Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hurricane season for 2010 officially over

Maybe it seemed like a quiet hurricane season in Manatee County, but 2010 was a busy, record breaking year.

Curtis Morgan of the Miami Herald reports:

By one set of numbers, 2010 measured up as yet another in the recent run of monster hurricane seasons. The 19 named storms ranked the third busiest on record.

By another, it was a pussycat — at least for the United States.

The six-month season ended Tuesday with the mainland U.S. escaping a major hurricane strike for a record-tying fifth straight year. South Florida, so often a prime target for powerful systems, barely got its hair mussed by Tropical Storms Bonnie and Nicole.

“We’ve never gone more than five years without a major hurricane,” said National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen. “I’m hoping we’ll be able to set a record next year. Let’s go for six.”

That would be sweet, but don’t bet on it. The mainland’s no-majors streak incongruously coincides with a surge in storms. Since 1995, a global La NiƱa weather pattern and warm Atlantic Ocean temperatures have sparked a string of unusually active seasons. Seven of the dozen busiest years on record have occurred since 2000, including a record 28 storms in 2005, and forecasters don’t see the tropics cooling off anytime soon.

The 19 named Atlantic storms tied with 1887 and 1995 for the third most on record. The 12 hurricanes tied with 1969 for the second highest on record. Five of those became major hurricanes. The same condition that fired up the Atlantic cooled down the Pacific Ocean, which recorded a record low seven named storms, down from an average of 15.

Manatee County’s emergency management chief hauled out copies of all 19 named storms, including 12 hurricanes, and she said she felt lucky.

“Our people should feel blessed that none of these decided to come over Florida,” Laurie Feagans said Tuesday. “Some of these were large storms that went up the East Coast or elsewhere. I don’t think our people are aware that five of the 12 hurricanes that developed this season were major storms and, with those types of winds, would have done significant damage in our county.”

For more, see Wednesday's Bradenton Herald.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tomas, producing heavy rains, moves on past Haiti, Cuba

The headline from the National Hurricane Center at this hour on Hurricane Tomas:


Tomas is a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 75 mph. Find more particulars on the storm here.
Next up in the path: Turks and Caicos.
Reports show many parts of Haiti have been inundated, but it appears the snake-bit has avoided a major catastrophe.
Find story, photos and more info here from our sister paper the Miami Herald.

Hurricane Tomas lashes Haiti

Hurricane Tomas flooded the earthquake-shattered remains of a Haitian town on Friday, forcing families who had already lost their homes in one disaster to flee another. In the country's capital, quake refugees resisted calls to abandon flimsy tarp and tent camps.

Driving winds and storm surge battered Leogane, a seaside town west of Port-au-Prince that was near the epicenter of the Jan. 12 earthquake and was 90 percent destroyed. Dozens of families in one earthquake-refuge camp carried their belongings through thigh-high water to a taxi post on high ground, waiting out the rest of the storm under blankets and a sign that read "Welcome to Leogane."

Read the full story here.

Get the latest particulars on the storm here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Shary and Tomas make for storm Nos. 18 & 19

(AP) Tropical Storm Tomas has formed in the Atlantic, becoming the season's 19th named storm.

Several tropical storm warnings were issued Friday for several areas including Barbados, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says Tomas was about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Barbados on Friday afternoon. It had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph). It was expected to pass over the Windward Islands on Saturday and could become a hurricane by Sunday.

Meanwhile, Bermuda canceled ferry services and urged islanders to secure their boats as Tropical Storm Shary swirled toward the tiny British Atlantic territory.

The storm had sustained winds near 60 mph (100 kph) and was expected to gain strength before passing near or just east of the island by early Saturday morning, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The darkening skies did not dampen the spirits of tourists like Bill and Margaret Breen, a married couple from Boston, who carried rain jackets as they strolled through Hamilton.

"We're flying home tomorrow afternoon, so the only issue could be the storm affecting the flight. But there would be a lot worse things than to stay another day," said Bill Breen, 45.

Friday afternoon, Shary's core was about 155 miles (250 kilometers) south-southwest of Bermuda, according to the hurricane center. It was moving north-northeast at 12 mph (19 kph).

Derrick Binns, the permanent secretary of the Home Affairs Ministry, called on islanders to tie up their boats and secure any outdoor furniture that could blow away in the wind. He also urged cyclists and motorists to be careful on the roads.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hurricane Richard makes landfall in Belize

BELIZE CITY (AP) — Hurricane Richard slammed into Belize’s Caribbean coast just south of its largest city late Sunday, as authorities evacuated tourists from outlying islands and an estimated 10,000 people took refuge at shelters in the tiny Central American nation.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Richard’s top winds were 90 mph — making it a Category 1 hurricane — when it made landfall about 20 miles south-southwest of Belize City, whose neighborhoods are full of wooden, tin-roof homes that are very vulnerable to winds.

“The winds are very strong ... it’s getting stronger,” said Fanny Llanos, a clerk at the Lazy Iguana bed and Breakfast on Caye Caulker, a low-lying island known for its coral reefs and crystal-clear waters, located just offshore from Belize City.

Llanos said that palm trees were bending over in the wind and it had become very noisy.

“All the windows are boarded, and this is a strong house so we will be here,” she said, “but we are still afraid.”

Richard was moving west-northwest at about 10 mph, and hurricane-force winds extended up to 15 miles from its center.

Mexico issued a hurricane watch for its southern Caribbean coast, and while Richard is expected to cross over the Yucatan peninsula and re-emerge in the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters said it is likely to weaken and dissipate over Gulf waters.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Where is Tropical Storm Richard heading?

Tropical Storm Richard was born this morning in the Caribbean Sea, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Does his iterinary include Florida?

Here's what the latest computer models are showing. And yes, that blue line is awfully close to Manatee County.

Does Manatee need to worry about No. 19?

A new tropical depression – No. 19 of the season in the Atlantic basin – formed Wednesday night in the northwestern Caribbean, according to the National Hurricane Center in an 11 p.m. advisory.

And while it is still too early to tell where it will end up, one lone computer model at wunderground.com shows the storm hooking around Cuba and smacking into Manatee County.

Most models, however, show the storm crossing Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. And BayNews9 reported late Wednesday that meteorologists were reasonably confident the system would not directly impact the Tampa Bay area.

The system had sustained winds of 35 mph and the center of circulation was located about 125 miles south of Grand Cayman.

It was trudging along to the east at 2 mph. Minimal turns to the south and west were expected over the next few days.

Little change in strength was expected Thursday, but it could become a Tropical Storm Richard by the weekend.
Find the latest from the hurricane center here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Phew! 16 storms this season, but yet again Florida in the clear

Another hurricane, another escape for Florida.

The effects of Tropical Storm Paula, or whatever remains of it after crossing the mountains of Cuba overnight Thursday, weren’t expected to linger long.

“It will be drying out quickly,” said Bill Cottrill, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Key West, where the chance of rain for Friday was put at 40 percent. In Miami-Dade, there was only a 20 percent chance of scattered showers.

The rain chances for the Lower and Middle Keys on Friday are 40 percent. For Miami-Dade and Broward, there is a 20 percent chance of scattered showers.

Paula, the 16th named storm and ninth hurricane of a busy season, weakened at just the right time. Its winds, which had topped 100 mph, continued to drop in the hours before it made landfall around noon Thursday on the northwestern coast of Cuba near Puerto Esperanza, where a top gust of 68 mph was recorded.

