Monsterous Michael Makes Landfall

History was made earlier today. Hurricane Michael made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph 135 knots 249 km/h. The highest wind on land is around 132 mph 115 knots 212 km/h with gusts as high as 198 mph 172 knots 319 km/h! It has a central pressure of 919 millibars and still intensifying! If it had been over water longer, it probably would of been a Category 5 hurricane. No doubt that Michael made history. Here is how Michael compares to past hurricanes.

Michael is the most intense Gulf Of Mexico hurricane since Rita (2005). Rita had a central pressure of 895 millibars with 180 mph 156 knots 290 km/h. Rita is the most intense Gulf Of Mexico hurricane recorded. There is no doubt there are stronger Gulf Of Mexico hurricanes that go unrecorded prior to the 19th century. Rita made landfall on the Texas and Louisiana border not before triggering a massive evacuation due to Katrina ravaging the Gulf Coast a month earlier. Michael is the most intense October Gulf Of Mexico hurricane since Opal (1995). Opal had a central pressure of 916 millibars and 150 mph 130 knots 241 km/h winds. Opal made landfall on Pensacola.

How does Michael stack up in terms of central pressure landfall for America and Atlantic Basin? Michael is the third most intense landfalling hurricane on America. Only the 1935 Labor Day and Camille have lower central pressures.

Rank Storm Landfall Pressure
1 Labor Day (1935) 892 mb
2 Camille (1969) 900 mb
3 Michael (2018) 919 mb
4 Katrina (2005)/Maria (2017) 920 mb
5 Andrew (1992) 922 mb
6 Indianola (1886) 925 mb
7 Guam (1900) 926 mb
8 Florida Keys (1919) 927 mb
9 Okeechobee (1928) 929 mb
10 Great Miami (1926)/Donna (1960) 930 mb

Michael has lower pressure than Katrina, Maria, and Andrew. Michael is the most intense Category 4 hurricane to make landfall on America. Katrina is the most intense Category 3 hurricane to make landfall on America. Katrina is much larger than Camille, Andrew, or Michael, which explains the low pressure and Category 3 winds. Texas’s most intense hurricane recorded is the 1886 Indianola Hurricane, which had a central pressure of 925 millibars. It is likely it had lower pressure. The 1900 Guam typhoon is the most intense typhoon recorded to hit Guam. It is very likely there have been more intense typhoons that hit Guam. Typhoons are often intense and often have lower pressure than the Atlantic. Category 5 typhoons happen every year. Let’s look at how Michael compares Atlantic Basin.

Rank Storm Landfall pressure
1 Labor Day (1935) 892 mb
2 Camille (1969)/Gilbert (1988) 900 mb
3 Dean (2007) 905 mb
4 Cuba (1924) 910 mb
5 Janet (1955)/Irma (2017) 914 mb
6 Cuba (1932) 918 mb
7 Michael (2018) 919 mb
8 Katrina 2005/Maria (2017) 920 mb
9 Bahamas (1932) 921 mb
10 Andrew (1992) 922 mb

Michael ranks seventh most intense basinwide hurricane landfall! The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane is still the most intense basinwide landfall. Camille (1969) and Gilbert (1988) tie as second most intense landfall basinwide. There is a unconfirmed report that the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane had pressure as low as 880 millibars! If that was true, it would be the most intense Atlantic hurricane, even surpassing Wilma!

Michael is one of the few Category 4 hurricanes to make landfall in October. Here is a list of hurricanes that made landfall on America in October.

1893 “Chenier Caminanda”
1898 Georgia Hurricane
1950 King
1954 Hazel

The last hurricane to make landfall on America as a Category 4 is Hazel in 1954. On top of it, Michael is a major hurricane over Georgia. The last time Georgia saw a major hurricane was in 1898! It is from the Georgia Hurricane.

History and statistics aside, we are going to be hearing and seeing a lot of destruction and likely more deaths from Michael. It could be a very costly hurricane for sure.

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Hurricane Florence Trudges Along

Hurricane Florence is moving slowly towards North Carolina. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is moving at northwest at 6 mph 5.2 knots 9.7 km/h. It has winds of 90 mph 78 knots 145 km/h with gusts as high as 113 mph 98 knots 182 km/h. That makes Florence a Category 1 hurricane. It is a large hurricane with hurricane force winds extending up to 80 miles 70 nautical miles 129 kilometers, while tropical storm force winds extend up to 195 miles 170 nautical miles 314 kilometers. A large hurricane is very dangerous as they can produce large storm surge and waves.

Looking at the wind swath map, the entire Coastal North Carolina and parts of South Carolina are experiencing tropical storm force winds. Some areas in Coastal North Carolina are seeing hurricane force winds. If Florence makes landfall with 90 mph winds, the highest wind on land is going to be 77 mph 67 knots 124 km/h with gusts as high as 116 mph 101 knots 187 km/h. Many areas will likely see 50 to 70 mph 44 to 61 knots 80 to 113 km/h with gusts as high as 75 to 105 mph 65 to 91 knots 121 to 169 km/h. The biggest question is where does Florence go ultimately.

It is the latest forecast track from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance for Florence. It is a heat map using points within 300 mile/480 kilometers radius. It is more circular, which suggests that Florence could linger for the next several days over land. That is going to be very bad as winds, storm surge, waves, and heavy rain are going to persist. Storm surge is getting much high as Florence gets closer. The Neuse River at Oriental, North Carolina gauge is setting high water of nearly 9 feet/2.7 meters!

