Page 1 of 4

2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Thu May 24, 2018 8:48 pm
by Paul Tallet

I was hoping to hold off until 1st June but the 2018 Hurricane Season is already underway.

We have a Tropical disturbance centred over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Most of the rain and thunderstorms are to the east of the centre over the Caribbean Sea due to heavy wind shear and dry air attacking the Storm from the north west.

Looking at this disturbance now might make you wonder how it could develop but it is going to turn towards the north and then slowly cross the eastern Gulf of Mexico, sucking up energy from the cooking sea water.

The NHC give this disturbance an 80% chance of developing into a Tropical Storm beyond 2 days and there is the potential for the Storm to reach low-end Hurricane status before it reaches the southern US coast, probably east of New Orleans by the late weekend or early next week.

The name ... Alberto.

The threat ... the rain ... with slow movement, large amounts of rain will fall over the southern US.

Meanwhile, back in Tobago, a Tropical Wave is approaching and this could bring some rainfall over this weekend.

I will post updates should there be any changes.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Fri May 25, 2018 11:57 pm
by Paul Tallet

It's official. Alberto has formed just east of the Yucatan Peninsula. Close inspection reveals a circulation and the ragged thunderstorms are beginning to wrap around the circulation, yet there is still plenty of wind shear from the north west which will slow down intensification.

The predicted track has not changed much but there is some concern about the speed of Alberto, firstly to predict when it could make landfall and how slow it will be when it does ... the southern US is already standing by for lots of rainfall.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:53 pm
by Paul Tallet

There is some very heavy stuff going on around Columbia, Panama and Costa Rica and this is associated with a depression over Columbia, dropping a real load of rain.

The approach of a Tropical Wave from the east that has just passed over Tobago could make the weather very interesting for the west Caribbean over the course of this week when these 2 weather systems interact and with the possibility that their combined energy could bring tropical storm or hurricane conditions to the east of Belize or in the Gulf of Mexico around next weekend.

It's early days but the south coast of the US may be interested in how things develop over the next week.

It is also worth noting that Storm activity is very high over on the Pacific side of Mexico too, mainly due to cooking seas.

It's a fast start to the 2018 hurricane season.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:39 pm
by Paul Tallet

The disturbance I referred to in my last post is getting a boost from the tropical wave that I also referred to.

Although the intensity of the precipitation has reduced generally, the size of the disturbance has increased significantly, bringing heavy rains to a much wider area spanning northern Venezuela/Columbia right up to Belize.

I am pleased to see that the NHC have just started issuing advisories although they rate the risks of Storm development as very low (10% to 20%). I can see their point because this disturbance is very large and it is often much harder for larger disturbances to get organised.

There are 3 more tropical waves chugging across the tropical Atlantic but, as it stands, any rainfall associated with these waves is likely to be restricted to the south of Tobago when they arrive and this is due to the intensification of Saharan dust in the atmosphere.

I will update as soon as there are any more developments.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sun Jun 17, 2018 1:11 am
by Paul Tallet

Those following my posts over the last week will know that I have been tracking a tropical disturbance from the south west Caribbean Sea, all the way up the western Caribbean and now in the Gulf of Mexico, moving towards the US coast as I expected.

I suggested this disturbance could develop into something more sinister, the NHC began issuing advisories but then ceased advisories as the disturbance moved over the Yucatan Peninsula.

As the disturbance moved into the Gulf it became a little more vigorous and the NHC began issuing advisories again. Currently the NHC rates the risk of Storm development as low (20%).

One of the dilemmas for weather forecasters are the criteria they set themselves for designating storm status. The system has to have a defined centre (or circulation) and then the strength of the system is measured by it's wind speeds ... not it's precipitation ... as a consequence it is not uncommon for unnamed systems to cause as much damage or more damage than a storm with hurricane force winds.

This particular disturbance in the Gulf is producing strong winds but without much consistency. Closer inspection of the satellite loops do show a small circulation but it is not very well defined. Therefore, this disturbance is not being designated the title of a Tropical Depression, Storm or Hurricane. It may do later but I sense it is unlikely.

However, those living on the Gulf coast of the US will start to experience heavy rainfall tonight and the chances of experiencing Tropical Storm or Hurricane force winds will be high but localised over the next 48 to 72 hours, longer if the disturbance goes down a few gears.

I therefore hope that those in the path of this disturbance treat it with a little more respect than the weather forecasters.

Elsewhere, in Tobago the weather is deteriorating as the Saharan influence recedes, providing less protection from the Tropical Waves ... more on this in Liquid Sunshine later.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:15 pm
by Paul Tallet

Bermuda first ... nothing to worry about as the NHC issues advisories and a 60% risk of development. This system is expected to veer west, north and then north east into the open Atlantic Ocean.

