Major Hurricane Irma presses westward across North Atlantic

 

NOAA Hurricane Irma satellite photo

NOAA Hurricane Irma satellite photo

Hurricane Irma is tracking towards the west-southwest with max winds of about 100 knots. The first recon flight will enter Irma late this afternoon so a better picture on intensity will be available this evening.

Strong high pressure to the north is pushing Irma west-southwest but a return to a west then west-northwest track is likely in about 2-3 days. Irma is forecast to move into an area of more favorable conditions which should allow for gradual strengthening during the next 2 to 3 days with max winds increasing to around 120 knots.

Hurricane Irma Forecast track

Hurricane Irma Forecast track

Over the next few days the highest risk for 50 knot or higher winds will be for the Islands of St. Martin, Barbuda, Antigua, St. Thomas and St Kits Tuesday into Wednesday (See graphic).  In the longer term the treat will be for Puerto Rico and Haiti (Wednesday-Thursday), then the Bahamas Friday to Sunday and eventually the US East Coast, south of Cape Hatteras (next Saturday to Tuesday).

NOAA NHC forecast risk for encountering at least 50 knots or higher winds

NOAA NHC forecast risk for encountering at least 50 knots or higher winds

Keep in mind there is a high uncertainty in tracks beyond 4-5 days and subject to major changes.  In any case this will be a real issue for shipping between the USEC and Puerto Rico and later between Europe and the USEC.

Click here for the latest NOAA NHC update on Irma

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Irma becomes a hurricane over the eastern North Atlantic

NOAA Satellite image Hurricane Irma

NOAA Satellite image Hurricane Irma

Irma has intensified rapidly and is now a Hurricane with max winds to 85 knots as it moves WNW at about 9 knots. Hurricane force winds are estimated to extend outward 10-15 NM on the east side of the circulation. The forecast track takes Irma over somewhat cooler ocean temperatures, however, max winds could still reach or exceed 100 knots. In a few days, the hurricane will be moving over warmer waters again so additional strengthening is likely.

Irma is forecast to track westward or west-southwestward for several days before turning back towards the west-northwest.  Irma will likely threaten the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico as a major hurricane next Wednesday and Thursday and eventually could threaten Cuba, the Bahamas and Florida thereafter.

NOAA NHC Hurricane Irma forecast track

NOAA NHC Hurricane Irma forecast track

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Western North Atlantic Hurricane Force Storm update

1800UTC 30 August Hurricane Force Storm

1800UTC 30 August Hurricane Force Storm

Hurricane force storm low at 1800 UTC 30 Aug near 39N/65W moving northeastward at 20 knots with winds of 50-65 knots seas to 24 feet (7.3 meters) within 180NM north and west of the center. Forecast 1800UTC 31st 970 MB near 43N/55W winds 50-65 knots within 300 NM northwest to 360 NM north east of the center with seas to 39 feet(11.9 meters).

NOAA OPC Wind/wave forecast 1200UTC 31 August 2017

NOAA OPC Wind/wave forecast 1200UTC 31 August 2017

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Developing Hurricane Force Storm off USEC

NOAA Satellite IR Image

NOAA Satellite IR Image

The disturbance that moved off the NC coast Tuesday is transitioning into a rapidly developing extra-tropical gale low with winds 35-45 knots and seas up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) occurring within 120 NM north and west of the center.

Rapid deepening is expected during the next 24-36 hours with winds of  50-65 knots likely within 90 NM west of the center developing within 12-18 hours with seas building to 27 feet (8.2 meters).

Developing storm off US East Coast 30 August 1200 UTC

Developing storm off US East Coast 30 August 1200 UTC

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Hurricane Harvey approaching Texas Coast

Hurricane Harvey Satellite image: NOAA

Hurricane Harvey Satellite image: NOAA

Hurricane Harvey continues to develop with minimum pressure now down to 947mb. Harvey remains in an environment for intensification, and strengthening beyond the current intensity is possible prior to landfall.  Currently max winds are at 95 knots but could exceed 100 knots later today.  Significant wave heights are currently up to 31 feet (about 9.5 meters).  The track guidance continues to show Harvey meandering or stalling near or just inland of the Texas coast in 36-48 hours and could drift offshore again thereafter.

