East Pac and Atlantic Basin trying to get ahead of schedule

The east Pacific hurricane season does not officially begin until May 15 and the Atlantic season not until June 1. However, that does not mean that the tropics will wait until those dates to start producing interesting weather.

Many of the global computer models are hinting at tropical cyclone development in the southeast Pacific and possibly in the western Caribbean over the next week to 10 days. Water temps are warm enough, no question about that. But will upper level winds and other factors such as dry air be pro or con for development? Let’s take a look.

May 10-20 Points of Origin Map (graphic 1)

May 10-20 Points of Origin Map (graphic 1)

First, how about climatology. If we look at the points of origin for tropical cyclones from May 10-20 (graphic 1) we see that both basins have almost the same number of developments 9 for the Pacific, 8 for the Atlantic. So it is possible to see development in both regions during this upcoming time period. This also makes me wonder why the east Pacific starts on May 15 and the Atlantic does not. They both seem to have the same chances for development from this date forward. Interesting, but not for me to decide.

Caribbean Sea Vertical Instability Graph

Caribbean Sea Vertical Instability Graph

Next, let’s look at the vertical instability for the Caribbean right now. Granted this is the current pattern, but it will give us an idea of whether or not the mid-levels of the atmosphere are too dry. As we can see, the vertical instability is currently running just a tad above climatological levels, meaning that the air is nice and buoyant or unstable. This is important because a stable, drier environment, like we saw for almost the entire hurricane season last year in this region, will not allow for tropical cyclone formation or at least keep it weak and disorganized. This is a marked change from last season and something we’ll need to monitor throughout the upcoming season.

GFS 168 Hour 200mb Forecast

GFS 168 Hour 200mb Forecast

Next, upper level winds. The GFS forecasts a fairly nice area of high pressure at the 200mb level in a week. I won’t look beyond a week since too many variables come in to play. But right now, the latest operational run of the GFS shows an area of favorable upper level winds developing over the western Caribbean Sea, extending from the southeast Pacific actually. All we need now is a disturbance of lowering of the surface pressures to set off tropical convection. Will that happen? The various models suggest that it might. I would bet more on the east Pacific than the Caribbean right now, but do not discount entirely the chance of a named storm in the east Pacific followed by the chance of one forming in the western Caribbean Sea before June 1. It’s rare, but it does happen and the region we’ll be watching, according to the climo map in graphic 1, shows that we’re looking in the right place.

So for now, just something to monitor and nothing to be concerned about, not in the least. As things develop, or not, I’ll post more info here and via our Twitter and Facebook pages. Not following us there yet? Click either of the two icons above to join the social media side of HurricaneTrack.

 

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Heading to NYC to install weather station, web cam at PS6

I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to bring live weather data to the students and faculty of PS6, a wonderful school along the Upper East Side in New York City. Also known as the Lillie D. Blake School, they have worked hard to produce a roof top greenhouse project that will incorporate live weather data beginning this week.

Obviously, the weather controls almost every aspect of our lives, no matter how much we think about it. For the school, the weather will play a role in how their rooftop greenhouse and related projects fare over the coming years. By providing access to reliable and up to the second data, the students and the teachers will all be able to keep tabs on changing conditions, fair weather, rough weather and everything in between. In addition, there will be a live web cam installed so that they can monitor what the effects of the weather are.

The data will be hosted on this site at a link that I’ll post when it is operational later this week. In this way, anyone with Internet access will be able to get a look at the current weather conditions along Madison Ave in the Big Apple.

Note: I’ll be streaming the trip up and back live for our Client Services members, so log in, especially if you have not done so since last hurricane season, and say hello on the chat. This will be a nice practice run as we gear up for the 2012 hurricane season.

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HurricaneTrack.com Client Services season pass and “early bird” specials now available

As we approach the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, we have made available two great plans for our subscription service. One is the season pass which gives you 100% access to all of our Client Services features for just $59.95 from now through November 30. That’s right, only one payment for the entire season. We had several dozen subscribers who really enjoyed this package last year and hope to expand upon that this time around. For those who took advantage of it in 2011, now is a great time to sign up and get started again.

For those wishing to have a smaller monthly subscription, you have until the end of the month to sign up for our $9.95 per month “early bird” special. This too was quite popular with almost a third of our member base last season.

Of course, we still offer our annual plan of $99.95 which is billed only once per year. More than half of our members are on this plan and we appreciate their continued support since the inception of our service back in 2005.

