2017 Hurricane Season

Weather reports, questions and comment.
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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:22 am

ORPHELIA APPROACHING PORTUGAL AS A HURRICANE?

Well well well ... the last time this happened was when a Tropical Storm (Vince) made landfall in the far eastern Algarve and I can't remember when ... it was surely within the last 5 years.

Orphelia is strengthening and could become a Hurricane by Thursday and the models are predicting a possible scrape with the southern-most Azores this week and then there is some uncertainty about whether landfall could be in Portugal, north west Spain or even France at the weekend.

The sea around Portugal is freezing cold so Orphelia is unlikely to maintain strength off the west coast of Portugal or even France if landfall occurs there.

Orphelia looks to retain Hurricane status but with limited Tropical Characteristics. The world famous surfing town of Nazare, on the Portugese west coast, will likely be full of surfers this weekend in the hope that the 100 feet waves will return for their kamikazi missions in their bids to find Surfing Utopia (or Death).

This one is to be watched.

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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:18 pm

HURRICANE OPHELIA ... APPROACHING THE UK !!

30 years ago, on this day, the south and east of the UK was battered by the famous October Storm which many, apart from a young UK meteorologist called Michael Fish, described as a Hurricane ... in a way, it was a Hurricane due to it's sustained wind speeds ... but it had no Tropical characteristics and therefore it could only be described as a Wind-Storm that the UK Met have now been naming in recent years in order to raise awareness of extreme Weather in the UK.

The Great Storm of October 1987 came from the Bay of Biscay which is often a spawning ground for many thunderstorms and 'Spanish Plumes' that affect the UK each Summer.

Hurricane Ophelia (I have got the spelling right this time!) is showing signs of avoiding Portugal altogether and taking a more northerly track through or just west of the Bay of Biscay carrying high levels of Tropical Heat and energy.

Don't worry Nazare, your gigantic waves will still come.

The UK Met Office is already issuing topical videos about Hurricane Ophelia but, as yet, no Warnings.

The current track predictions take Ophelia to the west of the UK just west of Ireland but, unlike most Storms that come from the west, Ophelia is coming from the south bringing very warm air on it's eastern side but wrapping cold air into the system from the west side.

The different in temperature between the cold and the warm air will give the UK Met Office a good indication of how severe this Storm could be as it approaches the far south west of the UK early on Monday next week.

The exact track will determine which part of the UK gets the warm air (to the east), the cold air (to the west) and the band in the middle where the convergence of the warm and cold air takes place.

Ireland currently looks the favourite but there are 5 days to go and much could change as the UK Met gets to grips with the Storm's track.

I will post updates ...
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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:49 pm

HURRICANE OPHELIA GETTING STRONGER ...
STRONG TROPICAL WAVE BRINGING HEAVY RAINS TO THE CARIBBEAN


The UK met Office has issued the first warnings ahead of Hurricane Ophelia's approach to Ireland and the UK.

Unfortunately, the UK Met Office is issuing mixed signals, suggesting in it's own Forecasts that Ophelia would past to the west of Ireland but also being the most eastern orientated of the models used by the NHC with Ophelia passing over Ireland and into Scotland.

All this is supposed to happen on Monday through to Tuesday.

And don't be mislead by the exact track. This is based on Ophelia's centre, Ophelia will expand significantly as the tropical characteristics are replaced by a deepening Low Pressure system energised by the cold air to the west and the very very (for this time of year) warm air to the Storm's east. These factors are the catalyst for a very severe Storm of potential historical proportions for the UK ... and over a wide area.

The 'historical' bit will depend on the track that is still in question because if Ophelia stays west of Ireland and out to sea then it will be nothing to get overly worried about ... however, if Ophelia takes the other extreme under the spectrum of uncertainty and tracks up the Irish Sea then the UK has a potential disaster to deal with.

I will post updates on this up until Monday, by which time there should be a better degree of confidence on the track of this Storm.


Meanwhile, back in the Caribbean, a strong Tropical Wave is carrying heavy rains towards the eastern Caribbean but it is struggling against wind shear and making slow progress. It should reach Tobago and the rest of the Windwards by Saturday.

