Tuesday, June 29, 2010

He/She/It - Hurricane Alex Headed For Landfall

First TD, first TS, and first Hurricane of the season - Alex - is going to make landfall in about 24 hrs. She (I'll go w/female) is starting to look impressive on the latest IR satellite, but, not much more time to strengthen before landfall around/just south of the US Mexico border.Check links for the latest NOAA forecast. The rapid increase in circular banding and cooling cloud tops are impressive. Would not be surprised to see Alex come ashore as a solid Category 2.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hottest Day So Far - Relief In Sight?

  McCormick Observatory reported a high of 99.6°F, which makes today the hottest day of the year so far. The 24th of June was 99.5°F - so it was close. That is the ambient temperature - not factoring in humidity, which combined form the heat index. Many people mistake heat index for true temperature and will say it was 106 degrees or something ridiculous . Not that it can't be, but a temperature like that is rare in our region (it has only happened twice in DC) because our typical summer air mass is Maritime Tropical - warm and moist. Moisture or water vapor in the air limits the amount of heating because clouds and/or haze form as air rises and condenses, which limits the amount of direct sunlight to air particles. In so called "dry heat" regions the air mass is dryer and the temps much higher (think of Arizona, Nevada, or any Middle East country.) I don't care for either, humid or dry.
   But, relief is on the way in the form of a cooler air mass behind a cold frontal passage late Mon/Tues. Temps will be seasonal by Wednesday (80's) and should last until the weekend when it begins to slowly warm up again as an upper level ridge returns.

 

Tropics wise, Alex is re-emerging off the western coast of the Yucatan Peninsula as a depression, forecast to attain Hurricane strength in the next few days before landfall somewhere on the east coast of Mexico according to NOAA. We'll see. Latest computer models above, and perm link on the right.

Friday, June 25, 2010

T.D. #1 Forms /T.S. Alex Soon & Thoughts on Yesterday

Here we go...TD 1 is official. NHC is forecasting tropical storm strength (winds greater or equal to 39mph) within the next 12 hours. We'll see what it looks like if it does cross the Yucatan - hurricane models usually handle land interactions very poorly - and reemerges in the Gulf.




Check out the links on the right for the latest updates. Latest Infrared Sat:



Still planning on doing some form of storm summary/analysis from yesterday...but it's the weekend and the World Cup is my first priority. I am pretty confident the damage yesterday was caused by a macroburst, which is a microburst (AKA strong downdraft) but damages/affects a larger area. Technically, to be qualified as a macroburst vs micro the damage has to have a diameter of 2.5 miles or more. I'll have to find ruler and get back to you - not that it matters to the thousands around town still without power. Fortunately I don't know what that feels like...(suckers). Here's a (NASA) picture of what a micro/macroburst "looks" like.


Essentially, a vertical column of air is forced down to the surface at a high velocity, makes contact, and then spreads out horizontally. Three scenarios: either it was a big downdraft in terms of the air column size, the force/speed was so great that the horizontally spreading wind was strong enough to cause extensive damage well away from the "impact zone", or there was more than one microburst. My bet is on the 2nd, but I'll see if that is possible to verify.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Severe Thunderstorm Hits Charlottesville


Damage Photo of 3 cars covered/crushed by a tree- I'll post more pictures and a storm summary tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Il Fait Chaud ! Alex Coming To a Beach Near You?

Important notice to those who haven't been outside in a week or so - it is hot as Hades. And in other depressing news, this heat isn't going anywhere anytime soon.




Tropical Update:
   We might see T.D. "Alex" form in the next day or sooner if the tropical wave (above) in the central Caribbean strengthens and forms a closed surface low. I will update if/when it occurs. Here is NOAA's latest statement (40% chance of formation):

A STRONG TROPICAL WAVE OVER THE CENTRAL CARIBBEAN SEA IS PRODUCING A
LARGE AREA OF DISORGANIZED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS OVER PORTIONS
OF THE CENTRAL CARIBBEAN AND THE ADJACENT LAND AREAS.  UPPER-LEVEL
WINDS APPEAR TO BE CONDUCIVE FOR GRADUAL DEVELOPMENT AND A TROPICAL
DEPRESSION COULD FORM DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.  REGARDLESS
OF DEVELOPMENT...LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL AND GUSTY WINDS ARE
POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF PUERTO RICO...THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC...
HAITI...AND JAMAICA DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO AS IT MOVES
WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT ABOUT 10 MPH.  THERE IS A MEDIUM CHANCE...40
PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Nuclear Hurricanes?

Thought I'd lure you in with that headline. Many people know this, however it is still fascinating to think that "a fully developed hurricane can release heat energy at a rate of 5 to 20x1013 watts and converts less than 10% of the heat into the mechanical energy of the wind. The heat release is equivalent to a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes." Don't have to believe me, that quote comes from the hurricane experts at NOAA - if you can call anyone a hurricane expert. 





The tropical wave seen in the IR Satellite shot above is still moving west and located near the Leeward Islands, so named because they are leeward of the Windward Islands. The NHC says "DEVELOPMENT...IF ANY...IS EXPECTED TO BE SLOW TO OCCUR AS THIS SYSTEM MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT ABOUT 15 MPH." 


In other notes, I am now routing my blog through my new domain:  www.pennweather.com
You will  be rerouted if you go to the old site so no worries - I know my blog is of the utmost importance to my massive fan base - which I think is my parents and Mitzi - and you suckers who click on it through facebook. Jokes aside, update the address if need be. Also, on the right side you will see links to what I think are the most important/informative tropical sites on the intraweb. CrownWeather aggregates current tropical info and is my recommendation for the place to go if you're looking for a quick look at current conditions and forecasts by NOAA - after you check my blog of course. 


I'm thinking of posting an idiot's guide to Hurricanes in the next few days - basic requirements for formation, strengthening, etc. If there is anything you would like me to include/answer/research, just leave me a comment.

Monday, June 14, 2010

2010 Hurricane Season Predictions



13 days late on the opening of the official 2010 North Atlantic Hurricane Season, but, better late than never. Predictions from NOAA, Accuweather, and Bill Gray's team at CSU all predict above normal tropical activity this year. Check out this site for a quick rundown of their respective forecasts and interesting sidenotes:

http://www.mahalo.com/2010-hurricane-season-forecast

Currently there is an area of low pressure 1400 miles East of the Windward Islands (AKA waaaaay out in the Atlantic) with a decent chance of developing into a tropical storm as it heads West. (That's the picture above.) Will keep an eye on that and update if it develops. Otherwise, things are quiet for now, but that's how it GOES. If you get that, hello fellow weather nerd. Lastly, here are the potential names for 2010:

2010 Hurricane Names

1. Hurricane Alex
2. Hurricane Bonnie
3. Hurricane Colin
4. Hurricane Danielle
5. Hurricane Earl
6. Hurricane Fiona
7. Hurricane Gaston
8. Hurricane Hermine
9. Hurricane Igor
10. Hurricane Julia
11. Hurricane Karl
12. Hurricane Lisa
13. Hurricane Matthew
14. Hurricane Nicole
15. Hurricane Otto
16. Hurricane Paula
17. Hurricane Richard
18. Hurricane Shary
19. Hurricane Tomas
20. Hurricane Virginie
21. Hurricane Walter