Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another storm brewing in the Atlantic?

As Tropical Storm Ida moves ashore this morning across the Alabama coast and the Florida Panhandle, we couldn't help but notice that the National Hurricane Center had noticed a large area of low pressure in the Atlantic Ocean, several hundred miles north-northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands.

Currently, the Hurricane Center said there is less than 30 percent chance that gale-force winds and high seas will develop into a tropical storm, but along with Ida, the activity reminds us there is still almost a month to go in the official hurricane season for the year.

If the system beats the odds and turns into something for us to really worry about, it will be named Joaquin.

As for Ida's possible effect on our weather, the National Weather Service was forecasting that "deep tropical moisture" in the storm's wake would produce possibly heavy thunderstorms starting later today and through Wednesday. There was a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms this afternoon, increasing to 70 percent tonight and 60 percent on Wednesday.

Ida just off the Alabama coast

Heavy winds and rain overnight were all some Gulf Coast residents needed to know that Tropical Storm Ida was knocking on their door.

As of 3 a.m. EST, the storm was located just off the Alabama coast, about 60 miles south-southwest of Mobile. After coming ashore today, she was expected to being moving eastwardly across the Florida Panhandle as a depression, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ida now headed in a westerly track

I had fun teasing my brother Friday who lives in the Florida Panhandle in a little town called Niceville that he better spend his weekend boarding up because of the approaching hurricane.
I guess the joke is on me now.
Monday evening, Ida was located about 40 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 125 miles south-southwest of Pensacola. It was moving north-northwest near 17 mph (28 kph) and was expected to make land late Monday or early Tuesday.
It's going to miss him by quite a bit.
Ida had been the third hurricane of this year's Atlantic season.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said it was expected to weaken further before making landfall along the Gulf Coast. Rain was already falling along the coastline and winds had kicked up the surf.

Jennifer Rich
Herald business editor

Florida National Guard put on alert

The U.S. Army just released this notice:

The Florida National Guard activated its planning cells and alerted units in preparation for Tropical Storm Ida as the storm approached the Gulf Coast
Monday morning.

The Guard's activation of the Joint Emergency Operations Center in St. Augustine, unit planning cells across the state, and the movement of the Guard's senior leaders to the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee, came as Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed an Executive Order Monday to support operations in advance of Tropical Storm Ida.

The executive order allows the Florida Adjutant General to preposition Guards units prior to a storm making landfall. While activated for state duty the Florida National Guard will serve in support of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

"It's important for the people of Florida to know the citizen-Soldiers and Airmen of the Florida National Guard are prepared to respond to this storm as assigned by the Florida Division of Emergency Management," said Maj. Gen. Douglas Burnett, the
Adjutant General of Florida. "The National Guard is poised to provide humanitarian aid, security, equipment, debris removal, and search and rescue assistance."

The Florida National Guard has more than 9,000 Soldiers and Airmen available who can respond to various, and simultaneous emergencies in Florida, including efforts to deter terrorist-related activities.

Ida back down to tropical storm status

Ida just can't decide what she wants to look like when she comes ashore Tuesday morning on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Just a few hours after reclaiming her status as a hurricane, Ida has again been downgraded to tropical storm status, according to the National Weather Service.

Not coincidentally, a hurricane warning earlier in place for a stretch of coastline from Florida to Mississippi has been replaced by a less severe tropical storm warning. In all, a tropical storm warning remains in place from Grand Isle, La., east to Aucilla River, Fla.

Forecasters expect Idawill not turn again into a hurricane before making landfall.

Gulf Coast warnings in place of Ida

A hurricane warning was in effect from Pascagoula, Miss., east to Indian Pass, Fla., as Hurricane Ida made its way north to the U.S. Gulf coast, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The warning area was flanked by two stretches of tropical storm warnings: on the east from east of Indian Pass, Fla., to Aucilla, Fla; and on the west from Pascagoula to Grand Isle, La. — including New Orleans.

According to a map released at 3 a.m., Ida was expected to come ashore early Wednesday near the Florida-Alabama border.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ida back to hurricane strength

The Associated Press reports:
Ida has strengthened to a hurricane over the Caribbean as it nears Cancun, Mexico.

Forecaster Todd Kimberlain with the the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says Ida's winds have picked up to 75 mph (120 kph).

The storm is expected to pass between Mexico and Cuba on Sunday, with its center remaining offshore. Forecasters predict Ida will enter the Gulf of Mexico, eventually weaken again to tropical storm strength and possibly brush the U.S. Gulf Coast next week.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect for parts of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, as well as Western Cuba and Grand Cayman Island. A hurricane watch is also in effect for part of the Yucatan.

Late Saturday, Ida was centered about 120 miles (193 kilometers) east-southeast of Cozumel and moving northwest at about 12 mph (19 kph).