Though the storm was small, drenching downpours covered much of the island. As Paula approached, Havana’s Jose Marti Airport reported steady 23 mph winds, gusts to 37 mph and heavy rain and “towering cumulus clouds.” Cuban media reported no significant damage, however, chalking up Paula as a “good news storm’’ because it helped ease drought conditions.

At 5 p.m., the National Hurricane Center reported the storm was 40 miles southwest of Havana, with sustained winds down to 60 mph. For the Lower and Middle Keys, which had been under a tropical storm watch, it was just another blustery, drizzly day — punctuated by sporadic stronger thunderstorms.

Cottrill said he expected some areas of the Keys would see up to three inches of rain before Paula’s fringe fades away — likely by Friday afternoon.

“It’s not a downpour,” he said. “It’s not going to cause any flooding of significance.”

Still, Paula made for dangerous boating weather — particularly offshore south of Key West, where the forecast was for seas of eight feet. Monroe County took no special steps in preparation for the storm but with Key West just 90 miles from Cuba, marine warnings and a tropical storm watch made sense, Cottrill said.

“It was close enough to the Keys where it warranted us keeping a very close eye on it,” he said. “It may have been a little bit too cautious but we’d rather be safe than sorry.”

On its projected track, Paula would travel along Cuba’s mountainous spine, which forecasters expected would gradually continue the weakening started by strong wind shear and dry air. By Saturday, it was expected to dissolve into a disorganized mass of storms and dip south as it approached the southern Bahamas as a mass of thunderstorms.

Forecasters expected the storm to produce from two to four inches of rain in western and central Cuba, with 10 inches possible in spots. Paula could also produce from two to four feet of storm surge as well as large waves.

-- CURTIS MORGAN, Miami Herald

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Where is Hurricane Paula heading?

Hurricane Paula is reportedly heading towards the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico but after that, what is her destination?

As of 5 a.m. EDT today, this what various computer models, which are always evolving, are saying:

A little more ominous for those of us in Florida is this map showing what "ensemble models" are saying about Paula:

As always, be prepared and keep an eye on the forecasts.

Says Accuweather.com: "Since there is still uncertainty in the track of this system, people from Nicaragua to the Yucatan Peninsula, Cuba, South Florida and the Bahamas should monitor this situation."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The latest on T.D. 16

At 11 p.m. Tuesday, tropical depression No. 16 was about 95 miles south of Havana and 290 miles southwest of Miami, moving northeast at 8 mph with top sustained winds of 35 mph.

On its projected path, the storm would pass over central Cuba, which could see up to 10 inches of rain, sometime late Tuesday, then gain strength and speed as it hits the Florida Straits.

Tropical storm warnings were posted Tuesday from Key West to Jupiter. Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Collier counties were also placed under flood watches.

Forecasters expected the system to strengthen enough overnight to earn the name Tropical Storm Nicole, but the chief concern was rain, not wind.

There could be buckets of it in South Florida, 4 to 8 inches overall, coming down in 2-inches-an-hour torrents at its most intense before tampering off Wednesday night.

Manatee should expect rainfall amounts of a tenth to a quarter of an inch county wide, along with maximum sustained winds of 10 mph and gusts up to 20 mph, according to Rick Davis, meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Ruskin office.

“We expect to see scattered and numerous showers and thunderstorms, and that’ll be for most of Wednesday and into Wednesday night,” said Davis, who added a drier weather pattern is expected to kick in for the rest of the week once the storms get through.

Much of Manatee received light amounts of rain Tuesday, except extreme East Manatee, which saw about 1.5 inches in spots, Davis said.

Tropical depression in Caribbean heads for Cuba

(AP) Cuba geared up for heavy rains and high winds from a tropical depression that formed in the northern Caribbean on Tuesday and was forecast to strengthen before plowing across the island and racing northward toward Florida.

The storm was centered about 160 miles south of Havana on Tuesday afternoon and it was moving north-northeast at 10 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Its projected path would take it directly over the Cuban capital and surrounding provinces.

A tropical storm warning was in effect from Matanzas eastward to Ciego de Avila in Cuba, as well as the northwestern and central Bahamas and in Florida from Jupiter Inlet to the Florida Keys.

Maximum sustained winds were 35 mph, but the depression was forecast to pick up steam and become a tropical storm within hours.

Cuba's chief meteorologist said the weather system was large but disorganized and the heaviest rains were expected to hit east of the storm's center in an area from Matanzas to Las Tunas in eastern Cuba.

"This is a very weak system," Jose Rubiera said. He forecast that top wind speeds would rise to no more than 50 mph. "Those winds will not cause any damage, except possibly to sensitive crops or weak structures."

He said he was more concerned about the rains, which could be intense in some areas.

While the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season has been unusually active, Tuesday's storm is the first to directly threaten Cuba. The island was devastated by three hurricanes in 2008, but was entirely spared last year.

Target Florida?: 'Nicole' may be taking shape in NW Caribbean (UPDATED

 UPDATED, 8:30 a.m. EDT -- As of 8 a.m. EDT, there remain an 80 percent chance that the system would develop into a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours.

"This system has the potential to become a tropical or subtropical cyclone before merging with a frontal system near the Florida peninsula by late tomorrow," the National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory. "An Air Force reserve unit hurricane hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate this system later today."


As of 5:10 a.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center said that with "only a little more organization," a system of thunderstorms in the northwestern Caribbean Sea would turn into a tropical depression or tropical storm.

"Interests in Cuba, the Cayman Islands, the Florida Keys and the central and southern Florida peninsula should monitor the progress of this system," an advisory states.

If the system develops into a tropical storm, it will be named "Nicole."

Here's what the latest computer models say about the system's possible tracks.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Forecaster: New system may threaten Florida

Hurricane watchers are keeping a wary eye on "disorganized" cloudiness and thunderstorms in the northwestern Caribbean extending east from what was Tropical Storm Matthew, with at least one forecaster predicting it will turn into Tropical Storm and/or Hurricane Nicole and possibly head towards Florida -- albeit on the opposite side of the Sunshine State from Bradenton.

Here are the words of caution from Accuweather.com:
The northwestern Caribbean seems to be the favorable spot for development over the next 24 to 48 hours and lies in the heart of AccuWeather.com Hurricane Expert Joe Bastardi's concern area through October.

A developing southerly steering flow over eastern North America would guide that system northward across Cuba and into Florida at midweek then northward along the rest of the Atlantic Seaboard during the second half of the week.

Cities from Miami to Jacksonville, Raleigh, Richmond, Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston may be affected with a blast of heavy rain from south to north with the on-deck tropical system.

Along the Atlantic Seaboard, a strong flow of air, known as wind shear, may limit the strength of such a system.
However, even a mere tropical storm can produce excessive rainfall and locally gusty winds.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Will Manatee have to worry about Matthew?

Manatee County has escaped the wrath of the tropics thus far this hurricane season.

Computer models last week, however, gave a hint that Tropical Storm Matthew could impact Florida.

What about now?

Forecasters just don’t know.

Matthew weakened to a tropical depression Saturday along the coast of Belize, dousing the southern part of the Central American country and neighboring Guatemala with rain that caused flooding in coastal areas.

BayNews9 meteorologist Diane Kacmarik said the computer models now look like a “pretty little flower,” with lines going out in all directions.

The remnants of the tropical depression are expected to be practically stationary over the next day or two. After that, forecasters can only speculate.

Kacmarik said a disturbance could form in the Caribbean in the trail of Matthew, but no computer models have anything on that just yet.

On Saturday afternoon, Matthew had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and was moving inland toward Guatemala and southern Mexico at about 14 mph.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Matthew could unleash 6 to 10 inches of rain, with as much as 15 inches possible in some areas in Belize, Guatemala and Mexico.

