April 2019 Hurricane Season Forecast

Many areas are still reeling from Harvey, Irma, Maria, and as of late Michael. Michael was updated to a Category 5 at landfall. Not surprised by it. Many people lost their properties and are rebuilding. Some lost their life. Hurricane Season is coming as it starts on June 1, 2019.

Colorado State University
13/5/2 ACE: 80

Joe Bastardi (Weather Bell)
10 to 15 Storms/4 to 7 Hurricanes/0 to 2 Major Hurricanes ACE: 60 to 110

Tropical Storm Risk
12/5/2 ACE: 81


Crown Weather

The Weather Channel

The analog years I am using are in which El Nino started late and is forecasted to be El Nino for the rest of the year to next year. Obviously, the forecast is uncertain.

Based on this, the analog years are 1940, 1969, 1987, 1992, 1993, and 2015. They are part of a multi-year El Nino or El Nino that is gone for a short time, only to return again later like in 1992 and 1993. 1940, 1969, 1987, and 2015 are multi-year El Nino. El Nino is not the only factor. 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, Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO), and Atlantic Main Development Region (MDR)

Analog Years For 2018 (TS/H/MH ACE ACE/Storm)
1940 9/6/0 68 7.6
1969 18/12/5 166 9.2
1987 7/3/1 34 4.9
1992 7/4/1 76 10.9
1993 8/4/1 39 4.9
2015 11/4/2 63 5.3

All of the seasons had major hurricane, except 1940. However, I consider that suspect because of no satellite back then. The most active is 1969 with 18 named storms, 12 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes. Many other forecasts have 1969 as an analog year.

Here are notable storms in the analog seasons.

Hurricane #2 or the 1940 Louisiana Hurricane makes landfall as a Category 2 hurricane on Sabine Pass, Texas. The slow movement led to massive rainfall totals of up to 38 inches! Some areas likely saw over 40 inches of rain. 20,000 square miles was affected by heavy rain, which had an average of 12.10 inches! The storm set many state rainfall records for Louisiana, which still stand to this very day. However, some areas in Louisiana may have seen 40 inches of rain from Harvey.

Hurricane #3 or the 1940 South Carolina Hurricane hits South Carolina as a Category 2 hurricane as it made landfall on Beaufort, South Carolina. The storm dumps heavy rain of up to 21 inches triggering deadly mudslides in Appalachia. It is probable some areas saw 30 inches or greater. The widespread heavy rain triggers massive flooding. The storm claims a total of 52 lives.

Hurricane #4 or the 1940 New England Hurricane ravages New England before hitting Nova Scotia. The hurricane moisture and a stationary cold front leads to heavy rain over New Jersey including up to 24 inches, which is the wettest for the Garden State to this very day.

Hurricane #5 or the 1940 Nova Scotia Hurricane hits Nova Scotia just weeks after 1940 New England Hurricane. It hits Nova Scotia as a Category 1 hurricane. The hurricane caused shipping disruption in the North Atlantic. The hurricane causes damage in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. There are three fatalities, in which two are off of America in ships.

Hurricane Camille hit Cuba as a Category 2 hurricane. Than Camille underwent explosive intensification over the Gulf of Mexico. Camille had 900 millibars and 175 mph wind prior to making landfall on Mississippi Delta and Mississippi as a Category 5 hurricane. Gusts went high as 250 mph! The remants of Camille and cold front set off core rains over Western Virginia with extremely heavy rains centered over Nelson County, Virginia. Up 27 inches of rain was confirmed with a total as high as 31 inches in a barrel away from the center. It is probable up to 40 to 50 inches of rain fell in eight hours! Camille claimed 259 lives, mostly in Virginia from flooding.

Hurricane Francelia ravages Central America before making landfall on Belize. The slow moving hurricane dumped heavy rain over Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras. The hurricane claims 271 lives, making it the deadliest prior to Mitch in 1998.

Tropical Storm #2, which is the 1987 Gulf Coast Tropical Storm makes landfall on Texas, but most the heavy rain is east of the center. The Gulf Coast saw rain amount as high as 21 inches in Van Cleave, Louisiana.

Hurricane Emily hits Dominican Republic as Category 2 hurricane and emerges as a tropical storm. However, it undergoes rapid intensification to Category 1 hurricane of 90 mph and goes directly over Bermuda. Emily is the strongest hurricane to hit Bermuda since Hurricane #6 (Dog) or the 1948 Bermuda-Newfoundland Hurricane.

