Bermuda in recovery mode, won’t take long, as we watch the Gulf of Mexico next week

More development possible as we continue in a favorable period as we move through the remainder of October

More development possible as we continue in a favorable period as we move through the remainder of October

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….

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Bermuda about to be hit by Gonzalo, Ana not as much of a threat to Hawaii

I am in Bermuda where conditions are steadily getting worse as hurricane Gonzalo closes in. I am going to keep this fairly short as I will be posting video clips, Twitter updates and Instagram video clips as often as possible. I can do a better job of keeping you updated that way than trying to write blog posts.

The hurricane is weakening which was expected. However the wind field has expanded and this means Bermuda will be within hurricane conditions for a longer period of time. One of the biggest concerns is storm surge, it is tough to say how high it will get, but Fabian in 2003 brought 10 feet of surge to areas of Bermuda. We shall see, it looks like Gonzalo could be stronger. Time will tell.

The worst looks to arrive in Bermuda after dark, unfortunately, and then conditions will rapidly improve tomorrow morning as the hurricane quickly moves off to the northeast. In between will be several hours of damaging wind and battering waves. Rain fall will likely be less than 6 inches, possibly higher in some locations.

Meanwhile, TS Ana is forecast to move south of the Hawaiian islands enough so that I see its threat diminishing over the coming days. High waves and some passing squalls could still impact the islands but this is not going to be a big issue.

I will post as much and as often as I can via social media and our app, Hurricane Impact. The app features a live weather data feed here in Bermuda that I set up yesterday at the home of a local contractor. He was very helpful and generous to let me do this in a location that could see very high winds.

I wish the people of Bermuda the best of luck. I’ll keep plugging away and posting updates for as long as the infrastructure will allow.

Mark Sudduth 11:30 AM ET Oct 18

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I am in Bermuda where people are taking Gonzalo seriously as Hawaii braces for possible impact from Ana

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

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Gonzalo poised to become strongest hurricane in three years for Atlantic

Intensity model plots showing an alarming amount of strengthening over the next few days as Gonzalo approaches Bermuda

Intensity model plots showing an alarming amount of strengthening over the next few days as Gonzalo approaches Bermuda

Gonzalo is moving away from the Caribbean Sea after lashing many of the northeast islands with tropical storm conditions yesterday and last night. So far, the reports I have read about on various message boards indicate that numerous trees were blown down with some damage to roof tiles, etc. This is consistent with a strengthening tropical storm or hurricane.

Now that Gonzalo is moving over the open water of the southwest Atlantic, it has an opportunity to become the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic Basin since Ophelia in 2011. The current NHC forecast brings Gonzalo to 130 mph – we all know it could go higher, intensity forecasts are notoriously bad, not all the time, but it does happen. One thing is for certain, the 2014 hurricane season has surpassed the very weak 2013 one in terms of intensity. I will talk more about this after we deal with Gonzalo – it is an important point to make but better left for another discussion.

Assuming that the hurricane does in fact continue to strengthen, it could pose a big problem for Bermuda. Obviously Bermuda is a very small target in an otherwise large ocean. The odds of Gonzalo passing directly over the area are slim but not impossible. However, even a pass by of about 50 miles or so would bring hurricane conditions to the island, especially if Gonzalo tracks west of Bermuda. This would keep the area in the right-front quadrant region with several hours of hurricane force winds possible. This is something that we will need to watch very closely and people in Bermuda need to begin thinking about solid preparedness actions.

I am also thinking about Bermuda but for a different reason. I need to decide rather soon whether or not to travel there for an attempt at placing equipment in the path of the hurricane. I would really like to set up one of my weather stations in an open area to try to collect perhaps the highest wind data I have ever recorded. The wind gauge, an RM Young anemometer, is one of the best made on the planet. It can take winds over 200 mph (sure hope I don’t ever see that!) and would be ideal for this situation. I would also have the the ability to post video clips to our app and feed video to The Weather Channel as long as conditions allow. In addition, I would like to place three GoPro cameras in very unique locations to record HD video of the effects all while allowing me to be indoors and out of the elements. With the various mounts and the extra battery packs that I have, the cams would run for about five hours on their own. Considering the fast movement of Gonzalo as it approaches Bermuda, I could turn the cams on just before the arrival of the worst conditions, capturing the full fury without placing myself in danger. It wouldn’t be live, but the video quality would be spectacular both in real time and time lapse. It’s worth a shot, especially if Gonzalo happened to be Bermuda’s strongest hurricane in history – it is possible. I will be watching the track guidance very closely and will make the decision of whether or not to go by tonight probably.