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Less of Florida now in Ida's cone

As of 4 p.m. today, Manatee County and the rest of the Tampa Bay region was barely within the boundaries of Tropical Storm Ida's five-day "cone of uncertainty," according to the National Hurricane Center. (Here's a link to the latest advisory from the NHC.)

Forecasters predict that the storm, which will soon brush past Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, will by early Wednesday afternoon be parked off the Florida Panhandle. But they were holding off on a prediction of where it might make landfall because they were not sure how it would be affected by a front moving in from the north.

The current weather forecast for Bradenton calls for a 30 percent chance of rain on Monday night, increasing to 50 percent on Tuesday, before dropping to 40 percent on Tuesday night and 30 percent on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

More from the Associated Press:
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Ida's winds strengthened to near 70 mph (110 kph), just short of a Category 1 hurricane. A tentative forecast track predicted Ida could brush the U.S. Gulf Coast next week as a tropical storm.
Tropical-storm warnings were issued for the Mexican coastline from Punta Allen, south of Tulum, to San Felipe at the top of the Yucatan Peninsula, an area that includes Cancun. The warnings were also in effect for western Cuba and Grand Cayman Island.

A hurricane watch was in effect from Tulum to Cabo Catoche.
As rain began pelting down in Cancun, the beaches were empty but tourists walked the streets under umbrellas or improvised rain ponchos.

"We are on yellow alert but the tourists are walking around normally in the streets and the shopping centers," said policeman Marco Morales Rodriguez.

Ida is again a storm

Ida has again been upgraded to a tropical storm, with forecasts calling for her to hit the U.S. Gulf coast by the middle of next week.

All of Florida is currently in the storm's "cone of uncertainty."

Friday, November 6, 2009

Keep an eye on Ida

Any worry may turn out to be for naught, but Floridians should probably keep at least one eye on the weather forecast as Tropical Depression Ida moves north through the Caribbean Sea.

Because she is coming this way.

Or at least in the direction of the United States.

As of 10 p.m. EST, here was the projected path of the storm:

Ida expected to strengthen Saturday

This just in from myFlorida.com:

Tropical Depression Ida is currently located near the Nicaragua / Honduras border. At 10 a.m. maximum winds were near 35 mph. Ida is moving toward the north at 7 mph. Ida is expected to re-strengthen in the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Saturday.

There are currently no watches or warnings posted for Florida. Much of Florida lies within the five-day error cone with a 5%-10% chance of receiving tropical storm force winds within five days.

If the system and current forecast track holds, Ida could enter the Gulf of Mexico by Monday.

The next advisory will be issued at 4 p.m.


There is a moderate to high risk of rip currents today along Florida’s Atlantic Coast.

The State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee continues to monitor Ida through the State Watch Office and the Meteorology unit. The State EOC in Tallahassee remains at a Level 3, or monitoring status. Gov. Crist and his staff are being briefed on Ida’s progress.

The State has begun conference calls with county emergency management officials and state partners in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia today. State officials have been in contact with our partners at the Federal Emergency Management Agency and will continue to coordinate with them through the duration of this event.

State Emergency Response Team Regional Coordinator’s are located throughout the state and are being updated on the storm and will continue coordinating with local officials. State Management Team members have been identified and are prepared to deploy if Ida were to impact Florida.

The State Logistics Response Center in Orlando is fully stocked with needed supplies and commodities and staff is prepared activate it if conditions warrant.

Emergency Coordinating Officer’s from all state agencies will meet at the State Emergency Operations Center Monday morning for systems checks and a briefing from the Interim Director Ruben D. Almaguer and the Interim Deputy Director/SERT Chief David Halstead.


Florida residents should monitor the progress of Tropical Depression Ida through the weekend and into next week.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to enjoy their weekend and all activities statewide, but are also encouraged to take a few minutes to review their disaster preparedness plan and to restock any needed items in their disaster supply kit.

Once you are prepared, check on a neighbor and encourage them to do the same. To Get A Plan! go to www.FloridaDisaster.org today.

Marine interests in the Gulf region should continue to monitor ocean conditions.

Ida serves as a reminder that Hurricane Season lasts through November 30.


“Floridians should continue to follow Ida’s track this weekend into next week,” said Ruben D. Almaguer, interim director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. “Now is a good time to review and update your personal and family disaster plans.”

Almost all of Florida in Ida's 'cone'

By the middle of next week, what is now Tropical Depression Ida could be directly west of Manatee County and the rest of Tampa Bay, according to the latest projections from the National Hurricane Center.

The above map of Ida's "cone of uncertainty" was released at 10 a.m. EST.

For more on the latest forecast, read this.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Manatee in the cone

Just when you thought we were out of the woods this hurricane season: Take a look at the five-day track map for Ida and you'll notice Manatee County in the cone.

Don't border up your homes just yet, but do keep an eye on the forecast in the coming days. The experts will know more after Ida, downgraded to a tropical depression Thursday night, gets back out over the waters of the Caribbean.

