Saturday, July 27, 2013

Dorian disintegrates

The weather system formally known as Dorian disintegrated Saturday afternoon into what forecasters call a tropical wave, the National Hurricane Center reported.

At 5 p.m. Saturday, wind data from satellites indicate that Dorian is no longer circulating. although the remnants of the system, now with gale-force winds of 40 mph, moving rapidly westward at 24 mph.

Gale-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles north of the center.

The 5 p.m. satellite image:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tropical Storm Dorian is weakening in the Atlantic as it continues to roll toward the Caribbean.

At 5 p.m. Friday, Dorian was about 1,100 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. It was moving west at 22 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm is expected continue along that path for the next 48 hours.

Satellite images show that Dorian is disorganized and additional weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center.

The latest forecast track:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dorian pushing 60 mph winds toward Caribbean

Tropical Storm Dorian continues to move slowly toward the Caribbean with 60 mph winds extending 60 miles from it's center.

At 5 p.m. EDT, Dorian's center was about 1,600 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, moving west at about 17 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm could strengthen in the next 48 hours as it moves over warmer waters.

It is still too far away from land to trigger any coastal watches or warnings, but the forecast track of the storm could put in north of Puerto Rico by Monday afternoon:

Dorian gaining strength but slowing down

Tropical Storm Dorian is still plodding westward, growing in intensity but slowing its pace across the Atlantic.

At 5 a.m. EDT, Dorian's center was about 700 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm was moving west-northwest at 17 mph and is expected to take a more westerly direction in the next few days.

It is still too far away from land to trigger any coastal watches or warnings. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours.

Tropical storm force winds now extend outward up to 60 miles from the center.

The latest forecast track:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dorian still moving as second system appears

Tropical Storm Dorian is still in the open Atlantic moving west at about 20 mph, the national Hurricane Center reported this afternoon.

At 5 p.m., the center of the storm was about 505 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph with higher gusts. This general motion is expected to continue during the next couple of days.

There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

Forecasters say slight weakening is possible Thursday as Dorian moves over cooler water.

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center.

The hurricane center is also watching a new low pressure system forming about 500 miles east of Bermuda. Forecasters say the system, which is moving northwest, has only a 20 percent chance of developing into a tropical storm in the next 48 hours.

The latest satellite image:

Dorian is season's fourth named storm

That weather system in the eastern Atlantic has formed into Tropical Storm Dorian.

At 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dorian's center was about 410 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands, the National Hurricane Center is reporting. Dorian is moving toward the west-northwest at about 21 mph.

Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph, and extend 45 miles from the center.

The expected track of the storm could take it near Puerto Rico by Monday morning. Forecasters say, however, that while the storm could strengthen today, cooler water in its path should help weaken the storm by Thursday.

The forecast track:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

System forming quickly in eastern Atlantic

The National Weather Service says a surface low pressure system in the Atlantic off the west coat of Africa has a good chance -- 60  percent -- of becoming a tropical system.

Forecasters say the system, a couple of hundred miles south of the Cape Verde Islands is moving westward at about 10 mph., with well-defined circulation.

The system only needs a small increase in the amount and organization of thunderstorm activity to form a tropical depression, the weather service's 2 p.m. advisory said.

The latest satellite imagery:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

So long, Chantal

Tropical Storm Chantal officially became a memory Wednesday afternoon as data from a reconnaissance plane revealed the storm had degenerated into a tropical wave.

At 5 p.m., the remnants of Chantal were expected to spread over Jamaica and eastern Cuba Wednesday night and Thursday, reaching Florida by Friday. Tropical storm force winds up to 45 mph could still affect Haiti and eastern Cuba during the next day or so.

The system is expected to dump 3-6 inches of rain over Hispaniola.

Chantal weakens over Hispaniola; some watches discontinued

Tropical Storm Chantal weakened significantly overnight, and may even be downgraded to a tropical wave later today forecasters said Wednesday.

At 8 a.m., maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph, down from 65 mph Tuesday afternoon. Chantal is expected to pass over the Dominican Republic and Haiti Wednesday, where authorities warned of possible landslides and heavy flooding.

A reconnaissance aircraft was scheduled to fly into the storm Wednesday morning. Signs that the storm is falling apart prompted a hurricane watch to be discontinued for the Dominican Republic's southern coast, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

However, a tropical storm warning was still in effect for the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, and the southeastern Bahamas.

The National Hurricane Center said that on the current forecast track, Chantal's center will be moving near or to the south of Hispaniola and over eastern Cuba on Thursday. However, if the system unravels, remnants will move rapidly westward.