Hurricane Andrew ravaged Bahamas and Florida as a Category 5 hurricane with 175 mph winds and 920 millibar pressure. It traversed over the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 4 hurricane before making landfall on Central Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane. Once it was all done, South Florida was cut off from the world and did $27 billion in damages. Andrew was the costliest hurricane at the time prior to Katrina in 2005 and Harvey in 2017.

Tropical Storm Arlene made landfall on Texas as a large tropical storm on June 19, 1993. It dumped heavy rain over a large area. The highest being over 15 inches of rain in Angleton. The system that became Arlene dumped heavy rain in El Salvador, which claimed 20 lives. There were five lives lost in Mexico. One died in Henderson, Texas. It claimed a total of 26 lives.

Tropical Storm Bret traveled across South America. It first made landfall on Galera Point, Trinidad and then goes over the Caribbean to make landfall on Macuro, Venezuela. It dumps heavy rain and triggers deadly mudslides. The highest measured is over 13 inches in Guanare with higher totals likely. Bret claims 173 lives in Venezuela, which is the deadliest along the 1999 Vargas Tragedy and 1967 Caracas Earthquake. The tropical storm goes over the Caribbean and makes landfall around Bahia Punta Gorda, Nicaragua. The storm dumps heavy rain over Central America, mainly in Nicaragua. The heavy rain leads to flooding and washes away villages. The storm claims 31 lives in Nicaragua. Bret goes over the East Pacific and becomes Hurricane Greg, which is a Category 4 hurricane.

Hurricane Emily is the only major hurricane of the 1993 Atlantic Season. It grazed North Carolina and came within 23 miles of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on August 31, 1993. Emily moved eastward after it grazed North Carolina. The hurricane produced 10 feet storm surge in Buxton and dumped up to 7 inches of rain. Three people died from Emily.

Hurricane Gert made landfall on Bluefields, Nucaragua as it is ravaged from Bret as a tropical storm on September 15, 1993. It goes over Honduras as a tropical depression. Heavy rain falls over Nicaragua and Honduras, which leads to massive flooding. A total of 64 people die in Nicaragua and Honduras from Gert. Nearly 18 inches of rain falls in Corinto. Gert makes landfall as a tropical storm on Belize, affecting the Yucatan Peninsula. Gert emerges into the Gulf of Mexico as a tropical depression. From there, it becomes a Category 2 hurricane as it makes it final landfall north of Tuxpan as a Category 2 hurricane on September 20, 1993. Gert unleashes strong wind and heavy rain over Tamaulipas and Veracruz. The mountains see the heaviest rain with the highest total of over 31 inches in Aquismón with higher totals likely. The widespread rain leads to massive flooding that claims 45 lives in Mexico.

Tropical Storm Bill made landfall on June 16, 2015 on Matagorda Island. Bill dumped heavy rain over Texas with a total of over 15 inches in Ganado, Texas. Bill weakens to a tropical depression and dumps heavy rain over Oklahoma with 8 inches of rain falling in Carter County. Bill claims 8 lives.

Tropical Storm Erika was a tropical storm that dumped heavy rain over Dominca. The mountainous terrain contribute to the heavy rain and deadly flooding and mudslide. Rainfall amount of 33 inches fell over Morne Diablotins. There was high precipitable water over Dominica. It was also north of the island. A total of 30 lives were lost in Dominica, which was the worst since Hurricane David in 1979.

Hurricane Joaquin is the strongest known Atlantic hurricane of non-tropical origin as it came from upper level low and surface low. Joaquin rapidly intensified into a Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph on October 2, 2015. It moved southwestward towards the Bahamas. It first made landfall as a Category 4 on Samana Cay and then Category 3 on Rum Cay and San Salvador Island. Strong winds, high waves, storm surge, and heavy rain pelt Bahamas. A 18 feet storm surge was reported in Long Island. As the Bahamas are being ravaged by Joaquin, the SS El Faro sinks into the abyss claiming all 33 on board. To make matters worse, there is a surface low of the coast of Georgia and Florida, which is drawing in moisture from Joaquin. The setup leads to widespread heavy rain over South Carolina and North Carolina. Nearly 27 inches of rain fell in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. There is widespread flooding in South Carolina as there are 18 dam breaches from the heavy rain. The flood event in part from Joaquin claims 25 lives, including 19 in South Carolina.

Many of these notable storms in analog seasons were prodigious rainmakers. Some remain records yet to be broken. Some were intense like Camille and Andrew, which were Category 5 hurricanes and at landfall. I am not suggesting 2019 will see something like Camille, Andrew, 1940 Louisiana Hurricane, or Joaquin.