Some factors to consider when gauging what, if any impact, the system will have on our area:

* The average temperature for the Gulf of Mexico in November is around 80 degrees, Jennifer McNatt, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Ruskin, told Hurricane Watch late Thursday. Now compare that to an average temperature of around 86.5 degrees in August and September. That 6.5-degree difference might not seem like a lot, but it'll keep Ida's intensity down exponentially.

* An increased upper-level wind shear could rip Ida apart once it enters the Gulf. But while large-scale models agree on "an increasingly strong vertical shear environment," the National Hurricane Center's official wind speed forecast leads toward weaker models.

*Interaction with land will play a huge role. Once it gets over Nicaragua and Honduras, forecasters expect Ida to strengthen back into a tropical storm. After that there could be another date with land, either with the Yucatan or Cuba, either of which knocking down the storm's intensity. If it splits the strait, there would be a more intense storm.

With all that said, McNatt says, "It looks likely that it will be a weak system" if it does in fact impact the Florida coastline.

Experts now forecast Ida to be smack in the middle of the Gulf come 7 p.m. Tuesday with winds around 50 mph. That's nothing to sneeze at, though, considering recent flooding that has occurred in the area with much weaker storms.

Ida weakens to depression over land

(AP) Ida has weakened to a tropical depression with 35 mph top winds as it sweeps over Nicaragua.

The storm rumbled ashore Thursday at hurricane strength, but began losing muscle as it moved over land, dumping rain.

By Thursday night, Nicaragua’s government had discontinued tropical storm warnings along the country’s east coast. To the north, tropical storm watches were in effect for parts of Honduras.

The depression’s center was located about 50 miles west-southwest of Puerto Cabezas at around 10 p.m. The depression is moving west-northwest near 5 mph.

The storm should get weaker over the next two days. It’s expected to be back over the Caribbean seas Saturday and could regain some strength at that point.

Hurricane Ida rips into Nicaragua’s coast; Manatee in 5-day cone

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Hurricane Ida ripped into Nicaragua’s Atlantic coast Thursday, destroying homes, damaging schools and downing bridges before losing steam and becoming a tropical storm.

Ida, clocking 75 mph (125 kph) winds, struck land around sunrise in Tasbapauni, about 60 miles northeast of Bluefields, said meteorologist Dennis Feltgen of the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

About 80 percent of homes were destroyed in nearby Karawala, a fishing village of about 100 flimsy, wooden shacks near the mouth of the Rio Grande de Matagalpa, Nicaragua’s National Civil Defense director, Mario Perez, said.

“There was major damage in the region’s infrastructure, such as fallen bridges, damaged schools and government buildings, and electrical transmission towers and telephone service were knocked out,” Perez said.

No deaths or injuries have been reported, but Perez said officials are still trying to get information from the region.

The fast-developing storm grew from a tropical depression into a hurricane within little more than a day, then lost power as it stalled over eastern Nicaragua, with winds slowing to 50 mph (85 kph).

Ida could dump as much as 20 inches (500 millimeters) of rain on the swampy mainland, with the risk of flash floods and mudslides, before weakening to a tropical depression Friday, according to the Miami-based hurricane center.

The storm could also raise coastal water levels by as much as 3 feet (nearly 1 meter) above ground level, with dangerous waves.

More than 3,000 people had been evacuated — 800 of those from homes on Corn Island and nearby Little Corn Island, where strong winds damaged about 45 homes, smashed boats, toppled trees and knocked out power. Residents were taken to the port authority building and concrete hotels.

About 2,500 people live on the two islands, which are popular tourist destinations.
Rowena Kandler, owner of the Sunrise Hotel on Corn Island, said many fruit trees on the hotel’s 13-acre ranch were damaged.

“We don’t have electricity or water,” she said. “Everything is on the ground now. Thank God we’re alive.”

The hotel had two guests who rode out the storm Wednesday night, but Kandler said they left for the airport Thursday morning.

More than 1,000 people were evacuated in Bluefields, and the airport closed.

At the Oasis Hotel and Casino, a half block from the shore in Bluefields, receptionist Adelis Molina said winds were strong and guests from the United States, Italy and Guatemala were hunkering down inside.

Heavy rains and winds kept officials from evacuating about 80 people on Cayos Perla, but authorities said they planned to used speedboats to get them out.

The storm is expected to regain strength when it emerges over the Caribbean Sea on Saturday, the center said.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ida gaining strength

The east coast of Nicaragua from Bluefields to the Honduras border is now under a hurricane watch (hurricane conditions possible within 36 hours).

In its 7 p.m. update, the National Hurricane Center said Ida's sustained winds were up a bit to 65 mph.
The storm was still moving west-northwest at 6 mph. Tropical storm-force winds extended 45 from the center of circulation, which was 65 miles east of Bluefields. Landfall somewhere on the Nicaraguan coast was expected early Thursday, quite possibly as a Cat. 1 hurricane.

