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Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:48 pm
by Paul Tallet

I will start with Gonzalo and the situation remains very fluid.

Having coughed on a gulp of dry Saharan air, Gonzalo has skipped south and gathered itself together, showing defiance and strength.

A storm of this small size often requires weather elders to draw on their experience and instincts as it tortures the weather models with as large a spread of outcomes as there were 48 hours ago.

Earlier today, the set-back shifted the crosshairs southwards, prompting tropical storm watches for Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada ... now it has changed ... again.

Gonzalo's recovery has moved the cross hairs again, back northwards and bringing Barbados and St Vincent & the Grenadines back into the firing line.

But every time Gonzalo strengthens and instinctively nudges north the storm will end up coughing and spluttering on dry Saharan air. The High pressure containing this dry air is steering Gonzalo westwards rather than northwards and a battle is developing that I sense will keep Gonzalo on a more southerly track ... I maybe wrong but that is my sense. It would be suicidal for the storm to push north, the dry air could destroy it.

The story of Gonzalo has yet to unfold.

Meanwhile, in the Gulf, is a much larger system that is expected to form a Tropical Storm named Hanna. The track is more predictable ... Texas. The strength? Hmmm ... there is not that much time for Hanna to form before interaction with land over Texas and larger systems take longer to form.

Nevertheless, this system will be a rain event no matter what status it achieves this weekend.

Another strong tropical wave has just been released into the community in the Atlantic tropics off western Africa. The NHC are already onto it ... 20%.

It's hotting up, a big hurricane season lies ahead.


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:43 pm
by Paul Tallet

Earlier today, Gonzalo showed signs of recovering from the dry saharan dust intrusion. The warning cone moved north again ... in fact the southerly and northerly tracks that been suggested have changed so many times that the north / south predictions have been up and down on so many occasions that it is resembling a fiddler's elbow.

The crosshairs have now settled for a more westerly track and a weaker storm. This is a small storm so things could change rapidly.

But seeing as we are within 24 hours of Gonzalo's arrival in the south east Caribbean it's time for me to throw my hat into the confusion ...

Firstly I predict that Tobago could get a direct hit or within 10 miles to the north.

Secondly, the rainfall will be widespread regardless of the strength of the storm.

Third, Gonzalo does not look like reaching hurricane status any more and is expected to weaken more quickly as it passes over the south east Caribbean.

There you have it ... conditions in Tobago will start to deteriorate before daylight tomorrow. I will try to issue an update tomorrow.

Stay safe.


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:34 am
by Paul Tallet

That means that the centre of Gonzalo will strike Trinidad within hours.

I as mentioned earlier this week, Gonzalo has been sucking in dry air which is fragmenting the storm. So a segment of heavy rain has moved west ahead of Gonzalo and this is affecting Tobago right now.

The centre of Gonzalo is to the south east and it appears that this will cross northern Trinidad. There is rain extending out about 50 miles from the centre so no one will miss out. In addition, the central position is a little academic because a recent flight through the storm picked up areas of tropical storm force winds in multiple areas of the storm.

This is evidence that Gonzalo is starting to weaken and is breaking up and this can be quite dangerous because the worst conditions could occur anywhere from southern Trinidad and as far north as Grenada, including Tobago.

So I would recommend caution today ... stay safe and also be mindful that some areas could get several inches of rain. The only good news is that Gonzalo is moving quickly so conditions will improve by Sunday.


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 2:57 pm
by CTDA Castara Tourism
I have been watching the storm from our cameras live around Carpe Diem. It is now about 10.55 local time and we seem to have missed it so far. However I was sent live footage from our friend Giselle at Sure Thing Restaurant on the other side of the island and they are getting a lot of wind and rain and things are moving around her yard but she in right on the shorline. As with other tropical storms we never relax our 'guard' until the weather has moved on.
Past storms have had my rain gauge overflow and the 6" drain down one side of the property cannot keep up with the water coming down from on top................A few inches of rain is a bit of an understatement Paul..........I will wait until the other half of the storm has passed before i can relax!

Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 3:14 pm
by Paul Tallet

A quick update as a very weak Gonzalo begins to cross northern Trinidad. Don't relax though, there will be significant rain (I said several inches, Chris) and very stormy conditions locally. I expect Gonzalo to break up completely either over Trinidad or immediately after. I would add that any rain over Tobago should ease and cease in the next 2 or 3 hours. Trinidad has several more hours to go.