Meanwhile, far out over the Atlantic, Hurricane Lisa weakened to a tropical storm and was drifting slowly north with maximum sustained winds near 50 mph.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tropical Storm Matthew could threaten Florida

If Matthew really is a possible threat to Florida, the latest computer models say any impact is still days away.

As of 8 a.m. EDT, here's the National Hurricane Center's current advisory.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

'Lisa' is Atlantic's newest tropical storm

Tropical Storm Lisa has been born in the Atlantic Ocean.

The National Hurricane Center said Lisa was located about 530 miles west-northwest of the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa. Maximum sustained winds were 40 mph, and the storm was moving north at 5  mph.

"A turn towards the north-northwest with a slight decrease in forward speed is forecast on Wednesday, followed by a turn toward the west-northwest on Thursday," the Hurricane Center said in a statement issued at 5 a.m. EDT.

Forecasts can change, but here's a map reflecting what current computer models are saying about Lisa's projected path.

Lisa is the 12th named storm of the current hurricane season.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Igor has slammed into Canada.

Monday, September 20, 2010

'High' chance new system turns into 'Lisa'

The season's newest tropical storm/hurricane may be taking shape in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of 8 a.m. today, there was an 80 percent, or "high," chance that an area of low pressure about 400 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands would develop into a tropical storm within 48 hours as it moves slowly to the northwest.

Most early computer models have the system -- it will be named "Lisa" if it becomes a tropical storm and/or hurricane -- not posing a threat to Florida.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Igor and Tropical Storm Julia are heading towards the north Atlantic.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Weaker Igor still has Bermuda in its sights

Hurricane Igor is churning its way toward an expected Sunday night brush of Bermuda.

At this hour, the storm has sustained winds of 115 mph and is moving pretty methodically at a forward speed of 9 mph.

Igor's forecast track has remained steady over the past few days, with the storm expected to pass just to the east of the island nation.

Find the latest maps and info on Igor here.

Here's a video posted on YouTube of sites around Bermuda on Thursday. We're thinking it'll look much different Sunday.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bermuda square in Igor's path

The five-day forecast track for Hurricane Igor doesn't bode well for Bermuda. The Category 4 storm's projected path passes just to the east of the island.

But even a glancing blow from Igor is expected to be painful. Why? This storm is huge.

Tropical storm-force winds extend 225 miles from the center of circulation, but it's more than that. Check out this story from the Weather Channel's website. It reports that Igor's cirrus cloud canopy is equivalent to the distance of Dallas to New York City.

Another concern: Although Igor is expected to dropped in strength, it is expected to grow in size.

For now, Bermuda can just watch and wait. Until Sunday. That's when Igor is expected to strike or make that glancing blow.

Read the Bermuda Sun newspaper's latest Igor story here.

Find video of Igor from the International Space Station here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Here's Karl; plus more on Julia

Tropical Storm Karl has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the 5 p.m. advisory from the National Weather Service. A storm warning also has been issued for parts of the Mexican coast.

Find maps, forecasts, particulars on Karl here.

Julia, meanwhile, is a minimal hurricane with 85 mph winds at this hour, and moving west-northwestward over the far eastern tropical Atlantic.

Find maps, forecasts, particulars on Julia here.

What's in store for Cat. 4 Igor?

Igor is a monster Category 4 hurricane this afternoon and it’s on a path that could take it dangerously close to Bermuda this weekend, reports AccuWeather.com.

Live on the island or soon traveling there? Take heed, watch your forecasts and be ready to take appropriate action.

Through the end of the week, Igor will remain a powerful storm over the open waters of the Atlantic, passing well north of the Leeward Islands, but still bringing increased waves and swells to the region.

Forecasts call for Igor to remain a Category 4 hurricane over the next day or two.

It should weaken toward the weekend as it starts moving over cooler waters and into stronger wind shear.

Whenever and wherever it passes by Bermuda on Friday night into early Saturday, it’s expected to be at Category 2 or Category 3 strength.

Damaging winds, flooding, rain, extremely rough surf and a storm surge could all be major problems for the island if Igor passes close enough, reports AccuWeather.com, which adds that will be especially true if the eye tracks just to the west of Bermuda, putting the island in the right front quadrant of the storm, where winds are strongest and the storm surge is highest.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Igor threatens to become Category 5

Powerful Hurricane Igor threatened to become a Category 5 storm Monday as it churned far out over the Atlantic Ocean.

Igor was at Category 4 strength with maximum sustained winds near 150 mph (240 kph). But the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Igor could reach Category 5 strength later in the day.

Igor was located about 940 miles (1,515 kilometers) east of the Northern Leeward Islands and was moving west near 13 mph (20 kph). A turn toward the west-northwest was expected Monday night or Tuesday, the hurricane center said.

Also in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Julia was moving westward, away from the southern Cape Verde Islands. Julia was about 85 miles (130 kilometers) west-southwest of the southernmost islands and moving west-northwest near 14 mph (23 kph). The storm's maximum sustained winds were near 40 mph (65 kph).

Officials issued a tropical storm warning for parts of the Cape Verde Islands including Maio, Sao Tiago, Fogo and Brava.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hurricane Igor hits Category 4

Hurricane Igor is living up to its name after rapidly intensifying into a monster Category 4 hurricane Sunday afternoon. The storm could easily become the strongest hurricane of the season to date, AccuWeather reports.

The map is courtesy of Weather Underground at its 5 p.m. update. While Igor poses no threat to land over the next few days, people in Bermuda, Atlantic Canada and along the East Coast should keep track of this storm for potential impacts next weekend and beyond.

The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center reports that Igor's maximum sustained winds were estimated to have increased to 140 mph late Sunday afternoon as the storm headed westward over the south-central Atlantic.

Igor is expected to remain a Category 4 hurricane throughout this upcoming week and could even reach Category 5 status for a time.

Friday, September 10, 2010

System in Caribbean may be next tropical storm

There is a "medium" chance that a low pressure system over the Windward Islands in the Caribbean Sea could develop into a tropical storm within the next 48 hours, according to a National Hurricane Center advisory issued at 8 a.m. this morning.

The system was producing showers and thunderstorms, and appeared to becoming better organized, according to the report.

"Some slow development of this disturbance is possible over the next couple of days as it moves westward to west-northwestward at around 5 mph," the advisory states.

According to maps posted at WeatherUnderground.com, various models differ on where the system may be heading, but one model currently has it crossing eastern Cuba and taking aim at South Florida.

However, an "ensemble model" had the storm heading to landfall in Central America.

If the system is the next to develop as a tropical storm, it will be named Julia.

Meanwhile, Igor had regained strength and was again classified as a tropical storm.

The Hurricane Center in Miami says the storm could become a hurricane by Sunday. Igor remained far from land and was about 465 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands.

Most models had the storm continuing west but then turning north long before it approaches Florida.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tropical Storm Igor forms in the Atlantic.

UPDATED, 11:40 a.m. EDT - Tropical Storm Igor is born. The computer models below remain unchanged.
A "well-defined low pressure area" far, far away near Africa could turn into a tropical depression over the next day or so, and there's a 70 percent chance it will turn into the next tropical storm of this hurricane season as it moves westward, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The system already was producing showers and thunderstorms, and its development will increase as strong upper-level winds above it dissipate.

As of 8 a.m. EDT, the system was located just south of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands and heading west at about 10 mph to 15 mph.