A major concern with this slow-moving system is the potential for massive amounts of rainfall. As many as 25 inches of rain is possible in areas of eastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras, raising the spectre of flash floods and mudslides.

Tropical Storm Ida

Tropical Storm Ida has formed off the eastern coast of Nicaragua, according to the National Hurricane Center's 4 p.m. update.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for Nicaragua's entire east coast and for the islands of San Andres and Providencia. Some further intensification is possible before landfall, which is expected overnight.

Maximum sustained winds are up to 60 mph.

Tropical storm-force winds extend 45 miles from the center of circulation, which sits 75 miles to the east of Bluefields, Nicaragua. Forward speed has slowed to west-northwest at 6 mph, setting the stage for its expected turn toward the northwest over the coming days.

Tropical Depression No. 11

As of 1 p.m., the entire east coast of Nicaragua is under a tropical storm warning, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The culprit: Tropical Depression No. 11, which is moving west-northwest at 7 mph about 100 miles east of Bluefields, Nicaragua.

Maximum sustained winds are 35 mph, just a few notches below tropical storm force.

An expected slower motion should prompt a turn toward the northwest, putting its forecast track in line for the Gulf of Mexico in a few days. One computer model has it on a path toward New Orleans.

Rainfall from this system could total as much as 25 inches in parts of Nicaragua. Forecasters warn of life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What's up with Henri?

For a little while this morning, it looked like Henri, a tropical depression with winds near 35 mph at 2 p.m., was scheduling a future date with the Florida peninsular. At 8 a.m., one of the computer models showed the path of the system curling north up the southwest Florida coast, then scooting up to the west of Tampa Bay.

That model has changed significantly, however, this afternoon. Most of the models have a consensus track, with Henri staying on a westerly course, skirting northern parts of Cuba come a few days down the road.

Forecasters, however, aren't putting much stock in Henri's future, saying at 2 p.m. that it will likely dissipate into a remnant low by Thursday night.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tropical Storm Henri forms in Atlantic Ocean

MIAMI (AP) Forecasters say Tropical Storm Henri (awn-'REE) has formed in the Atlantic Ocean but it could be short-lived.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Tuesday afternoon the storm was about 600 miles (965 kilometers) east of the northern Leeward Islands.

The storm is moving west-northwest about 18 miles per hour (30 kph) and is expected to stay well to the north of the Lesser Antilles.

Its maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (65 kph).

Forecasters say the eighth named storm of the Atlantic season could weaken below tropical storm strength as early as Wednesday night.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tropical Storm Grace forms in Atlantic

MIAMI (AP) Forecasters say Tropical Storm Grace has formed far out in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean with winds at 65 mph.

The center of the storm was about 420 miles northeast of the Azores on Sunday night.

It's moving toward the northeast near 25 mph. Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center say the storm is expected to weaken in the next day.

They say Grace is expected to be absorbed by a non-tropical low pressure area over the northeastern Atlantic Monday night or Tuesday.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Are we done?

It has certainly been a quiet past few weeks out in the Atlantic basin, as far as tropical cyclone activity is concerned. The National Hurricane Center, however, is watching a new disturbance over by the Cape Verdes. Nothing to be wary about just yet, though. We'll let you know.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Remnants of Fred

In its 8 p.m. advisory, the National Hurricane Center said conditions could prompt the remnants of Hurricane Fred to redevelop. Showers and thunderstorms associated with his remains, which increased in intensity this morning, were about 900 miles east of the Northern Leeward Islands. There is currently a less than 30 percent of the system becoming a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fred weakens

Hurricane Fred has weakened to a Category 1 storm far off in the Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center said in its 5 p.m. advisory.

Maximum sustained winds were near 90 mph.

Fred, about 740 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands and slowing down as it drifts north near 5 mph, is forecast to diminish to a tropical storm by Saturday.

Fred update

The latest advisory on Fred from the National Hurricane Center:





MILES...185 KM.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fred's a hurricane

With its 11 p.m. advisory, the National Hurricane Center announced Fred has developed into a hurricane with winds of 75 mph.

Fred is the second named hurricane of the season.

Fred is good-looking storm on satellite images, sitting about 445 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands, but forecasters expect him to weaken beginning Thursday.

-- News Editor Brent Conklin

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


With winds up to 65 mph, Fred is expected to be a hurricane soon.

Monday, September 7, 2009

T.D. 7

Tropical Depression No. 7 of the season has formed FAR out in the Atlantic, south of the Cape Verde Islands. The forecast has this system becoming Tropical Storm Fred over the next 24 hours. The cone track has this storm turning north mid-week, remaining closer to Africa than the United States.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A sight to see

Check out these amazing views of Hurricane Bill from NASA and NOAA's newest weather satellite, GOES-14:

Morning outlook

The wet remnants of Tropical Depression Erika sit just south of Puerto Rico and are slowly moving westward at 5-10 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

There's been talk of this system redeveloping into a tropical cyclone, but upper-level winds still aren't favorable. No matter. This system will bring plenty of rain to the islands it crosses. Shower and thunderstorm activity actually has increased over the past few hours.

