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Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:23 pm
by Paul Tallet

The rains continue to fall heavily over Trinidad & Tobago and many other south east Caribbean areas.

This is an open tropical wave that did have chances of development earlier in the week and therefore you would categorise it as an 'energetic' or 'vigorous' tropical wave ... I have mentioned countless times before that tropical waves can contain tropical storm and even hurricane conditions although these more severe conditions are often very localised and affect few areas.

Storms are measured by their wind speeds and therefore the rainfall does not count and it is quite common for rainfall from a tropical depression or tropical wave to provide similar rainfall totals and it is a matter of how heavy the rain is and for how long it lasts.

A good example is the rainfall over Tobago from a marginal tropical wave/depression in November 2004 that dropped 16 inches of rain in as many hours, leading to massive landslides and several fatalities. Visible evidence of that rain event is still there to see along the Atlantic side from Speyside through to Roxborough.

The current rainfall event is nowhere near as intense but it has been falling over a much longer period of time, allowing the land to absorb the water more effectively, however there will come a time when the land becomes so saturated that landslides and flash flooding will occur and bring a threat to life, particularly in hilly areas and near rivers.

Conditions are slowly improving as the weather system is becoming more fragmented but this does not mean that an exceptionally heavy downpour will not occur before the weekend when I hope this rainfall event will give way to fine weather over the weekend.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:27 pm
by Paul Tallet

My concern continues to grow regarding the rainfall over Trinidad & Tobago since Wednesday.

I would urge tourists and Tobagonians to try and assess their situation in terms of where they are and what potential hazards could affect them ... there is a developing threat to life.

The TTMS has just issued a red flood alert for most of Trinidad which indicates that there is a threat to life and property and I have seen reports of emergency evacuations ... but little news of what is going on in Tobago.

I have searched around for some reliable data about the rainfall occurring in Trinidad & Tobago and the best I have found covers weather data in the airport in Trinidad. This indicates that from wednesday through to friday (yesterday) the rainfall total is 7 inches and we need to bear in mind that this does not include today's rain.

Of course this is not representative of all of Trinidad & Tobago but it serves as a good indication of how severe the rainfall has been because the airport in Port of Spain is in a low lying area. In rural and, in particular, higher elevations we would likely see much higher rainfall totals of perhaps several more inches ... I would speculate that some areas could have had over 10 inches of rain up to yesterday.

Today the rainfall has eased off a little but another heavy burst of convection is now affecting Tobago and this could add another 2 or 3 inches of rainfall to the totals of the last 3 days ... not good ... even worse when we look at tomorrow's weather which is threatening more of the same.

You may have read about my recollections of a severe rain event in November 2004 when 16 inches of rain fell over Tobago. Although I believe that the chances of matching that rainfall total are increasing by the hour it is important to get things into perspective in that the 2004 event happened over a shorter period of 16 hours ... this current rainfall event is going to be over 4 to 5 days ... that is the only good news ... but this is rapidly becoming an extreme rainfall event.

With further rainfall expected over the rest of this weekend I can safely say that conditions in Tobago will be dangerous and that there will be a threat to life, particularly in the rain forest areas where the terrain is mountainous and the rivers too small to cope with the volumes of water falling from the sky.

Landslides are the biggest threat in these areas and in extreme situations like this I would not be surprised if major landslides occur to the extent that the whole side of a steep hill could be stripped of all trees and vegetation, exposing the rocks beneath and covering roads and any property in the path of the landslide, also with the capacity to cut off villages and areas ... limiting the access for emergency services.

For the tourists in Tobago that are experiencing this, please don't let it put you off Tobago ... this is a 1 in 20 year weather event so even if I say that you are unlucky, you would be extremely unlucky to experience this twice.

Most importantly, I hope that everyone is safe.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:26 am
by Paul Tallet

I have managed to find some information about the impact of the current rainfall event in Tobago at the link below ... ... -some-area

The video in the link shows that the flooding is very serious, even in low lying areas. So it is of no surprise to me that landslides have occurred from higher elevations with areas such as Castara, Speyside and Delaford being impacted, the latter of these 2 locations being the worst affected victims of the major rainfall event of November 2004 that I keep referring to.

The areas being mentioned are low lying but they happen to be close to bursting rivers and higher elevations from where the threats come.

The outlook does not show much sign of an improvement. I have run through a number of models and there is another tropical wave approaching. These waves are being boosted to some degree by the ITCZ which is currently running across the northern coast of South America from Columbia (west) to Guyana (east). Another cloud mass is associated with the next tropical wave and therefore this rainfall event could be extended into the middle of this coming week.

I don't wish to sound like a fearmonger but the situation is that, where the ITCZ is concerned, there is considerable unpredictability because although it will rain generally the really heavy stuff will develop very quickly and fall randomly and, with areas already being cut off or stranded by landslides, the risk to life increases dramatically for those that are trapped.

