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 Euro model to raise a few eyebrows along East Coast

Euro Forecast for Leslie Shows it Getting Closer to the East Coast of U.S.

Euro Forecast for Leslie Shows it Getting Closer to the East Coast of U.S.

It looks like the weak nature of Leslie has allowed it to track a little more west than originally forecast and this may be enough to trap it under a building ridge of high pressure over the western Atlantic in the coming days.

The latest ECMWF model shows quite a significant westward shift in the track of Leslie beyond day five. In fact, the model now shows a landfall in Nova Scotia at day nine, which is a change from the curving-out-to-sea scenario that has been the norm as of late for that model.

Both the GFS and the Euro also indicate that Leslie will grow to be a powerful hurricane with nearly ideal upper level conditions over water temps that are running several degrees above normal in some places. This will lead to a substantial wave event along the East Coast and of course, Bermuda, later this week and in to the weekend. This, in and of itself, could be a big problem with days and days of pounding surf. I’ll address this more on tomorrow’s blog post.

For now, Leslie is rather disorganized and moving generally northward. We’ll see what the NHC has to say on their next forecast package. I suspect we’ll start to see some subtle shifts to the west in the track and an increase in the intensity over time.

I’ll post more here late tonight and then again tomorrow morning. For a video discussion of the tropics, be sure to pick up our iPhone app in the App Store. We have a new update coming out any day now which will greatly improve functionality and I’ll post a separate write-up about that once Apple has approved it.

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Bermuda could be impacted by Leslie as September looks to be quite busy due to lack of El Nino

Leslie Could Impact Bermuda This Weekend

Leslie Could Impact Bermuda This Weekend

TS Leslie developed some very deep convection over night with cloud tops reach an astonishing -88 degrees Celsius. Those cold cloud tops, however, did not wrap all the way around the center of the storm. This is due to the continuation of vertical wind shear which has been just enough to keep Leslie from strengthening much. I do think the burst of deep convection is a sign that Leslie will intensify given the right upper level conditions.

The current forecast track has not budged much from recent ones and it looks like a slow and steady course to the north-northwest throughout the week ahead makes the most sense considering the pattern. There will simply not be enough western Atlantic ridge to push Leslie back to the west enough to directly impact the U.S. That being said, I do believe that an increase in long period swells is coming – especially once Leslie becomes a hurricane. Its slow movement will allow for quite a build-up of energy in the ocean and this means a great surf weekend coming up for portions of the East Coast. It also means an increase in rip currents and as such, people heading to the beach need to be mindful of this hazard. We are still a few days away from the swells reaching the U.S. and I will address this again later in the week.

As for Bermuda, it looks as though Leslie could come fairly close to the island by the weekend as a strong hurricane. Some of the intensity models suggest that Leslie could approach or exceed category three intensity towards the end of the week. Interests in Bermuda need to pay close attention to the future track and strength of this storm. It also looks like Leslie will be quite large with an expanding wind field so even a brush with Bermuda could mean a period of high winds and very rough seas for the area.

Looking at the rest of the tropics, we have invest area 99L well out in the east-central Atlantic. It may develop some but is small in size and poses no threat to land areas.

In the eastern Pacific, TS John has formed to the southwest of the Baja peninsula and will move swiftly off to the northwest and not be a bother to Mexico.

SST Anomalies from August 3

SST Anomalies from August 3

Checking on the current state of the El Nino, we see that it has, in fact, backed off quite a bit in recent weeks. Comparing the SST anomaly maps from August 2 and the one from today, it is clear that the warming trend has stopped and even reversed in the eastern Pacific. This means that the threat of a significant El Nino event during the hurricane season is likely minimal at best. In other words, the negative conditions that a Pacific El Nino would typically bring to the Atlantic Basin are probably not going to be there.

SST Anomalies from September 3, Notice the Decrese in SST Temps in the East Pacific

SST Anomalies from September 3, Notice the Decrese in SST Temps in the East Pacific

The reason El Nino affects the Atlantic is similar to how a large hurricane, with its well established outflow, affects other tropical waves moving across the Atlantic. Remember TS Jean which formed east of Isaac? The large scale upward motion of Isaac led to strong outflow high in the atmosphere and this literally tore Jean apart and caused it to weaken and dissipate. An El Nino event, especially strong ones, causes tropical convection to persist across a good deal of the Pacific. This upward motion on a basin-wide scale acts to spread strong upper level winds across the deep tropics of the Atlantic, much like the outflow from a hurricane. This shear stops developing Atlantic systems in their tracks. Because we are not seeing a significant El Nino event taking shape right now, I suspect that September will be quite busy with a shift in activity more towards the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. This is a natural evolution in any season when we see the tropical waves that come off of Africa lose their punch and the build up of low pressure in the western part of the Atlantic and Caribbean leads to development there.

The long range models, and we’re talking beyond 10 days here, indicate this pattern change is coming. Once Leslie moves out, we will probably only wait a few days, if that, before we have yet another named storm.

Curiously though, we have yet to have a major hurricane this season in the Atlantic. The layer of persistent dry air has really put a lid on things, literally. I think that Leslie has a chance to become a category three hurricane as it nears Bermuda as the global models indicate what looks like a favorable upper level wind pattern for it to develop. We may have had a lot of activity, but no intense hurricanes just yet.