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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Hugh S » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:18 am

Paul,

This has been (I hope it remains past tense) a fascinating hurricane season and we have learned a lot from your timely and informative posts. I have stayed on top of all the dangers using this Hurricane Center site: https://weather.com/storms/hurricane-central.

Thanks, Hugh 8)

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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:59 am

CATEGORY 2 HURRICANE OPHELIA APPROACHES THE BRITISH ISLES
DISTURBANCE IN THE CARIBBEAN


Thank you Hugh, I have used that site sometimes but you have to watch some quite lengthy adverts before you can get to the Weather business ... still It's good to see a US Weather Channel reporting on Weather conditions on the other side of the Pond.

Ophelia has reached Category 2 strength and moving south of the Azores.

The UK Met's Forecasts are now more in line with the NHC and Ophelia should track south west to north east across Ireland and Northern Ireland on Monday and into Scotland on Tuesday.

During this track, Ophelia will weaken and lose it's tropical characteristics but there will still be significant energy within the Storm as it interacts with a frontal trough carrying much colder air. This will likely re-energize Ophelia and a consequence of this will be potentially extreme Weather conditions across Ireland and Northern Ireland with heavy rain and potentially Hurricane force winds.

On my way home from work yesterday evening the temperature was 21 degrees celsius and there was a strong warm breeze and this is continuing this morning as very warm air being pushed up over the eastern parts of the UK is predicted to bring unseasonally warm temperatures.

The Weather Models seem to agree on the track of Ophelia but a slight move to the east of the track would be very damaging for west and northern England.

In addition, as Ophelia loses it's tropical characteristics, the Storm will expand and the wind-field will cover a larger area. This reflected in the UK Met's Weather Warnings that predict severe Weather affecting the most western areas on Monday but then the areas at risk extend eastwards and southwards on Tuesday as the Storm crosses Scotland and then moves on to Scandinavia.

Situations like this are dangerous and there will be localised extreme weather events in addition to the warnings being issued by the Met Office. Trees are still heavy in leaf and there is likely to be some disruption to travel and services.

We should therefore spare our thoughts for those in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland that seem at most risk of experiencing the worst conditions.

I will post updates if there are any more developments.


Back in the Caribbean, a strong Tropical Wave is starting to affect the Windwards. At the southern extreme of this Wave is Tobago experiencing frequent heavy showers.

At the northern extreme is a Depression that the NHC are issuing advisories on for the northern Leewards, giving a 30% risk of this disturbance becoming a Tropical Storm in areas where they have had more than their fair share of Hurricane activity this season.

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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Sat Oct 14, 2017 5:24 pm

MAJOR HURRICANE OPHELIA

Even the experts at the NHC are perplexed as they 'conservatively' adjust Ophelia to a Category 3 Major Hurricane.

This is a game-changer because last week Ophelia was expected to be no stronger than a Tropical Storm and of course that is a very reasonable assumption to make considering the hostile environment in which Ophelia has grown and, somehow, flourished.

But, this season has produced a series of 6 consecutive Major Hurricanes that have ALL exceeded expectations and thrown up some unpleasant surprises. Have we not learned anything?

This Hurricane is expected to start impacting the south west coast of Ireland tomorrow night by which time the NHC have predicted that Ophelia will have lost Hurricane / Tropical characteristics ... in 24 to 36 hours (from Category 3)? It's possible, but not likely if the Storm is over the open Sea.

Met Eireann issued a RED warning about 4 hours ago for parts of Ireland and an AMBER warning for the rest of the Country although this alert does not give any guidance of what to do and how to prepare ... they had better get moving.

Ophelia has not stopped strengthening and is a well structured Hurricane with a 20 mile wide and clear eye. The stronger this Storm gets then the more likely Ireland will be experiencing a Major Hurricane within 36 hours ... if Ophelia slows down then there is a chance that this would allow the time for any weakening to occur before landfall in south west Ireland ... but it won't.

Lets hope the media pick it up, or the UK Met ... it will be difficult to exaggerate this potential disaster.

Updates will follow ...

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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:31 am

OPHELIA WEAKENING?

