April 2017 Hurricane Season Forecast

It is almost this time of year. Hurricane Season is coming as it starts on June 1, 2017. Last year was quite an active hurricane season with Matthew, Nicole and Otto. Tropical Storm Arlene formed in the Northeast Atlantic.

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

The analog years I am using are in which previous winter is La Nina or Neutral and second year after El Nino. The forecast is uncertain is El Nino will develop later in 2017 despite the water showing warming in the Equatorial Pacific, especially off the coast of South America.

2017
2015-2016 El Nino
2016-2017 La Nina
2017/2017-2018 El Nino/Neutral?

Based on this, the analog years are 1901, 1913, 1972, 1989, 2004, 2006, and 2009. They happened two years after El Nino and came 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, and Atlantic Main Development Region (MDR).

Analog Years For 2017 (TS/H/MH ACE ACE/Storm)
1901 13/6/0 99 7.6
1972 7/3/0 36 5.1
1989 11/7/2 135 12.3
2004 15/9/6 227 15.1
2006 10/5/2 79 7.9
2009 9/3/2 53 5.9

So, what affect did those analog seasons have?
1901
Tropical Storm #2 made landfall on Matagorda, Texas on July 10, 1901 with 50 mph winds. This comes 10 months after the devastating Galveston Hurricane on September 8-9, 1900, which claimed 12,000 lives.

Hurricane #4 is known as the 1901 Louisiana Hurricane. The hurricane formed southwest of Azores on August 2, 1901. It traversed the Atlantic before making landfall on Florida on August 11, 1901. It emerges into the Gulf of Mexico and intensifies into a Category 1 hurricane due to the Loop Current on August 12, 1901. The hurricane makes landfall on Buras, Louisiana as a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph wind and that makes a second landfall on Ocean Springs, Mississippi on August 15, 1901. Buras reports 4 feet of water, while New Orleans sees the Mississippi River rise by 7 feet. Up to 15 people are known to have died and inflicted $1 million of damages.

1972
1972 was a largely quiet season, but will be most remembered for Hurricane Agnes. It was a hurricane of non-tropical origin that formed over Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico on June 14, 1972. The tropical depression exits Yucatan into the Yucatan Channel. Agnes brushes Western Cuba as it heads towards Gulf of Mexico. Agnes becomes a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds on June 18, 1972 as it is moving northwards towards Florida. Agnes weakens slightly as it makes landfall on Cape San Blas, Florida as a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph, but likely a tropical storm as there was no sustained hurricane force winds reported. Agnes produced 7 foot storm surge and heavy rain in Florida. There is also a tornado outbreak in Florida from Agnes, which claimed 7 lives. A total of 9 people died in Florida from Agnes. Agnes is responsible for the deadliest tornado outbreak from a tropical cyclone. Agnes continues to weaken as it moves further inland. Agnes goes over the Atlantic on June 22, 1972 as a tropical storm, which developed over North Carolina. Agnes intensifies into a 70 mph tropical storm and makes landfall in Suffolk County east of New York City on June 22, 1972 with 65 mph winds. Once inland, Agnes becomes an extratropical storm. From there, Agnes starts dumping heavy rain throughout a large area of the Northeast from June 23 to 25, 1972. Many areas see 10 to 15 inches of rain including 19 inches of rain in Pennsylvia. Some areas likely saw higher amounts of rain. Pennsylvania took the brunt of Agnes from the heavy rain and massive flooding. Many other states were hit hard from Virginia, Maryland, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia. At least 119 people died in America from flooding, including 50 in Pennsylvania. On top of it, Agnes did $2.1 billion in damages, the most at the time. Agnes was not a major hurricane and will be remembered as an epic flood event in the Northeast, particularly in Pennsylvania.

1989
Before 2001 Tropical Storm Allison, there was 1989 Tropical Storm Allison, which formed from remnant of East Pacific Hurricane Cosme. Cosme made landfall east of Acapulco as a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds. Allison paid a visit to the Upper Texas Coast on June 27, 1989 with 50 mph wind. Many areas in Texas saw 10 to 20 inches of rain. Like 2001 Allison, 1989 Allison loops over Texas, which dumps heavy rain over Northern and Central Louisiana. Many areas saw 15 to 20 inches including 30 inches at Winnfield, Louisiana. Eleven people lost their life in Texas Louisiana, and Mississippi.

Hurricane Chantal is the first hurricane to strike the Upper Texas Coast in 1989. Chantal is a small hurricane that made landfall on High Island, Texas on August 1, 1989 as a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds and central pressure of 984 millibars. The highest winds is 70 mph with gusts as high as 105 mph. Many areas see 50 to 65 mph winds. 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. One interesting aspect is that the “dirty” side of Chantal was on the southwest side of the hurricane, which produced most of the heavy rain. 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 was a Cape Verde storm as it formed from a tropical wave that came off of West Africa on September 9, 1989. Hugo became a tropical depression once the tropical wave left Africa. Hugo undergoes rapid intensification over the Atlantic. Hugo first encounter with land as it crosses between Guadeloupe and Montserrat on September 17, 1989 as a Category 4 hurricane with 140 mph winds. Gusts are as high as 210 mph! Guadeloupe is ravaged by strong winds and 8 feet storm surge as many homes are destroyed on top of 10 lives lost. A gust of 184 mph is recorded from a French research ship. Montserrat is ravaged by 20 feet storm surge as almost every house is damaged! Almost everyone are left homeless as a result. 21 people die in Montserrat. Hugo than makes its first landfall on St. Croix. A slowing Hugo puts St. Croix under prolonged hurricane force winds as high wave pelt the island. 90 percent of buildings are leveled and the infrastructure is destroyed by Hugo. The damage is a staggering $1 billion for St. Croix. Later that day, Hugo makes landfall on Vieques and Fajardo, Puerto Rico as a Category 3 hurricane with 120 mph winds. The highest sustained winds are 102 mph with gusts as high as 153 mph. Hugo ravages eastern Puerto Rico and decimates the crops. Hugo goes northward as a Category 2 hurricane. Hugo undergoes intensification to a Category 4 hurricane with 140 mph and central pressure of 944 millibars. Hugo is heading towards America. On the night of September 21, 1989, Hugo makes landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with 140 mph and central pressure of 934 millibars. The highest wind is 119 mph with gusts of 179 mph! Many areas see 80 to 120 mph winds with gusts of 120 to 180 mph. Hugo produces monster storm surge in the Charleston area due to its large size. Twenty feet storm surge are reported as it floods the coastal area. The fast motion of Hugo does not lead to massive flooding. 35 people lost their life in America and costliest hurricane at the time prior to Andrew in 1992.

Hurricane Jerry is the second hurricane to hit the Upper Texas Coast in 1989. It formed in the Bay of Campeche on October 12, 1989. Jerry became a Category 1 hurricane on October 15, 1989. As Jerry approaches the Upper Texas Coast, it continues to intensify. By the time it is getting closer to the Upper Texas Coast on October 16, 1989, it has 85 mph winds. Later that day, 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. Many areas saw 2 to 4 inches with highest amount of over 6 inches in Silsbee. Three people died from Jerry all in Galveston as they were driving on the Galveston Sea Wall.