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

The heat map shows the most active spot being off the Eastern US. Other hot spots are the Eastern Gulf Of Mexico, east of the Lesser Antilles, and off of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. However, when you look at the whole basin, everyone is at risk for landfall. I never make landfall predictions as I strongly object to doing landfall forecasts. The reason is everyone is at equal risk.

10/6/2 (Rounded Up)

9/4/1 (Rounded Up)

Standard Deviation



Standard Deviation



Standard Deviation

How do analog seasons compare as a whole. Statistics from 1870 to 2018.



Standard Deviation



Standard Deviation



Standard Deviation

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?
9 to 15 named storms, likely 12 named storms
5 to 10 hurricanes, likely 7 hurricanes
1 to 4 major hurricanes with 2 major hurricanes
ACE is 60 to 120 with ACE likely of 70 to 110

Let’s see how my April 2018 hurricane forecast compare to the actual 2018 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

Colorado State University
14/7/3 ACE: 130

Joe Bastardi (Weather Bell)
10 to 12 Storms/4 to 6 Hurricanes/1 to 2 Major Hurricanes ACE: 90 to 110

Tropical Storm Risk
12/6/2 ACE: 84


The Weather Channel

2018 Actual Number
15 Named Storms
8 Hurricanes
2 Major Hurricanes
127 ACE

Many including myself got the forecast close. The 2018 Hurricane Season was forecasted about right, not over or under. There is always room for improvement.

Regardless of forecast, I think 2019 could be an interesting hurricane season.


2018-2019 Winter Forecast

It is this time. Winter is here and Christmas is coming. Christmas comes sooner and sooner every year. We have a warming equatorial Pacific, which suggests El Nino is developing. What will the Winter of 2018-2019 be like? Since we had La Nina last winter and a developing El Nino. Here are El Nino in which the previous winter was La Nina.

Here is a map of sea surface temperature anomaly.

I will also look at the ocean temperature as they are factors besides El Nino, to narrow it down. They are Tripole Index for the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (TPI IPO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), Northeast Pacific Warm Pool (NEPWP), Equatorial Indian Ocean (EIOI), Roaring Forties (R40I), and Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO). The rest that are not linked, please click on Climate Indices. Not all El Nino winters are the same.

Here is the chart of analogs.

1876-1877 1 1 1 1 1 1 6 No QBO Data
1899-1900 1 1 1 1 1 5 No QBO Data
1904-1905 1 1 2 No QBO Data
1911-1912 1 1 1 3 No QBO Data
1918-1919 1 1 1 1 4 No QBO Data
1925-1926 1 1 1 1 4 No QBO Data
1939-1940 1 1 1 1 4 No QBO Data
1951-1952 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 7
1957-1958 1 1 1 1 1 1 6
1963-1964 1 1 1 1 1 5
1965-1966 1 1 1 3
1968-1969 1 1 1 1 1 5
1972-1973 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 7
1976-1977 1 1 1 1 1 5
1986-1987 1 1 1 1 1 1 6
1997-1998 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 7
2006-2007 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8
2009-2010 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 7

I narrowed it down.

To further it, I narrow down even further.

I will use this as the analog winter forecast. Let’s look at the upper air pattern at the 500 millibar level or 18,000 feet. All the maps are from 20th Century Reanalysis Monthly Composites.

There is ridging over Northeast Canada and Greenland. That is a negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). A negative NAO is more favorable for cold winters. Some of the coldest winters have occurred due to negative NAO as cold air from the Arctic region is shunted southward. There is troughing over Gulf Of Alaska and Far East Russia, which are positive East Pacific Oscillation (EPO) and West Pacific Oscillation (WPO). They are the North Pacific equivalent of NAO. There have been freezes when NAO is positive while EPO and WPO are negative, which is ridging over Alaska and Far East Russia. December 1983 and February 1989 freeze occurred due to negative EPO despite positive NAO.

What will the temperature be like at the surface?

Most of Russia, Central Asia, Arctic, and Alaska are cold. Same goes with Eastern US and Texas. This suggests this winter could be a cold one. Some of the coldest winters on record occurred in those analog years of 1972-1973 and 2009-2010. It is most warm over Northeastern Canada, Greenland, Korea, Japan, North Africa, and Southern Europe. It is no surprise that Northeastern Canada and Greenland are warm as there is ridging over the area.

