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.

Will predicted MJO pulse bring chance for first development of the season?

GFS MJO Forecast

GFS MJO Forecast

Even though we had tropical storms Alberto and Beryl already, they were both outside of the hurricane season. Since then, things have been nice and quiet. There are, however, indications that this may change. Let’s take a look at why.

There is an atmospheric phenomenon called the MJO or Madden-Jullian Oscillation that can sometimes lead to increased tropical cyclone formation when it is in its favorable mode. Think of it as a period of fertility in the tropics. A time when rising motion in the atmosphere is more prevalent, allowing deep tropical convection to form. This is what we call the “wet phase” of the MJO pulse and it typically adds a lot more showers and thunderstorms to the tropical regions of the globe where it circulates through.

On the other hand, the “dry phase” is easy to spot due to the sinking motion of the atmosphere, suppressing tropical convection. While development can take place during an MJO dry phase, it’s a lot more common to have development during the wet phase.

There are several computer models, the global models, that predict the MJO pulse and we can track that on various sites. The graphic I have linked to for this blog shows the operational GFS and its ensemble mean- the average of the various other runs of the GFS with slightly different variables. This model, along with others such as the reliable ECMWF, point to an increase in the wet phase of the MJO for the eastern Pacific and eventually the Atlantic Basin. When the MJO is within regions 8 and 1, we should begin to look for an increase in tropical convection. So, going by the graphic, we will need to pay closer attention to the tropics after about the mid part of the month as the wet phase moves through.

You’ll notice first, as it moves through the western Pacific, that we’ll see a typhoon or two develop followed by likely development in the southeast Pacific off the coast of Mexico and Central America. After that time, it is possible that a window of opportunity will open for the western Caribbean. It’s just another piece of the puzzle or a clue that we can use to know when the tropics are perhaps a little more ready for development than at other times. I’ll keep up with it and post more here as we get closer to the predicted date of the favorable MJO pulse.

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Hurricane season begins with no areas of concern

Today is the official start to the Atlantic hurricane season, but you already knew that. After Alberto and Beryl, today seems anti-climactic in some ways. Nature does not go by man made calendars, that much is certain.

As we look at the tropics today, all is quiet in terms of anything developing in the Atlantic or east Pacific. Even though water temps are warm enough in most areas, it takes more than just warm water to create a tropical cyclone. As we begin the hurricane season, I invite you to watch our video tutorial on understanding tropical cyclones and their hazards.

Florida Rains

Florida Rains

If you live in south Florida, it has been wet as of late. This is due to a piece of energy getting pushed out ahead of a trough of low pressure moving across the Gulf of Mexico. The result has been fairly heavy rain originating from clusters of showers and storms moving generally eastward across the Gulf. This region is favored this time of year for development but conditions do not support that at this time. However, off and on heavy bursts of rain will continue to move across the southern part of Florida for the next day or two before a more normal pre-summer pattern sets in.

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HurricaneTrack App for iPhone and Android coming soon

HurricaneTrack App

HurricaneTrack App

I wanted to post an update on our brand new app for iPhone and Android. Things are moving along nicely and we’re almost ready for submission to the App Store.

The app will be very specific in its features and will focus on being informative, educational and a powerful tool to use during hurricane landfalls. Here is a breakdown of the features:

Blog – it will contain our blog from this page which will be a handy way to keep up with our posts on your iPhone or Android device.

Daily video blog – each week day (when things are slow) I will post a short video blog outlining any potential development areas in the Atlantic or east Pacific. This will be a great way to keep up with the latest in graphical format with an easy to understand explanation. I can utilize this feature to educate our users about different aspects of tropical cyclones, preparedness, impacts of a pending landfall, etc. So when you’re waiting for the plane at DFW or ATL, you can sit back and catch up on the latest in the tropics using our app.

Twitter/Facebook – the app will have live Twitter and Facebook feeds, an important way for us to stay connected in short updates, especially when we’re on the road.

Web cam/GPS tracking from the Chevy Tahoe – this will be a really cool feature where users can track our progress on the road via a live web cam (still image, not live video) which will update at least once per minute. We’ll also have a GPS tracking map for you to know exactly where we are at anytime. This will be great for when we are uploading videos and pics, no guessing or wondering as to where we are.

Live weather data – this is likely to be one of the most popular features of the app and one that we are quite proud of. Users will have access to our live weather data and web cam pics from our three 5-meter wind towers that we will set up in the path of a hurricane. The data will include wind and pressure readings every 60 seconds! Each tower will also have a live camera sending still images to the app every minute as well. For those who really want to know what the wind speeds are, the pressure is and a look at the landscape where it is happening, this will be perfect for you!

Field mission video blogs – once we are out in the field working a landfall, our entire team will be able to post video blogs of anything that we find interesting or informative for you. We will use our iPhones to shoot the video segments and upload them immediately. We’ll do this before, during and especially after a landfall. There is no other app that will offer the amount of videos from the field than ours. You will be able to keep up with conditions in chronological order as we work the mission day by day. I am very excited about this powerful tool that will bring you the very best information right from where it matters the most.