2004
Hurricane Charley is first of the four hurricanes to ravage Florida in the 2004 season. Charley formed over Barbados on August 9, 2004. Two days later, Charley becomes a hurricane south of Jamaica. As Charley heads towards Cayman, intensifies into a Category 2 hurricane and continues to intensify into Category 3 as it heads closer to Cuba. Charley makes landfall close to Punta Cayamas with 120 mph. The highest winds is 120 mph with gusts of 180 mph over Cuba. Over 13 feet storm is measured in Cuba. Charley continues traverses over Cuba and is west of Havana. Charley emerges from Cuba as a Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph and its first landfall on Florida is Dry Tortuga. A cold front is steering Charley towards Southwest Florida. Forecast models have Charley hitting Tampa Bay as a Category 3 hurricane. As it gets closer to the mainland, Charley undergoes rapid intensification into a Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds and 941 millibars. Charley first struck Cayo Costa and than Punta Gorda as a Category 4 hurricane. Charley produce up to 13 feet storm surge in Florida. The highest sustain winds is 128 mph with gusts of 192 mph! The highest measure gust is 172 mph out of Charlotte Regional Medical Center which was before anemometer failed. Charley travels along Interstate 4 and ravages Orlando as a Category 1 hurricane. Many areas see 5 to 8 inches of rain from Charley. Charley emerges into the Atlantic as a Category 1 hurricane. Than it makes landfall Cape Romain and North Myrtle Beach as a Category 1 hurricane. The highest wind is 63 mph with gusts of 96 mph. Charley is the first hurricane to hit South Carolina since Hugo in 1989. Charley dumps 3 to 7 inches of rain and produces 4 to 6 feet storm surge. Once Charley is gone, it claims 15 lives, mostly in Florida. There are 20 indirect deaths, which brings total to 35. Charley also does $16.3 billion in damages.

As Florida is recovering from Hurricane Charley, another storm forms off the Cape Verde Islands, Frances. Frances forms off the Cape Verde on August 24, 2004 and becomes a tropical storm the next day. Frances gains intensity is it traverses over the Atlantic, it undergoes rapid intensification and becomes a hurricane on August 26. Frances intensifies into a Category 4 hurricane with 135 mph winds. Frances undergoes eyewall replacement cycle, causing it to weaken to Category 3 hurricane. AS Frances travels westward and intensifies into a Category 4 with 145 mph winds on September 2, 2004 as it begins to ravage Bahama. Frances weakens into a Category 3 hurricane due to wind shear as it is over Bahamas. Frances maintains Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph as it gets closer to Florida. Frances is a large hurricane with a large eye. To make matters worse, France is moving slowly as it gets closer to Florida. Frances makes landfall on Hutchinson Island, Florida as a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds on September 5, 2004. Frances ravages Florida with strong winds and heavy rain. Many areas in Florida see 10 to 20 inches of rain, which leads to flooding. As Frances is leaving Florida, it emerges into the Gulf of Mexico and make landfall on Aucilla River, Florida as a tropical storm. As Frances weakens, it becomes a huge rainmaker for the Southeast. The Appalachian Mountains draw more moisture out of the storm leading the heavy rain. Many areas in North Carolina see over 20 inches of rain including nearly 24 inches of rain in Mount Mitchell. The flooding causes Asheville to have no water for several days. There are 7 people killed and 43 indirect deaths, which brings the total of 50.

If things got worse, it does, as a tropical wave emerges from Africa on August 31, 2004, which becomes a tropical depression on September 2, 2004. The next day it is Tropical Storm Ivan. Ivan is a tropical storm for two days and on September 5, 2004, it becomes a hurricane and rapidly intensifies into a Category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds. Ivan first hits Granada as a Category 3 hurricane. Many areas see 80 to 100 mph winds with gusts of 120 to 150 mph. Ivan unleashes devastating winds and destroys numerous buildings including a prison, which allows prisoners to escape causing more trouble. Most of the island is leveled by Ivan as it claims 39 lives. Ivan enters the Caribbean and rapidly intensifies into a Category 5 hurricane with 160 mph. Ivan comes approaches Jamaica on September 11, 2004 and pelts the nation with hurricane force wind and heavy rain. 17,000 people are left homeless from flooding and strong winds of Ivan. Ivan dumped heavy rain on Jamaica as much as 28 inches of rain! It is very likely the amount are higher. 17 people died in Jamaica. As Ivan moves away from Jamaica, it re-intensifies into a Category 5 hurricane. As Ivan comes closer to Grand Cayman, Ivan peaks at 165 mph and central pressure of 910 millibars. Ivan is the tenth most intense hurricane on record in the Atlantic as of 2017. The strong winds of Ivan damage many buildings despite strict building codes. Grand Cayman has winds of 157 mph with gusts as high as 236 mph! Ivan goes between Yucatan Peninsula and Cuba as a Category 5 hurricane. Cuba is being ravaged by full force Category 5 winds and heavy rain. Despite it, there are no reports of casualties in Cuba from Ivan. Ivan enters the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 4 hurricane and maintains it. As Ivan inches closer to the Gulf Coast, people are order to evacuate. The Superdome in New Orleans becomes a “shelter of last resort”, which had been used with Hurricane Georges in 1998. Many evacuate New Orleans as it most of the city is below sea level and would be very vulnerable to storm surge. However, Ivan goes east of New Orleans and makes landfall on Gulf Shore, Alabama as a Category 3 hurricane with 120 mph winds in the small hours of September 16, 2004. Alabama and Florida are hammered by strong winds of 80 to 100 mph with gusts of 120 to 150 mph on top of 15 foot storm surge. Ivan spawned numerous tornadoes, a total of 117, which is the most from a hurricane. On top of it, there is heavy rain of 10 to 15 inches as causes widespread flooding. Ivan moves further inland and weakens into a tropical storm. Appalachian Mountains are getting more heavy rain as it has been flooded by Hurricane Frances several weeks earlier. Part of Ivan break away and moves eastward back into the Atlantic and loops towards Florida. That piece of Ivan enters the Gulf of Mexico and begins to reorganize. By the time it is near Texas/Louisiana, Ivan becomes a tropical depression and tropical storm on September 22, 2004. Ivan makes landfall on Holly Beach, Louisiana as a tropical depression. Some areas in Louisiana and Texas had up to 8 inches of rain. Ivan claimed 92 lives and including 32 indirect deaths, which brings the total to 124 lives.