I have neglected other developments due to my focus on Gonzalo so it is time to express my surprise that Hanna has made it to hurricane status off the south coast of Texas. I guess this is partly due to the storm slowing down and gathering more energy before landfall. Fortunately Hanna will impact mostly remote areas in the far south of Texas and northern Mexico.

Another strong tropical wave moved off the African coast 3 days ago and this is showing signs of developing. It is travelling at a slightly higher latitude than Gonzalo but still needs watching as it will likely follow a similar track. This is a much bigger system that will take longer to develop but, if it does so, it may be better able to resist the dry air that saved Trinidad & Tobago from a much more severe hurricane this weekend. NHC has given this a 60% change of developing.

Updates to follow ...


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:23 am
by Paul Tallet

Gonzalo died over northern Trinidad and it now looks nice and clear around T&T. I have not yet seen any reports of significant damage.

Hanna briefly reached hurricane status as it made landfall in southern Texas and an unusual hurricane (Douglas) is now attracting media attention as it approaches Hawaii in the Pacific ... but that's not my area.

Of most interest to me and the NHC is another strong tropical wave that is now midway across the tropical Atlantic. This is a much larger system than Gonzalo and the NHC have given it a 90% chance of development within the next 5 days. Due to it's size it may take a while to crank up and will likely follow a similar path to Gonzalo but veering more to the north if it strengthens.

The models all seem to agree on this but some are suggesting that this system could threaten Islands as far south as Barbados and I think we will have the usual debate of how strong this will be and whether it will sink further south if it weakens.

Either way, this is another one to watch this coming week.


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 7:24 am
by Paul Tallet

This is a very large system that is taking some time to crank up. There is definitely a circulation but there is doubt about where the true centre is and a Storm may not develop before it reaches the windward Islands. The system is also surrounded by dry Saharan air to it's west, north and east and this could limit development as it did with Gonzalo.

Nevertheless, due to it's size (enough to fill the Gulf of Mexico), rainfall from the system will impact a wide area. Some thundery blobs are currently just 100 miles from Tobago and there is the risk of localised tropical storm conditions.

So expect unsettled weather for the rest of this week.


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 3:05 pm
by Paul Tallet

To follow on from my previous post, the thundery blobs associated with this (potential ISIAIS) system are now affecting Tobago, Trinidad, Barbados and many other Islands in the south east Caribbean.

Arguably, the intensity of this rainfall is more severe than that of Gonzalo and is slower in movement. In addition, a train of thunderstorms are following the first wave of intense rainfall.

The NHC, computer models and other professional forecasters are trying to work out where the centre is or whether there are 2 centres with one to the south and another circulation to the north of the system. Some areas are experiencing tropical storm conditions and possibly localised hurricane conditions, but the NHC will not issue storm designations until the system meets it's storm criteria. Hurricane Hunter aircraft are going in as I type.

I believe that the exact location of the centre (or centres) is becoming academic.

Judging by the intensity of the rainfall over T&T I would suggest that these severe conditions could apply, possibly quite widely ...

I recommend everyone takes precautions in these circumstances, this is a potentially dangerous weather event with, as yet, unknown outcomes for the whole of the eastern Caribbean.


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 4:12 pm
by Paul Tallet

Literally minutes after my last post the NHC designated the system a Tropical Depression.

The centre shown on the chart is thousands of miles to Tobago's north east but the NHC admits that the exact location of the centre is still unknown !!! :lol: :lol: :lol: and warns that it could be anywhere within the elongated circulation :lol: :lol: :lol: which is massive of course.

I don't know what is going on ... the basis of the designation is due to small pockets of tropical storm conditions here and there but, in reality, all the business is going on way south of the centre shown on the charts. Perhaps this could be because dry air has destroyed the northern half of the system and the centre is detached?!?

I hope some sense will come of this. Could I dare to suggest that the centre is way south of where they think it is?

Updates will follow ...


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:38 pm
by Paul Tallet

Well, even though the NHC has designated the storm Tropical Depression 9, it is not actually a tropical depression.

The mysterious centre's location did jump south as I tentatively expected but there are still 2 segments to the system. Or 2 centres?

I don't want to give the impression that I am criticising the NHC in anyway here ... I really admire the way they have begun issuing advisories on the system even though it has been difficult to pin down the centre ... this would not have happened in previous years and the fact that they have started their advisories perhaps 48 hours prematurely is brilliant because it means that the warnings are put out and more lives can be saved.