It is only getting higher. I would not be surprised to see storm surge approaching 20 feet/6.1 meters or higher. Storm surge is very dangerous. That is why people evacuate from water and hide from the wind. To make matters worse, heavy rain is falling. Heavy rain leads to flooding, which kills like storm surge. It is very destructive. Case in point, Harvey. Let’s take a look at the rainfall total forecast. They are from EURO, GFS, Canadian, and German (ICON). The forecast models are from Weather.US. They are all seven day rainfall total forecast.

The forecast models have 29 to 38 inches/73.7 centimeters to 96.5 centimeters of rain. GFS has the lowest, while EURO has the highest. The NHC is forecasting 40 inches/101.6 centimeters of rain of rain. I would not be surprised if some areas see 50 inches/127 centimeters of rain. Some areas have gotten over 12 inches/30.5 centimeters of rain already! 50 inches does not sound so off.

Here is what I think will happen.
-Florence is making landfall somewhere in North Carolina.
-Landfall time is looking to be Friday morning.
-Strong winds, storm surge, and heavy rain will be the main problem from Florence.
-Main headline for Florence will likely be massive flooding.
-Record rainfall is likely with Florence.

It is going to be a long night for North Carolina with Florence. It is going to be one brutal hurricane for them.

Hurricane Ike 10 Years Later

Before Harvey flooded out Southeast Texas, there was Ike. It is hard to believe it has been 10 years since Hurricane Ike made landfall on Southeast Texas as a monsterous Category 2 hurricane in the early morning hours of September 13, 2008. Especially the fact this comes in light of Harvey. Ike pelted Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana with hurricane force winds and heavy rain. Ike was the last hurricane to hit Texas prior to Harvey. Almost a nine year gap of no hurricanes hitting Texas, let alone a major hurricane. The last major hurricane to hit Texas prior to Harvey was Bret in 1999, which is 18 years.

Thunderstorms over Sudan that later became Ike.

What is the origin of Hurricane Ike? Ike started as a mesoscale convective system (MCS) that formed over Sudan on August 19th. Most tropical waves come from thunderstorms that form in the Northeast part of Africa. They are set off by the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) or monsoon. The ITCZ is where there is thunderstorms from the clash of trade winds. These thunderstorms often provide beneficial rains in tropical and subtropical areas. The thunderstorms in ITCZ can break away and travel away. One of those thunderstorms from the ITCZ managed to do that. The MCS traveled over Africa and entered the Atlantic Ocean as a tropical wave on August 29th. The tropical wave traveled across with multiple vortices competing. One of them would win out as the thunderstorms in the tropical wave get better organized on September 1, 2008. It is upgraded to Tropical Depression #9. Later that day, it is named Ike as it travels over the open Atlantic. Tropical Storm Ike has to deal with wind shear in the upper level early in its life. The wind shear blows tops of thunderstorms, especially westerly wind shear. Since 2008 season is Neutral to La Nina, conditions are more favorable as there is less westerly wind shear. If 2008 was El Nino, there would be more westerly wind shear, which is why generally El Nino Atlantic Hurricane seasons see less storms. Wind shear generally kills tropical development. The higher the storm clouds are, the cooler it is. Higher storm clouds also mean they are more intense.

However, Ike gets a reprieve as the wind shear weakens and encounter warmer waters on September 3rd. This allows Ike to rapidly intensify into a major hurricane. By the next day, Ike becomes 2008’s strongest hurricane with 145 mph 126 knots 233 km/h winds and central pressure of 935 millibars. Ike’s strength did not last as it encountered wind shear on September 5th. The wind shear weaken Ike to Category 2 strength.

Hurricane Ike around its peak.

Ike is pushed southwards into more favorable areas due to upper level ridge to the north. Ike becomes a Category 4 hurricane as conditions are more favorable. As it goes westward, Ike made its first landfall on Turks and Caicos Islands as a Category 4 hurricane on the early morning hours of September 7th. The Turks and Caicos Islands are the first to feel Ike’s violent wrath in the form of strong winds, heavy rain, storm surge, and high waves. The South Caicos and Grand Turk take the brunt of Ike. Despite Ike’s fury, there are no reports of fatalities.

Damage in Grand Turk.

While Ike is ravaging the Turks and Caicos Islands, the outer bands of Ike are dumping heavy rain on Haiti and Dominican Republic, which have been ravaged by Fay, Gustav, and Hanna. The flooding from Ike claims 74 lives in Haiti and 2 in Dominican Republic. Prior to Ike, Tropical Storm Hanna ravaged Haiti and Dominican Republic with heavy rain that led to massive flooding. The flooding claims 529 lives in Haiti, while just one dies in Dominican Republic. Why did Haiti see more fatalities than Dominican Republic? The lack of trees in Haiti makes it even more vulnerable to mudslides from the mountains. The heavy rain causes deadly mudslides that destroys houses and kill people.

Stranded Cubans following Ike.

Once Ike passes Turks and Caicos Island, Ike heads for Cuba. The hurricane makes landfall on Cabo Lucrecia, Holguín Province, Cuba. Cuba is in a very rough ride with Ike as it traverses over the entire island nation. Cuba is being pelted by heavy rain, strong wind, high waves, and storm surge. Briefly, Ike goes over the water only to make a second landfall on Punta La Capitana, Pinar del Río, Cuba on September 8th as a Category 1 hurricane. Ike claims 7 lives in Cuba.

Ike near its secondary peak in Gulf of Mexico.

Once Ike exits Cuba, it is a large Category 1 hurricane. Ike traveling over all of Cuba caused the storm to expand as energy is spread out from land interaction. It also disrupted Ike’s core. Ike enters large area of warm water in the Gulf of Mexico and is getting close to the Loop Current, which is one of the warmest spot. Ike rapidly deepen from 963 to 944 millibars on the night of September 10th as it was over the Loop Current. However, the wind did not strengthen much, only from 80 to 100 mph 70 knots to 87 knots 128 km/h to 161 km/h. The reason is Ike is a very large hurricane with hurricane force winds extending up to 125 miles 109 nautical miles 201 kilometers from the eye. The pressure gradient is not tight due to its large size. Normally, an Atlantic hurricane with central pressure of 944 millibars is a Category 3 or 4 hurricane.