The Storm has been downgraded to Category 2 but this is based on satellite presentation and a pressure reading from a buoy in close proximity to the Storm. As far as I can tell, there has been no aerial or internal investigation of the Storm.

Another concern is that the UK Met's timing appears to be a few hours slower than the NHC. Although Ophelia will have expanded by the time it reaches Ireland and accounting for the suggestion by NHC that 'the exact track is not that important' this is still potentially misleading to those in the path of this Storm.

Please note that the track is based on the Storm's centre.

The exact track timing is very important because it should indicate that conditions will deteriorate sooner or bloody later ... so I will put this down to a disagreement between the UK Met and NHC, although it will be the UK Met that suffers from a condition known as eggonfaceitis if they are wrong and I would see no harm in bringing their timings into line with the NHC ... then that simply means everyone is ready even if it is a little early?!?

There have been a few minor adjustments to the track in terms of direction however this is just about a few wriggles in advance of landfall and has not affected the longer term track position as the Storm passes over Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The UK Met has now issued an Amber Warning for Northern Ireland and made a few minor adjustments to the Yellow Warning areas over the Northern UK. Curiously, the Yellow Warning area for Tuesday does not include central and northern Scotland which are areas that the centre of the Storm will be passing over at that time.

At this stage I am hoping that the Storm will not be as bad as it could be and that the right preparations have been made to protect life and welfare, particularly in Ireland.

This is not the time to make 'conservative' adjustments or statements by the key Forecasters.

I feel sure I will post an update later today.

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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:14 pm

OPHELIA UPDATE

Since my last post the NHC and UK Met Office track timings are now better aligned and it appears that previous track forecasts have over-estimated the speed of Ophelia.

This is good news because an additional 6 to 12 hours will allow further weakening before the Storm reaches Ireland.

Ophelia will still be a very strong Storm with Hurricane force winds.

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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:14 pm

HURRICANE OPHELIA CLOSING IN

Hurricane Ophelia is weakening and will be making the transition from a Hurricane to an Extra-Tropical Depression as it moves over Ireland tomorrow (Monday).

Ophelia will still be packing a strong punch with hurricane force winds in excess of 75mph and gusts well in excess of 100mph and it is possible that the strength of the Storm could increase as it goes through the transition ... if any weather instruments can take the punishment I would not be surprised if some gusts are recorded in excess of 130mph, particularly over higher ground.

The worst effects of the Storm will be on the eastern side and conditions will start to deteriorate in South West Ireland a few hours from now and the peak of the Storm is expected on Monday afternoon.

Areas most at risk as the Storm approaches are Counties Kerry, Cork, Waterford and Wexford around the west and south coasts and any high ground inland where the wind speeds will be much higher than sea level. All of these Counties could also suffer Storm surge on their coasts.

I am also concerned about the Irish Sea because, based on the expected track of the Storm, the eastern Counties of Ireland could be badly affected and, in particular, County Down in Northern Ireland would be exposed to severe winds.

Wales is in the Yellow Warning area and I would not be surprised to see this warning upgraded to Amber as the winds will be particularly strong against south facing coasts. Conditions in the Isle of Man could also be extremely severe.

As the Storm moves over Ireland and towards Scotland it will continue to weaken but that will be pretty academic as far as Ireland is concerned when the wind direction will whip round and begin battering the north coasts of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

In terms of risk, most of England away from the west side of the Pennines will be having a breezy and sunny day on Monday, however, conditions will begin to deteriorate over Scotland and northern England over Monday night and the warnings areas will shift east and south by Tuesday.

The NHC has a very helpful model showing the chances of Tropical Storm Force or greater wind speeds ... Yorkshire currently has a 50% chance of experiencing this and London has below a 5% chance.

Overall I think the UK Met and the NHC have done a pretty good job in their forecasting apart from a few timing issues however judgement should be reserved until late Tuesday when the damage will be assessed.

I hope everyone in Ireland is ready and prepared for a rough ride on Monday.

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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:51 pm

OPHELIA APPROACHING SCOTLAND

I am in Yorkshire and the wind is howling outside. It is not very gusty but consistently strong at about 30 - 35 mph.