The most recent wave off the coast of Africa and south of the Cape Verde Islands has changed little over the past few hours. It'll be a few days before this develops into anything worth watching.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

No more Erika

Per the National Hurricane Center in its 11 p.m. advisory:


SO. "

Erika's demise

Wind shear continues to take a bite out of Tropical Storm Erika, which could soon be nothing more than a gusty rainmaker.

Tropical-storm warnings have been posted, meanwhile, for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm could bring as many as 8 inches of rain to Puerto Rico. Other islands in its path could also see heavy rains as Erika erodes into a depression and then simply a low.

Florida could face some impact from Erika next week. Computer models, however, are coming to a more consensus northerly turn.

-- News Editor Brent Conklin

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Erika map

Weaker Erika tough to track

A weaker Tropical Storm Erika wobbled on an uncertain path Wednesday that hiked the risk of a hit to Puerto Rico, Haiti and possibly by next week Florida.

Because the storm was so disorganized, the National Hurricane Center was struggling to both locate its center and predict its track.

Erika, expected to crawl northwest overnight, jogged southwest possibly the result of its center reforming with a resulting shift south of its future track.

At 11 a.m., Erika was moving west-northwest at 10 mph with its maximum winds down to 40 mph, the minimum for a tropical storm. It was about 100 miles east-southeast of the northern Leeward Islands and expected to cross them during the night and early Thursday morning.

A tropical storm watch was likely to be posted for Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands later Thursday, which forecasters said could see up to eight inches of rain as the storm passes Friday.

The window after that is wide and the center stressed it had "low confidence" in its forecast. But if Erika holds to course, the Dominican Republic and Haiti could face similar conditions by Saturday, followed by the Turks and Caicos Islands a day later.

By Monday, Erika or perhaps its remnants could be anywhere from eastern Cuba to northeast of the Bahamas.

Wind shear was chewing at the storm and though some computer models predicted it would reach hurricane strength, the center expected it to weaken over the next few days into a depression and possibly dissolve back into a wet but not so wild wave.

A Hurricane Hunter plane sent into the storm early Wednesday detected multiple circulations and the loosely defined center may have reformed to the southwest, which further complicated the forecast.

-- McClatchy Newspapers

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tropical Storm Erika

Tropical Storm Erika has formed in the open Atlantic, east of Antigua and Barbuda, the National Weather Service reported in its 5 p.m. update.

Maximum sustained winds are 50 mph. Some slow strengthening is expected over the next couple of days.

The storm is moving to the west-northwest at 9 mph.

Computer models don't appear to be at a consensus on Erika's future track. Some have it turning north along a route similar to Bill and Danny. Others have it moving in a more westerly fashion.

-- News Editor Brent Conklin

Monday, August 31, 2009

Up next: Erika

The fifth named tropical storm of the season is all but inevitable as a wave now moving toward the Windward Islands is getting extremely organized.

The storm would be named Erika.

"Right now, it looks really impressive on satellite images," Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the National Hurricane Center in Miami, told McClatchy Newspapers. "We've had some flare ups of showers and thunderstorms today."

At 2 p.m., the storm was moving west-northwest at 15 mph. Its center was about 500 miles east of the islands.

Some computer models have the storm staying on a southerly path, unlike Bill and Danny, which both curved north between Bermuda and the East Coast of the United States.

-- News Editor Brent Conklin

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Danny wets East Coast; Pacific storm strengthens

BOSTON — Heavy rain and dangerous rip currents from a weak tropical system emptied East Coast beaches for a second straight late-summer weekend, while a hurricane that could clip Mexico's coast next week grew stronger in the Pacific.

Jimena, the 10th named storm of the Pacific season, quickly became a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 kph).

Fueled by warm Pacific waters, Jimena could be a major Category 3 hurricane by Sunday as it tracked north-northwest at 12 mph about 580 miles (935 km) off the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula late Saturday. It was 225 miles (365 km) south of Manzanillo, Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center's five-day forecast predicts the storm's center could pass offshore of the peninsula next week but come close enough to bring strong winds and churn up rough seas.

The sun still shone over Acapulco Bay on Saturday afternoon, though dark storm clouds loomed on the horizon. Sailboats dotted the sea despite government warnings for residents to take precautions. Farther north, in the resort town of Zihuatanejo, authorities warned small boats to stay ashore.

Farther out in the Pacific, Tropical Storm Kevin formed with top winds of 50 mph (85 kph). The storm's center on Saturday afternoon was about 1,035 miles (1,665 kilometers) southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. The storm could get stronger as it moves to the west-northwest, forecasters said.