On September 11th, as America remembers and reflects the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, Southeast Texas is sunny and dry. The west side of a hurricane in the Northern Hemisphere is usually the “clean” side. It blows in dry and sinking air from the north. The nice sunny day is very deceptive as Ike is ever inching closer. Meanwhile in the Gulf of Mexico, Ike is generating massive waves that are heading towards the Texas and Louisiana. Ike continues across the Gulf of Mexico as a large Category 2 hurricane. Waves are coming ahead of Ike in coastal Texas. People are evacuating from coastal areas including Galveston. Some choose to stay behind. The outer cloud banks of Ike are over Southeast Texas as winds start to pick up. By the afternoon of September 12th, some coastal areas are getting squally weather from the feeder bands entering Texas.

By the night of September 12th, conditions have gotten much worse. Meanwhile in Houston area, it is still windy with occasionally light rain. As the night progresses, Ike is getting closer to landfall. The hurricane force winds enter Texas around the late hours of September 12th. Ike is getting stronger and developing a more organized eyewall. Ike now has a central pressure of 951 millibars and 110 mph 96 knots 177 km/h winds. Ike is a large hurricane with hurricane force winds extending up to 125 miles and tropical storm force winds extending up to 260 miles 226 nautical miles 418 kilometers.

Ike at landfall on Southeast Texas.

Highest wind gust possible based on multiplying by factor of 1.5.

By the early morning hours of September 13th, Houston area is seeing stronger winds and heavier rain. Power starts to go out throughout Southeast Texas as power lines are being knocked by the strong wind. The coastal areas are seeing storm surge getting higher and higher. Anyone who stayed behind in Galveston or Bolivar Peninsula are doomed by the massive storm surge. Ike makes landfall on the eastern end of Galveston Island at 2:10 AM Central Time. People who are staying behind in the coastal areas are wishing they had evacuated as they are surrounded by rising storm surge. Ike travels to the northwest towards Houston. By 4:00 AM, Ike is over Baytown, which is flooded by storm surge. A large area of Southeast Texas is getting hurricane force winds including all of Houston.

Highest sustained winds during Hurricane Ike.

Bolivar Peninsula following Ike.

By the time the Sun rises, Ike is still ravaging Southeast Texas despite the fact it has weakened to Category 1 hurricane. Ike remains a monsterous and very dangerous hurricane. Many areas are still seeing heavy rain and strong winds. The wind blow down numerous trees and damage many buildings and houses. There is widespread flooding reported throughout Southeast Texas. Bayous and rivers are overflowing from widespread heavy rain. Coastal areas had storm surge as high as 25 feet/7.6 meters. It is one of the highest storm surge recorded in America and highest in Texas. It exceeds Camille, but below Katrina. Bolivar Peninsula saw the highest storm surge as the whole area looked like if a nuclear bomb had exploded. Once it is all over, many buildings and houses are damaged or destroyed, while many trees are uprooted. Coastal areas are utterly gutted from the massive storm surge. Millions of people are out of power for days. A large area saw 6 to 12 inches/15.2 to 30.5 centimeters of rain from Ike.

The damage is not just limited to Texas. Louisiana also felt the brunt of Ike, especially in Southwestern Louisiana. It is the same area that had been ravaged by Hurricane Rita in 2005. Many areas are flooded by Ike. There is even flooding in New Iberia, which is in Central Louisiana. It shows that Ike’s massive size had a huge impact over a large area from Texas to Louisiana. This is despite the fact that they only got tropical storm force winds. It shows that large, but not so strong hurricane is very dangerous as it produces massive storm surge and high waves.

Thunderstorms ahead of a cold front in the early morning hours of September 14, 2008.

The following night, a cold front passes, which allows thunderstorms to form from moisture left by Ike. The storms dumped 5 to 8 inches/12.7 to 20.3 centimeters of rain. The heavy rain causes more flooding on top of what Ike dumped in Southeast Texas. Once the rain ended, many areas saw a two day total ranging from 10 to 20 inches/25.4 to 50.8 centimeters of rain. Meanwhile, the remnants of Ike continue to wreak havoc in the Midwest. Ohio see hurricane force gusts, which causes more power outages. The remains of Ike continue into Canada and dump heavy rain in Ontario and Quebec. A total of 112 people lost their life with 34 unaccounted for in America. Most of the deaths are in Texas, where 84 people died.

Rainfall total from September 12, 2008 to September 15, 2008.

So, how was 2008 like prior to Ike. The winter of 2007-2008 is La Nina, so it is warmer and drier. Despite the La Nina, there are storms. Spring of 2008 is mostly dry. There were days of pleasant weather in Spring 2008. Summer of 2008 is average in terms of temperature and rainfall. Texas first brush with a hurricane is Dolly, which affected South Texas. The outer bands of Dolly dump heavy rain in the Houston area. Not too long after Dolly came, Tropical Storm Edouard pays a visit to Houston area. It is a rather unremarkable tropical storm that dumps up to 6 inches of rain. Edouard moves inland and gives beneficial rains to drought ridden Central Texas.

NHC Hurricane Ike Report
NHC Hurricane Ike Advisory Report
Morphed Integrated Microwave Imagery at CIMSS (MIMIC)

Furious Florence And Future Joyce?

