About Mark Sudduth

Greetings! I am Mark Sudduth, the founder and editor of HurricaneTrack.com. The site began in 1999 as a way to post info concerning tropical storms and hurricanes for any interested visitors. Little did I know how big it would become in the years since. Now, we have millions of visitors from all over the world who have come to rely on the site as a no non-sense, tell it like it is resource for all things hurricane related. We are supported by a combination of corporate sponsors and our loyal Client Services members who subscribe to premium content on our sister site, premium.hurricanetrack.com. I am married with six energetic and intelligent children and live in southeast North Carolina. I graduated UNC-Wilmington in 1995 with a BA in Geography and have studied the effects of hurricanes on our society ever since.

Latest GFS provides an “out” for Bermuda- Leslie could pass east enough to spare the island

Latest GFS Model Showing Leslie Farther East of Bermuda

Latest GFS Model Showing Leslie Farther East of Bermuda

I think that Bermuda can thank hurricane Michael for existing. After talking with colleague Mike Watkins just now about the latest GFS run, it is possible, certainly not official by any means, that Michael getting as strong as it has will erode the Atlantic ridge enough to draw Leslie more east than previously forecast. In fact, just looking at the 72 frame from the 00Z GFS, you can clearly see Leslie some 100 miles EAST of Bermuda at 96 hours. If this trend continues, then Bermuda may end up seeing very little in the way of effects from Leslie.

One possible reason, as I mentioned, is that Michael now reaches up to the 500 mb level of the atmosphere. This allows the trough over the eastern U.S. to push Leslie out sooner and thus it never reaches 64W longitude. We’ll have to see if the ECMWF has a similar solution on its 00Z run which will come out in a few more hours. If so, then I would expect the NHC forecast track to subsequently shift east at the 5am ET package.

Obviously, this would spell great news for Bermuda. I would also mean that I have no reason to be out there this weekend. If Leslie fades east soon enough, it might not even rain in Bermuda. That may be a stretch, and this run could be a fluke, but I doubt it. We’ve seen subtle but consistent shifts east in most of the major guidance all day and tonight’s run is really starting to look positive for Bermuda.

I’ll probably stay up for most of the night to monitor things and will have another blog post and even a video blog for our app as we near the 5am advisory package from the NHC. If they say that this model cycle was bogus for what ever reason, I still need to catch a plane at 8:30 am ET. I suspect though that I will be right here this weekend blogging about hurricanes that are over open water. We shall see.


As Bermuda readies for Leslie, it looks like weak development possible in the northern Gulf of Mexico

Latest ECMWF Model Showing Leslie Very Close to Bermuda

Latest ECMWF Model Showing Leslie Very Close to Bermuda

Leslie is gradually getting better organized and will be a hurricane sooner rather than later. I think it is then only a question of how strong it will become as it moves very close to, or right over, Bermuda this weekend.

I am sure folks there are preparing which is prudent since the wind field extends out so far with the storm. This means that tropical storm conditions will arrive on the island well ahead of the center. While Leslie is forecast to pick up its forward speed, it will not be racing past Bermuda, prolonging the effects.

As was the case with Isaac, the key to Leslie’s future intensity will more than likely be related to how well it develops an inner core structure. Large tropical cyclones typically take longer to tighten up produce a well defined inner core with a ring of convection surrounding the eye. The sooner Leslie is able to accomplish this, the stronger it is likely to become as it passes Bermuda.

This will also have a significant impact on me since I am going to Bermuda tomorrow.

My plan is to take one of my large hardened cases full of weather equipment and other gear that I will set up somewhere on Bermuda to (hopefully) stream live data and video back to our servers and our app.

I will also be working with KittyCode, LLC who is the developer of the hugely popular Hurricane and Hurricane HD set of apps for iOS devices. Both of our sets of apps will contain as many video blog updates as I can put out. Of course, Hurricane and Hurricane HD offer excellent tracking maps and other tools to keep up with the latest on Leslie and other goings on in the tropics. Get Hurricane from the App Store here.

HurricaneTrack for iPhone Tower 1 Screen Shot from Isaac

HurricaneTrack for iPhone Tower 1 Screen Shot from Isaac

As I mentioned, one of my objectives is to set up a complete “wind tower” on the island to capture wind and pressure data every 60 seconds, along with a web cam image, and send this data to our app, HurricaneTrack. I will ONLY be taking one set of gear, that is all that is feasible considering that I am flying it all out there on a passenger jet. The data will feed in to Tower 1 in our app, as seen on the screen shot example from our Isaac field work last week. If all goes well, users of our app will be able to monitor nearly real time weather conditions, along with a web cam image, as Leslie moves through the area.

I will post more about my plans, where I hope to set up, etc. in an update later this afternoon.

Besides Leslie, we are tracking TS Michael but it is of no concern to land areas and will never be.

In the Gulf of Mexico, there is a complex of disturbed weather, perhaps some remnant energy from Isaac that has drifted back south, that could develop some in the coming days. Fortunately, the conditions in the area are not too favorable right now so any development will be limited. However, another round of squally weather is possible for portions of the north and central Gulf Coast region as the disturbance moves southward.

I’ll have much more here later today and will post the daily video blog to our app this afternoon as well. We recently had an update to the app, so if you own it, update it now! We have some GREAT improvements that will prove very helpful going forward.



