Posts Tagged ‘Carolinas’

 

What’s Up Hurricane?

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

Here’s a quote of a quote of a quote. I was reading Dr. Jeff Master’s weather blog this morning. He put numbers on the tropical weather of 2006.

In a word – average

The Atlantic was down. The Eastern Pacific was up. The rest of the world helped make the average… well, average.

Strong storms are up numerically, but experts now think strong storms were vastly underestimated in the pre-satellite, pre-radar, era. We were pretty blind back then.

Then, he quoted a recent statement from the World Meteorological Organization concerning hurricanes and global warming.

A consensus of 125 of the world’s leading tropical cyclone researchers and forecasters says that no firm link can yet be drawn between human-induced climate change and variations in the intensity and frequency of tropical cyclones.

In a statement issued in Costa Rica at the World Meteorological Organization’s 6th International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones, it was also declared: No individual tropical cyclone can be directly attributed to climate change. Tropical cyclone is the umbrella name for hurricanes, typhoons or cyclones.

The recent increase in loss of life and damages from tropical cyclones has largely been caused by rising concentrations of population and infrastructure in coastal regions.

In other words, if you build on the coast, you’re going to be hit when coastal storms come along. Period. End of story.

There’s no need to use global warming as a stalking horse to invoke fear. There will be devastating ‘big ones,’ because people have aggregated where big ones have always come in the past.

The Gulf Coast, from Florida through Texas, is alive with people. Same thing for the East Coast. Sure, Florida has been populous for a long time, but now there’s major development farther north in Florida and into Georgia and the Carolinas.

Even here in Connecticut… no, especially here in Connecticut, our shoreline is crammed with people, few of whom have heard of, much less remember the devastation of the Hurricane of ’38.

You don’t need to worry about ‘Super Storms.’ What Mother Nature naturally packs is bad enough already. You’ll see.

Must Be The Season

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

I spend a lot of time watching the tropics. It comes with my job. These tropical systems are fascinating and devious.

Right now I’m watching two with great interest. The first is Ernesto, off the Carolinas and officially just below hurricane strength.

When Ernesto’s path out of the Caribbean was first predicted by the Hurricane Center, it was centered in the Gulf. Actually, it was well into the middle of the Gulf. Ernesto actually moved up the center of Florida and emerged in the Atlantic.

Not even close.

This is not to say the Hurricane Center doesn’t do a great job. They get the word out, which is probably their most important job.

Even though Ernesto is a wimp, people will die and property will be destroyed. We can predict, not prevent. I feel frustration over that. Isn’t that silly?

Stef’s move back to college is scheduled for Saturday. That’s Ernesto’s big day in the Northeast. Darn!

The second storm is more interesting on an intellectual level, though it won’t affect me personally. That’s Hurricane John, in the Pacific, off Mexico’s West Coast.

John is on track to strike Cabo San Lucas. We were there in January.

Cabo is a beautiful seaport town. It’s at the southern tip of Baja California. Stretching south of the city, into the Pacific is a string of rocky islands, called Land’s End.

If John passes just west of Cabo, its winds will be out of the south. They’ll be guided by Land’s End, piling water into the harbor and flooding all the low lying areas. Meanwhile, damage to the homes and businesses built on the surrounding hills will be immense.

Again, as with Ernesto, I can see it happening in my mind’s eye. It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion. There’s just nothing I can do about it.

With proper warning, most people will be saved. You can’t move a building. You can’t stop the terror for those who have nowhere else to go, or the uncertainty for those who get evacuated.

I’m More Pessimistic About Hurricanes

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

Recently I was interviewed for an article in Business New Haven concerning hurricanes. I’ve linked to the text.

Over time I’ve become more pessimistic of what might happen in a repeat of the hurricane of ’38 scenario for Connecticut. There would be little time for warning and difficulty explaining where the damage might occur.

Even in 2005, a tragedy seems unavoidable. That’s not what I want to say, but it is a realistic expectation.

I’m glad to see, though Dr. Mel Goldstein and I were interviewed separately (I didn’t even know he had been interviewed), we are in agreement with our concern.

Unlike Katrina where good advice was ignored, I’m not sure what we could do today to help prepare us for a hurricane approaching us at 60 mph. The entire East Coast would need warning. What good would that do?

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Where Do I Go To Get A Life?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

As I begin to type this, it is 2:26 AM. I am sitting in front of the computer, as I have for the past few hours. Earlier, I was playing poker. Now I am just killing time, waiting for the 00z run of the gfdl to come in so I can see the latest on Hurricane Frances¹.

This run should be somewhat telling, because there are signs the track of the storm might be changing… or at least the forecast signs are changing. Some earlier models tonight, models that aren’t especially good with hurricanes, brought Frances farther up the coast before landfall.

It’s in.

Yes, the guidance points further up the coast for landfall – maybe the border between the Carolinas.

My friend Bob, who I’ve been talking to much of the night on Instant Messenger, pointed out what a nightmare this could be for FEMA. With landfall anywhere along the East Coast, hundreds of miles and millions of people will need to be warned. Hopefully the track will become more well defined with time.

Hurricane forecasting is incredibly imprecise. These are tiny storms compared to the typical low and high pressure systems we track. And they spend much of their lives in an area with little in the way of steering currents.

Still, for me, they are fascinating to watch as they develop.

They are beautiful to see on satellite images (Frances is still too far from land to be seen on radar). The laws of physics define their shape. Though nothing but clouds and water vapor, they are real objects with mass and momentum. When you stop and think of it, the energy necessary to move that much ‘stuff’ around that quickly is immense.

By the time I get up the computers will have crunched the numbers again with another imprecise solution. I will be drawn to it like a moth to flame.

¹ – Weather wouldn’t make sense unless everything was synchronized. You’d like all readings to be taken at the same time. Of course, there are better than two dozen different time zones! So, to keep everyone on the same page, we use Universal Coordinated Time and abbreviate it “Z”. 00Z is midnight Universal Coordinated Time, or 8:00 PM EDT, on the preceding day.

Gfdl refers to the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, where this model was born.

Isabel Show and Tell

Friday, September 19th, 2003

It’s not live on this site yet, but I do produce some hourly, weekly, monthly and yearly graphs showing temperature, dew point and wind speed.

I didn’t set up in time to get the Carolinas, but I do have some interesting wind readings.

The times are CDT because my web host decided, when my machine was restored, to restore it to CDT instead of EDT. I will fix that later.

On these graphs, the lines from top-to bottom are: temperature, dew point and then wind.