Pacific about to get very, very busy while Atlantic remains closed

A very strong MJO or Madden-Julian Oscillation pulse is setting up across the tropical Pacific and once it reaches its full potential, we are likely to see a string of tropical cyclones develop.

The MJO is an interesting phenomena which is best described for the sake of simplicity as a period of fertility in the tropics. Think of upward motion as being “good” for development and downward motion as being “bad” for development. The more the air can rise and spread out evenly, the better the odds for tropical storms and hurricanes (typhoons) to get going. Conversely, if the air is sinking, this literally suppresses tropical convection and makes it very difficult for tropical cyclones.

Satellite photo of the Pacific where a strong MJO pulse is leading to an increase in tropical convection and eventually, numerous tropical cyclones

Satellite photo of the Pacific where a strong MJO pulse is leading to an increase in tropical convection and eventually, numerous tropical cyclones

Over the next couple of weeks a very favorable period for the tropical Pacific is likely. The major global models are indicating a very strong MJO signal and you can actually see it starting in the hemispheric satellite that shot I’ve included. The gathering of clouds just north of the Equator is no accident and fits in nicely with the coming MJO pulse.

As a result, the models are showing several tropical cyclones developing over the coming days across the Pacific. There are likely to be a few that reach incredible intensity, mainly due to the abnormally warm water across the region (El Nino).

Interests across the Pacific should be monitoring conditions as we enter this period of increased tropical cyclone activity. Even Hawaii has a chance for at least some impact once the central and east Pacific enter the favorable phase of the MJO – which won’t be too far off.

In the other basin, the Atlantic, things could not be more hostile. Dry, sinking air along with very high levels of wind shear (the change of wind direction and speed as you go up in the atmosphere) is literally keeping a lid on development chances. We typically do not see much during most of July anyway but right now, conditions are especially unfavorable and should remain that way for the next week or so at least.

Enjoy your 4th of July along the U.S. coast with no worries from the tropics. If you’re in the Pacific, as I mentioned, keep an eye on things over the next several days as the MJO ramps up and creates very favorable conditions. I’ll post another update here over the weekend to address any significant development that does occur in the Pacific.

Be safe this holiday period and I’ll have more this weekend.

M. Sudduth 11AM ET July 2

East Pacific hurricane season begins today as does my trip to New York and New Jersey

East Pacific invest 90-E

East Pacific invest 90-E

It’s May 15 and that means the east Pacific hurricane season is now underway. Right on cue, a tropical depression appears to be forming well off the coast of Mexico where waters are warm enough to support the deep convection noted in satellite imagery.

All of the forecast models indicate that the developing low pressure area will move westward and away from the Mexican coastline over the next several days.

The east Pacific season begins two weeks ahead of the Atlantic season though both basins see about the same amount of activity per 100 years during this time of the year – so I am not certain as to why the Atlantic season does not officially begin until June 1. In any case, we do have something to monitor on this opening day of the east Pacific season though it poses no threat to land areas at this time.

In other news – I am heading up to New York and New Jersey beginning later this morning. I have a couple of projects to follow up on in New York City tomorrow and then I am going to travel back to coastal New Jersey where I was when Sandy made landfall. I’ll re-trace my steps in Long Branch and Belmar and might get to travel to other places farther south if time permits.

The unique thing about this trip is that I am going to stream the entire journey live on our public Ustream channel. I want to demonstrate our new “everywhere cam” that we’ll be using for our subscriber site this season. We’ll still have a free live camera streaming but it will be a traditional dash-mounted video camera. This new technology is amazing. There’s no laptop needed and the cam is so small and versatile that I can take it anywhere. The audio is incredible as well. I thought it would be great to test it out while showing anyone viewing a little of the East Coast countryside.

Once I get to the Jersey coast on Friday, you’ll want to tune in and see how things have progressed since Sandy. I’ll provide narration and insight as to what the impacts were and where I was and what I was doing back on October 29 of last year. Watch our Twitter feed for updates as to when something really worthwhile is streaming and then tune in by clicking the link below or simply bookmarking our Ustream channel page:

Click here to watch our live Ustream feed


My next post will cover some exciting news about our app which is about to have a major update completed. Plus – is an Android version in the works? Check out the blog on Monday to find out.

M. Sudduth

Gulf free of tropical troubles for now as we wait for 94L to develop

The Hurricane Hunters investigated 95L off the coast of Mexico in the western Gulf and found basically nothing. Winds were light and the system is losing organization. It appears that any chance of tropical storm formation is quickly dwindling. However, the overall pattern is somewhat unsettled across the region and periods of squally weather will persist across the region for a few more days.

Meanwhile, 94L continues to struggle to put up any deep thunderstorms. The dry air mass is simply too overpowering right now. It is interesting to note that the global models seem to want to ramp this system up after it passes through the Lesser Antilles. While I do not see anything intense coming out of the models just yet, it is possible that 94L will wait and wait and wait until it reaches the Caribbean Sea before developing. And the weaker it remains, the more west it will track. Some of the longer range models forecast the slowly developing system to move up towards Florida via the Greater Antilles first. This means that it could get tangled up in the high terrain of Haiti and Cuba if in fact it takes the track. So any threat to Florida should be considered minimal right now. I just don’t see this developing much over the next day or two. After that, we’ll see. The season has just been so hostile for deep tropical development that for it to all of a sudden change would be a surprise to me. This is why we have to just watch and see what happens. So far, there is nothing to indicate a major problem coming up for the Lesser Antilles or beyond. If that changes, we will still have plenty of time to react accordingly.

I’ll have more here tomorrow morning.