Meanwhile, there was zero chance that disorganized showers and thunderstorms a couple hundred miles southeast of the Dominican Republic -- the remnants of what once was Gaston -- would redevelop into a cyclone, according to forecasters.

It may be too early to start worrying, but here's what computers are saying now about to where the system is heading, according Weather Underground.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tropics are relatively quiet

Hermine, we hardly knew you, and that's more than OK.

Hermine, a fast-developing tropical storm now dumping heavy rains on South Texas, didn't ruin our Labor Day holiday. And according to the National Hurricane Center, there's little on the immediate horizon to worry about.

Still, this is the peak of hurricane center, so we bring you a map showing three areas of disturbance being tracked by forecasters.

From left to right:

  • Disturbance No. 1 - Cloudiness and showers associated with remnants of Gaston are hovering over the Leeward Islands and the northeastern Caribbean. There is a 10 percent, or "low," chance that the system will become a cyclone over the next 48 hours as it moves westward.
  • Disturbance No. 2 -A weak area of low pressure about 350 miles west of the nothernmost Cape Verde Islands is producing disorganized cloudiness and showers. There is a 10 percent chance of it becoming a cyclone over the next 48 hours as it moves westward about about 10 mph.
  • Disturbance No. 3 - Showers and thunderstorms located between the Cape Verde Islands and the West Coast of Africa are associated with a tropical wave that is developing. There is 10 percent chance the system turns into a cyclone during the next 48 hours.
The next three storms strong enough to earn names will be Igor, Julia and Karl.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

11 p.m update on Earl

The center of Earl is passing just east of the Outer Banks of North Carolina at this hour with maximum sustained winds down to a still-hefty 105 mph.

Forecasters still expect a turn to the northeast with an increase in forward speed. A gradual weakening is also expected as it reaches cooler waters.

Find all the latest maps, forecasts and particulars on Earl here.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Earl back up to Cat. 4; watches, warnings extended up Eastern Seaboard

Hurricane Earl has ratcheted back up to Cat. 4 strength with 135 mph winds, according to a 5 p.m. advisory from the National Weather Service.

Hurricane and tropical storm watches and warnings now blanket the Eastern Seaboard from North Carolina to Massachusetts.

A hurricane warning (hurricane conditions expected within 36 hours) is in effect for:

* Bogue Inlet, N.C., northeastward to the North Carolina/Virginia border

A hurricane watch (hurricane conditions possible within 48 hours) is in effect for:
* North of the North Carolina/Virginia border to Cape Henlopen, Del.
* Woods Hole to Sagamore Beach, Mass., including Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

A tropical storm warning (tropical storm conditions expected within 36 hours) is in effect for:
* From Cape Fear to west of Bogue Inlet in North Carolina.
* From North Carolina/Virginia border to Sandy Hook, N.J., including Delaware Bay south of Slaughter Beach and the Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.

A tropical storm watch (tropical storm condition possible within 48 hours) is in effect for:
* Sandy Hook, N.J., to Woods Hole, Mass., including Block Island and Long Island Sound.
* North of Sagamore Beach to the mouth of the Merrimack River, Mass.

Seventh named storm of season forms

Gaston, with 40 mph winds, has formed in the far Atlantic, the National Weather Service said in a 5 p.m. advisory. It poses no immediate threat to any land.

N.C. declares state of emergency ahead of Earl

North Carolina's governor declared a state of emergency Wednesday as evacuation of the coast ahead of Hurricane Earl continues.

Earl's strongest winds are expected to reach the coast Thursday night into Friday morning. Perdue warned residents along the Outer Banks to leave those areas immediately.
Already, hundreds of cars were backed up in traffic on N.C. Highway 12, the sole link between the fragile barrier islands and the mainland.
At 2 p.m., Earl's winds were topping out at 125 mph, less than the 135 mph it had reached earlier this week during its trek across the Atlantic. An Air Force reconnaissance plane, however, indicated that the storm appeared to be re-strengthening, and could reach Category 4 status by later today.
Earl was quickly moving at 17 mph toward the northwest, a motion expected to continue until a gradually turning the north Thursday.
Hurricane-force winds extend 90 miles from the center of circulation, and tropical storm-force winds extend outward 200 miles.

The next update from the National Weather Service is due at 5 p.m.

Find the latest maps, advisories and particulars on Earl here.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Earl to brush Turks and Caicos on path toward U.S.

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos (AP) — Islanders wary of a possible blow from powerful Hurricane Earl pulled boats ashore and packed supermarkets on the Turks and Caicos on Tuesday as the Category 4 storm howled over open seas toward the eastern United States.

The hurricane, with winds of 135 mph (215 kilometers), was expected to remain over the open ocean east of this British territory before turning north and running parallel to the U.S. coast, potentially reaching the North Carolina coastal region by Friday. It was projected then to curve back out to sea, perhaps swiping New England or far-eastern Canada.

“There is still considerable uncertainty as to how close the hurricane will come to the U.S. East Coast,” the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said in a bulletin Tuesday.

Earl delivered a glancing blow to several small Caribbean islands on Monday, tearing roofs off homes and cutting electricity to people in Anguilla, Antigua, and St. Maarten. Cruise ships were diverted and flights canceled across the region. But there were no reports of death or injury.

In Providenciales, Benson Capron was among several fishermen tying their boats to trees lining a beach.

“I hear it is going to pass, but I will not take any chances,” Capron said. “Today I will not go out to fish.”

The Hurricane Center said it was too early to say what effect Earl would have in the U.S., but warned it could at least kick up dangerous rip currents. A surfer died in Florida and a Maryland swimmer had been missing since Saturday in waves spawned by former Hurricane Danielle, which weakened to a tropical storm Monday far out in the north Atlantic.

Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Earl’s approach ought to serve as a reminder for Atlantic coastal states to update their evacuation plans.

“It wouldn’t take much to have the storm come ashore somewhere on the coast,” Fugate said. “The message is for everyone to pay attention.”

The storm’s center passed just north of the British Virgin Islands on Monday afternoon. Despite a few lost fishing boats and several uprooted trees in Tortola and Anegada, there were no reports of major damage or injuries, said Sharleen DaBreo, disaster management agency director.

Early Tuesday, Earl’s center was about 230 miles (370 kilometers) east of Grand Turk island as it headed west-northwest at 13 mph (30 kph), according to the hurricane center. Hurricane strength winds extended up to 70 miles (110 kilometers) from the center, it said.

Tropical storm conditions were expected to spread into the Turks and Caicos by Tuesday afternoon, with a potential for above normal tides and dangerous tides. The territory was under a tropical warning and a tropical storm watch was in effect for the southeastern Bahamas.

Close on Earl’s heels, Tropical Storm Fiona formed Monday afternoon in the open Atlantic. The storm, with maximum winds of 40 mph (65 kph), was projected to pass just north of the Leeward Islands by Wednesday and stay farther out in the Atlantic than Earl’s northward path. Fiona wasn’t expected to reach hurricane strength over the next several days.

The rapid development of Earl, which only became a hurricane Sunday, took some islanders and tourists by surprise.

In Anguilla, several utility poles were down and a couple of roofs had blown away, but it was still too dangerous to go out and assess the full extent of damage, said Martin Gussie, a police officer.

At El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, people lined up at the reception desk, the lights occasionally flickering, to check out and head to the airport. There, more delays awaited.

John and Linda Helton of Boulder, Colo., opted to ride out the storm. The couple, celebrating their 41st wedding anniversary, finished a cruise Sunday and planned to spend three days in Puerto Rico.

“There was a huge line of people checking out as we were coming in, and I thought it was just that summer vacation must be over,” said John Helton, a real estate appraiser. “But we paid for the room, so we might as well stick it out.”

