduces wind by 15 percent. However, due to friction, gusts are higher as I multiply sustained winds by 1.5.

My main concern is heavy rain from Franklin. Franklin is moving as 12 mph, which means it can dump about 8 inches (20.32 centimeters) of rain. Many areas are likely to see 4 to 10 inches (10.16 to 25.4 centimeters) of rain. Mountains areas could see as much as 20 inches (50.8 centimeters) of rain. This amount is certainly going to lead to flooding that can be deadly.

Tropical Storm Franklin For 8/8/2017 2200 CDT

Tropical Storm Franklin has exited the Yucatan Peninsula as a tropical storm. It is over the Gulf of Mexico as I type. It looks to be intensifying. The intensity and where it goes forecast models are always interesting and challenging. There are different outputs from different forecast models.

Most keep Franklin as a tropical storm. Three of them have Franklin becoming a Category 1 hurricane. The National Hurricane Center has Franklin as a hurricane in 24 hours. It would be the first hurricane of the season. I think Franklin will be a hurricane as it is over the Gulf of Mexico. I do not think Franklin will be a major hurricane. At most a strong Category 1 hurricane. The next question is where Franklin will make its next landfall.

Most of the forecast models have Franklin going into Mexico by tomorrow afternoon. One model has it going northwest towards Texas. That looks very unlikely at this point. The general consensus is Franklin is going to make landfall somewhere on Mexico’s Gulf Coast. Franklin is likely to make landfall somewhere on Mexico as a Category 1 hurricane. By tomorrow night, Franklin will be over the mountains of Mexico. Heavy rain will be the main problem as mountainous areas tend to draw more moisture from clouds.

Many areas could see 4 to 8 inches (10.16 to 20.32 centimeters) of rain. Some areas could see as much as 20 inches (50.8 centimeters) of rain, especially in mountainous areas. Looking at Franklin, I think it will be more of a rain and flood event.