Let’s look at temperature at 850 millibars or 5,000 feet.

The air is cold at 5,000 feet over Russia, Central Asia, Arctic, and Alaska. It is also cold mainly over Texas. The reason I am including this is if is freezing cold above the surface, it increases the chance for snow in the winter. One can have freezing cold at the surface, but warm above ground. That leads to freezing rain or sleet. For snow to form, the upper atmosphere needs to be cold. Snowfall occurs if the surface is not cold because the atmosphere is freezing. It is above that counts. Often when it snows, it is not really that cold.

Lastly, let’s look at precipitation rate.

It looks most wettest in Southeastern US, Southwest, and West Coast. It is also wet in Southern China, Korea, and Japan. It is also wet in Northern India, Nepal, Spain and Portugal. Southeast Texas looks to see about average rainfall.

How were winters like in these analog years?

I cannot find any weather records for Texas that winter. England and Wales had their wettest winter on record.

One of the warmest winters on record for Southeast Texas. It is warm throughout the US.

Houston had three 1 inch or higher snowfall on January 11, February 9-10, and February 17-18. It is Houston’s snowiest winter on record since 1895 when 20 inches of snow fell on February 14-15, 1895. New York City records the least amount of snow in winter on record of 2.80 inches. The winter is one of the coldest on record for Southeast Texas.

The world is gripped by an extremely strong El Nino. Western US had record rainfall, while Indonesia has a severe drought. It is one of Texas’s wettest winter on record.

Freezing rain on January 16-17, 2007. It is part of the much larger North American Ice Storm.

Houston records earliest 1 inch snowfall on December 4, 2009. Second snowfall on February 23, 2010. It is one of the coldest winter on record for Southeast Texas.

Does this mean 2018-2019 winter will be record cold like in 1972-1973 or 2009-2010 or warm like 1951-1952? Does this mean we will see a freezing cold or warm winter? Does this mean we will see many snowfall this winter? Not necessarily. It can go either way.

I think this winter could be a cold winter. I would not be surprised to hear of a major cold blast this coming winter or snow falls again. I could see major winter storms happening.

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.

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.

The Tropics Are Heating Up

Today is what is the peak date for the Atlantic Hurricane Season. No doubt today with Florence, Isaac, Helene, and Invest 95L, which maybe Joyce. 95L is an area of thunderstorms over the Caribbean south of Cuba. Tomorrow is September 11, which is the 17th anniversary of the devastating terrorist attacks in New York, Arlington, and Shanksville. It claimed 3,000 lives and reduced the World Trade Center to a smoldering and toxic rubble and left the Pentagon burning shooting out toxic smoke. I will be focusing on Florence as it is most likely to pose a threat to America. Invest 95L was declared earlier today, so there is not a lot of forecast models for it yet.

As of 11:00 PM AST from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Florence has 140 mph 122 knots 225 km/h winds with gusts as high as 175 mph 152 knots 282 km/h. The central pressure is 944 millibars. It is a medium sized hurricane with hurricane force winds extending up to 40 miles 35 nautical miles 64 kilometers and tropical storm force winds extending up to 150 miles 130 nautical miles 241 kilometers.

The forecast intensity shows Florence being a Category 4 hurricane.

I think Florence will be a Category 5 hurricane. Here is why from NOAA-Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential and Weather Maps-Maximum Potential Hurricane Intensity.

The water where Florence is and probably where it will go is warm. It has plenty of warm and deep water to work with. The Maximum Potential Hurricane Intensity (MPI) supports a Category 5 hurricane if conditions are near perfect. This is despite the fact that Florence is likely to run into UW-CIMSS-Wind Shear. The wind shear is not that strong and since Florence is well structured and organized, it should have little effect.

The biggest question is where does Florence go? That is on everyone’s mind right now. The forecast paths are from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance.

I have the latest forecast track and ensemble from a previous forecast cycle. The consensus on both forecast models including the ensembles using the heat map within 300 mile/480 kilometers radius from the point show that North Carolina is most likely to have Florence making landfall later this week. What is most concerning is once it is over land, Florence could slow down and stall out. This leads to heavy rain and dangerous flooding. Hurricane Harvey lingered over Texas dumping heavy rain over a large area leading to massive flooding. Here are rainfall forecast models from Weather.US. They are EURO, GFS, Canadian, and German (ICON). They are all seven day rainfall total forecast.

