The tropics are busy but in a unique way this evening. Two sets of islands are under fire from two separate tropical cyclones, nearly half-a-world apart.
First, we have hurricane Gonzalo about to make the turn towards Bermuda. The hurricane is having trouble remaining its earlier intensity but it is still packing quite a punch as a category three.
What matters now is how close it gets to Bermuda. With a track going up west of the island (actually several islands in the group out here) this will put the entire population within the dreaded right-front quadrant. This is where we typically find the strongest winds, not always, but in most cases.
Large waves will begin to impact Bermuda tomorrow from the south with an increase in wind soon there after. By tomorrow night and early Friday, the onslaught will commence. Anyone who does not want to be here had better leave when given the chance tomorrow. There is always that outside chance that Gonzalo finds a sweet spot within the ocean-atmosphere regime and intensifies substantially before strong shear sets in.
I am in Bermuda and for the most part, people are preparing as best they can. They do not have Lowe’s, Walmart and other so-called big box retailers who can bring in tons of supplies at the drop of a hat. Everything has to be flown in or brought in by boat. What supplies are here now is what people will need to rely on over the coming days. It’s a beautiful area, my first time here, but the isolation from mainstream commerce will mean self-sufficiency has to rule. People are so well connected and warm that I see little to fear in terms of them working together to weather this latest storm.
My plans are to try and set up the one weather station that I brought with me as checked bagged on my flight. There is a home I am going to visit tomorrow that may be the perfect site to set up the high-end anemometer that can give us incredible and accurate wind data. Of course, the station also reports pressure and sends a picture up every 60 seconds. The data goes in to our app, Hurricane Impact, and if all works as I hope it does, you can watch Gonzalo over take the area from a meteorological perspective, something that I feel is very important. I am drawn to hurricanes for reasons that I do not fully understand but part of that is the geek side of me – I love the data. I feel privileged to get to actually measure the fury with state-of-the-art equipment. Even if I cannot get the data out and in to our app, it will record on to a laptop so I will return home with a wealth of high-end data.
The ability to stream live video is tough here. I am working on that and if I can get something set up, I will stream to our public Ustream channel from the hotel I am staying in. The view would be sensational. Here’s hoping.
In addition, I should be able to upload video clips to our app as well as to Instagram. In fact, our app consolidates all of this in to one easy to access interface. Anything I post to Instagram will show up on Twitter and I plan to post a lot of video clips, especially if I cannot get a live feed going.
Tomorrow is strategy and planning day. If all works out, I will nail this field mission and have some incredible data and video documentation of Gonzalo as it passes by, or perhaps over, Bermuda.
Meanwhile, the Hawaiian islands are under the gun from what is soon going to be hurricane Ana. The forecast track is complicated but it looks like a wide swath of the island chain will feel possible hurricane conditions during the weekend. The one saving grace would be if Ana tracks farther south, which is possible, keeping the strongest winds away from the islands.
Either way, this is going to be a big problem for Hawaii. Wish I could be in two places at once! I chose Bermuda due to the higher impact potential from a weather data perspective but Hawaii could see some serious issues with flooding and wind damage. Interests there need to prepare and take it very seriously. I will be watching this closely even as I prepare for my own hurricane here in Bermuda.
Beyond that, the tropics are mostly quiet. There is some potential for development in the southwest Gulf of Mexico in the coming days but nothing is jumping out as being too serious in the long range models.
I will post another blog update tomorrow with numerous posts on Twitter, Instagram and to our app. If you’re interested in knowing what’s going on here in Bermuda, I am not above saying that I have it covered to the best of my ability.
On a side note – my good friend whom I have known for 14 years, Jim Edds, is here. He is one of the kindest and most dedicated people I have known in this business. You know his footage from hurricanes dating back 10 years or more. He has a plan of attack to document Gonzalo here that will really impress you. It’s dangerous work, no doubt, but some people are clearly cut out for it and Jim Edds is one of them. I will feature him in a few of my video posts, so look for that over the next couple of days. We had dinner tonight, pizza no less, as he welcomed me to Bermuda for my first trip out of the good ole USA. Good luck Jim! Glad you’re here, I know I made the right call now
M. Sudduth 9:38 PM ET Oct 15