The tropics are heating up and it is very concerning. Before I look at the tropics, let’s take a moment to reflect what happened on this day. Seventeen years ago today, America was attacked on September 11, 2001. Four airplanes hijacked by Al-Qaeda terrorists flew them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. A fourth hijacked airplane crashed near Shanksville. Nearly 3,000 people were killed on that tragic day. Many more have become ill and some have died from toxic dust and smoke exposure from the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Currently, there is Florence and Invest 95L, which maybe Joyce. Florence has 140 mph 122 knots 225 km/h winds with gusts as high as 175 mph 152 knots 282 km/h. It has central pressure of 946 millibars. Florence is a large hurricane and getting larger. It has hurricane force winds extending up to 60 miles 52 nautical miles 97 kilometers and tropical storm force winds extending up to 175 miles 152 nautical miles 282 kilometers. I would not be surprised if Florence is a large hurricane as it gets closer to the US. Hurricane that go further north, tend to get larger.

Here is the latest forecast track from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance. It is a heat map using points within 300 mile/480 kilometers radius.

For Florence, it is looking more likely to hit either North Carolina or South Carolina. One forecast model has Florence going back to the Atlantic. It is looking more and more that Florence is going to hit North Carolina or South Carolina. The circular pattern over North Carolina is concerning because Florence may stall out. That means that heavy rain and flooding is more likely for North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. The most concerning part is that near the center at night. There could core rain near the center of the low pressure. Core rains dump very heavy rain over a short time at night. Examples of core rain are 1921 Thrall Flood, Camille (1969), Claudette (1979), and Allison (2001).

For Invest 95L, it is looking to hit Texas sometimes this week. One forecast model has it going to Louisiana. It is rather early to tell as it has not developed yet. Regardless if 95L develops or not, heavy rain will be the main problem for Texas. Texas has been getting heavy rain lately, especially along the Upper Texas Coast. The next question is how strong will Florence and 95L be.

Most intensity forecast models keep Florence as a Category 4 hurricane. One has Florence as a Category 5 hurricane. I would not be surprised if Florence becomes a Category 5 hurricane. Most intensity forecast keep Florence as a major hurricane up to landfall.

As for Invest 95L, most forecast models have it intensifying into a tropical storm, especially within a couple of days from now. Since 95L is forecasted to go over the Gulf Of Mexico, I would not be surprised if it becomes a hurricane. Texas has seen tropical storms rapidly intensify into hurricanes like the Freeport Hurricane (1932), Humberto (2007), and Harvey (2017). I am not suggest 95L will become a hurricane, but just pointing out hurricane history is not too kind to Texas.

Rainfall is another concern. They are from EURO, GFS, Canadian, and German (ICON). The forecast models are from Weather.US. They are all seven day rainfall total forecast.

The EURO has 45 inches/114.3 centimeters of rain. The GFS has 62 inches/157.5 centimeters of rain! It is lower, but still very high! North Carolina has 15 to 25 inches/38.1 centimeters to 63.5 centimeters of rain, which is still heavy. The Canadian has 25 inches/63.5 centimeters of rain. Like the GFS, it is over the ocean. The ICON has 41 inches/104.4 centimeters of rain. The trend with these forecast models is heavier. The EURO have heaviest rain along the coast. The GFS has the heaviest rain offshore with heaviest over land in Coastal South Carolina and North Carolina. The Canadian has the heaviest rain over North Carolina and Virginia. The ICON has the heaviest rain along Coastal North Carolina and Virginia. The heavy rain is very concerning and can lead to massive flooding similar to Harvey.

Invest 95L rainfall forecast is all over the place. The EURO has over 9 inches/22.9 centimeters of rain northeast of Corpus Christi. The GFS has 5 inches/12.7 centimeters south of Houston. The Canadian has nearly 7 inches/17.8 centimeters of rain along the Central Coast of Texas. The ICON has over 11 inches/27.9 centimeters of rain south of Houston. The rainfall forecast is all over the place for 95L. When 95L gets closer, the forecast model should be more confident on rainfall amount and where it may fall.

Here is what I think will happen.
-Florence could intensify into a Category 5 hurricane.
-Florence is looking to affect North Carolina the most.
-Strong winds, storm surge, and heavy rain will be the main problem from Florence.
-Invest 95L is likely to become Joyce later this week.
-Texas could see more heavy rain and possibly flooding from Invest 95L or Joyce.

April 2018 Hurricane Season Forecast

Many areas are still reeling from Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Many people lost their properties and are rebuilding. Some lost their life. Hurricane Season is coming as it starts on June 1, 2018.

Colorado State University
14/7/3 ACE: 130

Joe Bastardi (Weather Bell)
11 to 15 Storms/5 to 7 Hurricanes/1 to 3 Major Hurricanes ACE: 90 to 110

Tropical Storm Risk
12/6/2 ACE: 84

Accuweather
12 to 15 Storms/6 to 8 Hurricanes/3 to 5 Major Hurricanes

The Weather Channel
13/7/2

The analog years I am using are in which previous winter is a weak to moderate La Nina. The forecast is uncertain with El Nino or Neutral.

Based on this, the analog years are 1891, 1945, 1963, 1989, 1996, 2001, 2006, and 2012. They are coming off of a La Nina. Of course, there are other factors in play besides El Nino. I look at Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Northeast Pacific Warm Pool (NEPWP), Equatorial Indian Ocean (EIO), Tropical South Atlantic (TSAI), Southern Ocean/Roaring Forties, Atlantic Main Development Region (MDR), and Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). The IOD is based on Australian Bureau of Meteorology forecast.