I will go over a lot of what I have outlined here in today’s edition of the Hurricane Outlook and Discussion video for our iPhone app. I will also post an update here in the blog this evening to reflect the very latest on Leslie and whether or not I may be taking a trip to Bermuda later this week.

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Leslie not going anywhere fast it seems, Bermuda should monitor closely

Leslie Could Track Close to Bermuda Late Next Week

Leslie Could Track Close to Bermuda Late Next Week

TS Leslie remains just below hurricane intensity as a fairly constant northerly shear pattern is in place, keeping the deep convection from wrapping around the low level center. It is quite remarkable how hostile the deep tropics have been again this season which in turn has meant that we’ve had no major hurricanes as of yet (no category three or higher hurricanes). However, the global models all show Leslie moving in to a more favorable environment over the next several days and it should become a fairly strong hurricane at that time. Ocean temps are warm and the wind shear is forecast to relax considerably.

The steering pattern is complex and could have some big implications for Bermuda as the coming week unfolds. Right now, the storm is moving along to the northwest at a fairly good pace, 15 mph. This will soon change as the flow in the atmosphere changes and Leslie gets stuck in the middle of this pattern change. There is a chance it could just meander out in the Atlantic for a couple of days. How close this happens to Bermuda remains to be seen but there is a chance that Leslie could impact the island beyond the NHC five day forecast period. Interests in Bermuda should just keep an eye on the future predictions for Leslie this coming week.

Surfers should also keep an eye as well since the farther west Leslie tracks and the stronger it gets, the more long period swell action the East Coast will see. We’ll know more about what to expect later this week but it looks like there will be some increase in the surf along parts of the East Coast by next weekend.

The remainder of the Atlantic is quiet in terms of any other issues to be concerned about. I think we are heading for a lull in the action once Leslie moves out but that could take a while as mentioned above.

I will have more here tomorrow morning.

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Hole in central Atlantic ridge should keep Leslie away

Kirk and Leslie both headed out to sea

Kirk and Leslie both headed out to sea

It’s back. The seemingly permanent weakness or hole in the Atlantic ridge that has turned numerous hurricanes away from the United States since 2008. Obviously Isaac was able to sneak in underneath; as did Irene last year. But Leslie? It will not. The pattern is such that there will be a trough too far east over North America for Leslie to make it much past 60 W longitude.

With the forecast calling for Leslie to become a hurricane, it should still produce a few days of nice long period swells for surfers to enjoy. Any increase would be nice I suppose. But that should be the extent of it as the global models are firm now in showing a turn away from the U.S. with the track.

Kirk is also heading out farther in to the North Atlantic and will lose its tropical characteristics within a day or two as waters underneath its circulation gradually cool.

The rest of the tropics are quiet and even in the east Pacific there are no areas of concern this weekend.

I am back at home in North Carolina and will resume the daily video blog for our app. On Monday, I will have a longer write-up about Isaac as well as announce plans for our first DVD since 2008. Have a great weekend!

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East Coast surfers get ready, Leslie will be a wave maker as we watch to see if it does in fact recurve

As the remnants of Isaac dump rain across a good deal of the mid-Mississippi Valley, causing even more problems along the Mississippi River downstream, we now begin to focus more on TS Leslie and its future over the next week to 10 days.

The NHC track has indicated a turn to the north near 60 degrees west longitude; just west of there to be exact. However, I think this is going to change in the coming days as indications are that there will be stronger Atlantic ridging to keep Leslie moving more west than north. How far west and for how long remains to be seen and it is entirely possible that a trough of low pressure in the steering currents of the atmosphere will come in and dig east and south just enough to scoop Leslie up and turn it out to sea.

GFS 500mb Chart Showing Leslie SW of Bermuda in 8 Days

GFS 500mb Chart Showing Leslie SW of Bermuda in 8 Days

If we look at the 6Z GFS model at 500mb, about the middle steering layer, we see Leslie very well as that dark red ball to the southwest of Bermuda and that 588 “oval”. That is a height line which is kind of like a contour line on a topographic map. This shows that the Atlantic ridge is quite strong and won’t allow Leslie to turn north in to. Leslie is akin to a small water balloon while the ridge is akin to a huge, more dense water balloon. The storm has to go around the ridge and look for a weakness. We heard this a lot about Isaac and when it might turn north. The ridge turned out to be stronger than originally forecast by the global models and Isaac moved much farther west in to the Gulf as we all know now.

Since Leslie is forecast to be a hurricane, and likely a strong one too, its proximity to the United States around day 8 and beyond means an increase in long period swells is coming. For surfers this is great news. For swimmers, especially those with little experience in the ocean, this can mean dangerous surf conditions are in store. We’ll address that as needed down the road. Right now, the upcoming holiday weekend will be JUST FINE and there are no worries about Leslie anywhere. But later next week, we will need to watch and see how much that Bermuda High expands and thus how much of a correction west the models indicate.

Elsewhere, Kirk is a solid hurricane but is of no concern to land areas at this time.

In the eastern Pacific, hurricane Ileana will turn west under a strong ridge of high pressure and move away from the Mexican coastline while we monitor another large area of disturbed weather farther south and east of Ileana for possible development.

I am currently heading home from our Isaac mission and will have regular blog posts throughout the weekend ahead.

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