Remnants of Tropical Storm Danny spun miles offshore in the Atlantic, causing mostly rain in the East. National Hurricane Center forecasters said Danny had been mostly absorbed by a low pressure system associated with a cold front over North Carolina.

"We were expecting that that was going to happen sooner or later. It happened a little bit sooner," said senior hurricane specialist Lixion Avila. "Basically Danny has been swallowed by the big low."

In Boston, heavy rain fell on hundreds lining sidewalks as the funeral procession of Sen. Edward Kennedy passed through the city. A flood watch remained in effect for parts of Massachusetts as beaches were ordered closed and public ferry services in and around Boston were canceled. Cape Code and nearby islands were expecting 40 mph winds later Saturday.

"We getting a number of reports of 2 to 4 inches of rain in the area," said Kim Buttrick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass. "Wind isn't a factor now, but a wind advisory is in effect for the islands until this evening."

Towns along the Connecticut shore were prepared for the storm and had sandbags and water pumps placed on standby.

Large waves kept most people out of the water at beaches along the New Jersey shore Saturday, the second straight weekend marred by a tropical storm system.

Waves as high as 6 to 8 feet were reported up and down the Jersey coast by late Saturday morning, and forecasters said the waves could be slightly higher as the day progressed. But those conditions were expected to improve during the overnight hours into Sunday, when wave heights were expected to return to normal.

No injuries were reported, though authorities in Fair Lawn, N.J., rescued nine people trapped in five vehicles along a flooded street.

In North Carolina, tropical storm watches for the coast were discontinued, but people were urged to be cautious near the water.

The dangers of storm-agitated seas were demonstrated when a young boy disappeared Friday in rough surf off North Carolina. His mother reported seeing him go underwater off the town of Corolla, not far from the Virginia line. His body board washed ashore without him.

The Coast Guard and local authorities spent hours looking for the 12-year-old boy but called off the search Friday evening and didn't expect to continue searching Saturday.

Coast Guard spokesman Lt. j.g. Scott Hembrook said the waves in the area were about 4 to 6 feet tall.

In New York's Long Island, Nassau County's health department closed 20 beaches Saturday because of heavy rainfall. Suffolk County closed two beaches and advised against bathing at 64 more.

Storm water runoff often leads to sewage discharges and elevated bacteria levels on Long Island sound.

Health officials say the beaches will be reopened once tidal cycles have flushed the area.

Associated Press writers Bruce Shipkowski in Trenton, N.J.; Kevin Maurer in Carolina Beach, N.C.; and Emery P. Dalesio in Raleigh, N.C.; contributed to this report.

Friday, August 28, 2009

How is Danny?

Danny continues to be erratic. As of 11 am winds remained at 40 mph. Tropical storm watches were still in place for the Outer Banks. The latest cone actually scooted westward to include the NC coast. Some strengthening still remained possible.

5 am numbers

40 mph sustained winds
NNW forward movement 3 mph

Cone has come off NC coast a touch. T.S. watches remain in effect for Outer Banks.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Danny update: 11 p.m.

As of 11 p.m., disheveled Danny's sustained winds dropped to 45 mph. More significantly, he's started to take his expected turn, now moving north at 8 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

The tropical storm watch remains in effect for North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Forecasters say large swells are expected to produce dangerous surf and life-threatening rip currents along the U.S. East Coast over the next day or two.

Danny is centered about 485 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. Tropical storm-force winds extend out more than 200 miles.

Strengthening remains possible over the next few days.

Danny: 5 p.m. update

A tropical storm watch -- tropical storm-force winds possible within 36 hours -- is now in effect for the Outer Banks of North Carolina, from Cape Lookout to Duck.

Danny's winds, however, have diminished to maximum sustained of 50 mph. Tropical storm-force winds extend 205 miles from the center of circulation.

The storm has slowed to a snail's pace in forward speed. Danny is currently slothing westward at 2 mph. Forecasters still expect a turn to the northwest tonight along with an increase in forward speed. Come tomorrow, they're predicting a turn north and a faster forward speed.

Meanwhile, the wave we mentioned yesterday is starting to show some signs of organization. It sits 350 miles south-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. There is a 30- to 50-percent chance of this becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours.

-- News Editor Brent Conklin

Northeast U.S. could see tropical storm watches

By Curtis Morgan
McClatchy Newspapers

MIAMI -- Tropical Storm Danny, stronger but still disorganized, wobbled a bit westward Thursday morning but forecasters still expected it to veer more north in the next day and half and skirt the Northeast coast.

The National Hurricane Center's three-day forecast kept the core of the storm off North Carolina. But by Saturday evening, New England and Nova Scotia could be bracing for a possible landfall or blustery sideswipe.

The center said it could post tropical storm watches from North Carolina northward later Thursday.