As Ivan is entering the Gulf of Mexico, a tropical depression develops east of Guadaloupe on September 13, 2004, which made landfall on the island nation. Many areas in Guadaloupe see 8 to 12 inches of rain. The next day it becomes Tropical Storm Jeanne as moves westward towards the Virgin Islands. On September 15, 2004, Jeanne makes landfall on Yabucoa, Puerto Rico as a tropical storm and travels over the island. Many areas see 5 to 10 inches of rain with the highest amount of nearly 24 inches in Vieques. Eight people have died from Jeanne in Puerto Rico. Jeanne exits Puerto Rico and becomes a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds before it makes landfall on the eastern tip of Dominican Republic September 16, 2004. Jeanne traverses on the north side of Hispanola and weakening due to interaction with the mountains. Despite weakening, Jeanne is dumping heavy rain over Haiti and Dominican Republic for 30 hours. The prolonged heavy rain triggers widespread flooding and deadly mudslide in Haiti and Dominican Republic. The highest reported total is 13 inches with totals possibly going as much as 40 inches of rain in the mountains. The coastal city of Gonaives is hardest hit by flooding from Jeanne. At least 2,900 people are known to have died in the city. Throughout Haiti, at least 3,000 people have died from Jeanne. In Dominican Republic, 18 people have died from Jeanne from deadly flooding. Jeanne is now a tropical depression as it exits Hispanola on September 17, 2004. Jeanne lingers east of Bahamas and becomes a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds on September 20, 2004. Jeanne loops around the Atlantic as a hurricane and moves westward towards the Bahamas. Jeanne continues to intensify into a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph as it hits Abaco Island, Bahamas on September 25, 2004. Jeanne continues westward towards hurricane ravaged Florida. On the night of September 25, 2004, Jeanne makes landfall just two miles away from where Frances made landfall on Hutchinson Island as a Category 3 hurricane with 120 mph winds and 950 millibars, which is the peak of Jeanne. Jeanne produces 6 foot storm surge in Florida. Many areas see 60 to 90 mph winds with gusts of 90 to 135 mph. Many areas see 5 to 8 inches of rain with totals as high as nearly 13 inches of rain. Jeanne weakens as it is over Florida and moves northward dumping heavy rain throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic region. It is unclear how much of the damage is from Charley, Frances or Jeanne. Regardless, Jeanne did a total of $7.66 billion in damages. Jeanne claims over 3,000 lives and exceeds Katrina and Stan in 2005. Jeanne is the deadliest hurricane of the 2000s.

2006
Tropical Storm Alberto formed between Cuba and Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. The storm peaks at 70 mph west of Tampa Bay on June 12, 2006 over the Loop Current. Alberto makes landfall on Taylor County, Florida on June 13, 2006 with 45 mph winds. Many areas in the Southeastern US see 3 to 7 inches of rain, which leads to flooding. Grand Cayman records up 22.72 inches of rain in 24 hours. Many areas in Cuba see 7 to 12 inches of rain, including 17.52 inches in Pinar del Rio province, Cuba. 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 brushes the western tip of Haiti on August 28, 2006 as a weak tropical storm with 45 mph winds. Than Ernesto makes landfall near Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Ernesto continues northwestward towards Cuba, first hitting Plantation Key, Florida, and than Miami-Dade County as a tropical storm. 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. Haiti sees up to 11 inches of rain and strong winds. Cuba sees rain amounts of 2 to 5 inches of rain with highest of 7.46 inches in Nuevitas, Camagüey. Florida sees 3 to 6 inches of rain with highest of 8.72 inches at South Golden Gate, Florida. The Carolina sees 4 to 8 inches of rain with 14.61 inches being the highest at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Five people died in Haiti, while two died in Virginia when Ernesto is extratropical storm.

2009
Hurricane Bill is the most intense hurricane for 2009 as it was a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mph winds and central pressure of 943 millibars. On August 22-23, 2009, the outerbands of Bill affect the Eastern Seaboard, particularly Massachusetts. Bill dumps heavy rain and produces numerous high waves on the East Coast. Hurricane Bill makes landfall on Point Rosie, Newfoundland as a 70 mph tropical storm. Many areas in Newfoundland and Canadian Maritime provinces experience strong winds and heavy rain. The coastal areas are pelted by high waves that a buoy recorded 87 feet waves!

Hurricane Ida was a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds and central pressure of 975 millibars. However, it is better remembered as a powerful Nor’easter dubbed Nor’Ida. The storm would hammer the East Coast from November 11 to 17, 2009 with heavy rain and strong winds. The highest rainfall total is 18 inches of rain in Virginia. The storm also produce over 7 foot storm surge, which is on par with Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

Some of the analog seasons are inactive like 1972, but are very memorable. It shows it only takes just one to make a huge difference. Some are very active and deadly like 1989 and 2004. There were also Category 5 hurricanes in 1989 and 2004.

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

The high risk areas are Cuba, Yucatan Peninsula, Florida Panhandle, South Florda, Carolinas, Bahamas, and Upper Texas Coast. However, when you look at the whole basin, everyone is at risk for landfall, which is why I never make landfall predictions. Everyone is at equal risk as I always say!

Analog
Mean
10.83/5.5/2.00
11/6/2 (Rounded Up)

Median
10.50/5.50/2.00
11/6/2 (Rounded Up)

Standard Deviation
2.86/2.35/2.19

ACE
Mean
104.83

Median
89

Standard Deviation
69.23

ACE/Storm
Mean
8.99

Median
7.76

Standard Deviation
3.90

How do analog seasons compare as a whole. Statistics from 1870 to 2016.

Mean
9.86/5.50/2.04
10/6/2

Median
9/5/2

Standard Deviation
4.21/2.61/1.66

ACE
Mean
92.18

Median
83

Standard Deviation
53.73

ACE/Storm
Mean
9.38

Median
8.67

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?
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

This excludes Arlene, which formed earlier in April, which would be 11 named storms. I do not think this season will be as active as last year. Of course, it only takes one to be bad like in 1972 with Agnes.

Let’s see how my April 2016 hurricane forecast compare to the actual 2016 season.

7 to 13 named storms, likely 11 named storms
4 to 8 hurricanes, likely 6 hurricanes
2 to 4 major hurricanes with 3 major hurricanes
ACE is 90 to 150 with ACE likely of 100 to 130

2016 Actual Number
15 Named Storms
7 Hurricanes
4 Major Hurricanes
141 ACE

I was off with named storms. I was close with hurricanes, major hurricanes, and ACE. There is always room for improvement either way.

Regardless of forecast, I think 2017 could be an interesting hurricane season. It is the same Atlantic name list used in the devastating 2005 season, which produced Dennis, Emily, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. Of course some of the names are not there with the exception of Emily.

April 2016 Hurricane Season Forecast

20050829_GOES-12_IR_Enhanced_0045Z

Already, Hurricane Alex formed in the Eastern Atlantic in January. It overcame hostile conditions on top of a strong El Nino. What does this mean? It this a harbinger of things to come? Hurricane season is looming as usual as it starts on June 1, 2016.

Tropical Storm/Hurricane/Major Hurricane ACE=Accumulated Cyclone Energy

Colorado State University
12/5/2 ACE: 90

Joe Bastardi (Weather Bell)
11 to 14 Storms/6 to 8 Hurricanes/2 to 4 Major Hurricanes ACE:105 to 135

Crown Weather Services
11/7/2 ACE: 90

Tropical Storm Risk
12/6/2 ACE: 80

Accuweather
14/8/4

The Weather Channel
14/8/3

Crown Weather Services
11/7/2 ACE: 90

Analog Years For 2016 (TS/H/MH ACE ACE/Storm)
1878 12/10/2 15.1
1889 9/6/0 104 11.6
1897 6/3/0 55 9.2
1900 7/3/2 83 11.9
1931 13/3/1 48 3.7
1941 6/4/3 52 8.7
1958 10/7/5 121 12.1
1988 12/5/3 103 8.6
1998 14/10/3 182 13.0

I chose those years because they are coming off of a strong El Nino on top of a warm Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Any data before satellite should be taken with a grain of salt. It is likely those seasons are more active than reported.

So, what affect did those analog seasons have?

1878
Hurricane #7 formed south of Haiti as a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds. An American brigantine was wrecked on Tiburon Peninsula with everyone killed. It intensified into a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds as it went over Eastern Bahamas. It intensified into Category 3 on September 30 and Category 4 on October 2, which peaked at 140 mph. The hurricane was a major hurricane at a high latitude up to October 8. It likely became an extratropical storm and affected Europe.