The 8 a.m. forecast track map:

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Manatee County now "inside the cone"

The 5 p.m. updated forecast track of Tropical Storm Chantal has Manatee County on the fringe of what forecasters call the cone of uncertainty; that is, there's a possibility the storm could head our way.

Even if it doesn't pass directly over Manatee County, experts warn that the area could still feel the effects of the storm.

"A tropical cyclone is not a point. Their effects can span many hundreds of miles from the center," the National Hurricane Center posts on its web site. Since Chantal's tropical force winds are now being felt 90 miles from its center, it wouldn't take a direct hit for Manatee to see damage.

At 5 p.m., the government of the Bahamas has issued a tropical storm warning for the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands and a tropical storm watch for the central Bahamas.

A tropical storm warning has been extended to include the entire coast of Haiti, while warnings for Martinique and Guadeloupe have been discontinued.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Barahona to Samana in the Dominican Republic

A tropical storm warning is in effect for:
  • Puerto Rico
  • Entire coast of the Dominican Republic
  • Entire coast of Haiti
  • Turks and Caicos
  • Southeastern Bahamas

A tropical storm watch is in effect for:
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Vieques and Culebra
  • Central Bahamas
The 5 p.m. map:

Chantal gets a little stronger

Tropical Storm Chantal is picking up strength as it blows past the Windward Islands Tuesday, the National Weather Service is reporting.

At 2 p.m. EDT, data from ground observations in Martinique and a reconnaissance plane indicate the storm's maximum sustained winds near its center are 65 mph. It continues to move west-northwest at 29 mph, tracking toward Hispaniola. 

Tropical storm-force winds extend 90 miles from the center, forecasters say.

A hurricane watch is in effect from Barahona to Samana in the Dominican Republic. Tropical storm warnings and watches have been posted throughout the eastern Carribean.

The latest five-day projected track:

Chantal expected to parallel Florida's east coast by the weekend

Tropical Storm Chantal continues to move west toward Florida Tuesday morning with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph.

The forecast track has the storm eventually moving north along Florida's east coast by the weekend.

At 8 a.m. Chantal was about 45 miles north-northwest of Barbados and 85 miles east of St. Lucia, moving west at 29 mph.

Chantal’s center will move away from the Lesser Antilles later today and expected to be over the Dominican Republic by Wednesday, forecasters say.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for:
  • Barbados
  • Dominica
  • St. Lucia
  • Martinique
  • Guadeloupe
  • Puerto Rico
  • Southern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the Haitian border.

A tropical storm watch is in effect for:.
  • St. Vincent
  • U.S. Virgin islands
  • Vieques and Culebra
  • Northern coast of the Dominican republic
  • Haiti
  • Turks and Caicos
  • Southeastern Bahamas

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A new system to watch

The National Weather Service has spotted a strong tropical wave over the eastern Atlantic about 950 miles southwest of the Cape Verde islands.

The shower and thunderstorm activity continues to show some signs of organization. Forecasters say there's a 30 percent chance of the system, shown outlined in orange below, becoming a tropical storm in the next 48 hours as it moves westward at 20 to 25 mph.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Keeping an eye on the southern Gulf

National Weather Service forecasters are watching an area of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday morning.

A broad trough of low pressure is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms across the eastern Gulf of Mexico southward into the northwestern Caribbean sea.

Upper-level winds could become marginally conducive for development during the next couple of days while the disturbance moves generally westward.

The weather service is only giving it a 10 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Dalila meandering off the Pacific Coast

The fourth named storm of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season formed Tuesday off the west coast of Mexico.

Hurricane Dalila is about 190 miles southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, and is creeping westward into open water.

Dalila's maximum sustained winds are at 75 mph, with winds reaching 8-0 miles from its center.

The storm, at this point, is no threat to land. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

Manatee under flood watch through Wednesday

MANATEE -- Bradenton and much of the region are under a flood watch through Wednesday morning, as forecasters predict continued heavy rains, according to the National Weather Service.

Early Tuesday, the Weather Service said: "The potential for additional heavy rainfall today on top of some considerable totals already achieved since Sunday will create a concern for flooding in west central and southwest Florida."

For Bradenton on Tuesday, the Weather Service is calling for mostly cloudy skies, with a high near 88 and southerly winds around 15 mph. Gusts could reach 22 mph.

The chance of rain is 70 percent, with showers likely all day and thunderstorms likely after 2 p.m.

Tuesday night, showers and storms are likely before 2 a.m. The chance of rain is 60 percent.
The expected low is around 74.

Read more here:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Barry comes ashore neat Veracruz

Tropical Storm Barry made landfall at about 9 a.m. Thursday just north of Veracruz, Mexico.