“I don’t think we could get a flight even if we wanted to leave,” Linda Helton added.

In St. Maarten, sand and debris littered the streets, and winds knocked down trees and electricity poles and damaged roofs. But police spokesman Ricardo Henson said there was no extensive damage to property.

In Antigua, at least one home was destroyed but there were no reports of serious injuries. Governor General Dame Louise Agnetha Lake-Tack declared Monday a public holiday to keep islanders off the road and give them a chance to clean up.


Associated Press writers Ben Fox in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, Anika Kentish in St. John’s, Antigua, Judy Fitzpatrick in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, and David McFadden, Mike Melia and Danica Coto in San Juan and contributed to this report.

Storms' right turns keep sparing Florida

One of the first things we look for when we hear of another hurricane in the making in the Atlantic Ocean is the storm's projected path, based on various computer models the experts use to build their forecasts.

Is the storm projected to make a run at or near Florida or will it make a big right turn and stay in the Atlantic?

So far this season, right has been the way go.

Colin did it.

So did Danielle.

And while he made it closer to us than his trouble-making siblings, Hurricane Earl -- which as of 9 a.m. EST today was a Category 4 monster bearing down Puerto Rico -- is forecast to make a turn to the north, perhaps bringing a scare to the Outer Banks of North Carolina later in the week.

Right behind Earl is Tropical Storm Fiona, which as of this morning, was forecast, as well, to turn north long before it reaches Florida.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Danielle brings rip currents to US, dozens rescued

Hurricane Danielle is far out over the Atlantic, but the Category 2 storm is bringing dangerous rip currents to the U.S. East Coast.

Lifeguards had to rescue dozens of swimmers off the Florida coast. Danielle's maximum sustained winds were near 105 mph on Saturday. It is about 355 miles east of Bermuda and is forecast to pass well east of the island. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami has discontinued a tropical storm watch for the island.

Farther out in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Earl is nearing hurricane strength with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. It's expected to become a hurricane Sunday.
A hurricane warning is in effect for several islands in the eastern Caribbean, including Antigua and Montserrat.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Danielle a major hurricane

Danielle is now a major hurricane with sustained winds of 120 mph, according to the 2 a.m. of the National Hurricane Center.

The storm is still expected to make a gradual turn to the north and pass well east of Bermuda.

Swells from Danielle to reach U.S. today

Forecasters say swells churned up by Hurricane Danielle could reach parts of the U.S. East Coast by the weekend and that dangerous surf conditions are expected in Bermuda, though the eye will likely move well east of the island.

National Hurricane Center forecasters said late Thursday that Danielle is expected to become a major hurricane as it moves across the open Atlantic. Danielle had maximum sustained winds near 110 mph.

Farther east, Tropical Storm Earl is racing west over the Atlantic with winds near 45 mph. Forecasters expect Earl to become a hurricane by early Saturday. Another system is following Earl's track and could become a depression soon.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tropical Storm Earl forms; more storms brewing?

Tropical Storm Earl, above, has formed in the open Atlantic Ocean, but the system is far from land.

Earl has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and is expected to become a hurricane by Friday.

Also in the open Atlantic, Hurricane Danielle (see forecast track below) is moving northwest with winds of about 85 mph. The forecast track has Danielle heading toward Bermuda over the next several days.

Conditions have become favorable for a few more tropical systems to form in the Atlantic Basin over the next 10 days, according to AccuWeather.com.

A new disturbance is emerging off the coast of Africa, the origin of many tropical storms and hurricanes during late August through September. Plus, there are three other areas meteorologists are watching for possible development in the upcoming days.

One area lies over the western Gulf of Mexico. A brew of scattered showers and thunderstorms could become better organized over the next few days. Steering currents could take this system westward into Texas or northern Mexico, perhaps reaching depression status.

Depression or not, this feature could deliver flooding downpours to the region as it drifts inland.

Another area worth mentioning is the tail end of an old front off the southern Atlantic Seaboard. While this system is likely to get kicked out and sheared this weekend, it too could organize a low-level circulation beforehand.

Finally, some computer models are cooking up a disturbance near the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, as a tropical wave invades from the east.

-- The Associated Press and AccuWeather.com

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Danielle, soon-to-be Earl at sea for now

Hurricane Danielle continues to churn over the central Atlantic and still has a chance at becoming the season's first major hurricane this week, AccuWeather reports.

Behind Danielle, a tropical depression is forming south of the Cape Verde Islands and could strengthen into Tropical Storm Earl today.

Both storms are likely to stay out to sea. Danielle, which weakened from a Category 2 hurricane to a Category 1 storm this morning, is forecast to regain strength over the next couple of days as it passes to the north and east of the Lesser Antilles. The storm will likely stay east of Bermuda over the weekend. Earl will likely follow a path similar to Danielle.

Of greater threat to the U.S. would be a tropical system that could potentially form in the Gulf of Mexico later this week. This development could happen along a decaying front set to move out over the Gulf Thursday. If a system does form along this front, it will likely be fairly weak.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hurricane Danielle forms in Atlantic

Hurricane Danielle has formed far from land in the Atlantic with winds of 75 mph -- 120 kph -- and it's expected to strengthen in the next couple of days.

Danielle is the second Atlantic hurricane of the year. This afternoon, it was about 1,320 miles (2,120 kilometers) east of the Lesser Antilles islands.

Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami expect the storm to become a major hurricane by Wednesday.

Danielle 'likely' to be hurricane tonight or Tuesday

This just in from AccuWeather:

Chief Hurricane Expert Joe Bastardi has been predicting this 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season to ramp up
starting Aug. 20, and the tropics are doing just that. Bastardi still expects a "frenzy of activity" in the coming weeks.

Since Aug. 20, we've already had one named system form in the Atlantic Basin. A tropical wave that moved from the Caribbean into the Eastern Pacific also became a named storm over the weekend.

The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center is also monitoring the potential for several more new systems to form over the Atlantic Basin this week.


Tropical Depression 6 developed over the central Atlantic Saturday and strengthened into Tropical Storm Danielle Sunday afternoon. Danielle will likely become a hurricane tonight or Tuesday and could even strengthen into a major hurricane toward the end of the week.

Fortunately, odds are against a direct impact on the U.S. Danielle is expected to stay over water this week, passing well north and east of the Lesser Antilles then curving northward over the western Atlantic. This type of path could, however, put Bermuda and Newfoundland at risk.


Another area of disturbed weather that just moved off the west coast of Africa could soon become the next named storm of the 2010 Atlantic Season.

This feature is currently battling dry air to its north. If it can overcome that dry air, the system could develop into Tropical Storm Earl. Computer models show this storm taking a path similar to Danielle.

More developments possible in Gulf

A cold front projected to move into the northern Gulf of Mexico later this week could help to spin up yet another tropical system.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Most active part of hurricane season nears

AccuWeather Chief Hurricane Expert Joe Bastardi is still predicting the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season to be a major one with a significant increase in tropical development just around the corner.

The most active part of hurricane season typically hits Aug. 20 to Sept. 11, annd ther are several features of concern for tropical development across the Atlantic Basin, writes Heather Buchman, meteorologist for AccuWeather.com

The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center is most concerned about a disturbance moving off the west coast of Africa and a tropical wave located just west of the Cape Verde Islands.

Computer models continue to show one of these features developing into a significant tropical system as they head westward across the Atlantic through the early part of next week.

AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Mark Mancuso says this system will bear watching for people along the East Coast of the U.S.