Hurricane Harvey track forecast: NOAA NHC

Hurricane Harvey track forecast: NOAA NHC

Hurricane force winds extend outward 10NM to the southwest and 30 NM to the northeast. Gale force or higher winds extend outward 80 NM to the southwest and 120 NM to the northeast.    Very heavy rainfall and flooding is very likely along a large portion of the Texas coast during the next several days.

Hurricane Harvey rainfall forecast: NOAA

Hurricane Harvey rainfall forecast: NOAA

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Typhoon Noru to approach Japan

Typhoon Noru Satillite image

Typhoon Noru Satillite image

Typhoon Noru, over the western North Pacific, is moving  towards the N-NW at about 5 knots with max winds estimated at 95 knots. . The large center is in an area of low vertical wind shear and very warm sea temperatures.  Noru is forecast to move northwest for another 24 hours then start turning more towards the north.  Max winds will likely reach 105 knots or more as it starts the turn northward before gradually weakening.

Latest Track Forecast 

JTWC Forecast Track

JTWC Forecast Track

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Hurricane Fernando update

fernanda3Hurricane Fernanda over the eastern North Pacific continues to deepen and track towards the west with max winds about 115 knots and with hurricane force winds outward only 15-25 NM. Maximum significant wave height estimated to be 48 feet (14.6 meters).  Fernanda is forecast to reach a peak wind of about 120-130 knots during the next 24 hours before slowly weakening.

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TS Fernanda to intensify

NOAA Satellite image TS Fernanda

NOAA Satellite image TS Fernanda

Tropical Storm Fernanda over the eastern North Pacific is moving over warm sea surface temperatures and is expected to deepen rapidly reaching hurricane strength in 6-12 hours with max winds of 100 knots or more in 36-48 hours.

fernanda1

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Hurricane Eugene nears peak winds

eugene1Hurricane Eugene, located about 1037 NM south fo San Diego has been moving towards the N-NW at about 9 knots.  Max winds are estimated to be about 95 knots with hurricane force winds extending outward 20-30 NM from the center.  Maximum significant wave height 35 feet (10.7 meters).  Forecast has max wind 100-110 knots during the next 12 hours then gradual weakening is likely as the center moves over cooler ocean water.eugene2

 

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What should we expect for the 2017 North Atlantic hurricane season?

blog3Given the unusual occurrence of 3 named tropical cyclones prior to the end of June, one might ask what should we expect for the remainder of the 2017 hurricane season?

A number of forecast centers have already made their predictions for the 2017 hurricane season with most sources predicting either a normal to somewhat above normal season.  There is, however, quite a range in the total number of expected named storms, ranging from as low as 10 to as much as 17.  The most likely number being 12-13 storms.   For hurricanes, the range is from 6-10 with the most likely number being about 6 hurricanes.  For major hurricanes, estimates range between 1 and 4, the most likely number being 2 or 3.

Various 2017 North Atlantic Hurricane Season Forcasts

Various 2017 North Atlantic Hurricane Season Forcasts

One factor most forecasters are looking at is that there will be either a weak El Nino or as neutral ENSO conditions will prevail during the peak of this year’s season as well as warmer than normal SST across the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea.  If we have a weak El Niño, then the likelihood is for a normal to somewhat below normal season. If, however, as predicted by NOAA, the current neutral ENSO conditions prevail, then a somewhat more active season is possible.

NOAA ENSO Forecast

NOAA ENSO Forecast

For this up-coming season, I have been looking at the SST Anomalies over the North Atlantic which have been showing a trend for cooler than normal temperatures north of about 40N latitude while mostly warmer than normal SST prevail to the south.  If this continues, there should be a tendency for high pressure areas that move off New England or Canada to be enhanced which will tend to block or delay tropical cyclones from turning northeastward.  This, in turn, would suggest a higher risk for storms moving northward over the western North Atlantic to threaten the US East Coast.

Current SST Anomalies

Current SST Anomalies

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