During the day, as has been widely reported in the media, were weird colours from almost red to pink and to orange and it was as if a filter had been put over a camera lens ... very surreal and unsure about viewing it as beautiful or apocalyptic ... or both !

The warm air traveling up the eastern side of Ophelia had been carrying Saharan Dust and fall out from the Forest Fires raging over Portugal and Spain.

So ... so far, 3 deaths. 3 too many but probably less than expected and more fatalities would be no surprise before Ophelia leaves the north eastern side of Scotland.

Ophelia has weakened but judging by the wind howling around my house I don't think I want to be any closer to Scotland and Northern England tonight.

Conditions should ease during Tuesday afternoon and then those affected can pick up the pieces.


In the Caribbean ... the risk of a Tropical Depression forming near Bermuda is increasing for this week.


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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:27 pm

QUIET FOR NOW

Hurricane Ophelia is now gone and another Storm, called Brian, has also passed by.

One of my Irish clients rang me on Monday, the day Ophelia struck Ireland, and I thought he wanted some money because his roof had blown off ... but it was just a tax query so we had a chuckle about that.

Ophelia gave the whole of the British Isles an experience that I won't forget from the violence of the Storm across Ireland and the relative calm and colour over to the eastern areas. Although when Ophelia moved across Scotland the winds across northern England and Yorkshire packed a real punch.

The wind was a constant with few gusts and I guess it topped out at around 40 mph and with minimal damage due to the absence of gusts.

Since Ophelia passed on there have been no threats of any weather disturbances in the Caribbean or the Atlantic and, if this Hurricane Season decides to follow the script for a change, the chances of a Cabo Verde Storm decrease and instead these chances of Storm genesis transfer to the South West Caribbean and Central Americas.

It is too soon for the Caribbean to relax but at least the end of the 2017 Hurricane season at the end of November is in sight.

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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:58 pm

NEW DISTURBANCE IN WEST CARIBBEAN
MORE UNWANTED RAIN FOR TRINIDAD & TOBAGO


The NHC are issuing advisories on a new disturbance just off the east coasts of Honduras and Nicaragua, giving this a 50% chance of developing into a Tropical Storm within 5 days.

At this time of year, this area is a common breeding ground for Tropical Storms and historical powerful Hurricanes have originated here, such as Wilma in 2005 which was a more powerfult Hurricane than this season's Irma and Maria.

The sea temperature is a cooking +30 degrees celsius and, providing other factors are ok, this extreme high sea temperature would provide significant energy for Storm development.

Updates could follow ...



Over on the eastern side of the Caribbean is a powerful Tropical Wave which, combined with the proximity of the ITCZ, is going to pump more rainfall across the whole of the Windwards for the next 2 days at least.

Trinidad & Tobago have reached the point where they really do not want anymore rain. Trinidad, in particular, has had widespread flooding at low ground levels so watch out here over the next 2 to 3 days because there is significant rain on the way and this will probably last until Thursday or Friday.

In Tobago, the biggest risks are landslides and these can present a risk to life in mountainous areas along the coasts and in and around the rainforest.

The rain is likely to be persistent but also, at times, very heavy with significant accumulations in places.

Be careful.

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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:41 pm

TROPICAL WAVE EAST OF TOBAGO

I wouldn't normally post on these situations but, considering the recent amount of rainfall and flooding in T&T, particularly in Trinidad, I am watching this Wave which is literally knocking on Tobago's door.

High levels of wind shear are keeping the worst of the rainfall from falling over T&T but this Tropical Wave will make progress and the longer that the battle rages between this Wave and the wind shear then, unfortunately, the longer the rainfall could last.

Today there has been some rain from this weather system but the heaviest rain is yet to come.

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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:59 pm

THE TOBAGO TROPICAL WAVE
HEAVY RAINS IN STORE FOR THE NORTH CARIBBEAN AND EASTERN US


The strong Tropical Wave affecting T&T is now west of the Islands and I am relieved that the rains were not as heavy as I expected, although it did rain and there will have been some localised heavy rain here and there.

The threat of heavy rain has not ended yet and only strong wind shear has prevented this from happening. Another Tropical Wave is on the way for the weekend.