This system could also be the start of what Bastardi calls "an upcoming frenzy of storms, days with two or three storms on the chart."

Bastardi is still forecasting an above-average hurricane season with 18-21 named storms and at least eight impacts on the U.S.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

T.D. 5, we hardly knew ya

Tropical Depression 5, which formed last night in the eastern Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast, has dissipated, according to the 5 p.m. advisory from the National Weather Service.

"This is the last advisory," it stated.

A potential for heavy rainfall along the entire Gulf Coast remains, according to the weather service.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tropical depression forms in Gulf, heads for spill

The National Hurricane Center says a tropical depression has formed in the Gulf of Mexico and it is heading toward the oil spill site off the coast of Louisiana.

BP and Coast Guard officials had already decided to stop drilling on a relief well on Tuesday, before forecasters declared the storm off the southwestern part of Florida was a depression.

A tropical storm warning was issued for much of the Gulf coast affected by the oil spill, from Destin, Fla., to Intracoastal City, La.

The center of the storm was located about 375 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. It was moving northwest about 6 mph with winds of 35 mph.
It was expected to strengthen slowly and become a tropical storm Wednesday.
-- Associated Press

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hurricane Center watching two storm systems

The National Hurricane Center says currently there is a "low" chance that a broad area of surface low pressure producing showers and thunderstorms from the Bahamas, across the Florida Keys and into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico will develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm over the next 48 hours.

But it's enough for officials working on the BP oil spill to keep an eye on the system as it develops -- or fades away.

Meanwhile, there's "high," or 70 percent chance that a system farther out in the Atlantic Ocean develops within the next 48 hours into Tropical Storm or Hurricane Danielle. Computer models, however, indicate that the system will make a big turn to the north long before it approaches Florida.

"A low pressure area located about 900 miles east-northeast of the Leeward Island is moving west-northwestward at 10 to 15 mph," the Hurricane Center said in a statement. "Although shower and thunderstorm activity has recently weakened, any significant organization of the thunderstorms during the next couple of days could result in the formation of a tropical cyclone."

As for where these systems may be heading, look at the maps here and here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Colin cranks it back up

Remember Colin? The tropical system that degenerated earlier this week into a remnant low pressure system?

Well, Colin cranked it back up Thursday, strengthening back into a tropical storm with sustained winds of 60 mph.

As of 11 p.m., Colin was tracking toward Bermuda, but was still 430 miles south-southwest from the British territory out in the Atlantic Ocean.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for Bermuda, meaning tropical storm-force winds could be in the area within 36 hours.

According to the National Weather Service, Colin is expected to pass just west of Bermuda on Saturday, but that just a slight deviation could bring the center of circulation over the island.

Tropical storm-force winds extend 105 miles from the center of circulation.

Some strengthening is forecast for Friday night and Saturday.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Forecasters stick to prediction: 9 hurricanes

Colorado State University forecasters Phil Klotzbach and William Gray are standing pat. In an updated seasonal outlook released Wednesday, they predict a total of 18 named storms, including 10 hurricanes, will develop this year just as they did in June.

However, because one hurricane and two tropical storms already have emerged, they call for 15 named storms, including nine hurricanes, to develop over the rest of the season, which ends Nov. 30.

The main reasons they continue to predict "a very active" season: unusually warm sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and the expected arrival of La Nina, the atmospheric force that promotes tropical storm development.
On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will release its updated seasonal outlook. The agency called for up to 23 named storms, including up to 14 hurricanes, in late May.
-- McClatchy-Tribune

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tropical Storm Colin forms in the Atlantic

Tropical Storm Colin has formed far out in the Atlantic, but early forecasts put it on a track off the U.S. Atlantic seaboard rather than into the Gulf of Mexico, where BP is working to finally plug its blown-out oil well.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the storm has maximum sustained winds near 40 mph (65 kph) early Tuesday and some additional strengthening is expected.

Colin is located about 945 miles (1,525 kilometers) east of the Lesser Antilles and is moving west-northwest near 23 mph (37 kph).

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tropical depression forms in the Atlantic

Associated Press Writer
MIAMI (AP) -- A depression far out in the Atlantic Ocean was probably very near tropical storm strength Monday and early forecasts put it on a track off the U.S. Atlantic seaboard rather than into the Gulf of Mexico, where BP is working to finally plug its blown-out oil well.

The National Hurricane Center said the depression, with maximum sustained winds near 35 mph (55 kph), was expected to strengthen in the next 48 hours and could be a tropical storm by Monday night or Tuesday.

 Dennis Feltgen with the center said conditions over the next five days are not favorable for the depression to develop into a full-blown hurricane.

 Feltgen said the forecast five-day track keeps the storm on the Atlantic side of the nation's coast but that it was unclear yet where, if anywhere, it might come ashore.

 "At this point, we don't see any direct impacts on the Gulf of Mexico," Feltgen said.

 Tropical Storm Bonnie briefly interrupted work on BP's oil spill site last week, after the well was temporarily capped, and the oil company hopes to have a permanent plug in place before hurricane season enters its peak period Aug. 15.

The depression was located about 1,270 miles (2,045 kilometers) east of the Lesser Antilles and moving west-northwest at 16 mph (26 kph).

Hurricane Center: '90 percent' chance 'Colin' is about to be born

The National Hurricane Center this morning says there is a 90 percent chance within 48 hours that a tropical wave making its way across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa will develop into Tropical Storm or Hurricane Colin.

As of 8 a.m. EDT, the "large low pressure system," which was producing showers and thunderstorms, was located about 1,050 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Island. It was well organized and "environmental conditions remain favorable for development and a tropical depression could form at any time during the next day or so," the Hurricane Center said in a statement.

As to where the system is heading, it's too early to tell with any reasonable degree of certainty. But several computer models have the system turning to the north before it becomes anywhere a threat to hit Florida.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The fizzling Bonnie

The 4 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center proved the death knell for Bonnie.

"Bonnie degenerates into a disorganized area of low pressure," it read.

Bonnie, the tropical storm-turned-tropical depression, never strengthened back into a tropical storm after crossing South Florida, thus sparing the northern Gulf Coast significant concern.

"This is the last public advisory issued by the National Hurricane Center on this system," the advisory closed.

As for other action in the Atlantic basin: there is a disturbance in the southern Gulf near the coast of Mexico, but its development isn't anticipated.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bonnie out over the eastern Gulf

Tropical Depression Bonnie's center of circulation has emerged out into the eastern Gulf of Mexico, 75 miles west-northwest of Ft. Myers, as of the 8 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

Maximum sustained winds were still at 35 mph. Present movement was west-northwest at 17 mph.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect from Destin, Fla., to Morgan City, La., including Lake Pontchartrain.

The west-northwest movement is expected to continue, however with a decreased forward speed. Bonnie is expected to reach the northern Gulf Coast late Saturday.

Bonnie could regain tropical storm strength. An Air Force reserve hurricane hunter aircraft will be investigating the storm Friday night into Saturday morning.

Winds will continue to decrease in South Florida while tropical storm-force winds, mainly in squalls, will likely begin along the northern Gulf Coast within the warning area on Saturday.

Additional rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches are possible Friday night across central and South Florida.

Storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 3 to 5 feet above ground level along the immediate coast near and to the right of wherever the center makes landfall on the northern Gulf Coast.

Bonnie downgraded

Tropical Storm Bonnie has weakened to a tropical depression, according to the 5 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

The storm's center is about 35 miles south of Ft. Myers. Its maximum sustained winds are now at 35 mph. It's moving west-northwest at 18 mph.