Gale of 1878, which is the eleventh storm of the season. A tropical storm formed west of Jamaica on October 18, 1878. Two days later, it became a hurricane made landfall on Cuba the next day as a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds. It moves northward and makes landfall on Swansboro, North Carolina on the night of October 23, 1878 as a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph. Hurricane force winds can be felt throughout the Eastern Seaboard. It merged with an extratropical low over New England. Once it was all over, 71 people lost their life from the storm.

1889
Hurricane #4 formed on September 1 east of Barbados. It made landfall on Puerto Rico as an intensifying Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds. The hurricane stalls off the Northeast from September 9 to 12 causing flooding from heavy rain and storm surge. The hurricane claims 40 lives.

1897
Hurricane #2 was first spotted in Straits of Florida on September 10. It is probable it formed further east. It makes landfall as a tropical storm around Marquesas Keys, Florida. Once it exits for the Gulf of Mexico, it intensifies into a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds. It makes landfall on Cameron Parish, Louisiana as a hurricane on September 13. It weakens over Texas. The hurricane claims at least 29 lives in Texas.

Hurricane #5 forms south of Windward Islands on October 9. It is probable it formed further east. The hurricane travels over the Caribbean and turns northwest on October 14 towards Cuba. The hurricane makes landfall on Cuba on October 18 as a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph. Most of the deaths are from the sinking of Triton near Pinar del Rio province. The sinking claims 188 lives and 42 people are rescued. The captain committed suicide. The hurricane weakens to a tropical storm and heads to the northwest and makes landfall around Cape Hatteras, North Carolina with 65 mph winds. The storm produce strong winds and heavy rain throughout the Eastern Seaboard. The storm moves eastward into the Atlantic and becomes extratropical.

1900
Great Galveston Hurricane. It made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds. It had a central pressure of 936 millibars. The hurricane produced 15 foot storm surge, which proved deadly. Once it past, 12,000 people died, making it one of the deadliest hurricane in the Atlantic Basin. Only Great Hurricane of 1780 and Mitch are deadlier. It remains the deadliest disaster in American history, exceeding 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and 9/11. Even with the death toll combine of 9,000, the Great Galveston Hurricane claimed way more lives.

1941
Tropical Storm #1 made landfall between Galveston and Port Arthur as a tropical depression after it peaked as a 60 mph tropical storm.

The 1941 Texas Hurricane is Hurricane #2, which comes a week after Tropical Storm #1. The storm lingers over the Gulf of Mexico before intensifying into a Category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds and central pressure of 942 millibars. The hurricane made landfall late on September 23 as a large 115 mph Category 3 hurricane around Bay City. The hurricane went west of Houston, putting the city on the “dirty” side of the hurricane. Houston received considerable damage from the hurricane. The hurricane claimed 7 lives as it weakened and became extratropical. The extratropical storm would be a problem for Ontario and Quebec, Canada.

Hurricane #4 traverses across the Caribbean. It peaked at 130 mph Category 4 hurricane before making landfall on Cape Gracias a Dios, Honduras on September 27. It went over Central America and hits Belize with 85 mph winds. Once the hurricane exits into Bay of Campeche on September 29 and fizzles. The hurricane claims 43 lives.

The 1941 Florida Hurricane is Hurricane #5, which peaked as a compact Category 3 hurricane with 120 mph winds. It formed north of the Virgin Islands. The hurricane rapidly intensifies before it ravages Bahamas. The hurricane makes landfall as a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds. It is a very small hurricane that dumps light rain. The highest rain is 0.35 inches, which is unusual. The hurricane goes over Gulf of Mexico as a small hurricane before making landfall on Carrabelle, Florida as a Category 1 hurricane with 90 mph winds. The hurricane went over Georgia causing damage. The hurricane claimed at least 10 lives and was not a rainmaker.

Tropical Storm #6 travereses across the Florida Straits before making landfall at Cedar Key. It stalls over and dumps up to 35 inches of rain in four days between October 17 to 22!

1988
Hurricane Gilbert is the most intense hurricane prior to Wilma. It had a central pressure of 888 millibars and 185 mph winds. It is on top of being one of the largest hurricanes known. It directly hit Jamaica as a Category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds. Jamaica is ravaged by Gilbert from 19 foot storm surge and heavy rains that claim 49 lives. Once it exits Jamaica. Gilbert undergoes explosive intensification over the Caribbean. Than it hits Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico as a Category 5 hurricane with 165 mph winds. It is the first time since Camille hit the Gulf Coast in 1969 as a Category 5 hurricane. The Yucatan Peninsula is ravaged by strong winds, storm surge, and flooding. Once it exits Yucatan Peninsula, Gilbert goes over Gulf of Mexico. There is concerns that Texas could be hit by Gilbert, prompting evacuations.

1998
Hurricane Bonnie formed east of the Lesser Antilles. As Bonnie moved through the Atlantic, it intensified into a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds. Bonnie made landfall as a large 110 mph Category 2 hurricane around Wilmington, North Carolina. Many areas saw 6 to 10 inches of rain from Bonnie. Once Bonnie left, it left 5 people dead and $1 billion in damages.

Tropical Storm Charley forms in the Gulf of Mexico and peaked at 70 mph. Not too long after, Charley made landfall around Port Aransas. On August 24, core rains form around the center of Charley, dumping 17 inches of rain on Del Rio and Ciudad Acuña. 26 people lost their life from Charley, mostly from flooding.

Hurricane Earl formed in the Gulf of Mexico from a tropical wave that left Africa on August 17, 1998. Earl intensified into a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds. It had no discernable eye or eyewall, which is unusual. Earl made landfall around Panama City, Florida as a Category 1 hurricane with 90 mph. As it traversed the Southeastern US, Earl became extratropical. Once it entered the Atlantic, Earl rapidly intensified as an extratropical storm in the Atlantic with central pressure of 957 millibars. Earl made landfall on eastern Newfoundland.

Tropical Storm Frances formed from a monsoonal low in the Caribbean. It slowly moved into the Gulf of Mexico. The large area of thunderstroms became a tropical depression east of Brownsville, Texas. The lack of sheer and warm water, allowed Frances to strengthen into a large tropical storm as it made landfall around Corpus Christi, Texas as a strong tropical storm. Frances dumped heavy rain over Texas and Louisiana. Many areas saw 10 to 20 inches of rain. 44 inches of rain was reported in Escuintla, Chiapas, Mexico. Frances produced 8 foot storm surge, which is high for a tropical storm. It is due to its very large size.

Hurricane Georges is a long lived and very intense hurricane. A classic Cape Verde storm, which formed from a tropical wave. Georges rapidly intensified into a large Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds as it travesed the Atlantic heading towards Lesser Antilles. It weakened to Category 3 with 115 mph winds as it first made landfall on Antigua. It weakens to a Category 2 before it intensifies to a Category 3 with 115 mph winds before making landfall around Faljardo, Puerto Rico on September 21. It dumps extremely heavy rain over Puerto Rico of up to 30 inches. It exits Puerto Rico and heads for Dominican Republic and Haiti and makes landfall on September 22 as a 120 mph Category 3 hurricane. The mountainous terrain weakens Georges, while dumping extremely heavy rain of 39 inches over Dominican Republic and Haiti. Once Georges left, 589 people die in Hispanola, mostly from flooding. Than Georges heads to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on September 23. Georges traverses over Cuba dumping heavy rain of up to 24 inches. Georges claims 6 lives in Cuba before heading towards Straits of Florida as an intensifying Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds. Georges made landfall on Key West with 105 mph winds on September 25. Georges heads to the Gulf of Mexico and makes final landfall on Biloxi, Mississippi as a 105 mph Category 2 hurricane on September 28. Georges stalls and moves slowly east dumping heavy rain of over 38 inches of rain! The Louisiana Superdome is used as a “shelter of last resort”, a first. The Superdome would be used for Ivan in 2004 and lastly with Katrina in 2005 which proved disasterous. Georges long reign of terror claimed 604 lives.