Leslie heading towards Bermuda and so will I

The latest from the NHC is more of the same for Leslie. It is a large storm, expected to get larger and get stronger at the same time. It is also forecast to pass very close to Bermuda this weekend but the effects will be there much sooner. Waves, generated by the enormous wind field of Leslie, will pound the island, one set at a time. These waves will just get bigger in time as the storm grows in size and intensity over the warm Atlantic waters. Bermuda could be in for a very rough weekend.

As such, I am going to fly to Bermuda and be on site for what ever Leslie brings. I will have a full update as to my plans and how I intend to cover the effects from Bermuda in tomorrow morning’s update.

Elsewhere in the tropics, Michael is of no concern to land as we also watch some left-over energy from Isaac that is trying to work its way back in to the northern Gulf of Mexico. There is a chance that this piece of energy will in fact develop some but conditions do not seem very favorable there right now. Anything that does pop up over the Gulf will be fairly weak and should move back over land quickly. We’ll watch it in case something bizarre happens but honestly, it looks like more of a rain maker with some squalls than anything serious.

As I said, I’ll have more here in the morning regarding Leslie and my plans to cover its impact on Bermuda.


Bermuda could be hit quite hard by Leslie- it all depends on how close and how strong

The Official Forecast Track Takes Leslie Close to Bermuda This Weekend

The Official Forecast Track Takes Leslie Close to Bermuda This Weekend

I know the headline is like a memo from the department of the obvious, but it’s true. While I think that Bermuda has no way out of being impacted by Leslie, I do not know to what extent the effects will be.

Right now, the first sign of Leslie’s approach will be the increase in swells from the Atlantic. These will only get bigger and more frequent. In fact, these swells will radiate out from Leslie to impact much of the U.S. East Coast and the islands that border the northern Caribbean Sea.

Then, it looks like Leslie could really intensify over the warmer-than-normal waters of the western Atlantic. How strong remains to be seen but the upper level environment looks quite favorable and Leslie might be the first category three hurricane of the season.

The question of how close depends on the strength of the ridge which will push Leslie west some before it straightens out to a more northerly course. The timing of the north turn will ultimately result in what happens for Bermuda and how close the center tracks.

Down the road a few more days, it looks a little better for Nova Scotia and in fact the entire Northeast U.S. as Leslie should turn east enough to clear those regions. This is not by any means a done deal and any significant deviation to the west, and Leslie could bring issues to New England and the Maritimes.

I am almost at the point where I am going to decide whether or not to travel to Bermuda to intercept Leslie. I would like to take one wind tower assembly, minus the tower itself of course, plus one remotely operated cam unit. I can easily airline the Storm Case with all the gear in it and purchase a marine battery once there to power everything. I am as interested in the wind and pressure data as I am the impacts on the people there. If all went well, I would have live weather data from exceptional equipment feeding in to our iPhone app and our Client Services site. I would also have a live cam streaming for our Clients as well with frequent updates to Twitter and Facebook posted. I will know tonight if I am in fact flying to Bermuda later this week.

I’ll have more here on Leslie after the 11pm ET NHC advisory package.


Warmer than normal water temps likely to fuel Leslie as rest of tropics stay very busy

Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

Sea surface temps are running at least one degree Celsius above normal across much of the northwest Atlantic. In fact, there are large areas of plus two and three Celsius just off the Canadian Maritimes. This translates in to added heat content and Leslie is poised to take advantage of it over the next week or more.

The current NHC forecast track has Leslie moving very slowly over the next few days as steering currents remain weak. The track takes the center just to the west of Bermuda but since Leslie is a large storm with a huge wind field, the effects will be felt on the island in the way of large, battering waves, heavy rain and high winds. I suspect it won’t be too much longer until we see a hurricane watch posted for the island.

With all of this warmer than normal water around, Leslie looks like it could strengthen in to quite a strong hurricane in the models. Add to this what appears to be a very favorable upper level outflow pattern and it is possible that Leslie becomes the first category three hurricane of the season. We have been in this pattern of seeing storms/hurricanes intensify out of the deep tropics and I don’t see any reason to believe that Leslie will be any different.

In the longer range, the Euro continues its westward forecast for Leslie, taking it very close to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Any further west and we could be looking at a possible brush with portions of New England as well. Much of this will have to do with the way a trough is supposed to develop in the Tennessee Valley this weekend and beyond. If it is weaker or digs in farther west, even by a little, then the high pressure area over the western Atlantic can build in more and push Leslie a degree or two of longitude west. I will be watching closely to see if this trough acts to capture Leslie and swing it north-northwest or whether the trough acts to push Leslie out to the north-northeast. How this plays out will determine what, if any, landmass is directly impacted.

One effect that I have made mention of for several days now is the increasing swells that will roll in to the East Coast. The NHC continues to make mention of this in their discussions and I want to emphasize the importance of understanding how dangerous rough surf can be- even with a storm/hurricane hundreds of miles off the coast. Check out this video that I produced last year as part of a preparedness campaign with Olympus Insurance out of Florida:

Elsewhere, we now have tropical storm Michael which will be officially named at 11am ET on the NHC advisory. The small storm will be short-lived and not affect land but it will bring the total number of named storms to 13 this season. While Michael is much smaller than Leslie, it is clearly a tropical storm and is of interest to shipping lanes in the open Atlantic.

The east Pacific is calming down and I do not see any new areas of concern developing anytime soon.

I will be working on the daily video blog for our iPhone app and will have it uploaded in just a little while. We are also eagerly anticipating the first major update to the app any day now. The update will greatly enhance the app and allow for manual refresh of the video blogs. As soon as it is approved by Apple, I will add a separate blog post. Speaking of blogs, I’ll update this blog later this afternoon.