I think there are many times in the past when I have called for storm designation and it has not happened until it meets strict NHC criteria and we have all learned that a system does not have to become a hurricane to deliver severe damage.

Anyway, this system has been uniquely large and unpredictable and it's size has delivered impacts to virtually all of the windward Islands. It will go on to do so through the rest of the northern Caribbean over Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Cuba and the Gulf. I think it is much too big to become a hurricane but it has and will continue to deliver high rainfall amounts in these areas.

And still, it has no name ... yet.


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 10:18 pm
by Paul Tallet

The NHC designated Isiais a tropical storm this morning based in wind speeds in a range of areas throughout this massive system.

The location of the centre was still in doubt but later today the confidence in locating the centre has improved.

Satellite images now clearly show that the system is coiling and a distinct centre has formed over the eastern Hispaniola. The media has now picked this up and apparently the end of the world is going to happen in Florida as the projected track takes Isiais along the east coast of the US.

The NHC is also becoming bullish about the prospect of a hurricane forming. In my opinion, hurricane status does not matter that much. There may be some strong winds but it is the rains from these systems that normally cause the most problems. If Isiais does anything it would be an unexpected strengthening from now.

Another strong wave has appeared off the African coast ... it's all go !


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:37 am
by Paul Tallet

This has been a nightmare of a storm as it has been difficult to work out where the centre is. The hurricane now has an eye but this is being impacted by strong westerly wind shear as it barrels along the entire chain of the Bahamas.

Speculation about the outcomes for Florida depend on how close Isaias gets to the shore. The hurricane will likely be stronger and pose a greater threat if it remains offshore, alternatively the eye could track the shoreline or go inland a little and this would weaken the storm.

Another factor for Florida is the wind shear that is blowing most of the rainfall to the east and north east side of the hurricane and you could assume that this would spare Florida from flooding rains, however the hurricane is fighting the shear and is sporadically wrapping new rain bands around the eye so it would be dangerous to rely on the wind shear that the hurricane is fighting to have it easy.

Isaias is a dangerous proposition for Florida and the Carolinas and all the way up the east coast of the US and Canada although there is a lot of uncertainly about what will happen beyond 24 hours due to the potential for land interaction and the effects this could have on the hurricane.

Another disturbance in the mid-Atlantic is being given a 50% chance of development but, as yet, no threat.

A tropical depression formed rather prematurely off the African coast yesterday and is meandering around rather aimlessly ... this won't last.

I will post an update if anything changes.


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:33 am
by Paul Tallet

A nice surprise for a change as Isaias appears to be slowly losing it's battle with strong wind shear and, due to it's proximity to land, I don't believe that it will regain hurricane status.

Apart from my previous inability to spell the name of this storm correctly, Isaias remains a fairly strong tropical storm so the main factor associated with this storm is rain but this depends how far the storm's canopy extends over land and the wind shear which is driving most of the heavy rain clouds to the east of the storm.

As a weaker storm, I expect Isaias to make landfall sooner than predicted but it will likely drop a lot of rain up the east coast of the US perhaps up to 100 miles inland.

The other disturbance I mentioned in yesterday's post is slowly cranking up with the NHC raising the odds from 50% to 60% within 5 days. I expect it to miss the Caribbean altogether and there is a small chance that this could come close to Bermuda.

Tropical depression 10 is dead.

It has been a very fast start to the 2020 hurricane season with 9 named storms by 31st July and the peak normally occurs over September and October so going by the statistics we could have as many storms as there were in 2005 which was an exceptional year. Activity has slowed a little but I won't be surprised if we have another disturbance to speculate on within a week.

For now I am signing off on Isaias unless we have another surprise.


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:09 pm
by Paul Tallet

I have been watching this tropical wave over the last 3 days. It did not seem to have much potential or perhaps I have been getting too relaxed!

Today the disturbance really started cranking up and the NHC has rated it 90% for development. Judging by the satellite it looks quite impressive.

The Caribbean needs to watch this if it stays on a westerly track. High pressure to the north could steer it that way.

Updates to follow ...


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2020 5:08 pm
by Paul Tallet

It's official but it took a while.

The Storm will miss the Caribbean but could cause an increase in sea swells at most.

I also doubt if the Storm will reach hurricane status. It's possible but unlikely. Josephine may also not reach the US because there is some strong wind shear ahead.

The season is hotting up and I am looking for more significant storms to come.


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sat Aug 15, 2020 7:27 pm
by Paul Tallet

No change with Josephine ... the storm should pass the north east Caribbean with only minor impacts before expiring somewhere around Bermuda.