Analog Years For 2018 (TS/H/MH ACE ACE/Storm)
1891 10/7/1 116 11.6
1945 11/5/2 63 5.7
1963 9/7/2 118 13.1
1989 11/7/2 135 12.3
1996 13/9/6 166 12.8
2001 15/9/4 110 7.3
2006 10/5/2 79 7.9
2012 19/10/2 129 6.8

What affect did those analog seasons have? Let’s start with 1891. Hurricane #1 hit Galveston after intensifying into Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds on July 6, 1891. Galveston was flooded from storm surge. It spawned tornadoes in Baton Rouge, which hit a prison, killing 10 people. There is also Hurricane #3 better known as as the Martinique Hurricane was the only major hurricane for the 1891 season. It intensified into a Category 3 hurricane later that day and hit Martinique. There were reports of lightning, which suggests the hurricane was intensifying. Martinique was leveled by strong winds and power waves. Once the hurricane passed, at least 700 people died from the hurricane. Some put the death toll as high as 1,000. The hurricane traverses and makes landfall on Dominican Republic as a Category 2 hurricane. Than it goes northward towards Grand Turk of the Turks and Caicos Islands. The hurricane goes over Bahamas and makes landfall on South Florida as a Category 1 hurricane.

1945 had two major hurricanes hit the US. There is Hurricane #5 or 1945 Texas Hurricane. It made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane over Port Aransas on August 27, 1945. It was a slow moving hurricane as it moved slowly across Texas pelting with strong winds, storm surge, and heavy rain. Some areas saw storm surge as high as 15 feet. The moisture swath could be felt as far as Tampa Bay. The slow movement caused rainfall amounts of 20 inches with amounts likely over 30 inches. The hurricane claimed 3 lives and caused $20 million in damages. Hurricane #9 or 1945 Homestead hurricane is the most intense hurricane to strike Florida since the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane. It was a rather small hurricane. It went over Bahamas and Grand Turk Island as it intensifies. It made landfall on Key Largo as a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mph winds. It emerges out of Florida and makes landfall between Georgia and South Carolina as a tropical storm with 70 mph winds. A total of 26 people died, including 22 in Bahamas and Grand Turk Island. Four died in the US.

1963 was a devastating season. Hurricane Cindy developed in the Gulf of Mexico. It made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane on High Island on September 17, 1963. It stalls over Southeast Texas and dumps heavy rain in amounts of of nearly 24 inches measured. It is certainly possible higher rainfall amounts fell in East Texas. Cindy claimed 3 lives. Hurricane Flora is a large Category 4 hurricane. It was a Cape Verde Hurricane. Once it approached Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Cuba, it stalls out. Flora dumps extremely heavy rain, especially in mountainous areas. In a six day period, some areas see over 100 inches of rain in Cuba, with likely higher amounts. Flora is the wettest known Atlantic tropical cyclone. 8,000 people died from massive flooding from Flora. Flora ranks as one of the deadliest Atlantic hurricanes besides 1780 Hurricane, 1900 Galveston, Mitch (1998), and Fifi (1974).

1989 was an active season. Tropical Storm Allison, which formed from remnant of East Pacific Hurricane Cosme. Allison paid a visit to the Upper Texas Coast on June 27, 1989 with 50 mph wind. Many areas saw 10 to 20 inches with the highest being 30 inches. Eleven people lost their life in Texas Louisiana, and Mississippi. Hurricane Chantal and made landfall on High Island, Texas on August 1, 1989 as a Category 1 hurricane. Chantal produced three feet storm surge at Galveston. An area from Southern Harris County, Fort Bend, and Galveston County saw 8 to 12 inches of rain with amounts as high as 20 inches in Friendswood. Thirteen people die, including 11 offshore. Hurricane Hugo is the most intense hurricane of 1989, which peaked at 160 mph and central pressure of 918 millibars. Hugo first ravages the Caribbean as a monster hurricane. It flattens almost every building in Guadeloupe, Montserrat, St. Croix, and Puerto Rico. Hugo makes landfall as a Category 4 hurricane. Hugo produces monster storm surge in the Charleston area due to its large size. 35 people lost their life in America. Hurricane Jerry is the second hurricane to hit the Upper Texas Coast in 1989. Jerry makes landfall on Jamaica Beach. Galveston sees 75 mph winds with gusts as high as 100 mph. The storm surge destroys a section of State Highway 87. Houston does not feel much impact from Jerry due to it small size. Three people died from Jerry all in Galveston as they were driving on the Galveston Sea Wall.

1996 had many major hurricanes form, more so than 1995. Hurricane Bertha made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane on North Carolina on July 12, 1996. It peaked as a Category 3 hurricane near Puerto Rico. Bertha traversed across the Eastern Seaboard with heavy rain and strong winds. Bertha claimed 12 lives. Hurricane Cesar made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane on Bluefields, Nicaragua on July 27, 1996. It dumped heavy rain over Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. A total of 142 people, which includes 29 missing, mostly in Central America. Cesar crosses into the Pacific and becomes Douglas, which a rare crossover. Douglas is a power Category 4 hurricane. Hurricane Fran formed on August 23, 1996 as a Cape Verde Hurricane. It developed with Hurricane Edouard to the east. Fran becomes a Category 3 hurricane off the Bahamas and is a large hurricane. It made landfall on September 5, 1996 near Cape Fear, North Carolina as a Category 3 hurricane. Fran ravaged the Carolinas with strong winds, storm surge, and heavy rain. It moved northward towards Virginia as it is weakening. Fran becomes more of a rain event as winds are diminishing. Once Fran is gone, a total of 27 lives are lost. Hurricane Hortense formed on September 3, 1996. It was slow to develop and first strikes Guadeloupe as a tropical storm on September 8, 1996. It becomes a hurricane on September 9, 1996. Not too long after Hortense made landfall around Guánica, Puerto Rico as a Category 1 hurricane. It emerges and hits the eastern tip of Dominican Republic. As Hortense moves northward it becomes a Category 4 hurricane and makes its final landfall on West Quoddy, Nova Scotia as a Category 1 hurricane. Hortense dumped flooding rains in Puerto Rico. Hortense claimed a total of 39 lives. Hurricane Lili was a long lived hurricane that formed on October 14, 1996. It ravages Central America, Cuba, Bahamas, and United Kingdom. It made landfall on Matanzas Province, Cuba as a Category 2 hurricane on October 18, 1996. Than heads towards Bahamas where it goes over San Salvador Island and Great Exuma on October 19, 1996. Lili becomes a Category 3 hurricane. Than Lili hits United Kingdom as a strong extratropical storm. Once it is all over, 22 lives, mostly in Central America.