Hurricane Mitch is the most intense since Gilbert in 1988. Mtich formd from a tropical wave that intensified over the Caribbean. It underwent explosive intenisfication On October 25-26. Mitch had a central pressure of 905 millibars and 180 mph winds over the Western Caribbean. Mitch goes over Swan Island during its peak and a schooner, Fantome, gets destroyed, claiming 31 lives on October 27. Guanaja Island is hammered with 120 mph winds for two days, destroying every vegetation on the island. Mitch was forecasted to go north towards Yucatan Peninsula, but went southwards due to upper level ridging. Mitch makes landfall as a 80 mph Category 1 hurricane east of La Ceiba, Honduras on October 29. It lingers over Central America as it dumps extremely heavy rain as it draws moisture from Pacific and Caribbean due to its large circulation. The heavy rain causes deadly mudslides and massive flooding. Some areas record up to 75 inches of rain in the mountains. Very likely that some areas see over 100 inches of rain during its reign. Some rain gauges recorded 25 inches of rain in 6 hours before it got washed away! Mitch moves slowly over Central America dumping heavy rain nonstop, mainly at night. The heavy rain causes massive and deadly mudslides in the mountainous regions. Many areas are flooded greatly. Mitch than goes over the Gulf of Mexico and intensifies into a 60 mph tropical storm before making landfall near Naples, Florida. Many areas see 6 to 10 inches of rain as it spawns 5 tornadoes. Mitch becomes an extratropical storm as it heads to the Atlantic. What was Mitch ravages Ireland and United Kingdom with heavy rain, strong winds, and high waves. Once Mitch is gone for good, at least 19,325 people have died from deadly floods and mudslides. Hurricane Mitch is the deadliest hurricane since the Great Hurricane of 1780, which claimed 28,000 lives! Mitch is one of the deadliest disaster in the Western Hemisphere besides 2010 Haitian Earthquake and Great Hurricane of 1780.

Interesting those analog seasons have two of the deadliest hurricanes, Great Galveston Hurricane and Mitch. Does this mean that 2016 will be a deadly year? No, but anything is possible. Also, interesting to note, many hurricanes made landfall on the East Coast like in 1878 and 1998.

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

2016AprilAnalogHurricaneMap

Looking at the heat map, the highest risk areas are Central and Eastern Gulf of Mexico, Southwest Caribbean, Hispanola, Lesser Antilles, and Eastern Atlantic. However, when you look at the whole basin, everyone is at risk for landfall, which is why I never make landfall predictions. Everyone is at equal risk!

It only takes one to be a bad year, no matter how inactive the season is. Case in point, 1983, a very quiet season. It is best known as Hurricane Alicia ravaging Southeast Texas on Augus 18, 1983. Let’s go to analog statistics.

Analog
Mean
9.89/5.67/2.11
10/6/2 (Rounded up)

Median
10/5/2

Standard Deviation
3.06/2.83/1.62

ACE
Mean
103.22

Median
103

Standard Deviation
51.21

ACE/Storm
Mean
10.43

Median
11.60

Standard Deviation
3.31

How do analog seasons compare as a whole. Statistics from 1870 to 2015.

Mean
9.82/5.49/2.03
10/6/2

Median
9/5/2

Standard Deviation
4.20/2.62/1.66

ACE
Mean
91.85

Median
83

Standard Deviation
53.76

ACE/Storm
Mean
9.38

Median
8.70

Standard Deviation
4.06

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

What is my prediction for this season?
7 to 13 named storms, likely 11 named storms
4 to 8 hurricanes, likely 6 hurricanes
2 to 4 major hurricanes with 3 major hurricanes
ACE is 90 to 150 with ACE likely of 100 to 130

This includes Hurricane Alex that formed in January. Excluding Alex, it would be 10 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. Some of the analog seasons had high ACE/storm, like 1878, 1958, and 1998. Interesting to note they all have 8 at the end.

Let’s see how my April 2015 hurricane forecast compare to the actual 2015 season.

6 to 10 named storms, likely 8 named storms
4 to 6 hurricanes, likely 4 hurricanes
1 to 3 major hurricanes with 2 major hurricanes
ACE is 40 to 90 with ACE likely of 50 to 80

2015 Actual Number
11 Named Storms
4 Hurricanes
2 Major Hurricanes
63 ACE

I was off with named storms. I got it right with hurricanes and major hurricanes. I was withing range for ACE.

Regardless, I think 2016 will be an interesting season. So fasten your seatbelt and prepare for a bumpy ride.

2016 And 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast

Christmas is sure looming, but the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season is not too far away, six months from now. I am going to also look at 2017 Hurricane Season, which would be second year following the strong El Nino of 2015-2016. That is eighteen months from now at the writing of this article.

Analog Years For 2016 (TS/H/MH ACE ACE/Storm)
1878 12/10/2 181 15.1
1889 9/6/0 104 11.6
1897 6/3/0 55 9.2
1942 11/4/1 63 5.7
1958 10/7/5 121 12.1
1998 14/10/3 182 13.0

Here is the overall Atlantic Hurricane Season Statistics

1870-2015 Atlantic Hurricane
Mean
9.82/5.49/2.03
10/5/2 (Round Up

Median
9/5/2

Standard Deviation
4.20/2.62/1.66

ACE
Mean
91.82

Median
83.00

Standard Deviation
53.77

ACE/Storm
Mean
9.38

Median
8.70

Standard Deviation
4.06

I came up with the analog for 2016, since we are in El Nino and once El Nino fades, La Nina comes and it can get strong. It is based on past El Nino and warm Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Here is the statistics for 2016 Analog Season.

2016
Mean
10.33/6.67/1.83
11/7/2 (Round Up)

Median
10.50/6.50/1.50
11/7/2 (Round Up)

Standard Deviation
2.73/2.94/1.94

ACE
Mean
117.67

Median
112.50

Standard Deviation
55.25

ACE/Storm
Mean
11.12

Median
11.85

Standard Deviation
3.28

Looking at it, it is above average ranging from number of storms and hurricanes. Major hurricanes is about the same. However, keep in mind, anything before satellite should taken with a grain of salt. Seasons prior to satellite would of likely had more storms than recorded, but they could be in the middle of the Atlantic or some short lived tropical storm. Seasons like 1889 and 1897 likely had major hurricanes.

So, what is my prediction for the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season
10 to 16 named storms, likely 14 named storms
6 to 10 hurricanes, likely 8 hurricanes
2 to 5 major hurricanes with 3 major hurricanes
ACE is 110 to 190 with ACE likely of 130 to 160

Looks to be an active 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Here is a GIS heat map I created for 2016 analog seasons. It is within 300 miles.

2016DecemberAnalogHurricaneHeatMap

Looking at the heat map, there are areas most at risk. Off the Eastern Seaboard with North Carolina most at risk. Haiti and Dominican Republic, Caribbean and Cuba, Southwest Florida, and Gulf of Mexico. Anywhere is at risk, but those areas especially are the ones to keep an eye on. Let’s see what 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season forecast.