Kyle is a surprise and slightly stronger than Josephine, having developed suddenly off the US east coast. Kyle should be even more short-lived but is expected to merge into a north Atlantic depression and move east and contribute towards the breakdown in the humid weather over the UK and Ireland around Wednesday and Thursday this week.

This season is shaping up to be a record breaker in terms of the number of hurricanes but few have reached this status and have been relatively short-lived. The environment in the tropics will improve and I am expecting some major hurricanes to form during the peak September/October months.


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Sun Aug 16, 2020 12:09 pm
by Paul Tallet

All of a sudden there is a new burst of activity ...

Josephine is weakening as expected and should be downgraded to a tropical depression. The storm is currently just north of the northernmost Leeward Islands and is expected to slowly curve round to the north and then east, reaching Bermuda by the end of this week.

Kyle is now extra-tropical and the NHC has stopped issuing advisories. Expect Kyle to merge into a larger north Atlantic depression. It's energy could bring strong winds and rain to Ireland and the UK later this week.

2 New Disturbances have developed in the tropical Atlantic and are racing across at the rate of 15 to 25 mph. The first one is just 750 - 800 miles east of Tobago and will arrive by Tuesday latest. It's speed is likely to slow development down and it may be one of these storms that pass the south and east Caribbean to develop more in the Caribbean Sea. I have looked at some vorticity charts and only a few predict development before the disturbance reaches the Tobago area. The NHC is giving it a 30% chance of development within 5 days so it looks like this may just bring some squally conditions to the area before cranking up further down the path.

The 2nd disturbance is following a few days behind and has similar expectations although it looks more likely this could develop before it reaches the Caribbean ... one to watch.

Updates will follow ..


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:49 pm
by Paul Tallet

Tobago and the south eastern Caribbean are getting heavy rainfall from the first disturbance which will pass through very quickly before going on to develop deeper into the Caribbean Sea. It's early days but this system could be problematic for regions such as Belize and Mexico.

The second disturbance is showing better development potential but looks risky for the north east Leeward Islands towards the end of the week. Again early days and much of the future track depends how quickly the storm develops.

The naming of these disturbances depends which one develops first ... Laura is first.

Updates to follow ...


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:32 pm
by Paul Tallet

The disturbance over Tobago has now moved on and is expected to develop into a Tropical Storm if and when it slows down in the Caribbean Sea. I think this will be named 'Marco' if it develops and, as I said in yesterday's post, this could cause problems in Belize and Mexico, possibly Jamaica and the Caymans. NHC give this a 70% chance of development within 5 days.

The one to worry about is still in the middle of the tropical Atlantic and is likely to develop into a named storm before the above disturbance, namely 'Laura'. This is a larger development reminding me of Isaias earlier this season. There are multiple vortex within this disturbance as it cranks up and it needs to get more organised. NHC rate this as a 90% chance of becoming a storm within 5 days.

The track is uncertain but the worst models take the storm over the northern Leeward Islands, across Puerto Rico and over Hispaniola with the very fragile Haiti in it's sights. If ... and I stress if ... this system develops it could well become the first major hurricane of the season.

Meanwhile, back at the African coast, there is a much larger disturbance forming, yet to break out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Watch this space for more updates ...


Re: 2020 Hurricane Season

Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 12:58 pm
by Paul Tallet

If the NHC's model consensus proves to be correct then these 2 Storms could make landfall simultaneously on the coasts across eastern Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and eastern Florida early next Wednesday ... Possibly as hurricanes. :shock:

Surely not, I say.

Both Depressions have challenges. No.14 is all over the place as the NHC struggle to find a centre. The TD status being a rather premature achievement award if the system is still an open tropical wave. The track is also uncertain, you can't really even start working on a track until you have a closed circulation.

No.13 is more stable just off the coast of Honduras and there is consequently more confidence in it's track just north of Belize and across the Yucatan Peninsula by which time it could just make it to hurricane status. But the chances of hurricane status improve as the system emerges into the Gulf with it's cooking sea water. As the system slows there is potential for rapid strengthening as it feeds greedily from the energy of the Gulf waters.

Until No.14 cranks up properly the chance of convergence or a simultaneous strike on the southern US seems distant, but I will update on this potential phenomena.

Another strong tropical wave that I have mentioned in previous posts is now in the eastern tropical Atlantic. It's potential for development in the short term looks good but there are also hurdles ahead for this system that may impact it's longer term threat.

It's fascinating.