The forecast models all agree that heavy rain will fall over North Carolina. Two have heavy rain over Virginia. The EURO has 19 inches/48.3 centimeters of rain. The GFS has (drum rolls please) 77 inches/195.6 centimeters of rain! Thankfully, that is over the ocean. North Carolina has 15 to 20 inches/38.1 centimeters to 50.8 centimeters of rain, which is still heavy. The Canadian has 39 inches/99 centimeters of rain. Like the GFS, it is over the ocean. The ICON has 29 inches/74 centimeters of rain. The 77 inches of rainfall forecast from GFS is assuming that Florence is stalled out over the ocean. If Florence was to stall out over land and 77 inches of rain did fall, it would be heavier than Harvey. I have never seen such high rainfall forecasts. The last time I saw something that high high was from Harvey. Some forecast models I saw had up to 70 inches/177.8 centimeters of rain over Texas!

The rainfall forecast does include Texas. They are all over the place in terms of rainfall forecast for the next 7 days. The EURO has 19 inches of rain west of Corpus Christi. The GFS has 5 inches/12.7 centimeters. The Canadian has 12 inches/30.5 centimeters of rain over Houston area. The ICON has 15 inches of rain northeast of Corpus Christi. This suggests at this point, the heaviest rain will be in South Texas depending on how organized Invest 95L. If it is not as organized, the heaviest rain would be east of the center and Southeast Texas would get the heaviest rain from 95L.

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.
-Deadly flooding will probably be main headline if Florence stalls out.
-Regardless if Invest 95L is Joyce or not, Texas could see more heavy rain this week to early next week.

A Weakening Bud And Invest 91L

Oh how the mighty have fallen! Yesterday, Bud was a hurricane. Today it is a tropical storm with 50 mph 44 knots 80 km/h winds. It was once a formidable Category 3 hurricane. All the forecast models have Bud weakening.

With Bud running into cooler water and closer to land, it is most likely to weaken. The next important question is where Bud goes.

The forecast models are having Bud moving towards Baja California and the Southwestern US as a low pressure system. The moisture from Bud is certainly welcomed in the Southwest as they are very dry.

Almost the entire Four Corners is engulfed in a severe drought. It centers around where the Four Corners meet. There is also a severe drought in the Texas Panhandle region. Any rain is welcomed regardless. This leads to Invest 91L in the Caribbean. Many are asking where 91L will go.

Most of the forecast models have Invest 91L heading towards either Mexico or Deep South Texas. Some have it heading towards Southeast Texas. Regardless of where 91L goes, rain will be the main issue. Since Invest 91L is over an area of warm water, does it have a chance of developing?

Most forecast models have 91L at tropical wave or tropical depression. One has it as a tropical storm. Again, it is too early to tell if it will develop. Tropical waves or low pressure areas in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico can form suddenly into a tropical storm or even hurricane. It has happened many times in the past. I am not suggesting it will happen with 91L. It is something to consider.

The Tropical Cyclone Formation Probability Guidance Product does give Invest 91L a chance of developing into a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours. Again, that is only a small chance of developing.

Since, we are on the topic of tropical weather trouble, it brings rain. Various forecast models have different rain amounts, which are from GFS, Canadian, EURO, and Weather Prediction Center (WPC). They are from Weather.US and Weather Prediction Center (WPC)-Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts (QPF). These are 7 day rainfall totals.

The GFS has less rain for Texas and the Southwest. Southeast Texas has 2 to 4 inches of rain. The Southwest sees 0.50 to 2 inches of rain with 6 inches in the mountains.

The Canadian is not particularly generous for the Southwest. However for Southeast, Texas it has up to 8 inches of rain.

The EURO is generous for Southwest and Texas. The mountains of Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado have up 8 inches of rain. Most of Arizona is wet as well compared to GFS and Canadian.

The WPC has 2 to 4 inches of rain over Southeast Texas. The Southwest has 0.50 to 1 inches of rain with isolated areas seeing 2 inches of rain.

The forecast models are unanimous on that rain will fall in Texas and the Southwest. They diverge on rain amount. Some forecast lesser amounts, while others forecast higher amounts. We should have a better idea of rain amounts later on.

My take on this. Invest 91L is more likely going to be a rain event. I do not expect 91L will develop at this point, but of course anything can happen. I do not think we will see another Harvey event from 91L. It is not forecasted to linger over Texas, like what Harvey or Allison did. As for Bud, the Southwestern US should welcome the rain with open arms. They will need it for sure.

The forecast models came from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance. The GIS drought map is from United States Drought Monitor.