2001 started with Tropical Storm Allison. It made landfall on June 5, 2001 near Freeport, Texas. It lingered over Texas dumped heavy rain. On the early morning of June 7, 2001, heavy rain fell in Beaumon and Sugar Land, Texas. Up to 15 inches of rain fell along feeder band. Louisiana got heavy rain from the large circulation of Allison. Than on the evening of June 8, 2001, thunderstorms form near the center of Allison. Than they all converge over Houston dumping heavy rain for nearly 12 hours. Once it is all over, up to 28 inches fell! A total of 40 inches fell from June 5 to 10 near Beaumont, Texas. Thibodaux, Louisiana got nearly 30 inches of rain. The heavy rain led to severe flooding in Houston area, the worst prior to Harvey. Allison traversed across the Southeastern and Northeastern US dumping heavy rain. Hurricane Gabrielle formed on September 11, 2001, the day America was attacked in New York, Arlington, and Shanksville. It made landfall on September 14, 2001 near Venice, Florida as America was mourning the victims of horrifying terrorist attack. Hurricane Iris was a powerful October hurricane. Iris traveled the Caribbean and rapidly intensified into a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds. On October 8, 2001, Iris makes landfall on Monkey River Town, Toledo, Belize. A 70 mile area is ravaged by strong winds and storm surge. The hurricane claimed 23 lives in Belize and 36 lives including Guatemala, Dominican Republic, and Mexico. Later in the month, Hurricane Michelle forms. Michelle formed near Nicaragua on October 29, 2001 and moved inland near Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. It lingered over Nicaragua and Honduras for more than a day dumping heavy rain. 98 people died in Nicaragua and Honduras from deadly flooding, which happened three years to the day Hurricane Mitch ravaged Central America with epic rainfall and flooding. Michelle exits Central America into the Caribbean. It undergoes rapid intensification into a Category 4 hurricane. Michelle makes landfall first on Cayo Largo del Sur, Cuba on November 4, 2001. It moves into Bay of Pigs. Cuba is ravaged by strong winds, waves, storm surge, and heavy rain. Five people died in Cuba from Michelle. Michelle moves northward towards Bahamas on November 5, 2001 and becomes an extratropical storm due to interaction with a cold front.

2006 was predicted to be just as active as 2005. Turned out to be an average season due to a developing El Nino and dry Saharan Desert air blowing over the Atlantic. Tropical Storm Alberto landfall on Florida on June 13, 2006 with 45 mph winds. Many areas in the Southeastern US, Grand Cayman, and Cuba have heavy rain. Two people died in Florida, and one died in North Carolina. Four sailors off the coast of Newfoundland Canada went missing when Alberto is an extratropical storm. Hurricane Ernesto formed west of Grenada on August 24, 2006. It becomes a hurricane southwest of Haiti on August 27, 2006 with 75 mph winds. Ernesto weakens as it interacts with the mountains of Haiti and Dominican Republic. Ernesto makes landfall on Cuba. Ernesto and Florida. Ernesto traverses over Florida be emerging over the Atlantic, which intensifies to 70 mph and possibly a Category 1 hurricane. Ernesto makes landfall on Oak Island, North Carolina on August 31, 2006. Five people died in Haiti, while two died in Virginia when Ernesto is an extratropical storm.

2012 proved to be an active season. Hurricane Isaac was a large Category 1 hurricane that hit New Orleans area and Mississippi. It moved slowly as it dumped heavy rain and produced high storm surge. A large area saw at least 10 inches of rain. The hurricane tested the newly improved levee and flood control system that was ravaged by Katrina in 2005. Hurricane Sandy is the most intense hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season. It is best known as Superstorm Sandy, when it was a very large hurricane/extratropical storm hybrid as it had tropical storm force winds diameter of 1,150 miles! Before it became the superstorm, it hit near Kingston, Jamaica as a Category 2 hurricane on October 24, 2012 and Santiago de Cuba, Cuba as a Category 3 hurricane on October 25, 2012. As it went towards the Atlantic, Sandy got larger as it showed more of an extratropical storm like appearance with a warm core. Than Sandy made landfall as a large extratropical storm with Category 1 winds on Brigantine, New Jersey on October 29, 2012. Sandy set numerous records from lowest air pressure to high storm surge. Battery Park, New York had nearly 14 feet storm surge. Sandy is the most hurricane to make landfall northeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. It also dumped heavy rain mainly over Maryland and Delaware of nearly 13 inches of rain. Sandy claimed a total of 233 lives and did $68.7 billion in damages. Sandy was the second costliest hurricane prior to Harvey and Maria.

Here is a heat map of analog seasons. It is based on 300 mile radius from the storms.

The heat map has Upper Texas Coast, Southeast Georgia, Carolinas, and Windward Islands. However, when you look at the whole basin, everyone is at risk for landfall. I never make landfall predictions. Everyone is at equal risk for landfall.

Analog
Mean
12.25/7.38/2.63
12/7/3 (Rounded Up)

Median
11/7/2

Standard Deviation
3.33/1.85/1.60

ACE
Mean
114.50

Median
117

Standard Deviation
32.14

ACE/Storm
Mean
9.69

Median
9.75

Standard Deviation
3.03

How do analog seasons compare as a whole. Statistics from 1870 to 2017.

