I cannot say enough about the people of Bermuda. They are as warm and kind as I have ever met on any of my field missions. Their island is also about as prepared for hurricanes as you can get with buildings that are able to withstand the elements already – without having to panic and prepare all at once in rush-mode. The recovery process is well underway and it won’t be long before Gonzalo is talked about only as a memory. So far, I have not heard of any loss of life or serious injury, another testament to the respect that these folks have for the weather.
Planes are starting to come back to Bermuda to both bring people in and allow people to head home who have been here on business or pleasure over the past several days to a week or more. I head out this evening and should be back in North Carolina by late tonight. I will miss the friends that I have made here but I’m leaving them in good spirits, knowing that they are going to be just fine. If you’ve never been here, you owe it to yourself to come on out.
Hurricane season is not over with the passage of Gonzalo. When I get home, it will be time to pay attention to the Gulf of Mexico for possible development next week.
Computer models are suggesting that we will see a low pressure area take shape but it’s not clear as to where or how strong. One thing I am not seeing in the models, yet, is a clear-cut well organized system. Instead, I see a more spread out storm without much concentrated energy around the center. Now, one of two things could be going on in the models. Either this is what will in fact happen and we see a larger, strung out system with a lot of rain and not much wind or the models simply cannot resolve the fact that we will eventually end up with a more focused tropical storm somewhere in the Gulf. Needless to say, water temps are plenty warm and conditions will be generally favorable for development. This will be something to monitor closely in the coming days.
Meanwhile, Gonzalo is racing off in to the Atlantic, now east of Newfoundland and headed rapidly towards the northern United Kingdom as a powerful extra-tropical storm.
In the Pacific, Ana passed well south of Hawaii and should turn northward across the many atolls that are spread out west of Hawaii. Ana is forecast to become a hurricane again after some weakening from its current hurricane status. For the most part, the impact to Hawaii has been minimal and will remain that way until Ana is well away from the region.
I am working on processing all of the data and video that was collected here in Bermuda. Right now, I do know that our laptop used with our weather station shut off, went in to hibernation actually, 12 hours after we turned it on for the hurricane. There was an advanced setting that I overlooked when testing the equipment that allowed the computer to hibernate when not being actively used and plugged in to a power source. I did manage to capture 12 solid hours of wind data which is better than zero hours of wind data. The peak gust in the front part of Gonzalo was 104 mph on top of the roof of the house I was utilizing near Shelly Bay. I did not see any sustained winds to hurricane force but I am still analyzing the data to make sure. The gusts are what typically cause the damage and there were numerous gusts in the upper 90s within the front side.
Sadly, since the laptop did exactly what it was set up to do, and that is hibernate after 720 minutes, the data was lost from about the beginning of the eye until Gonzalo passed by. I will never know how strong the winds were at that location during the much talked about stronger back side.
On a positive note, several other wind instruments on the island recorded exceptional data and this is important for understanding the wind field of Gonzalo. I am bummed about the laptop but now I know about that setting and can make sure that it does not happen again on future field missions. Live and learn, no doubt about it.
The video that I collected, besides any hand held shots of effects, will be fascinating to process in to time lapse to see the evolution of the hurricane. I will be working on all of that this coming week and will share what I can as soon as it is ready.
Thank you for following along. Many more people are now following my work on Twitter and other social media. Hurricanes are part of our active weather patterns and need to be dealt with. It is quite an honor to know that people trust what I say and rely on me for information. I have a great team of supporters and colleagues who assist in ways you cannot imagine. I may be the face of HurricaneTrack.com but it is a team effort. I have been in the eye of two hurricanes now this season – will there be a third? Stay tuned….