So how much will it cost? We will roll out a subscription based app first followed by a free, ad-supported version. Both will offer the exact same features. Our hope is that our audience will support our work by subscribing to the app which will only be $1.99 per month. As they say, “you can cancel anytime”. But wait, there’s more! The app will be utilized during the off-season as well to provide a weekly weather outlook video as well as other interesting non-hurricane related news and activities. All in all, the app will be an extension of what we offer here and our more robust Client Services site. For those who are members of our subscription site and will also utilize our app, you will have the absolute best that we can possibly offer, covering you at all angles. We are very excited about the release of HurricaneTrack for iPhone and Android. We hope you are too. Any questions at all? Please post in comments or send an email. I’ll keep everyone posted as to when we expect it to be available in the App Store and Google Play.

 

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FREE trial to our subscription service, sign up now!

Want a FREE trial to our subscription service? Now is your chance. Starting Friday, June 1, we will offer a seven (7) day free trial to our Client Services site. All you have to do is send us an email to: freetrial at hurricanetrack.com and tell us that you are interested in the free trial. We’ll send you a username good for seven days- from June 1 through June7.

What do we offer our subscribers? A lot.

We have had the subscription service since 2005 when it was almost exclusively just live video during our field missions.

Since that time, the service has grown and expanded to include a daily video briefing that is broadcast live on our own private ad-free stream. What’s more, our members can chat with us in real time, interact with each other, post questions, links to interesting info/data, etc. And, it’s troll-free. People value what they pay for and no one causes problems, posts spam links or any of that nonsense that you see on public chats.

We also have 30 frame satellite and radar loops, specialized tracking maps and Stormpulse maps (one is even full screen).

In addition, we set up our own 5-meter wind towers which feed back live wind and pressure data along with a web cam image every 60 seconds! This is exceptional updating compared to many other sources which might update every 5 mins to as much as an hour.

Our most popular exclusive feature during a landfall event are our remote cams that we place in the worst possible conditions to stream live video back to our subscribers. We have done this during Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Gustav, Ike, Earl and Irene with excellent results. All of these video streams are also 100% ad-free, supported by our members.

Our memberships range from $59.95 for a season pass (expires November 30, 2012) or $99.95 for an annual membership. Since we offer off-season info, live updates and other non-hurricane news and reporting, we have about 30% of our member base comprised of annual subscriptions and growing.

What we offer is unique. We have the experience of being in over 20 hurricanes so we know what we’re talking about. We use that knowledge base to explain in great detail, while making it easy to comprehend, what to expect and what the impacts will be. Then, we TAKE YOU THERE. How many other pro weather sites do that? Last count, NONE. They are not set up to do that. We are. We take you to the landfall area, set up our equipment and keep our members up to date literally second by second. It’s not “storm chasing” so much as it is a coordinated effort to gather information from the landfall zone and pass it along to interested parties all over the world. Since 2005, it has worked very well.

If you’re looking for entertainment, this is not for you. It’s not a road show but a mission in to the greatest storms on Earth. We have over 350 private clients and they’ll agree- there is nothing else like what we offer and it goes so far beyond just being able to stream live video from our vehicle. Ask for a free trial and you’ll see. If not, we’ll continue to offer the same level of public information and updates that we have since 1999 when it all began.

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Beryl dropping a lot of rain over portions of the Southeast

TD Beryl continues to exert its influence over parts of the Southeast today with continued heavy rainfall. Northern Florida and southeast Georgia are receiving the most abundant rains and with the slow movement of the depression, this will continue to be the case throughout the next day or two.

Beryl is forecast to move in to South Carolina and then off in to the Atlantic near Charleston. At that point, the depression could strengthen back in to a tropical storm as it passes south of Wilmington and eventually, Cape Hatteras. I doubt that Beryl will be able to regain much intensity but it is possible that tropical storm conditions will be felt along the Carolina coast tomorrow and Thursday.

Flood watches have been posted for a wide swath of the southeast coast since the tropical rains are persisting long enough to create a flooding risk. Luckily, Beryl will move out of the picture this week and the heavy rains will go with it. The good news out of all of this is that the rain is badly needed. Beryl may have ruined the Memorial Day weekend for some folks but its longer term benefit of providing much needed moisture will outweigh most of the negatives associated with the pre-season storm.

I do not see any additional areas to be concerned about as we enter the official start to the hurricane season this Friday. The east Pacific is also nice and quiet after two recent tropical cyclones, one of which became a major hurricane.

Note: I will be posting a blog about our successful testing our weather balloon in Texas and the remote cam at the NOAA Sentinel in Mississippi last week. I’ll post pictures, video and the data that we recorded from the balloon payload later this week.

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