New update to HurricaneTrack for iPhone coming soon

Atlantic Wide Map to be added to HurricaneTrack

Atlantic Wide Map to be added to HurricaneTrack

I wanted to let you all know that we are pushing an update to HurricaneTrack that will include our very own tracking maps as well as a few other enhancements that will make the app more functional and easier to use.

The tracking maps will be a great addition to the app. In fact, we are adding five total maps in this update: wide Atlantic, western Atlantic, and three TCHP (tropical cyclone heat potential) maps.

All of the maps are generated by our servers and will be updated within minutes of each advisory package, including intermediate advisories.

One of three TCHP Track Maps coming to HurricaneTrack

One of three TCHP Track Maps coming to HurricaneTrack

The TCHP maps are exclusive to HurricaneTrack and will plot tropical cyclone tracks over tropical cyclone heat potential background maps. This will give the user a look at not only past, current and forecast positions, but also WHERE the track forecast shows the track over NOAA’s heat potential maps. As you may know, oceanic heat content is a big driver in hurricane intensity and giving our app users a constantly updating look at the track over the TCHP map will prove to be a useful tool, especially when combined with the daily Hurricane Outlook and Discussion videos.

We are also implementing an auto-refresh feature for the video blogs and some improvements to the Twitter feed that I think users will really appreciate.

Looking ahead, we have some major upgrades planned for the future and are limited only by funding resources. So, the more apps we sell now, the better we can make it for everyone later. Get the word out, share the link to the App Store on your social media feeds and please, above all else, leave a review. We’ll take everything in to consideration, the great and the not-so-great reviews, it all matters. This app is for YOU and we are working on making it live up to its full potential and your feedback is part of that.

Of course, I still believe that, for now, the real power of the app will be during landfalls as we will be able to post video blogs, photos and live weather data right from where the tropical storm or hurricane is making landfall. No other app will get you in to the middle of the storm like HurricaneTrack. After all, it’s what we’ve done on the site since day one in 1999.

And for those who are wondering about the Android version….we’re working on it. Once this update for iPhone is complete, we can finish up work on the Android version and set a release date.

 

Ernesto likely headed for Yucatan then where?

TS Ernesto certainly has improved its appearance since this time yesterday. As noted in the latest NHC discussion, appearances can be deceiving and Ernesto has, in fact, weakened some. I see this as probably temporary as the storm is pulling in air from South America and to some extent, the Caribbean islands to its north. Remember, tropical cyclones can be very sensitive to even the slightest changes in their environment. Once Ernesto gets to about the same longitude as Jamaica, it should start to intensify and become a hurricane.

It is very puzzling as to why the various global models do not “see” Ernesto very well. This is called initialization and the models are not initializing the storm very well. I have read quite a bit on various message boards about how this could be throwing the future track forecast off. The logic is that if the models do not see the storm at the beginning of the run, then how can they predict where it will go later in the run? Let’s look at it from an entirely different point of view.

Forget that Ernesto is even in the picture. Then look at the computer models. I’ll take the GFS as an example. What does the large scale pattern look like three to five days down the road? Is there going to be a weakness in the big high pressure area over the Gulf of Mexico that would allow the would-be hurricane to turn more to the north? Not really. There seems to be just enough subtropical ridge nosing in from the Atlantic, across the eastern Gulf, to keep Ernesto on a WNW track towards the Yucatan and then in to mainland Mexico. So whether or not Ernesto is strong, weak, picked up in the models or not, I do not think it matters. The steering pattern strongly suggests that it will not directly impact the U.S. down the road. The only possibility that I see right now is south Texas but even that is a long shot in my opinion. So all this talk about the models not initializing the storm and thus not trusting them is non-sense to me. The trend has been more west with the tracks and since we are not quite in to the time of the season when deep troughs dig in to the Lower 48, I just don’t see a way for Ernesto to hit the U.S. Can there be a sweeping change coming up? I suppose so, you never say never but track forecasts are getting pretty good these days so I wouldn’t count on there being any big changes over the coming days.

TCHP Track Map

TCHP Track Map

With all that being said, let’s focus on the Yucatan now. Obviously with a hurricane aimed at that location, people need to be aware and ready to take action. Ernesto has to cross some fairly high ocean heat content (see graphic where the track is plotted on the current TCHP map). However, it is not forecast to go over the highest values, none the less, the western Caribbean is notorious for creating strong hurricanes and I urge people along the eastern side of the Yucatan from Belize to Cancun to watch this system carefully. It has the potential to be a serious hurricane for the region next week.