Tropical Storm Bonnie soaking Miami

As of 11 a.m., the National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Bonnie was centered over Biscayne Bay, closed enough to be giving Miami a soaking.

The Miami Herald reports:
Bursts of wet weather, courtesy of Tropical Storm Bonnie, started during the commute Friday morning in South Florida, with heavy rains in Broward and Miami-Dade, forecasters said.

Bonnie has picked up speed and for South Florida, the worst of it will likely continue into the early afternoon hours.

"It's going to be wet. It's going to be windy,'' said Robert Molleda, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Miami. ``Tropical storm force winds may not seem as threatening as a hurricane, but they're still pretty dangerous."
As of 11 a.m., Bonnie was located about 30 miles south-southwest of Miami and about 130 miles southeast of Fort Myers.

A tropical storm warning for Tropical Storm Bonnie extends from Deerfield Beach on the Atlantic coast of Florida, through the Florida Keys and to Englewood in southern Sarasota County, according to the National Hurricane Center.

On the north Gulf Coast, a tropical storm warning has been issued for from Destin on the Florida Panhandle to Morgan City, La., including Lake Pontchartrain

In addition to the tropical storm warning, a tropical storm watch has been issued for the east coast of Florida from Deerfield Beach to Jupiter Inlet and Lake Okeechobee.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Interactive cone map

Hurricane Watch really likes this new National Hurricane Center feature: an interactive Google tracking map.

You can reload the data to be from any advisory. Here's one difference we saw from the 2 p.m. map to the 8 p.m. map: The northern edge of the cone creeped up from around Marco Island to Bonita Springs, a jog north of about 30 miles.

Bonita Springs is about 100 miles south of Bradenton.

The 8 p.m. Bonnie advisory map

Tropical Storm Bonnie forms on path to Gulf spill

MIAMI (AP) Tropical Storm Bonnie has formed with winds of 40 mph in the eastern Caribbean, on a course that could take it into the BP oil spill zone.

An Air Force plane sent to study the storm determined it had reached tropical storm strength Thursday.

The storm system was raking the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southern Bahamas, and it had caused flooding in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

The system is expected bring heavy winds and rains to the Florida Keys in the next few days.
A forecast map shows that the storm could reach the area of the Gulf of Mexico around the massive oil spill by sometime this weekend, but forecasters say that the path of a storm can be difficult to predict.

Tropical storm warning issued for SW Florida

 The Miami Herald reports on trouble in the tropics:
The National Hurricane Center Thursday morning upgraded the tropical disturbance near the Bahamas to tropical depression three.

Tropical storm warnings have been issued for the center-northwestern Bahamas, and the east coast of Florida from Golden Beach south through the Keys, and on the west coast north to Bonita Springs.

Tropical storm watches have been issued from Golden Beach north to Jupiter Beach and Lake Okeechobee.

Forecasters expect the tropical depression to strengthen to a tropical storm by Thursday afternoon.

An Air Force Hurricane Hunter is on the way to check out the system. The storm is located about 265 miles southeast of Nassau, and about 405 miles east-southeast of Key Largo. It has maximum sustained winds of 35 miles per hour that are expected to strengthen. Its present movement is west-northwest at 15 miles per hour.
As for where the storm may go, this is the map showing the latest computer projections:

Hurricane Center watching second system

The tropics are heating up, with hurricane watchers keeping an eye on a second system in the Gulf of Mexico to see if it develops into a tropical storm or hurricane.

As National Hurricane Center forecasters decrease to 40 percent the chances that a tropical wave between the Bahamas and Hispaniola turns into something worse, shower and thunderstorm activity has increased in an area of low pressure off the Mexican coast in the Bay of Campeche. As of 2 a.m. EDT, there was a 40 percent chance the system would turn into a cyclone during the next 48 hours before coming ashore in Mexico.

Similarly, the other system may prove to be less of a threat to most of Florida. The latest computer models show it taking a path through the Florida Keys, entering the Gulf of Mexico and then heading toward either Louisiana or Texas.

Even if the system remains a tropical wave or depression and doesn't become "Bonnie," it does pose a threat to efforts to permanently shut off the Deepwater Horizon oil well off Louisiana.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tropical wave update

Upper-level winds could become a little more favorable Thursday for development of a tropical wave stalking the Caribbean.

Unfavorable winds and the effects of the high terrain of Hispaniola disrupted the structure of the wave Wednesday morning as it approached the southeastern Bahamas.

Showers and gusty winds extended eastward for several hundred miles. That activity was likely to spread over the Bahamas over the next day or two as the wave moved generally westward at 10 to 15 mph.

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, there was a medium chance, 50 percent, of this system becoming a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours.

Hurrican Center: System won't become depression today

The National Hurricane Center this morning said it does not expect a low-pressure system north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti to develop into a tropical depression today. Still, chances remain at 60 percent that the system will develop into Tropical Storm or Hurricane Bonnie within the next 48 hours, according to a statement issued at 8 a.m.

Showers associated with the tropical wave have decreased, and the system has become less organized, according to the Hurricane Center.

"Consquently, the Air Force reconnaissance mission has been postponed until tomorrow," a statement reads. "A tropical depression is not expected to form today but environmental conditions are still favorable for some development as the system moves toward the west-northwest at about 10 mph away from Hispaniola into the Bahamas on Thursday."

As for possible paths for the system, here's what the latest computer models show:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Eyeing a new storm

The National Hurricane Center on Tuesday gave a tropical wave drenching Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Virgin Islands a better-than-even chance of building into Tropical Storm Bonnie.

Its current west-northwest path, which forecasters expect to continue for several days, would bring strong winds and heavy rain toward Florida by late Thursday.
Computer models forecast it crossing anywhere from Cuba to Central Florida.

The path ahead wasn’t ideal, but atmospheric conditions had improved enough to give the system a high probability, 60 percent, of becoming at least a depression and potentially a tropical storm over the next few days, the center said.

“We’re not expecting the system to quickly develop,” said John Cangialosi, a hurricane specialist at the center.
“It’s favorable enough to gain some additional strength.”

The wave, which at 2 p.m. was about 850 miles east-southeast of Miami, had grown better organized during the day, with some outer rain bands beginning to show signs of curving, Cangialosi said.

There also were signs that some lower-level circulation was beginning to build, a sign of tropical storm formation.

The center was planning to dispatch hurricane hunter planes Wednesday to assess the system.

Here's the latest computer model map from Weatherunderground.com:

Hurricane Center: 'High' chance tropical wave turns into cyclone

 The National Hurricane Center said there is a "high" chance that a tropical wave that extends from the Northern Leeward Islands westward to the island of Hispaniola will develop into a tropical storm or hurricane over the next 48 hours.

"Although the system does not yet have a closed circulation, satellite imagery suggests that a surface low pressure are is becoming better defined just north of the eastern tip of Hispaniola," the Hurricane Center said in a statement released at 2 p.m. EDT. "Environmental conditions are expected to be favorable for additional development as the system moves west-northwestward at about 10 mph during the next day or so."

The system was forecast to produce heavy rains and gusty winds over the next several days in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Domincan Republic, Haiti, eastern Cuba, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas.

As for a projected path for the system, most computer models have the system crossing the Florida peninsula or the Keys and entering the Gulf of Mexico before again hitting land anywhere from the Florida Panhandle to the central Texas coast.

Accuweather.com offered the following guidance:
AccuWeather.com meteorologists are focusing on two potential scenarios.

The first depicts the storm developing, crossing Florida early in the weekend and entering the eastern Gulf of Mexico as a weaker system.