The videos of people saying 'Wow' and marveling at the scenes around them is good evidence that this is a rare, extremely dangerous and developing rainfall event that has the potential to take lives, destroy homes and cause long term damage to the landscape and infrastructure of Tobago.

This could get worse before it ends.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:06 pm
by Paul Tallet

I have posted an update on the rainfall event in this week's Liquid Sunshine forecast.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:57 am
by Paul Tallet

I read somewhere that Trinidad had a sunny day (it is still Sunday the 21st October T&T time as I write this post ... stupid o'clock in the UK).

Quite right, it was a sunny day ... until a few hours ago.

The tropical wave has passed T&T but there is still plenty of energy and nothing in the way of dry air. Moisture levels are still very high and, with the proximity of the ITCZ, anything can happen as I have made clear in my previous posts and in today's Liquid Sunshine forecast.

Accordingly, heavy rain and thunderstorms are breaking out widely across the south east Caribbean ... under these circumstances in the tropics, a little sunshine can create localised convective thunderstorms. You only need to observe the mists rising above the saturated rain forests in the sunshine to see this.

Most of Trinidad has since had about 2 - 3 hours of heavy rain (still falling) and Tobago has had a few hours of moderate rain (still falling) ... satellite imagery shows extensive torrential rain over Venezuela moving north east towards T&T but there is some westerly shear taking the tops of the highest cloud formations, limiting the storms to a minor extent.

I am hoping that the storms over Venezuela ease off a little ... I can't be sure if any of these big storms will reach Tobago (Trinidad looks to be at most risk) just one downpour could be a game changer and where these storms expire another one often takes it's place.

Hour by hour observation of the satellite images is necessary to keep up with the storms and where the next heavy rains fall.

2 further tropical waves are on the way, currently in the mid-Atlantic tropics, so I would urge everyone to take advantage of any respites to review their circumstances and assess their position against potential hazards ... if apparent safer surroundings are within reach, go to them. Stock up with provisions and prepare ... it may not happen in some areas but most areas should expect further heavy rainfall.

As if the rain event wasn't enough there have been 2 earthquakes to the north east of Tobago. Saturday's quake registered 4.2 but today's quake measured 5.1. The depths of these quakes were 60 - 80 kms down so they may not have been felt but I believe that deeper quakes are often a sign of shallower quakes of 10 kms to come.

I only mention this based on a conversation I had with Marguerite in Castara about a decade ago where, from her experience, very bad weather always coincided with an earthquake ... I have no reason to disbelieve her wisdom and knowledge on the subject.

Stay safe ...


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:36 pm
by Paul Tallet

I am not going to post a link ... just google rain/tobago/trinidad in no particular order and you will see extensive footage of the flooding, mostly focusing on Trinidad.

Miraculously no lives have been taken yet although I would hasten to say that the flooding looks so bad that many areas of Trinidad have been cut off and the damage has yet to be fully assessed ... I don't know what was going through the Prime Minister's cavernous skull cavity on Saturday when he reportedly said, whilst declaring a national disaster, he would seek approval from the Government for TTD$25 million in aid next week ... that's £3 million quid !

You then look at the videos, no sign of emergency services (probably, to be fair, because of difficulties in accessing the flooded areas) and among all the destruction there are people in the streets in 3 or 4 feet of standing water with gas cylinders and barbecues propped up on tables preparing hot food for their communities, people on the sides of roads handing out food to stranded motorists, lorries, cherry pickers and bulldozers carrying the homeless and boats patrolling the streets checking everyone out ... one video depicted a woman who had given birth to a healthy baby during the floods ... a site for very sore eyes but uplifting nonetheless.

In all areas the flooding is waist to neck high, cayman are swimming around the towns, particularly in areas close to swamps and people are in groups on their roofs ... every car in sight is either underwater or submerged up to roof level. The main highways are not passable to normal cars ... the infrastructure has completely broken down.

I think the Prime Minister needs to raise the bar just a tad with his financial suggestions and, under such extreme circumstances, it is customary to call an emergency meeting of the Government on Saturday rather than wait until the office opens at 9 am on Monday morning ... probably I should not be saying this but I am saying it because, to my knowledge, nobody else has said it.

On to the weather ... the rainfall has continued with some very heavy rain falling over Trinidad this afternoon. Tobago's rain has been more moderate with fewer heavy bursts of rain but in no way am I attempting to make light of this because heavy bursts of rain are likely to return. Over Venezuela the rainfall is particularly intense (which makes me wonder how they are coping) and this rainfall gradually weakens as it streams north east over T&T and way out into the Atlantic.

We need to bear in mind that every new drop of rain is countless times more damaging than the very first drops of rain that fell last Wednesday. There may be some relief here and there but the risks of further torrential rain remains high until at least Wednesday.

Stay safe everyone and a big high 5 to the people of Trinidad.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:47 am
by Paul Tallet

Although it is currently raining over T&T as I type, the weather conditions are improving.

The energy and moisture levels have decreased and over the south eastern Caribbean the clouds and rain are becoming more ragged.