Beyond the Yucatan, as I said, the data suggests another landfall in mainland Mexico, south of Texas. We’ll worry about that later since it is still perhaps over a week away.

Next we have Florence out in the tropical Atlantic. This will be an interesting feature to track but should not pose a problem for land areas. It is already at a fairly high latitude and developed well east in the Atlantic, meaning that is destined to head out to sea. While there are certainly instances when long track hurricanes have made it all the way across, most do not and Florence is likely to not break precedence here.

The other feature to watch is just off the Florida coast. I think the only issue here is the increase in showers and thunderstorms for boating and beach interests. Otherwise, ignore it, nothing will come of it that will have any great consequence on your weekend plans.

I’ll post a video blog detailing Ernesto’s future in our HurricaneTrack app for iPhone shortly with another full post here this evening.

Ernesto gaining organization as we usher in new tropical depression

TS Ernesto with Increasing Convection

TS Ernesto with Increasing Convection

TS Ernesto has developed rather deep convection tonight right over the center of circulation. You can plainly see this improvement in structure on various satellite imagery. The question is, will this be a temporary stay of execution before the inevitable happens and it’s ripped up or are we seeing the start of a significant intensification process? Wish I knew. This part (intensity forecasting) is the toughest aspect of tracking tropical cyclones. So many factors are at play and it is impossible for today’s computer models to grasp the totality of the complex nature of the inner core. So, we can only sit back and watch sat pics as they refresh, giving us another frame to the movie, quite literally. Of course, it helps to have recon out there as well but when none are flying, the eye in the sky, some 22,500 miles above the Earth, is how we watch these systems wax and wane. And tonight, it appears that Ernesto is on the up-tick, how long it lasts remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, out in the far eastern Atlantic, we now have tropical depression six. The NHC began advisories a little while ago and this too will have to be watched as it begins the long trek across the tropical Atlantic. There are some hurdles along its route but conditions seem to be a little more favorable than perhaps was earlier thought this year across the deep tropics and we may see quite a pattern coming up of several developments over the coming weeks.

As for 91L, the disturbance off the Florida coast, while it looks rather impressive on satellite imagery. it still lacks a well defined surface low and without that, it won’t develop much. However, these tropical disturbances can dump a lot of rain and bring gusty winds with any rain squalls that move over your area. Be aware of that this weekend across SE Florida. While there is a chance of further development, I do not see this system becoming a big problem for anyone outside of the heavy precip that is possible.

I’ll have regular updates throughout the weekend with frequent posts on Twitter and Facebook. I’ll also keep adding video blogs to the newly released HurricaneTrack iPhone app. Check it out in the App Store via the banner ad up on the top right column.

Depression survived the night, heading towards Lesser Antilles

TD5

TD5

TD 5 almost fizzled out last night as environmental conditions are only marginal enough to keep it on life support. A combination of rather dry mid level air and some shearing wind from an upper level low (a large one at that) to the north took a toll on the fledgling cyclone.

This morning, however, the deep convection is making a comeback and a large curved band is seen on the southeast side of the depression. This will give it at least a chance to become a tropical storm before it moves through the Lesser Antilles and in to the Caribbean Sea.

Interestingly enough, the fairly reliable SHIPS model for intensity shows only slight strengthening in the short term followed by a modest increase to 75 knots by day five. This would make the system a hurricane over the very warm waters of the central Caribbean Sea. For now, it remains weak and disorganized but could become a tropical storm and bring squally weather to portions of the Lesser Antilles. I see no evidence that this will become a hurricane before passing through the islands.

In the longer term track-wise, there is not much change to the five day forecast from the NHC. A strong area of high pressure to the north (Bermuda High) will push the system generally westward with a gradual bend to the WNW with time. Obviously, people want to know if it will affect the U.S. coast. My answer is: too early to know. First we have to deal with the effects to Jamaica, the Caymans and possibly the Yucatan, all of which are potentially in the path of the soon-to-be storm. Any impact to the U.S. will be more than a week away.

In other news, we released our iPhone App yesterday and hope that you will pick it up in the App Store. For more information and to purchase your copy of HurricaneTrack, click the link in the main menu above.

We also have our JavaTrack Hurricane Tracking Maps back up and running with a new and improved look. Plus, we have added the error cone to the track. Check it out also via the link in the main menu bar at top. For additional maps, including our exclusive offering of Stormpulse maps, check out our subscription Client Services site.

The rest of the tropics are quiet and look to remain that way for the next several days. I’ll have another update here this evening with periodic posts to Twitter throughout the day.