Analog Years For 2017 (TS/H/MH ACE ACE/Storm)
1879 8/6/2 64 8.0
1890 4/2/1 33 8.3
1898 11/5/1 113 10.3
1943 10/5/2 94 9.4
1959 11/7/2 77 7.0
1999 12/8/5 177 14.8

I came up with the analog for 2017, based on the second year following El Nino. Warm AMO is taken into account. Here is the statistics for 2017 Analog Season.

2017
Mean
9.33/5.50/2.17
10/6/2 (Round Up)

Median
10.50/5.50/2.00
11/6/2 (Round Up)

Standard Deviation
2.94/2.07/1.47

ACE
Mean
93

Median
85.50

Standard Deviation
49.30

ACE/Storm
Mean
9.63

Median
8.85

Standard Deviation
2.78

Looking at it, 2017 is closer to average than 2016. Interestingly, there are more major hurricanes on average than compared to 2016 analog seasons. Still, looking at the actual analog seasons, it is generally less active. Again, keep in mind, anything before satellite should be taken with a grain of salt. There were likely more storms before satellite era that went undetected.

So, what is my prediction for the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season
9 to 14 named storms, likely 12 named storms
4 to 9 hurricanes, likely 7 hurricanes
2 to 4 major hurricanes with 3 major hurricanes
ACE is 100 to 180 with ACE likely of 120 to 150

Here is a GIS heat map I created for 2017 analog seasons. It is within 300 miles.

2017DecemberAnalogHurricaneHeatMap

Looking at the hot spots, West Indies, Lesser Antilles, Caribbean and Cuba, Off the Eastern Seaboard, Bahamas, and Western Gulf of Mexico with Texas and Louisiana at most risk. Again, anywhere is at risk, but those areas especially are the ones to keep an eye on.

The 2016 and 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Forecast is all preliminary at this time. It is subject to change. I should have a better idea about the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season in April 2016 and for 2017, April 2017. That would be sixteen months from now of course. This is just a thought because of the strong El Nino we have and what impact a strong El Nino has on the Atlantic. By Summer 2016, it could be still El Nino. It could also be Neutral or La Nina by than. Until than, please check back in April 2016 for the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season forecast.

2015-2016 Winter Forecast

Snowman01

It is this time of the year. Winter is coming as Christmas is coming. It seems like Christmas comes sooner and sooner each year. One huge factor for this winter is the strong El Nino. It is one of the strongest El Nino since 1997-1998 if we go back to 1950. There were strong El Nino before 1950. 1877-1878, 1888-1889, 1896-1897, 1902-1903, 1904-1905, and 1940-1941 had strong El Nino.

Other factors to consider are Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), and now Northeast Pacific Warm Pool (NEPWP). However, since this El Nino is large and strong and has significant impact, it will weigh in more than other factors listed. Since, we have a strong El Nino, here are my analog winters.

1877-1878
1888-1889
1896-1897
1902-1903
1940-1941
1957-1958
1972-1973
1982-1983
1991-1992
1997-1998

I choose these analog years because they are strong El Nino regardless of Eastern Equatorial or Modoki or Central Pacific. I did not include 1904-1905, 1987-1987, and 1992-1993 because the peak happened in Spring, unlike right now. Since, I go by divisional climate data, there is nothing before 1895, but there are local climate data before 1895, but it would be tedious to look at. However, I can look at upper air pattern and temperature anomaly in those analog years thanks to 20th Century Reanalysis Monthly Composites, which has 20CRV2c.

2015-2016Winter500mbGeopotentialAnomalyWorld

It shows troughing south of Alaska, which is a positive East Pacific Oscillation (EPO). A positive EPO is less favorable for freezes. Now, that does not mean the EPO will always be positive because it can go negative. A negative EPO would have ridging over Alaska, which means a better chance for cold blasts in the winter. There is also ridging off the east coast of Japan and surrounding Antartica.

So, how does it affect temperature and rainfall? Let’s start with temperature.

2015-2016_Analog_WinterTemperatureAnomaly_World

The Northern part of America is warm as the jet stream travels further south than normal. It is also warm throughout South America as El Nino is off the coast of South America. It is cold in the Arctic and Antartica region. El Nino also effects rain.

2015-2016_Analog_WinterPrecipitationAnomaly_World

In terms of rainfall, Southern and Western US, West Coast of South America, Central Africa, Northern Pakisan/Afghanistan, and Southeast China is wetter than normal. The wettest is the area over where El Nino is. Meanwhile, most of Eastern South America, Philpppines, Indonesia, Northern Australia, Southeast Africa, Madagascar, and Central America are going to be dry. Droughts are usually a huge problem during El Nino for those areas.

Keep in mind temperature and rainfall records often do not go back to the 19th Century in many parts of the world. Let’s take a look at divisional climate in America. The data goes back to 1895, so there will be no data available prior to 1894, which means no data for 1877-1878 and 1888-1889. Let’s start with rainfall.

2015-2016_Analog_Divisional_Rain_StandardizedAnomaly

Rainfall is heavier to the south as mentioned previously due to jet stream. The jet steam carries more storm systems over the Southern US. Meanwhile, the Northern US is drier as a result. Generally it is wetter, but not always. Here is the wettest and driest analog years.

America
Driest: 1896-1897 6.68
Wettest: 1997-1998 8.99
Analog Mean: 7.61
Analog Standard Deviation: 0.87
Overall Mean (1895-2015): 6.74
Overall Standard Deviation (1895-2015): 0.88

Texas
Driest: 1896-1897 3.49
Wettest: 1991-1992 12.72
Analog Mean: 7.09
Analog Standard Deviation: 2.63
Overall Mean (1895-2015): 4.82
Overall Standard Deviation (1895-2015): 1.83

Upper Texas Coast
Driest: 1896-1897 5.30
Wettest: 1991-1992 23.54
Analog Mean: 13.18
Analog Standard Deviation: 5.24
Overall Mean (1895-2015): 10.24
Overall Standard Deviation (1895-2015): 3.53

1896-1897 was dry overall for America including Texas and Upper Texas Coast. The wettest is 1991-1992 and 1997-1998. Overall, analog years are wetter than normal. How does temperature fare?

2015-2016_Analog_Divisional_Temperature_StandardizedAnomaly

The Southern US is cooler than normal. It is due to the perpetual cloud coverage and rain, which keeps things cooler than normal. There can also be cold blasts during a strong El Nino. Up north is warmer than normal in the winter. Some people would like it as those areas are cold in the winter. Here is the warmest and coolest analog years.

America
Coolest: 1902-1903 30.03°F
Warmest: 1991-1992 36.35°F
Analog Mean: 33.55°F
Analog Standard Deviation: 2.29
Overall Mean (1895-2015): 32.31°F
Overall Standard Deviation (1895-2015): 2.01

Texas
Coolest: 1972-1973 43.83°F
Warmest: 1991-1992 46.90°F
Analog Mean: 46.90°F
Analog Standard Deviation: 1.89
Overall Mean (1895-2015): 47.28°F
Overall Standard Deviation (1895-2015): 2.31

Upper Texas Coast
Coolest: 1972-1973 50.13°F
Warmest: 1997-1998 55.93°F
Analog Mean: 53.47°F
Analog Standard Deviation: 1.09
Overall Mean (1895-2015): 53.97°F
Overall Standard Deviation (1895-2015): 2.63

America is warmer overall in those analog years. That is due to the Northern US being warmer than normal. Texas and Upper Texas Coast is cooler than normal due to all the rain and clouds over the Lone Star State. The combination and cooler and wetter weather increases the chance for winter weather for Southeast Texas. What about snow?