In the Tropical Atlantic is a Tropical Wave that I referred to in Sunday's Liquid Sunshine weekly update. This has quickly formed a depression and it's attempts to form a closed circulation are very evident on satellite imagery.

This morning the NHC began issuing advisories on this disturbance but with a low risk of development (20%). However this risk has since been raised to 50% and there is a very good chance that a Tropical depression or Storm could form within the next 48 hours.

I can see this happening and it may appear to be a threat to the Caribbean towards the end of this week, potentially affecting the windward islands north of Barbados ... BUT ... a depression is forming in the central northern Caribbean and this will produce significant north westerly wind shear that will cut across the front of the Storm, shaving the cloud tops away and possibly displacing the Storm's circulation before killing it off.

Sounds like a happy ending?

No ... the question is how far and how strong the Storm will be before this happens and how quickly the negative wind shear can destroy the Storm. Quite fascinating.

Tobago looks relatively safe ... updates may follow.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:39 am
by Paul Tallet

NHC have raised the risks of development to 70% and it is clear that this disturbance is starting to spin and organise itself very well in a favourable environment for Storms to develop.

'Beryl' could be named very soon.

As matters stand, the threat to the Caribbean is uncertain because this Storm will have to pass over cooler waters before it arrives and, if it survives that, it will be facing strong wind shear that could open it up into a trough that could pack a punch in terms of the potential rainfall which would affect a wider area.

So it will be another 24 hours before we can be sure of what weather this disturbance will bring to the Caribbean this coming weekend.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:49 pm
by Paul Tallet

Since my last update the NHC has designated this disturbance as Tropical Storm Beryl.

The only thing going for Beryl is her size ... she is very very small and has wrapped a small circulation of thunderstorms around her centre, repelling potential dry air from getting into the circulation and disrupting the Storm.

A consequence of this is that Beryl could reach hurricane strength quite quickly before arrival in the eastern Caribbean late on Sunday.

But, as I have said in my previous posts, the sea temperatures in Beryl's path are cooler and she is likely to encounter some strong wind shear on approach to the Caribbean Sea.

If Beryl can keep her compact system together she may be able to overcome these problems and bring localised hurricane conditions over a small area north of Barbados.

If, on the other hand, Beryl gets sheared apart then a more widespread rain event could affect most of the eastern and southern Caribbean early next week.

It is important to note that the NHC are expressing surprise over the (unexpected) development of Beryl and therefore nothing should be ruled out by all interests in the Caribbean over the next several days.

Be prepared.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:35 am
by Paul Tallet

Beryl continues to strengthen and the NHC has designated Beryl as a hurricane. Currently Beryl is a very small category 1 hurricane and could reach category 2 or (major) 3 before the Storm runs into dry air, cooler sea temperatures and wind shear by tonight.

So far, Beryl has stayed on a westerly course and her spin should have already started a move away from 10 degrees latitude which, unchanged, would take her straight into Tobago. It is difficult to see this happening unless Beryl behaves like Hurricane Ivan 14 years ago.

Beryl should now start to spin a little north and this will move the Storm into a more hostile environment as I detailed above. All the Models are consistent on this outcome but I think I will watch this closely until I am 100% sure.

All interests in the Caribbean should be watching Beryl.

Updates will follow.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:57 pm
by Paul Tallet

The NHC has adjusted the track of Hurricane Beryl to the south which (currently) indicates a passage just north of Barbados. Further adjustments may be made if Beryl does not start to spin northwards.

Some would speculate that Hurricanes often track towards the most hospitable environments, defying the experts. So, for example, an area of warm seawater, lower wind shear and/or breaks in the Saharan Dust ... if this is the case then I would expect Beryl to go close to Tobago.

The experts will say that Beryl is going to spin north of Barbados and open up into a trough which would affect a wider area, possibly including Tobago.

Either way, Beryl will bring problems to the Caribbean by Sunday, with high seas widely, heavy rainfall perhaps a little less widely and storms (wind and rain) very locally.

I am watching this one ... be prepared.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:10 am
by Paul Tallet

Former Hurricane Beryl has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm well before the expected arrival in the Windwards.

Beryl is also wobbling northwards and the centre is expected to pass well to the north of Barbados.

Good news?

Well sort of ... it means that a very small area won't get hurricane conditions.

Instead, if Beryl is blown open by the wind shear ... there is the potential for a wider area to be affected by heavy rain and this could last a few days, starting late Sunday for the east Caribbean. Please note that if Beryl is opened up into a trough there is still the risk of very localised and squally hurricane conditions here and there.

It is already raining in most areas (Tobago is getting mostly prolonged showers) so don't expect conditions to improve much before Monday.