At 11 a.m. EDT, Danny's center was more than 400 miles off the Florida coast. It was moving erratically to the northwest at 13 mph. Its winds hit 60 mph, with the strongest to the west of the storm's center.

On its current track, forecasters expected Danny to at least moderately strengthen, possibly reaching hurricane strength as it approaches New England.

Where's Danny going?

As of 11 p.m. Wednesday, Tropical Storm Danny appeared stronger, yet still pretty disorganized. Maximum sustained winds were clocking in at 50 mph.

Eastern Seaboard residents from the Carolinas up to New England should keep a close eye on this storm as the current projected path has it shooting straight up the coast.

The storm was centered 675 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and slowing down to 10 mph in its northwest movement. (Earlier in the day, it was tracking along at 18 mph.) Tropical storm-force winds extended 175 miles from the center.

Its northwest track is expected to continue Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Then a turn toward the north with an increase in forward speed is forecast for Friday.

Meanwhile, a new wave has come off the African coast. According to the service, any significant development is several days away.

-- News Editor Brent Conklin

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tropical Storm Danny forms in Atlantic

MIAMI (AP) — Tropical Storm Danny has formed in the open Atlantic off the Bahamas.

Forecasters say the storm has top winds of 45 mph and is moving to the west-northwest at 18 mph. The storm could get stronger in the next two days.

As of 11 a.m. EDT Tuesday, the storm's center was about 445 miles east of Nassau, Bahamas and about 775 miles south of Cape Hatteras, N.C.

The current forecast has the storm on a path to clip the U.S. East Coast over the weekend, but a storm's track can be difficult to predict days in advance. People in the Bahamas and the southeastern U.S. were advised to monitor the storm.

Meanwhile, far out in the Pacific, Tropical Storm Ignacio has weakened as it moves northwest with top winds of 45 mph.

'A tropical storm at any time'

At 2 a.m., the National Weather Service reports that the area of disturbance centered 350 miles north of Hispaniola "has the potential to become a tropical storm at any time."

It has a greater than 50 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours, the service said.

As of 8 p.m., most computer models had the storm tracking in much the same path as Hurricane Bill. One model, however, has it skirting the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Stay tuned for more updates Tuesday.

-- News Editor Brent Conklin

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wave getting organized

The tropical wave we last spoke of appears to be getting better organized.

In its latest update, the National Weather Service gives it a greater than 50 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression during the next 48 hours.

A reconnaissance plane is slated to investigate the storm this afternoon.

Although its way too early to speculate where it might go, computer models put this storm on a path similar to Hurricane Bill.

-- News Editor Brent Conklin

Monday, August 24, 2009

A new wave to watch

A tropical wave (orange No. 1 in the above photo) is interacting with an upper-level low about 300 miles east-northeast of the Leeward Islands, according to the National Weather Service.

This is a disorganized mass of showers and thunderstorms at the moment, but upper-level winds might become favorable over the coming days for it to develop.

The weather service gives it a "medium chance" -- 30 percent to 50 percent -- of becoming a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours.

-- News Editor Brent Conklin

The last Hurricane Bill

This Hurricane Bill will be the last Hurricane Bill.

When a named tropical system results in lives lost, its name is deleted from the six-year rotation of storm names. Bill has joined those ranks.

Two people died this weekend as a result of Bill's stormy seas. A 7-year-old girl from New York was admiring the surf at Maine's Acadia National Park on Sunday when she was swept into the Atlantic by a large wave. She was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard, but died shortly afterward.

Meanwhile, in New Smyrna Beach, Angel Rosa, 54, of Orlando, died after washing ashore unconscious near rough surf caused by Bill.

The point has been belabored, but it's important to repeat. These tragic events illustrate the dangers of tropical systems – whether they're tropical depressions or Cat. 5 monsters, making a direct strike or 200 miles offshore. Don't mess with them.
-- News Editor Brent Conklin

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bill turns deadly


EDGARTOWN, Mass. -- Rescue crews were searching Sunday afternoon for three people who were swept into the sea after a large wave, an effect of Hurricane Bill, washed over a crowd watching the surf in Maine.

A crowd at Acadia National Park was gathered on some rocks when the wave washed over them. Two other people who were swept into the ocean were recovered. The Coast Guard and search crews are looking for the three others.

"This is absolutely the effects of Hurricane Bill" coupled with the effect of high tide, park ranger Sonya Berger said.

Bill was being blamed for the death of a 54-year-old swimmer in Florida, who was killed Saturday. Volusia County Beach Patrol Capt. Scott Petersohn said Angel Rosa of Orlando was unconscious when he washed ashore in rough waves fueled by Bill at New Smyrna Beach along the central Florida coast. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Lifeguards there also rescued a handful of other swimmers with suspected spinal injuries.

Bill was about 60 miles east-southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Sunday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center. Its maximum sustained winds had dropped to 80 mph, and it was moving northeast at 35 mph. The storm is expected to continue to weaken as it moves over cooler waters.