But it is important to remain vigilant, alot of top soil could still be unstable on steep hillsides and the threat of landslides will remain for several days.

It seems from what I hear that Trinidad was worst affected. Those I have contacted in Tobago are making light of it, 'crisis? what crisis? we are ok, just a bloody nose is all' ... typical !

Anyway, it is still raining and there is still a risk of more rain albeit reducing.

A new disturbance is well north east of the Caribbean and probably only a threat to the eastern US and maybe Bermuda. The NHC is giving it a 40% chance of development within 5 days.

That's it ... I hope to enjoy a few days off this and hope whoever admits to being affected by this rain event recovers in the shortest possible time.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:48 am
by Paul Tallet

Heavy storms are still affecting Columbia and Venezuela and the wind shear is creating an outlflow that is passing over T&T but this is mostly cloud and light rain at best.

The recovery in Trinidad can now begin but in both T&T there will remain a risk of landslides until the top soil dries out.

It was nice to see some clear skies over Tobago today.

Meanwhile, back out in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Oscar looks likely to form with the NHC giving a 90% chance of development with 5 days ... this is likely to be a little like Lesley. meandering around for a while before it decides where to go.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:03 am
by Paul Tallet

As expected, Tropical Storm Oscar formed way out into the Atlantic south east of Bermuda and well north east of the Caribbean.

Oscar is expected to become a hurricane early next week but there is currently no threat as the hurricane is expected to meander to the west before turning sharply towards the north and then north west.

Indirect impacts are likely to be heavy sea swells in Bermuda, the eastern US and north facing coasts in the Caribbean.

Unless Oscar poses a threat or the situation changes I won't make any further posts.

Trinidad & Tobago are basking in sunshine that I hope will speed up the drying out of flooded areas. A large wedge of dry air is over the east Caribbean and this should enhance the sunny weather for a few more days. A tropical wave in the mid tropical Atlantic is up against this dry air and I would expect this to reduce any potential rainfall from the wave when it arrives early next week.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 1:06 pm
by Paul Tallet

Oscar is moving very slowly in a south westerly direction but is expected to turn almost 180 degrees and start speeding up in the opposite direction ... towards the UK and possibly Europe next weekend.

During this time, Oscar will strengthen into a hurricane increasing the sea swells that will impact Bermuda, eastern US coasts and northern coasts in the Caribbean.

When Oscar's speed picks up the storm is likely to weaken to a tropical storm over cooler waters and there is a good degree of speculation regarding Oscar's status and location next weekend as a potential autumnal storm ... could be the UK, Europe or Oscar may miss and go north.

No sign of Patty yet ...


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:56 pm
by Paul Tallet

As expected, any significant rain has held off for Tobago although there was some rain over Trinidad yesterday that I hope did not delay any recovery processes.

Rain clouds are gathering to the east of T&T and these are associated with the next tropical wave that will make it's presence felt in the next 24 to 48 hours.

I do not normally report on tropical waves unless they are particularly vigorous, not that the next wave is, but in view of the recent flooding I believe that I would be negligent in not giving forewarning about further persistent rain.

This does not mean another 'rain event' but it is simply to remind people that the ground is still saturated and it won't take much to bring the flooding levels back up again.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 5:38 pm
by Paul Tallet

A vigorous tropical wave will arrive across the Windward Islands by late Monday. There is a disturbance associated with this Wave that the NHC are issuing advisories on, giving a 50% chance of development into a tropical storm within the next 5 days.

The disturbance is likely to move north east maybe just brushing the northernmost Leeward Islands and posing a threat to the Bahamas and possibly Puerto Rico.

I am hoping that this is the last spike of energy for the 2018 Hurricane season that ends on 30th November … but all interests in the Caribbean should remain vigilant to the end.

I will post updates should this disturbance maintain a threat.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:19 pm
by Paul Tallet

I think we are done but I don't want to tempt fate.

The NHC has been issuing advisories on a disturbance south of Bermuda for most of last week giving it a 0% chance of development.

So why should I report on it?

I didn't, but I am now because this disturbance has significant energy and it was only the hostile conditions in the northern Caribbean that prevented a Tropical Storm from forming.

I have been watching the weather models and a number of elements are conspiring to bring this disturbance to the UK and northern Europe as a significant weather event from late Tuesday and through to Friday.

The tropics have definitely calmed down but the weather across the more temperate zones has been blocked and, to some extent, showing signs of retrogression which basically means that the weather is moving in the opposite of it's normal direction.

This Storm is a game-changer and will have the power and momentum to crash through the blocked weather in the north Atlantic and bring a deeply unsettled period of weather to northern Europe. Please note that the weather models are changing every day and a miniscule change in the daily forecast runs can bring wide variations in the longer term outcome … yesterday's models looked very grim for the UK but today's models have indicated a less intense Storm, albeit more lengthy and slower moving.

It will be a powerful storm, bringing tropical energy into a cold zone … expect the Met Office to begin issuing warnings soon, if they have not already done so.