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.