Elsewhere, I mentioned a few days ago that a disturbance was forming in the south west Caribbean. The prospects of Storm development have reduced but there are some aggressive predictions in most Weather Models that this system could get dragged into a trough currently spanning across the Caribbean from the south west to the north east.

This would provide additional energy to non-tropical activity through Cuba, Florida and up the east US coast as a significant rain event.

It is still quiet in the Tropical Atlantic.

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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:26 pm

PHILIPPE

The tropical disturbance I referred to in yesterday's post is now between the central Americas and Cuba. The NHC have designated this as a Potential Tropical Cyclone (PTC). This basically means that it is a Tropical Depression or Storm but that clear indications of where the centre of the disturbance is are currently unknown.

So I would expect Tropical Storm Philippe to be confirmed within the next 12 to 24 hours.

The main risk associated with Philippe will be heavy rain through Cuba, the Bahamas and then right up the eastern coast of the US.

The rain activity over Tobago is diminishing and, although another Tropical Wave is close, the weather looks fairly clear but it only takes some of the air, heavily laden with moisture, for rainfall to be produced within Tobago's eco-system due to the mountainous rain forest.

So it's 50/50 for Tobago over the next 2 days.

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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:36 pm

MID ATLANTIC DISTURBANCE

Although it does not look like coming to much, the NHC are issuing advisories on an area of disturbed weather well east of Bermuda.

This was the stomping ground of Ophelia before it set off on a rampage over Ireland last month and this is the only reason I am posting this.

I think the seas in the north Atlantic are now much too cold for any development of this disturbance, coupled with the fact that the (currently) misplaced Atlantic High is likely to send the disturbance northwards towards the hostile Arctic for it's deserved demise.

After such an intensive period of Hurricane activity this season I have to admit that I am looking forward to the end of the 2017 Hurricane season.

December could not come sooner ...

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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:11 am

TROPICAL STORM RINA

Of no great concern, the disturbance I referred to in my last post became a Tropical Storm yesterday.

The worst this Storm can do is energize an Atlantic Depression west of Ireland on Thursday or Friday this week.

Weather seemed decent in Tobago today ... but don't get too hopeful ... there is a high risk of rain all week.

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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:54 am

UPDATE ON THE TROPICS ... SNOW IN THE UK NEXT WEEKEND?

I would like to think that this will be my last post of the 2017 Hurricane Season but that could be a premature expectation.

Last week, the remnants of Tropical Storm Rina passed over Ireland, Wales and southern England, bringing rain ... this went by largely unnoticed.

The next named Storm on the list is Sean and there is a disturbance in the mid-Atlantic that the NHC is issuing advisories on, giving a 50% chance of Storm formation within 5 days.

Whatever happens, this disturbance will be just west of the Bay of Biscay by Thursday and, at this stage, it is too early to say if the blocking High Pressure over northern Europe will allow this system to get close to the UK ... BUT ... this is the fun of weather forecasting ... could this sub-tropical system slip to the east and pass over northern France?

If this happens then it could bring cold easterly winds across the UK, turning rainfall into snow, ironically, as an extra-Tropical Depression.

It's a long shot but I couldn't resist speculating ...

This system could produce some more big swells for the surfers at the Surfing Mecca of Nazare on the west coast of Portugal ... last week a surfer misread an estimated 60 footer and ended up with a broken back ... the waves here can reach over 100 feet ... it's on my bucket list (to watch of course, from a safe distance!).

Back in the tropics, there does not appear to be any threat over the next week. The hot spot is the extreme south west Caribbean, otherwise it looks quiet.

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Re: 2017 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:24 pm

END OF 2017 HURRICANE SEASON

Yesterday marked the official end of the Hurricane / Wet / Low Season.

Today marks the beginning of the Dry / High Season and, ironically, it has been raining over Tobago on and off for the last 24 hours as a weak Tropical Wave moves through.

This Wave should be out of the way today.

The 2017 Hurricane Posts are now closed unless the extremely unlikely event of Storm Activity occurs before 1st January 2018.

The 2018 Hurricane Season starts on 1st June 2018.

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