There is some good news with a very dense layer of Saharan Dust behind Beryl and this is an indicator of better and fairer weather for Tobago in the second half of next week.

Elsewhere, the disturbance off the east coast of the US has developed into a Tropical Depression (3) and is strengthening steadily, possibly to Category 1 hurricane status within 48 hours ... this Storm is going to be designated the name 'Chris' as soon as it meets the NHC's criteria.

Little harm is expected from this storm which is currently stationary between Bermuda and the Carolina's. It is expected to move up the east coast of the US, bringing heavy surf. Landfall is a possibility up the north east coast of the US or Canada.

Updates to follow plus Liquid Sunshine's weekly update late Sunday.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:36 am
by Paul Tallet

Beryl ... is approaching the eastern Caribbean and conditions will begin to deteriorate north of Barbados later today and overnight. Although Beryl has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm it will pack quite a punch with high rainfall.

The models are split over whether Beryl will remain a compact tropical storm or that the wind shear could open Beryl up into a trough that will spread the rainfall over a wider area. From what I have seen of the sat-loops this morning, some quite explosive thunderstorms took off around Beryl, making the storm larger, but this intensive activity has diminished in recent hours.

Another burst of thunderstorms cannot be ruled out as this relatively small storm attempts to keep it's shape in defiance of the hostile environment that surrounds it.

Regardless of this, Beryl is likely to introduce high moisture and humidity levels around it so the south and eastern Caribbean should expect a predominantly rainy period until Tuesday.

Chris ... is strengthening and could become a hurricane soon as it meanders off the eastern US coast. Chris is expected to track north eastwards and is not expected to directly impact land although indirect impacts are possible such as high seas in Bermuda and along the US coast. Canada may also need to watch Chris and hope the storm is at a lower intensity when it arrives near Canada's coast.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:41 pm
by Paul Tallet

Beryl is breaking down and opening up as a vigorous trough ... you could say that this is reverting back to a tropical wave.

So this means more widespread rain. It is already raining in Barbados and (what was) the centre of Beryl looks likely to pass between Dominica and Antigua overnight ... you could say that this is where the worst weather could be but no, it isn't.

Localised hurricane or storm conditions are possible anywhere from the north coast of Venezuela to the Bahamas and I am expecting that Beryl could draw moisture up from South America, bringing very wet conditions for most of the south and east Caribbean.

The NHC has shortened Beryl's mortality expectations so that there are unlikely to be any further advisories after 24 hours, however I sense that Beryl has sufficient energy to reform later this week when conditions for storm genesis improve.

This is my last post on Beryl unless anything significant arises.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:38 am
by Paul Tallet

Well ... I haven't really bothered reporting on some recent minor developments, mainly because they were going nowhere and of no concern to Tobago or the rest of the Caribbean.

So Tropical Storm Ernesto has formed north west of the Azores and is going nowhere near the Caribbean and, instead, could be blowing all the nasty bitey gnats off the heathlands of Scotland by Sunday or Monday.

Not only that, when I posted the last Liquid Sunshine Report the Atlantic was calm and dry and the Caribbean was clear and I predicted a good week ahead albeit with the caveat that the dirty weather from South America could spoil it.

Well that happened on Monday and has now cleared away to Columbia and the central Americas. But it still looks good for another 2 days at least.

A number of developments ...

1. Moisture is beginning to pour off the west coast of Africa.

2. The tropical wave currently over Tobago is producing nothing much.

3. The next tropical wave will arrive near Tobago by Saturday and this is producing clusters of thunderstorms. These could yet go north of Tobago however the NHC has not been issuing any advisories on this.

4. Although 2018 has so far been a rather benign year, Storm development generally peaks from the last week of August and through September so I would expect some more activity over the next 5 or 6 weeks.

5. The tropical Atlantic sea temperatures are now rising.

Dry air still dominates the tropical Atlantic but I believe that this will change by next weekend and we will be looking for the Cabo Verde Storms to start forming.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:28 am
by Paul Tallet

In yesterday's post I mentioned a cluster of thunderstorms associated with a tropical wave east of Tobago and the southern half of the windward islands.

The NHC has just started issuing advisories on this development, giving a low risk (20%) of a storm forming within 5 days.

The outer bands of this system should reach Tobago within the next 18 hours.

As far as I can see there is little spin in this system, likely because it is too close to the equator, but it is producing some pretty perky thunderstorms over a wide area and if these get together there can be an explosive development with little warning. However, the storms are widespread and the large size of this area makes it more difficult for it to spin than if it is a smaller and more compact system.

It is possible that a much smaller concentration of thunderstorms could develop within the system and that would increase the chances of a storm considerably.

