New hurricane documentary published

It’s been a few months since I have posted anything here. The reason? Been quite busy playing filmmaker. And now, the results of those efforts are revealed with the release of my brand new “Tracking the Hurricanes” documentary.

The first in the series was produced in 2004 after the big season that brought hurricanes such as Charley and Ivan. Then, I produced another segment after the historic 2005 season. It wasn’t until 2008 that I had enough material for another program and that was the last time…until now.

We’ve had hurricanes since 2008, that’s for sure but I just didn’t have enough to put together a full-length program. So, after the 2016 season, I figured it was time.

The result is a two-part series that spans 2009-2016 and takes you on a journey with us as we develop new technologies, including the weather balloon project: HURRB.

We also worked towards building a better unmanned camera system that would ultimately be put in to to use during hurricanes Hermine and Matthew in 2016. However, the technology has to be tested and we did so during winter storms and flood events in the face of a lack of U.S. landfalling hurricanes. Those efforts paid off and by the time we get to 2016, we were ready.

So here it is, part one of the new “Tracking the Hurricanes” series. I will post part two on Friday, March 3. Enjoy and please feel free to share with anyone!

M. Sudduth 1PM ET Feb 24

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Otto small but will bring torrential rain and strong wind to portions of Central America

The biggest hazard from Otto will be the rain which is expected to be more than a foot in some locations.

The biggest hazard from Otto will be the rain which is expected to be more than a foot in some locations. Click to view full size.

It is late in the hurricane season but TS Otto has managed to find a small corner of the Caribbean Sea in which to flourish. Recent reports from the NHC indicate that Otto is nearing hurricane intensity and by looking at satellite images, it won’t be long until that status has been achieved.

Fortunately, Otto is small in size with tropical storm force winds extending only 35 miles out from the center. When it becomes a hurricane, those winds will also be confined to a relatively tiny area near the center thus wind is really not going to be the issue here.

Instead, rain is my big concern. Heavy rain is expected to fall across portions of Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama today and lasting through the remainder of the week. The extremely slow movement of Otto will only add to this hazard and for areas of Nicaragua especially, rainfall could be excessive and lead to substantial flooding with great risk to life and property. Obviously interests in the region should be paying close attention to the progress of Otto and be ready to head to safer locations should flooding commence. I am very worried about the amount of rain that could fall with this system and will continue to emphasize that fact throughout this event.

Otto is expected to move slowly westward over the next few days and eventually make landfall somewhere in southern Nicaragua and possibly straddle the border of Costa Rica. This is very far south for a hurricane to be making landfall no matter what time of the hurricane season it it. As such, people are not used to this which makes it even more important for folks to keep up to date with the latest information as Otto progresses.

There is no risk of the storm turning north in to the Gulf of Mexico and even the NW Caribbean Sea due to mid-level high pressure building in across the region, acting like a block and forcing Otto to remain south and move generally westward underneath the high pressure area. It is possible that the remnants survive the passage over Central America and emerge in to the southeast Pacific – if so, we’ll deal with that when the time comes.

I’ll have more in my video discussion which I will post later this afternoon.

M. Sudduth 8:50 AM ET Nov 22

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Inland flooding from Matthew continues as Nicole takes aim on Bermuda

Flooding along the Neuse River in Smithfield as seen from one of our unmanned camera units placed there yesterday afternoon. Watch the LIVE cam here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/C6kGCZ3uJCF

Flooding along the Neuse River in Smithfield as seen from one of our unmanned camera units placed there yesterday afternoon. Watch the LIVE cam here: Smithfield, NC along Neuse River

Matthew is gone, part of hurricane history now but its impacts will linger for days, weeks and even years across many locations of the Southeast. As bad as it was, I cannot emphasize enough how close the United States came to seeing catastrophic damage and likely significant loss of life. Matthew managed to keep the core of the strongest winds just offshore of the Florida and Georgia coastlines and was weakening as it did so. Just a 20-30 mile westerly change in its course would have resulted in massive wind damage, a storm surge like we have not seen since Sandy and maybe even Katrina and power outages that would have boggled the mind. To say we were lucky is putting it mildly but what did happen is bad enough and we are dealing with the effects even as skies have cleared and cooler temperatures have moved in.