Mean
9.91/5.53/2.07
10/6/2

Median
9.5/5/2
10/5/2

Standard Deviation
4.24/2.63/1.69

ACE
Mean
93.09

Median
83.5

Standard Deviation
54.66

ACE/Storm
Mean
9.41

Median
8.68

Standard Deviation
4.04

The analog seasons are within standard deviation, which indicates this upcoming hurricane season is going to be within average.

What is my prediction for this season?
11 to 16 named storms, likely 13 named storms
4 to 10 hurricanes, likely 7 hurricanes
1 to 4 major hurricanes with 3 major hurricanes
ACE is 80 to 140 with ACE likely of 100 to 125

Let’s see how my April 2017 hurricane forecast compare to the actual 2017 season.

6 to 12 named storms, likely 10 named storms
3 to 8 hurricanes, likely 6 hurricanes
1 to 3 major hurricanes with 2 major hurricanes
ACE is 65 to 110 with ACE likely of 70 to 100

Colorado State University
11/4/2 ACE: 75

Joe Bastardi (Weather Bell)
10 to 12 Storms/4 to 6 Hurricanes/1 to 2 Major Hurricanes ACE: 75 to 95

Tropical Storm Risk
11/4/2 ACE: 67

Accuweather
10/5/3

The Weather Channel
12/6/2

2017 Actual Number
17 Named Storms
10 Hurricanes
6 Major Hurricanes
224 ACE

Many including myself severely underforecasted the 2017 season, which turned out to be active and brutal. The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season was overforecasted as it turned out to be a quiet season. There is always room for improvement.

Regardless of forecast, I think 2018 could be an interesting hurricane season. It is the same Atlantic name list used in the 2012 season, which produced Isaac and Sandy. Sandy is retired due to devastating effects on the Eastern Seaboard and Cuba.

Puerto Rico In Trouble

Hurricane Maria is a very dangerous Category 5 hurricane with 175 mph 280 km/h 152 knots. It has a central pressure of 909 millibars (mb). This is more intense than Hurricane Irma in terms of central pressure. Maria is now the top 10 most intense Atlantic hurricane known. I mean known as records go back to 1851.

Top 10 Most Intense Hurricane By Central Pressure
1.) Wilma 2005 882 mb
2.) Gilbert 1988 888mb
3.) Labor Day 1935 892 mb
4.) Rita 2005 895 mb
5.) Allen 1980 899 mb
6.) Camille 1969 900 mb
7.) Katrina 2005 902 mb
8.) Mitch 1998/Dean 2007 905 mb
9.) Maria 2017 909 mb
10.) Cuba 1932/Ivan 2004 910 mb

Wilma is the most intense hurricane to date. It ravaged Yucatan Peninsula and Florida. Gilbert and Rita caused a huge scare for Texas. Gilbert hit Jamaica, Yucatan Peninsula, and Mexico’s Gulf Coast. Rita hit east of Houston area in East Texas and Southwest Louisiana. Labor Day 1935 Hurricane likely had low central pressure. Allen made landfall on South Texas. Camille and Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast in the same area. Katrina was larger as it produced higher storm surge in Mississippi and flooded out New Orleans. Mitch killed 22,000 from heavy rain and massive flooding in Central America. Mitch is the deadliest hurricane after the Great Hurricane of 1780, which claimed 30,000 lives. Dean hit Yucatan Peninsula and Mexico. Cuba 1932 is Cuba’s deadliest hurricane to this day. Ivan ravaged the the Caribbean before making landfall on Alabama and Florida. Ivan came back again and made landfall as a tropical storm on Texas/Louisiana border. That being said, Maria is getting ever so closer to St. Croix and Puerto Rico.

Doppler radar image out of Puerto Rico shows a formidable Hurricane Maria. Not often we see a Category 5 hurricane on ground based Doppler radar. It has a near prefect circular eye. The infrared satellite image of Hurricane Maria is very impressive and scary. It is going to be a rough night for St. Croix.

St. Croix is experiencing tropical storm force winds. Hurricane force winds should be later tonight for St.Croix. Puerto Rico should feel tropical storm force winds later tonight. Hurricane force wind comes early tomorrow morning. Hurricane force winds are up to 104 miles 166 km 90 nautical miles across from northwest to northeast quadrant. Tropical storm force winds are are up to 276 miles 442 km 240 nautical miles across from northwest to northeast quadrant. It has gotten larger from yesterday. The speed Maria is moving at, 10 mph 16 km/h 8.7 knots, tropical storm force winds could last up to nearly 28 hours, while hurricane force winds could last up to 10 hours. This prolonged wind could do a lot of damage for Puerto Rico and St. Croix.

Here is the heat map forecast from various forecast models and GFS ensemble track guidance for Maria up close with Puerto Rico.

It does not look good for Puerto Rico. Most of the forecast models have Maria making landfall and going over Puerto Rico. The intensity as it is is very concerning. I would not be surprised if Maria intensifies further right before it gets close to Puerto Rico later tonight. This is a very bad for Puerto Rico. If Hurricane Maria makes landfall as a Category 5 on Puerto Rico, it will be the first since 1928, the Okeechobee Hurricane. On September 13, 1928, the Okeechobee Hurricane made landfall on Puerto Rico as a Category 5 hurricane with 160 mph 256 km/h 139 knots. The gusts are as high as 240 mph 384 km/h 209 knots. It had a central pressure of 929 millibars. It was very likely the central pressure was lower and stronger. The hurricane was large as it ravaged Puerto Rico. The hurricane claimed 312 lives in Puerto Rico, while 1,200 lives were lost at Guadeloupe. The Okeechobee Hurricane made landfall near West Palm Beach as a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph 232 km/h 126 knots on September 17, 1928. The highest wind on land would be around 123 mph 200 km/h 107 knots with gusts as high as 185 mph 296 km/h 161 knots. The hurricane stayed over Florida and claimed at least 2,500 lives and likely more. The Okeechobee Hurricane claimed more than 4,000 lives. The death toll is likely much higher. It is America’s deadliest hurricane since 1900 Galveston Hurricane that claimed 12,000 lives. In fact, Okeechobee Hurricane is the deadliest American disaster prior to 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.