In Southeast Texas, snow has occurred in these analog years.
1896-1897
1957-1958
1972-1973

The data record from Houston Weather Bureau (WB) in January 1897 has handwriting I cannot read too well. It says that snow and a blizzard happened in Houston on January 25, 1897. There was a hard freeze from January 25-29. It did not go above freezing between January 26-29. It is a freeze in par with other huge freezes in January/February 1951 and February 1989 freezes! February 12, 1958 saw a snow flurry. The Winter of 1972-1973 had three snowfall events of over one inches. That is unheard in Houston area! It is also one of the coldest winters on record for Upper Texas Coast on par with 1977-1978 and 2009-2010. There is no weather record from 1877-1878 in Southeast Texas, so I do not know what the weather was like that time. 1888-1889 had no snowfall recorded. There were some freezes in January and February of 1889. It was more of a wet winter that time. This is from Houston WB records.

Another thing to consider is severe weather. I created a GIS heat map of tornado, hail, and strong wind for those analog years. The tornado, hail, and strong wind is from the 1950s and later. They are all within 300 miles. Let’s start with tornadoes.

2015-2016_Winter_Analog_Tornado

Tornadoes are generally rare in the Winter, but they can happen. In analog winters, tornadoes are most common from Southeast Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri. The second hot spot is Central Florida. El Nino causes the jet stream to go further south, allowing storms to track over. These storms dump heavy rain and can produce severe weather. Let’s look at strong winds from storms.

2015-2016_Winter_Analog_Wind

The entire Eastern US is most at risk for strong winds. Also, Central California is at most risk for strong winds. Strong winds can from severe thunderstorms and storm systems, a tight pressure gradient of low and high pressure, or a cold front passes. So, what effect does El Nino have on hail in the winter?

2015-2016_Winter_Analog_Hail

The highest risk for hail is Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Southern Kansas, and Southern Missouri. There is also a higher risk in Alabama and Georgia and Southern Florida. Not a good thing as severe weather is generally more common in an El Nino winter in the Southern US.

The heat map could give us a good idea where severe weather events could happen this winter. Frankly, I would be just as concerned about severe weather, especially in the Southern US. I would not be surprised if this winter will be known as the winter of severe weather besides winter weather.

Past El Nino does not guarantee that this El Nino will be similar. All El Nino’s are different. Regardless, I expect an interesting winter coming. So fasten your seatbelt tightly. It will be a rough ride for sure.

Heavy Rain Part 2

20151031_DopplerRadar_0800CST

Heavy rain have returned to Texas this past weekend. It was indeed scary as it happened on Halloween. It is the second storm to hit Texas in a weekend in October. First it struck Central Texas with heavy rain as high as 17 inches in a short time! Many rivers flooded. The storms fire up and hit Southeast Texas dumping up to 16 inches of rain causing more floods on super saturated grounds from the previous weekend’s rain.

To make matters worse, there were multiple tornado touchdowns in the storms. The strongest was an EF-2, which has winds of up to 135 mph. That is equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane. Most of the tornadoes were in Brazoria County. They also had the strongest tornadoes reported.

20151031_TornadoTouchdown

Here is a GIS map of 7 day rainfall total.

20151102_7Day_Rainfall_Total

The heaviest rain fell around San Marcos and Southern Travis County including Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, which saw 15 inches of rain. It is one of the highest rainfall measured in Austin. For Southeast Texas, the heaviest rain fell over Liberty County and Eastern Harris County. 12 to 16 inches of rain fell. Many areas in Houston saw 5 to 12 inches of rain, which is impressive.

Wonder what the past two week total has been?

20151102_14Day_Rainfall_Total

Many areas have seen over 5 inches of rain. The highest is 28 inches of rain. That is Navarro County, where some areas around Corsicana saw over 20 inches of rain! Some areas in the Houston area saw up to 25 inches of rain, mainly in Eastern Harris County and Liberty County.

Patricia And The Floods

20151023_VIIRS_I-Band5_Patricia20E_0523EDT

Hurricane Patricia underwent explosive intensification from a Category 1 to Category 5 hurricane in 24 hours. It went from 980 millibars to 879 millibars! That is the most rapid intensifying hurricane in the Western Hemisphere! To make matters worse, it has 200 mph wind! That is much stronger than Atlantic’s most intense hurricane, Wilma in 2005. To put that in perspective, Wilma peaked at 882 millibars. Patricia is about to barrel towards Mexico as a full blown Category 5 monster.

However, with any intense hurricanes, they tend to fluctuate in strength due to eyewall replacement cycle and wind shear. By the time Patricia makes landfall on Mexico, it has a central pressure of 920 millibars and 165 mph winds. On land that would be 141 mph due to a 15 percent reduction from friction. However, the friction increases the gust by a factor of 1.5, which would be 210 mph! A weather station in Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve recorded 185 mph winds with gusts as high as 211 mph, which suggests the station got damaged. 185 mph sustained winds on land is 278 mph! That would be a nightmare anywhere! Think of that in a major city like Houston, New Orleans, Miami, or New York. It turns out that Patricia made landfall on Cuixmala, Jalisco, Mexico, which is between Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta. Mostly small villages and towns were affected by Patricia’s strong winds. Also, people evacuated from the coast as storm surge is possible. The death toll at this writing is 13. Pretty low for a potentially catastrophic hurricane.

Patricia was an average sized hurricane. East Pacific hurricanes tend to be smaller than Atlantic hurricanes due to a smaller basin area compared to the Atlantic. At peak and landfall, hurricane force winds were 50 miles in diameter. In comparison, Hurricane Ike before it hit Southeast Texas had hurricane force winds of over 200 miles in diameter! Smaller sized hurricanes produce smaller storm surge. Larger sized hurricanes produce larger storm surge. One reason why Ike and Sandy were so bad despite not being strong like Patricia was their large size. Interesting to note that Katrina made landfall on the Mississippi Delta as a Category 3 hurricane with central pressure of 920 millibars. The reason for that is Katrina is a large hurricane like Ike.

So, what allowed Patricia to undergo explosive intensification?

It had large area of warm water. This is due to a strong El Nino and warm Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

20151022-23_SSTAnomaly_NA

There was a large area of Precipitable Water (PW) over the Pacific near Mexico. The values are easily over 2 inches.

20151022-23_850mb_PrecipitableWater_NA

The relative humidity was very humid. This is relative humidity at 10,000 feet or 700 millibar level. That is more favorable for tropical development. Dry air kills tropical development.

20151022-23_700mb_RelativeHumidityAnomaly_NA

As all strong hurricanes, they must weaken and in this case, the Sierra Madre Occidental sheared it apart. Mountains are deadly for hurricanes as they can cut through their circulation. Yet, mountainous areas see higher winds and heavier rain, especially on the windward side. Once Patricia is reduced to a tropical low, the moisture from it dumps heavy rain over Texas. The heavy rain affects a large area of Texas. The heavy rain is from a slow moving Pacific front and Gulf of Mexico and Pacific moisture.