The most serious threat from Matthew’s relentless rain will be continued river flooding across parts of eastern North Carolina and northeast South Carolina. Several river gauge sites are in major flood stage with more expected to reach that point in the days ahead. Visit the link below to view gauge data and learn more about the expected impacts from the various river systems that are expected to flood as the week progresses:

Southeast River Forecast Center Website

Latest track map for Nicole indicating a threat to Bermuda late week.

Latest track map for Nicole indicating a threat to Bermuda late week.

The next area of concern will be Bermuda as tropical storm Nicole gathers strength in the wake of hurricane Matthew. Upper level winds are forecast to become favorable and this will allow Nicole to become a hurricane again, probably a category two, as it approaches Bermuda late in the week. It’s still too soon to predict just how close Nicole will track to Bermuda but the models are in fairly good agreement on quite a close call, if not a direct hit, by Friday. I will be keeping a close eye on this and may be planning a trip to Bermuda to cover the impacts if in fact Nicole gets close enough to the island.

Beyond Nicole there are no other areas to worry about for the time being but a robust MJO pulse is forecast by the major global models to set up in the Atlantic Basin over the next two weeks or so. This would favor widespread upward motion and period of favorable upper level winds – mainly across the western Caribbean where climatology tells us to look this time of year. As a result, the GFS and ECMWF models both suggest development between seven and ten days out. Something to watch for but nothing appears imminent.

I am back in the office now in Wilmington, NC after quite a saga tracking down Matthew from the east-central coast of Florida and then up through the Carolinas. I covered a lot of ground and captured some useful wind and pressure data along with compelling live video from our unmanned cams. I will post some of the data soon along with video highlights of the field mission.

I’ll have a video discussion posted early this afternoon followed by a blog update this evening concerning Nicole and what the latest trends are regarding impacts for Bermuda.

M. Sudduth 8:15 AM ET Oct 10

 

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Hurricane Matthew poised to make history

I am currently on the road in route to Florida. As I travel, hurricane Matthew gathers  strength over the very warm waters in the vicinity of the Bahamas. It won’t be long until it reaches category for intensity I am afraid.  Residents of the Bahamas simply need to hunker down and use common sense as Matthew pounds its way through. Extreme hurricane winds, blinding rain, and a  lethal storm surge will accompany Matthew as it moves through the Bahamas tonight and tomorrow.

By tomorrow night, Matthew will begin spreading its effects over Florida. The spiral bands will move their way into the southeast part of the state as Matthew moves to the northwest.  Conditions will rapidly deteriorate into the morning hours on Friday with a probable landfall expected somewhere between Daytona Beach or south.  Even if the center does not make landfall, very high wind is likely along the I-95 corridor in eastern FL.

Depending on how far west Matthew tracks even Orlando could experience hurricane force wind gusts.  So much depends on the exact track over the next 48 hours.  Tomorrow will be a very important day for Floridians as it will be the last day for them to prepare.

Farther up the coast towards Georgia and the Carolinas,  we will just have to wait and see what the angle of the track is and how much structure remains with Matthew after its landfall in Florida.

Right now you can bet on heavy rain and gusty winds and some storm surge from Georgia north in to South and North Carolina.  Again the exact extent of these impacts depends so much on factors that cannot be resolved this early.

I will have a more in-depth a video discussion very late tonight  after I arrive at my hotel in Titusville. Tomorrow, I will begin setting up equipment to document the effects of the storm while collecting valuable weather data.  Follow long live via the link below:

http://ustre.am/7kSh

You may also follow along in our mobile app, Hurricane Impact, two words,  available on the App Store and Google play.  I will be streaming live video of the link above during all of my waking hours.  Best of luck to the Floridians as well as folks in the Bahamas during this stressful time.

M. Sudduth 7:45 pm ET Oct 5

 

 

 

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