Once Maria passes Puerto Rico, where does it go?. This is the latest heat map from various forecast models and GFS ensemble track guidance for Maria. The GFS goes up to 10 days.

The forecast models have a westward trend from 24 hours ago. Dominican Republic and Bahamas could feel the impact of Maria. There is also a possibility that Maria could affect North Carolina and the Eastern Seaboard. That would be too early to tell at this time. This is on top of how strong Maria will be.

Most of the forecast models have Maria weakening after it passes Puerto Rico. One model has Maria intensifying back to a Category 5 hurricane in three days. Intensity forecast are notoriously difficult to forecast. All the forecast models are subject to change.

Here is what I think will happen.
-Maria could pose a major threat to Puerto Rico.
-Maria will likely impact Dominican Republic.

This is going to be very bad for Puerto Rico and St. Croix. I fear the damage will be epic and the death toll could be high. This comes at a bad time as Puerto Rico is mired in a serious financial crisis. This could make recovery difficult for Puerto Rico. I cannot imagine what it will be like during Hurricane Maria.

The forecast models came from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance, NOAA Tropical Cyclone Imagery – Storm Floaters, National Hurricane Center, and National Weather Service. Special thanks to all of them.

Double Trouble!

The Natonal Hurricane Center (NHC) has confirmed that Hurricane Maria made landfall as a formidable Category 5 hurricane with 160 mph 256 km/h 139 knots wind. Gusts can go as high as 240 mph 384 km/h 209 knots! It has a central pressure 924 millibars. Maria is the second Category 5 hurricane of 2017 for the Atlantic. The last time there were more than one Category 5 hurricane was in 2007 with Dean and Felix. 2005 had four Category 5 hurricanes; Emily, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. This is going to be a very long night for the people of Dominica. I cannot imagine what it is like to be under a Category 5 monster. Strong and howling winds and buildings getting destroyed.

The hurricane force winds is going to engulf most if not all of Dominica.

Hurricane force winds are up to 58 miles 93 km 50 nautical miles across from northwest to northeast quadrant. It is moving at 9 mph 14 km/h 7.8 knots, which means they will have to endure hurricane force winds for about 6 hours! That is a very prolonged, which increases chance for great carnage in Dominica. At that speed, Hurricane Maria will dump between 8 to 12 inches/20.3 to 30.5 centimeters of rain. Some areas could see as much as 20 inches/50.8 centimeters of rain.

The big question is where the Maria go after ravaging Dominica. This is the latest heat map from various forecast models and GFS ensemble track guidance for Maria. The GFS goes up to 10 days.

Once Maria passes Dominica, Maria may go over St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Those areas have been ravaged by Hurricane Irma. They do not need another monster hurricane ravaging them again. Some of the forecast models put it over Puerto Rico sometimes by this Wednesday. If Maria goes over Puerto Rico, it would be a very bad disaster for the island, which is mired in a financial crisis. That will make things much worse than it is. After Puerto Rico, most forecast models have Maria going northwestward. Some have it going to the Bahamas. At this point, Maria should not be a threat to the Gulf of Mexico. That can change of course. Not something we need after Harvey and Irma. The next question is how strong will Maria be.

Most forecast models show Maria weakening to Category 4 within 36 hours. Intensity forecast is notoriously difficult. It is possible Maria could be a Category 5 hurricane by the time it hits Puerto Rico. That will make things much worse as it is. Most forecast model a weakening trend as it turns northwest. The waters north of Puerto Rico are cooler due to Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Irma became a Category 5 in warm waters, not the warmest. The warmest waters are in the Western Caribbean between Cuba, Central America, and Yucatan Peninsula. If Maria went over that water, it would probably be more intense than Wilma in 2005.

Another hurricane I am watching is Jose. It is off the Eastern Seaboard of America. Where it goes is rather complicated. This also complicates on where Hurricane Maria ultimately goes. This is the latest heat map from various forecast models and GFS ensemble track guidance for Jose. The GFS goes up to 10 days.

The forecast models are all over where Hurricane Jose goes. Looks like Jose is likely to linger over the Atlantic. Some have it going towards Florida or New Jersey. The heat map suggests this is a low confidence forecast. Since Jose is at a more northern latitude away from the tropics, it has gotten larger as energy is spread out more.

Hurricane force winds are up to 115 miles 184 km 100 nautical miles across from northwest to northeast quadrant. There is no hurricane force winds on the southern half of Jose. Tropical storm force winds are up to 449 miles 718 km 390 nautical miles from northeast to southeast quadrant. This a lop sided hurricane. Here is the most recent intensity forecast for Jose.

Most forecast models have Jose weakening into a tropical storm in the next five days. Jose will likely become extratropical in the several days. Hurricane Jose does not look like a hurricane from satellite.

Looks more like an extratropical storm than a hurricane to me.

Here is what I think will happen.
-Maria could pose a major threat to Puerto Rico.
-Jose is likely to linger over the Atlantic.

The forecast models came from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance, NOAA Tropical Cyclone Imagery – Storm Floaters, National Hurricane Center, Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential, and Meteo-France. Special thanks to all of them.