Why sign up at all? It’s simple. Our subscription service is like none other. Members get access to 100% ad-free live video feeds, a daily video update and briefing during the hurricane season, off-season video blogs, live chat with our staff and other members (troll free I might add since EVERYONE is a paying member, no free-loading troublemakers like you see on other public chats), 30 frame satellite and radar loops, large Stormpulse maps, several types of our own Java tracking maps and a member forum. And last year we introduced member streaming where by our members can stream THEIR weather to other members right from their computer and web cam. It is amazing to see our streams sure, but adding in member streams as well was a fantastic idea (one of our members suggested it) and it works so easy. All of these features make up our Client Services site.

So, if you’re interested in going beyond our blog, we have an extensive menu of subscription based services at a fair price. Our clients include folks from the insurance industry, emergency management, media, hospital management, power companies, insurance adjusters, pilots, retirees who own property or otherwise live along the coast, and many other segments of our population who just have an interest in hurricanes. In fact, 9% of our memberships are from people outside of the United States with Great Britain leading the way. We are very proud of what we offer in return for the hard earned money of our private clients. What they get in return is our dedication, innovation and an experience like none other. We spend most of the time talking about what may or may not happen tropics-wise but when the time comes and we have to head out in to the field, our technological advances really shine.

Check out a full description of Client Services here and sign up today! You’ll be part of a growing group of like-minded people who are all very helpful to one another and us too! The interactivity between the members and us is incredible and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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Significant non-tropical storm to affect Florida and East Coast over the weekend

It appears that quite a potent storm is going to take shape over the eastern Gulf of Mexico this weekend as upper level energy digs in from the Great Plains. A surface low is forecast to form over the eastern Gulf and bring the potential for very heavy rain and severe weather to portions of Florida (figure 1).

Figure 1: Coastal Storm - 48 Hour Forecast from GFS

Figure 1: Coastal Storm - 48 Hour Forecast from GFS

From there, the low is forecast to move up the East Coast, bringing with it wind and rain all the way to New England. For coastal areas, this will be basically a warm (relatively speaking) Nor’easter. If this were January, we would probably be looking at an epic snowstorm for a good deal of the East Coast. As it stand now, a decent rain event looks to be in store for a wide swath of the Florida peninsula all the way up to Maine with coastal areas experiencing rough seas and a stiff onshore flow (figure 2).

The storm is non-tropical in nature but will tap warm Gulf of Mexico water that is itself running well above normal for this time of year. This warm water will add energy and moisture to the storm system and provide the fuel for it to strengthen and dump copious amounts of rain along its track. If you have outdoor plans this weekend in Florida all the way to New England, keep up to date on the latest weather forecast for your area.

Figure 2: Coastal Storm - 60 Hour Forecast from GFS

Figure 2: Coastal Storm - 60 Hour Forecast from GFS

One excellent tool to understand the impacts better of any storm event is to read the local forecast discussion from your National Weather Service office. You can find this by going to www.weather.gov and typing in your ZIP Code. Then scroll down on the landing page to find “Forecast Discussion”. It will have detailed meteorological information with timing, impacts and projected watch/warning info for any storm event forecast for your area. It’s a great tool, use it.

 

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Classic Midwest Tornado Outbreak Now Underway

As forecast by the Storm Prediction Center yesterday, a significant, classic April tornado outbreak is underway across Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska.

Low-level winds are streaming in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico at tropical storm force in front of a deepening upper impulse coming out of the Rocky Mountains.  Very cold air aloft and strong relative wind shear is creating an environment conducive for extremely strong, long-lived and violent tornadoes.

Significant severe weather is already ongoing in western Kansas, with a high-precipitation complex of storms entering central Nebraska.

As we progress into the evening, conditions will become even more supportive of strong/violent storms, especially into south/central Kansas and northern Oklahoma.  The dryline will continue to move eastward…where the atmosphere is heating up and becoming more and more unstable.  Baseball sized hail has already been reported with some of these storms…and the upper winds are expected to strengthen over the high-risk area during the next several hours.

NWS Wichita reports four storms are already occurring in western Kansas, all producing long track, violent tornadoes as of 4:10 PM Central time.

Residents in these areas, especially in central Kansas and northern Oklahoma should be prepared to move underground, if necessary, at any time this evening.  Interior structures should be a shelter of last resort.  Please get below ground in a basement or shelter if a tornado threatens your area tonight, and monitor local news and your NOAA weather radio for the latest information.  Many of these storms will be strongest as nighttime approaches, so please monitor conditions very carefully tonight and stay close to shelter.

For the latest information,visit:

http://www.spc.noaa.gov

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