These types of developments are very unpredictable, it may come to nothing more than heavy rain and squalls, but while there is uncertainty all interests (including Tobago) in the windwards need to be prepared for a deterioration in conditions over tonight and into tomorrow.

I will post an update later.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 1:56 am
by Paul Tallet

Although the NHC has stopped issuing advisories, plenty of rain will fall on Trinidad & Tobago tonight and most of tomorrow.

Expect thunderstorms, persistent and heavy rain and squalls.

Improvement on Sunday.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:15 pm
by Paul Tallet

Some very intense thunderstorms have formed in west Africa and the NHC has started issuing advisories on a cluster of storms that have not yet left the west coast of Africa.

This disturbance has also been picked up by some weather models that are predicting that this will develop into a tropical storm or hurricane, however it looks unlikely that this disturbance will reach the western side of the tropical Atlantic and it could slowly curve to the north and east to affect the UK and northern Europe as a powerful depression in about 10 days time ... it is too early to be sure in my opinion.

This indicates that the (so far) inactive Atlantic 2018 Hurricane will finally begin to peak ... there is a good deal of activity over Africa, bringing monsoons, but there is currently no threat to the Caribbean.

I will post updates if anything changes.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:53 pm
by Paul Tallet

The disturbance I referred to in yesterday's post has already formed into a Tropical Depression (6) and looks certain of being designated a Tropical Storm by the NHC. The immediate threat is for the southern Cabo Verde Islands but then the Storm is likely to develop into a major (Cat 3+) Hurricane out in the middle Atlantic over the next week.

Weather Models indicate that the Hurricane could curve north and then east long before it could reach the east coast of the US and the risk of affecting the Caribbean is even lower. Longer term predictions indicate that this system could end up threatening northern Europe as an early autumnal Storm.

In the Caribbean, the tropical wave that passed through the eastern Caribbean over the last 48 hours has formed an intense but disorganised area of thunderstorms over Hispaniola and the northern Caribbean. The prospects of development are slim (NHC gives it 10%) so this is likely to be more of a rain event in the northern Caribbean through to the end of the weekend.

The Hurricane season is now picking up.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:24 pm
by Paul Tallet

This morning Florence was designated Tropical Storm status by the NHC.

Florence has been producing plenty of thunderstorm activity but this has decreased somewhat in recent hours. If Florence is to survive the obstacles to come it will be important for the Storm to wrap intense rainbands around it's centre in order to build a resistance against the dry air that surrounds it, particularly to the north and west of the storm.

As a consequence of Florence's predicament, the weather models are downgrading the Storm's predicted strength, suggesting that it may never reach hurricane status for at least the next 4 or 5 days.

In contrast to the reducing confidence in Florence's welfare, increasing confidence applies to the welfare of the northern Caribbean disturbance that is centred just off to the north east of Cuba.

This area of ragged thunderstorms is expected to track slowly along the north Cuba coast and towards the Gulf of Mexico where conditions are much more hospitable for the development of a Storm. Due to it's closer proximity to land and life I would expect interest in this disturbance to increase while Florence is likely to only attract interest from nerdy storm watchers like me.

There you have it ... I will post updates if anything exciting happens.


Re: 2018 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:36 pm
by Paul Tallet

It's hotting up.

Tropical Storm Florence is struggling with dry saharan air surrounding the storm and penetrating the circulation. Although Florence is forecast to continue west to west north west over the coming days I am beginning to wonder if the Storm will survive much longer ... in any case, no land areas are expected to see Florence in the short term.

Behind Florence, another area of thunderstorms is moving off the African coast. This one is at a lower latitude and is less likely to run into the saharan air layer. The NHC began issuing advisories on this disturbance earlier today giving it a 20% chance of developing into a Storm ... this one is worth watching but it is early days.

The disturbance north of Cuba has really started to get it's act together and the NHC has not yet designated it a Tropical Depression but will probably do so in a matter of hours. Surprisingly, no aircraft have been sent to investigate this disturbance considering it's proximity to Florida and the Keys but I expect that Tropical Depression status could be skipped in favour of a Tropical Storm (Gordon) by tomorrow.

Even if Gordon does not form (which he will!) severe weather can be expected over the Bahamas, northern Cuba, southern Florida and Florida Keys over the next 48 hours. After that, Gordon could strengthen over the cooking seas in the Gulf although this will depend how long Gordon spends over the sea and whether any landfall over the southern tip of Florida could have interrupted intensification.

Either way, by the end of this week Louisiana is favourite to take a direct hit with Missouri and Alabama eastern outliers and Texas as a western outlier.

The potential rainfall totals and any sea surge will be more of a concern than the winds.

I will post updates when I can.