Impacts over the oil spill site in the central Gulf would be less than were caused by Hurricane Alex, which moved through the southern Gulf of Mexico in late June.

The second scenario depicts the system moving through the Florida Keys late in the week, developing into a stronger tropical storm or hurricane. If this were to happen, impacts to the spill site will be increased.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cat. 4 storm 'hits' Manatee County

Photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie

MANATEE — Using the premise that Manatee County just experienced a direct hit from a major hurricane, more than 100 people from various public agencies and private service organizations participated Thursday in an exercise to develop a long-term recovery plan.

The all-day exercise presented a scenario of the fictitious Hurricane Edward with sustained Category 5 winds of 160 mph pushing a storm surge of 15 feet over Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island.

As the hurricane comes ashore at Category 4 strength, the force of the 145 mph winds and the storm surge wipe out most of the barrier islands, even creating breaches to the Sarasota Bay and leaving very few structures and roads in tact.

The elected officials of most of the government entities, their department chiefs and staff, law enforcement and fire department officials, members of the U.S. Coast Guard, some state agency officials, along with several people from public service organizations, such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and United Way, were assigned to specific teams, called Emergency Support Functions.

Having drilled previously on evacuation and immediate response to a disaster, Thursday’s exercise began on the seventh day after the storm struck, and asked participants what their team needed to do to get the county back to normal.

Read more in Thursday's edition of the Herald.

-- Carl Mario Nudi

Find a photo gallery from the drill here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Depression fails to strengthen, dumps plenty of rain

ABOVE: Tony Medina removes belongings from his father-in-law's home Thursday as the Rio Grande floods the Dellwood neighborhood in Laredo, Texas. (AP Photo/San Antonio Express-News, Edward A. Ornelas)


A rain-packed Tropical Depression Two collided with the Texas-Mexico border region Thursday, posing a new threat to cities already struggling with floods along the Rio Grande and its tributaries thanks to last week's Hurricane Alex.

Police in Laredo, Texas, were evacuating people in low-lying areas as the rain-swollen Rio Grande rose to more than 30 feet above flood stage and forced closure of two bridges linking Mexico and the United States. Early reports indicated only minor flooding in homes near the Rio Grande, but the water was still rising near downtown, where the river was to crest Thursday evening.

National Guard troops arrived Thursday to help with evacuations.

Tens of thousands of people already had been forced from their homes in Mexican towns as officials dumped torrents of water into flood-swollen rivers to avoid the risk of dams overflowing out of control due to Alex and its aftermath.

Humberto Moreira, the governor of the border state of Coahuila, said more than 20,000 homes had been flooded in his state alone, and about 80,000 people had "lost all of their furniture."

Gov. Eugenio Hernandez of the border state of Tamaulipas reported the first fatality there; telling an emergency evaluation meeting attended by President Felipe Calderon in the border city of Matamoros that the victim tried to cross a flooded road.

Tropical Depression Two made landfall at South Padre Island late Thursday morning and was expected to dump four to eight inches of rain across the area, with as much as 10 inches in some parts, said the National Weather Service. That rain comes on top of the five to seven inches deposited by Alex.

The rain, saturated ground, swollen rivers and releases from dams upstream have experts closely watching the Rio Grande.

Alfredo Vega, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service focusing on hydrology, said the main flooding concern for the lower Rio Grande Valley was Rio Grande City. The river was already at 49 feet and expected to rise to 52 feet by Saturday, which would take it very close to the level where it causes area flooding by backing up streams that normally feed it.

Hurricane Alex, unusually water-heavy, devastated the major Mexican city of Monterrey, and more than 100,000 people were still without water service this week. At least 12 people died in the flooding, according to Nuevo Leon state officials.

The hurricane's remnants caused rivers to rise across the area, forcing evacuations in Del Rio, Texas, some 110 miles upstream from Laredo, as well as in the Mexican state of Coahuila.

-- Associated Press

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tropical Depression Two forms

The second tropical depression of the Atlantic season has formed Wednesday over the western Gulf of Mexico, according to an 11 p.m. advisory from the National Weather Service.

Tropical Depression Two maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and is moving northwest at 14 mph. It is about 265 east-southeast of Brownsville, Texas.

A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Texas coast, south of Baffin Bay to the mouth of the Rio Grande.

The system is expected to make landfall near the Texas-Mexico border Thursday afternoon or early evening, Rainfall amounts of 4-8 inches are expected with isolated totals up to 10 inches.

Second Atlantic tropical system out there

A week after Hurricane Alex slammed onshore, a new tropical system appears to be aiming at South Texas and northeastern Mexico by Thursday, according to AccuWeather reports. The next tropical storm in the Atlantic will be "Bonnie."

It's not tracking anywhere near the oil spill area, but the system still threatens to disrupt cleanup and containment efforts in the northern Gulf and could lead to flooding along the Texas coast.

The system has just exited the northern Yucatan Peninsula, and reportedly is disorganized. As it heads northwest, it could strengthen into the the second tropical depression or tropical storm of the season by midday Thursday.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hurricane Center: 'Medium' chance storm turns into tropical storm

There was a 30 percent chance that a low pressure system producing cloudiness and thunderstorms in the northwest Caribbean Sea and southwest Gulf of Mexico would turn into a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours, according to the National Hurricane Center.

In a statement released at 2 p.m. EDT, the Hurricane Center said that regardless of development, the system would be causing heavy rains and gusty winds over the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico and western Cuba.

The next tropical storm or hurricane to form in the Atlantic basin will be named, "Bonnie."

A map showing projected paths for the system had it heading towards various spots on the Texas coast.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hurricane Center watching low-pressure systems in Gulf, Caribbean

They are just area of low pressure, but this is hurricane season so the National Hurricane Center is keeping an eye on two weather systems, one in the Gulf of Mexico and the other in the western Caribbean Sea, currently listed as having "low" chances of turning into the next tropical storm or hurricane.

Get the details about the systems here.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Alex, a day later

Nearly 24 hours after it made landfall on the coast of Mexico as a strong Category 2 hurricane, Alex was downgraded to a tropical depression with winds of just 30 mph, according to the 11 p.m. update from the National Weather Service.

The remnants of Alex, which dissipated over the mountains of central Mexico, are still expected to dump several inches of rain.

Here are some of the headlines of Alex, courtesy of the Associated Press:
  • Hurricane Alex ripped off roofs, caused severe flooding and forced thousands of people to flee coastal fishing villages as it hit land Wednesday evening in the border state of Tamaulipas. Power and telephone service were down in several towns and cities.
  • The dry Santa Catarina river that cuts through Monterrey roared to life, sweeping away cars and parts of rickety, wooden homes built along its path.
  • One man died when he was caught by a torrent of water along a six-lane highway. Another man was found drowned by the side of a creek.
  • There were reports of 16 inches of rain in some areas of Mexico by Thursday night.
  • Raging winds knocked down hundreds of trees, telephone posts and traffic lights in the Matamoros area and farther south along Mexico's northern Gulf coast. Power and telephone service was out in San Fernando, a town near where Alex made landfall, and in the state capital of Ciudad Victoria.
  • The Mexican Navy reported it had rescued seven people Wednesday from a fishing boat that ran aground on the remote, low-lying Gulf island of Cayo Nuevo, about 130 miles off the Mexican coast, amid high waves and heavy rain. The fishermen had to be pulled off the key by rescue divers.
  • Alex whipped up high waves that frustrated oil-spill cleanup efforts on the other side of the Gulf of Mexico and delivered tar balls and globs of crude onto already soiled beaches.