In the meantime, tropical storm Ana, in the central Pacific, has potential to threaten Hawaii as a hurricane this weekend. The CPHC forecasts winds to 85 mph and has the Big Island within the five day forecast cone. Needless to say, interests in Hawaii should be watching the progress of Ana closely. It is very rare to have a hurricane strike Hawaii at all, much less from the east. I will follow this story as it develops.

I will post another update here this evening.

M. Sudduth 8:40 AM ET Oct 14

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Gonzalo not the only issue, Hawaii faces threat of a hurricane this weekend

Track map of TD Two-C in the central Pacific

Track map of TD Two-C in the central Pacific

While a lot of attention is being placed on hurricane Gonzalo, and rightfully so, there is another developing situation that needs attention.

A new tropical depression formed today in the central Pacific area of responsibility, about 900 miles east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii. It is moving WNW at around 10 mph and should become a tropical storm tomorrow. If so, I believe its name will be Ana. The CPHC (Central Pacific Hurricane Center) is forecasting it to become a hurricane by Wednesday as it tracks generally towards the Hawaiian islands.

Remember when hurricane Iselle tracked towards the region back in early August? It fell apart just shy of reaching Hawaii and brought limited tropical storm conditions to parts of the Big Island.

It is very difficult to get a hurricane to hit Hawaii, especially from an easterly track. Iselle came close but did not make it. Will Ana-to-be do it? The CPHC is showing a 90 mph hurricane not far from the Big Island this weekend. This is something that people will have to watch very closely in the coming days.

Forecast model plots for Gonzalo - remarkably tight even out several days

Forecast model plots for Gonzalo – remarkably tight even out several days

Meanwhile, Gonzalo continues to steadily strengthen over the northeast Caribbean Sea, about 180 miles east of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The hurricane will move out of the Caribbean during the remainder of the night, leaving improving conditions behind as the day begins tomorrow. I am very glad I did not travel to Puerto Rico today – it would have been an enormous waste of time and money. Sadly, I can’t get to any island that I wish, just don’t have those kinds of resources. I would love to have data from some of the smaller islands that the hurricane passed over this evening. Maybe in Bermuda….just maybe.

Speaking of Bermuda, that looks to be the next target for Gonzalo. We’re talking between 4 and 5 days away though and any small change in course heading would equate to a wider miss margin for Bermuda. On the other hand, computer models are in remarkable agreement with a fairly tight track cluster headed in that general direction over the next few days. Folks there don’t need me to tell them what’s up….you know what can happen. Be ready for Gonzalo, it has the makings of a big set of problems for Bermuda if the current forecast holds.

I will be deciding on whether or not to travel to Bermuda by some time tomorrow. I also have to consider Hawaii but the island chain can do some pretty weird things to approaching hurricanes. Either place is though, and both are expensive to travel to. If anyone in Bermuda has a home or business that has good exposure to the wind, let me know via email please. If I come out, I would bring my state-of-the-art weather station for a chance to record incredible wind speeds. When traveling to a location that I’ve never been to before, it’s always nice to have local assistance. Email me: ms@hurricanetrack.com if you are there and would like to volunteer your place as a hurricane lab :-)

That’s it for tonight. A lot is going on and I feel like it’s the middle of the hurricane season, not mid-October. We have more to watch for in the coming weeks I think too as the MJO looks to really amplify over the Western Hemisphere. We just might end up with a hurricane season that is right on average after all. As they say, not over until…..

I’ll have more tomorrow morning.

M. Sudduth 10:30 PM ET Oct 13

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