Several people also had to be rescued from the water in Massachusetts, including a couple of kayakers who got stranded in the heavy seas off Plymouth, said Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

He said strong rip tides and beach erosion were the biggest concerns Sunday.

"Our biggest thing right now is just the rough surf," he said.

Moving on to Canada

Hurricane Bill certainly has churned up the surf on the Eastern Seaboard. It didn't help matters that he took longer than expected to take his north-northeast turn.
As of 11 a.m., the storm was packing Cat. 1-force winds of 85 mph and was located 90 miles south-southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia. He's cooking at a speed of 33 mph and could make direct strikes tonight on Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, respectively.
This is still a BIG storm: Hurricane-force still extend out 85 miles from the center and tropical-storm force winds 290 miles.
Some of Bill's impact:
* According to the Associated Press, 3,700 customers lost electricity in Bermuda. Some roads, as well, were flooded along the northern coast.
* According to Newsday, the beaches of Robert Moses State Park on the south short of Long Island were closed Saturday because high tide helped blanket the sand completely with water.
* There were 8- to 10-foot waves along the Jersey Shore on Saturday.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Eye on Bill

As we write, Hurricane Bill (max. sustained winds of 105 mph at 11 p.m.) is shooting the gap between Bermuda and the East Coast of the United States.

Bill's center is about 180 miles west-southwest of Bermuda, putting the island well within range of tropical-storm force winds. The beaches on the west side of Bermuda are likely taking a good beating right now.

The latest forecast track has Bill boomeranging around Bermuda, heading hard and fast in a northeasterly direction after that, coming nowhere near the mainland of the United States. Rip currents along the East Coast are expected, however.

With that said, Bill's outer cloud bands ironically are kissing the Outer Banks of North Carolina at this hour.

Oh, almost forgot. What happened to Bill and Hillary? They got out of Dodge well ahead of the storm, taking their vacation to an undisclosed location.

-- News Editor Brent Conklin

East Coast swimmers, boaters warned

Rain ahead of Hurricane Bill is pelting Bermuda today as the storm roars over the open Atlantic, threatening to flood the island’s coastline in passing and to spread dangerous waves and riptides along the eastern U.S. shore, the Associated Press reports.

The Category 3 storm’s maximum sustained winds lost a little strength overnight to near 115 mph, from 125 mph late Thursday. Forecasters say the hurricane’s center will pass between Bermuda and the U.S. shore Saturday.

On the eastern U.S. coast, offshore waves of 20 feet and more and rip currents at the beach are expected over one of the summer’s last weekends. Boaters and swimmers from northeastern Florida to New England should beware of incoming swells as Bill passes far out to sea on a northward track for Canada’s Maritime provinces. And flooding is expected along North Carolina's shore.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bill vs. Bill

Hurricane Bill could make for a stormy Bermuda vacation for former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The pair arrived on the island Wednesday for a three-to four-day getaway. It begs the question: Why would the Clintons go to Bermuda with a major storm in the offing?

As of the 5 p.m. update Thursday, Bermuda was under a hurricane watch (hurricane-force winds possible within 36 hours) and a tropical storm warning (tropical-storm force winds expected within 24 hours).

Bill's sustained winds have pushed back up to 125 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend 115 miles from the center, tropical storm-force winds 260 miles.

Forecasters expect even more restrengthening with warm waters and less wind shear in Bill's path.

Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center, told the Associated Press: "It's moving over waters of 84, 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which could provide some fuel to it. We still think it could restrengthen back into a Category 4. The environmental conditions appear to be right."

-- News Editor Brent Conklin

Cape Cod watching Hurricane Bill

By the time Sunday morning comes along, Cape Cod, Mass., could be feeling the brunt of a major hurricane.

The National Weather Service’s “cone of uncertainty” for Hurricane Bill avoids the East Coast of the United States, save for a wee sliver of the famed New England vacation spot.

It was 18 years ago yesterday that Cape Cod last felt the blow of a major hurricane, or even a Cat. 1 or 2 storm for that matter. In 1991, Hurricane Bob formed down near the Bahamas and zipped up the East Coast. Although direct landfall was made on Rhode Island, records says the highest gusts of about 125 mph were felt on the cape. That’s what being on northeast quadrant of a storm will do to you. (The northeast quadrant of a tropical system typically brings the strongest winds and strongest storm surge.)

Bermuda could end up in Bill's northeast quadrant in the coming days. Effects on the island will depend on when Bill makes his forecast turn north. If he turns sooner than later, it’ll be worse for the island, which sticks out in the Atlantic like a sore thumb.

When was the last time Bermuda suffered the wrath of a major storm? The eyewall of major Hurricane Fabian skirted the west coast Sept. 5, 2003. Sustained major hurricane-force winds were felt for about three hours. Four islanders were killed and $300 million in damage was reported, records say.

-- News Editor Brent Conklin