First Major Hurricane Of 2018?

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

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

The next question is where does Chris go?

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

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Beryl, Soon To Be Chris, And Yes Maria

Croatia won in another nail biter against Russia, the host nation of the 2018 World Cup. It is a major upset for sure. Who would of thought Croatia would go this far in the World Cup? Anyways, let’s cut to the chase with the tropics. It is heating up in July. We have Beryl, soon to be Chris (Tropical Depression 3), and Typhoon Maria. Yes, Maria, the same name that ravaged Puerto Rico. I would of thought that name was retired for good. Let’s start with Beryl.

The first hurricane of the 2018 season has weakened back to a tropical storm due to a combination of wind shear and dry air. The wind shear map is from CIMSS Tropical Cyclones Group and GOES-16 satellite image is from GOES-East Imagery-Latest Full Disk Images.

Beryl is forecasted to go west-northwestward as it weakens. Some of the forecast model have Beryl going over hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic.

The intensity forecast has Beryl weakening to a tropical depression. It is very likely a tropical depression by now. By the time it is over the Caribbean, it is probably going to be a tropical depression or tropical wave.

There is Tropical Depression 3, which is going to be Chris soon. The forecast models have Chris as a Category 1 hurricane within a couple of days.

Most forecast models keep Chris away from the Eastern US. A couple of them have Chris making landfall. However, the slow movement of Chris makes it difficult to forecast. Also, the forecast heat map is more circular, which suggests this is a rather low confident forecast. I saw this pattern with Harvey, which lingered over Texas. North Carolina and Virginia should keep an eye on Chris.

Lastly, there is yes, Typhoon Maria. It is in the West Pacific. It was once a power Category 5 Super Typhoon. It is currently a Category 4 typhoon with 140 mph 225 km/h 120 knots winds. I am surprised that Maria is used in the West Pacific as it has been retired due to it ravaging Puerto Rico. Anyways, most forecast models have Maria heading west northwest towards Taiwan and than onto China.

Here is the intensity forecast model for Typhoon Maria.

Looks rather spurious as it is all over the place. I think Typhoon Maria will hit Taiwan as a Category 3 or 4 typhoon in about several days from now. The mountains of Taiwan tend to weaken typhoons. Taiwan would have to deal with strong winds and heavy rains, especially in the mountains. Some areas could see up to 50 inches/127 centimeters of rain once it is all over. Maria is likely to make landfall on China as a Category 1 or 2 typhoon in about a few days from now.

Here is my take.
-Beryl is most likely to weaken into a tropical depression
-Chris will form and likely have an impact on North Carolina and Virginia
-Maria could make landfall on Taiwan as a Category 3 or 4 typhoon and then on China as a Category 1 or 2 typhoon.

The forecast models came from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance.

Soon To Be Hurricane Beryl

Tropical Storm Beryl formed just today from Invest 95L. It is a rather small tropical storm with tropical storm force winds extending up to 35 miles from the center. That is a small tropical storm with 65 mph winds as of 9:00 PM CST. A small sized storm can intensify rapidly. Some intensity forecast models have Beryl as a hurricane within 24 hours.

However, I think Beryl will be a hurricane sooner. In fact I would not be surprised if it becomes a Category 2 or even 3 hurricane come morning. Like I have said, intensity forecast models are not that reliable. The next question is where does Beryl go.

Most of the forecast models have Beryl heading into the Caribbean. Some have it heading towards Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Haiti. It would be bad for Puerto Rico as they are still reeling from the ravages from Hurricane Maria. It is too early to tell where Beryl will go at this time.

Interesting to note that forecast models have Beryl weakening five days from now. Why is that?

There is wind shear over the Caribbean. Wind shear blows tops of thunderstorms, which can weaken or inhibit tropical development. Smaller tropical cyclones are more affected by wind shear than larger tropical cyclones.

Tropical Storm Beryl bears watching as it could be a problem for the Caribbean.

Tropical Storm Franklin For 8/9/2017 1900 CDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tropical Storm Franklin For 8/8/2017 2200 CDT

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

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

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

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

Tropical Storm Franklin For 8/7/2017 2200 CDT

Tropical Storm Franklin is about to make landfall on Yucatan Peninsula as I type. Franklin has 60 mph 96 km/h 52 knot winds. Gusts are high as 75 mph 120 km/h 64 knots. The highest wind at landfall should be 51 mph 81.6 km/h 44 knots with gusts as high as 77 mph 123 km/h 67 knots. Many areas will likely see tropical storm force winds and heavy rain. Many areas will see 4 to 7 inches (10.16 to 17.78 centimeters) of rain with isolated totals of 12 inches (30.48 centimeters). Tropical storm force winds extend up to 140 miles 224 km 122 nautical miles.

Where doe Franklin go after it passes Yucatan Peninsula and how strong will it be? Most of the forecast model has Franklin going over Bay of Campeche and into Mexico again. One forecast model has it heading towards the Central Texas Coast. However, I do not think Franklin will have much of an impact on Texas as it is likely to move westward. The heat map is generated from ATCF data file. The cone is from National Hurricane Center.

Looking at the heat map, there is a general consensus that Franklin is likely going to make landfall on Mexico again. Intensity is of most concern. Here is an intensity forecast from National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Most forecast models have Franklin as a tropical storm as it goes over Yucatan Peninsula. Once it enters the Gulf of Mexico, some forecast models have Franklin becoming our first hurricane of the season with 75 mph 120 km/h 65 knots winds. I think Franklin will be our first hurricane of the season. I would not be surprised if Franklin intensified into a Category 2 hurricane.

Atlantic Hurricane Season In August

It is now August and the season is heating up. Where do most August tropical storms and hurricanes form and end up going?

Here is a GIS heat map I created. This is all August tropical storms and hurricanes from 1870 to 2015. The heat map is from within 300 miles (480 kilometers) of a point.

The Main Development Region (MDR) heats up. The Windward Islands see more tropical cyclones making landfall. Interestingly, there is a dead area around Central Caribbean and Cuba. The Gulf of Mexico and Southeast is very active. Many tropical cyclones form near land in August and make landfall. Some of the of most devastating tropical storms and hurricanes made landfall in August:
Sea Islands (1893)
San Ciriaco (1899)
Monterrey (1909)
1945 Texas Hurricane (1945)
Camille (1969)
Amelia (1978)
David (1979)
Alicia (1983)
Bob (1991)
Andrew (1992)
Charley (1998)
Charley (2004)
Katrina (2005)
Dean (2007)
Irene (2011)

Despite Amelia making landfall on July 31, 1978, the worst aspect was heavy rain from August 1-4, 1978 in Central and West Texas, where up to 46 inches (116.84 centimeters) of rain fell. The costliest hurricane occurred in August, Katrina. The previous prior to Katrina was Andrew. August has produced some of the most devastating tropical storms and hurricanes.

Texas does get hurricane landfalls in August, including major hurricanes like Allen and Alicia. Allen was a Category 5 monster and almost made landfall on Port Mansfield as a Category 5 with 180 mph winds. Had that happened, that would of been really devastating. Allen made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds. Allen was a very large hurricane upon landfall. Alicia made landfall on Galveston as a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds. It was Texas’s first billion dollar disaster. Alicia was a medium size hurricane, unlike Allen. Had Alicia been Allen, Carla, or Ike size, it would been much worse.