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 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 "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."