North Texas sees some of the heaviest rain. Corsicana, Texas go hammered with the heaviest rain. Powell saw over 20 inches of rain in 24 hours! Southeast Texas saw widespread heavy rain with flooding. Many areas saw 5 to 10 inches of rain. Some areas saw over 12 inches of rain.

20151026_7Day_Rainfall_Total

Here is a GIS map I created from AHPS and US Drought Monitor. Notice the heaviest rains is around Corsicana. In the 7 days, many areas saw over 8 inches of rain with totals as high as 15 inches of rain. The rains are beneficial as Texas is in a severe drought. Corsicana and Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex were in the severe drought. I expect they will be out of the drought by this week according to US Drought Monitor.

Spring 2014 Report

Spring2014Ranks

Spring has passed as we approach summer as the days get longer. So, did winter choose to remain despite the fact the calendar says spring? Some areas were still cold and ice still prevailed in the Great Lakes. It was warm in the Western US as they are still languishing in a drought.

America
Temperature: 51.13°F
Rainfall: 8.01

1895-2014 Spring Statistics
Spring Temperature Mean: 51.06°F
Spring Temperature Median: 50.82°F
Standard Deviation: 1.36

Spring Rainfall Mean: 7.93
Spring Rainfall Median: 7.91
Standard Deviation: 0.97

America as a whole had a largely normal spring because of the stark contrast in temperature and rainfall. Some regions were cooler, while others were warmer. In terms of rain, some regions got more, while others got less. So that cancels each other out. This surface temperature anomaly map shows the eastern half of the US was cooler, while western half of the US was warmer. Most of the cold air was over Canada and Upper Midwest. Most of Arctic, Asia, and Europe had warmer than normal spring.

2014SpringSurfaceTemperatureAnomaly

One wonders why was the Eastern US cooler than the Western US this past spring. Look at a 500 millibar level geopotential height to look for anomalies. A positive anomaly is persistent ridging, while negative anomaly is persistent troughing. Here is a map of the 500 millibar level geopotential height anomaly map.

2014Spring500mbGeopotentialAnomaly

The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is in a positive phase, as there is persistent troughing over Greenland and Northeastern Canada. A positive NAO usually means warmer than normal winter when NAO is positive. However, there is persistent ridging over Alaska. That area is called Nort Pacific Oscillation (NPO) or East Pacific Oscillation (EPO). When there is ridging over Alaska, the NPO/EPO is negative, while troughing over Alaska means positive NPO/EPO. The NPO/EPO is similar to NAO, but over the North Pacific Ocean. A negative NPO/EPO gives America a cooler than normal winter. It can have much influence than NAO, like this past winter, which was a cold one. Another cold winter where the NAO was positive, but NPO/EPO was negative is the winter of 1983-1984. That winter was really cold, especially December 1983.

Now, let’s look at the great state of Texas’s spring.

Texas
Temperature: 64.13°F
Rainfall: 6.12

1895-2014 Spring Statistics
Spring Temperature Mean: 64.75°F
Spring Temperature Median: 64.73°F
Standard Deviation: 1.77

Spring Rainfall Mean: 7.26
Spring Rainfall Median: 7.05
Standard Deviation: 2.16

Like America, Texas had a normal spring in terms of temperature and rainfall. The temperature is below average, but within average. Texas saw normal March rainfall as it got beneficial rains to put a dent on the drought. However, Texas needs more rain to end this drought, which will hopefully be case with El Nino. So, how did Houston area fared in Spring.

Upper Texas Coast
Temperature: 66.93°F
Rainfall: 11.12

1895-2014 Spring Statistics
Spring Temperature Mean: 68.50°F
Spring Temperature Median: 68.39°F
Standard Deviation: 1.68

Spring Rainfall Mean: 10.38
Spring Rainfall Median: 9.91
Standard Deviation: 4.28

It is not your imagination that Spring 2014 was cool in Southeast Texas. It was cooler than normal despite the fact that Texas and America had normal spring. The Upper Texas Coast cracked the top 20 coolest spring on record. It is even cooler than Spring 2013. Winter prevailed in Spring 2014 for Upper Texas Coast. This is despite the fact it is within the mean, but close enough to be outside the mean to be considered abnormal. Here is the top 20 coolest spring in the Upper Texas Coast.

Top 20 Coldest Spring
1.) 1931 63.37°F
2.) 1915 64.87°F
3.) 1926 65.53°F
4.) 1913 65.63°F
5.) 1983 65.67°F
6.) 1914/1969 65.87°F
7.) 1952 65.90°F
8.) 1924/1960 66.07°F
9.) 1941 66.40°F
10.) 1947 66.53°F
11.) 1970/1993 66.57°F
12.) 1912 66.60°F
13.) 1919 66.63°F
14.) 1917 66.67°F
15.) 1932 66.77°F
16.) 1942 66.83°F
17.) 1937 66.90°F
18.) 2014 66.93°F
19.) 1928/1962 67.03°F
20.) 1930 67.07°F

Spring 2014 is the 18th coolest spring on record since 1895! Spring 2013 is 22 coolest spring on record and ties with Spring 1901 as the average was 67.13°F. Interesting to note following a cool spring, a major hurricane has made landfall on the Upper Texas Coast in these years. Here are the correlation values between Spring Temperatures (March to May) and tropical landfall on the Upper Texas Coast.

Tropical Storm
r = 0.03
p = 0.71

Hurricane
r = 0.11
p = 0.22

Major Hurricane
r = -0.21
p = 0.02

All Landfall
r = 0.00
p = 0.99

There is a significant negative correlation between cool springs and major hurricanes making landfall on the Upper Texas Coast. Cooler the spring, the more likely a major hurricane is likely to make landfall. It is significant because the p-value below 0.05. Anything above 0.05 is not significant. Four of the top 20 coolest spring had a major hurricane make landfall during the hurricane season from June to November.

Major Hurricane
1915-Galveston Hurricane of 1915 (Category 3)
1932-Freeport Hurricane (Category 4)
1941-Hurricane #2 (Category 3, Based on Reanalysis)
1983-Alicia (Category 3)

Hurricanes
1947-Hurricane 3 (Category 1)

Interesting to note that San Antonio Spurs won the NBA Championship, a hurricane made landfall. Here are the championship years for Spurs and hurricanes that made landfall.

1999-Bret
2003-Claudette
2005-Rita
2007-Humberto
2014-?

Two are Category 3 or above, while the other two are Category 1. In Humberto’s case, had it stayed over the Gulf of Mexico longer, it easily would have been a Category 3 or above hurricane. Thankfully that never happened as it made landfall east of Galveston on September 13, 2007 at 2:00 AM. Eerily, exactly one year later on that day and time, a much larger hurricane, Hurricane Ike, made landfall on the eastern part of Galveston Island.

However, none of them had an El Nino developing that year. Most were either Neutral (2003) or going into La Nina (1999, 2005, and 2007). El Nino is forecasted to develop for this year and that reduces storm formation from westerly wind shear. However, during El Nino years, storms form closer to land and increase their chance for landfall. My spring forecast for the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season used years that saw El Nino developing early. Looking at it this 2014 analog GIS heat map, many of them end up in the Gulf of Mexico, particularly the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico.

2014AnalogHurricaneHeatMap

Notice the highest risk for storms to hit are the Central Gulf Coast region, which is Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Southeast Texas is also in a high risk area for landfall during an analog season where El Nino is developing. It proves that even a less active season is just as dangerous as an active season.