Its maximum sustained winds were holding at 45 mph, heading west -- away from the U.S. -- at about 5 mph.

Barry is expected to weaken as the day goes on and become a "remnant low" pressure system by late tonight or Friday.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say the storm could dump up to 10 inches of rain in some areas, causing flash floods and mudslides in the mountains of central Mexico.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Barry forms in southern Gulf

The second tropical storm of the young 2013 season -- Barry -- formed in the southern Gulf of Mexico Wednesday.

According to the National Weather Service, at 5 p.m. EDT, Barry's center was about 70 miles east of Veracruz. It was heading west at 6 mph, away from the U.S., expected to hit the Mexican coast sometime Thursday morning.

Data from an Air Force reconnaissance aircraft say maximum sustained winds have reached 40 mph, with higher gusts.

The weather service says the 70-mile-wide storm is expected to weaken once it hits the coast.

The storm is expected to produce heavy rain and possible flash floods in the mountainous areas of Central Mexico.

System in southern Gulf expected to strengthen but stay south

Forecasters say a tropical depression crossing Mexico's Bay of Campeche is getting better organized and is expected to become a tropical storm before making landfall along Mexico's Gulf Coast.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the Atlantic season's second tropical depression is drenching areas in its path with up to 10 inches of rain in some places, raising the threat of flash floods.

The depression formed Monday off Belize and was about 115 miles east of Veracruz, Mexico, Wednesday morning. It is expected to strengthen before making landfall Thursday morning near Veracruz.

The storm has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph). A tropical storm warning is in effect from Punta El Lagarto to Barra de Nautla.

The storm is expected to track due west, across the mountainous Mexican peninsula.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Could this storm become Barry?

A tropical depression has formed off the coast of Belize and forecasters say it is expected to bring as much as 5 inches of rain to parts of Belize, Guatemala and northern Honduras.

Keep informed here as we update this report on .

Read more here:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rain totals already significant

This update from Bay News 9, as of 5:30 p.m.:

A Tornado Watch remains in effect for all of Tampa Bay until 10 p.m.
The Florida Highway Patrol closed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge just before noon due to excessive winds of more than 40 mph. It remains closed.
At least three inches of rain pounded parts the Bay area, along with gusty conditions and the chance of more tornadoes. Multiple parts of the Bay area already received more than three inches of rain early in the day.
Rain totals as of 4 p.m.
West Largo 4.88
Seminole  3.85
St. Pete/Clearwater Airport  3.61
Bradenton  2.44
Lakeland Highlands 2.44
Citrus Park 3.03
Cheval 3.35
Land O Lakes 3.32
Port Richey 2.10
Hudson 2.69
Brooksville 1.65
As of 5 p.m., Andrea is located at 29.5 N, 83.4 W with winds of 65 mph. The storm is moving NNE at 17 mph and is about 99 miles W of Tampa.
Looking ahead, rain chances drops off dramatically on Friday.

Manatee, Sarasota may be out of TS Andrea's tentacles

A National Weather Service warning about a tornado threatening parts of Manatee and Sarasota counties has been allowed to expire.

"The storm that produced the tornado has now weakened and is no longer capable of producing severe weather," the Weather Service said in an update issued at 1:15 p.m.

In earlier alerts, the Weather Service said a tornado was threatening Lakewood Ranch, Parrish, Duette and Myakka City, the latter of which was struck by a separate tornado early Thursday.

The violent weather was spawned by Tropical Storm Andrea in the Gulf of Mexico.

Most of the region does remain under a tornado watch until 10 p.m. Thursday.

Click here for the latest on's coverage of TS Andrea, including a tornado that struck before sunrise in Myakka City. 

Read more here:

Myakka City smacked by tornado; no injuries reported

The back half of woodcarver Rod Green's worshop was demolished Early Thursday morning by a tornado near Myakka City. JIM DE LA/Bradenton Herald

Read more here:

MYAKKA -- The sound of a cell phone text alert told Herb Loynd to gather his family and take cover.
Just before 3 a.m. Thursday, a tornado touched down near Myakka City, doing property damage but causing no injuries, authorities are reporting.

"My phone woke us up and told us to take cover," Loynd said.

He said the family huddled in the hallway of his house on stilts a few dozen yards from State Road 70.
"I opened the window, and you could feel the rumbling," he said. "Stuff went everywhere."

Read more here, including updates later Thursday.

Read more here:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tropical Storm Andrea forms in Gulf

The swirling mass of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico now has a name: Tropical Storm Andrea.

A news release from the National Hurricane Center in Miami says a reconnaissance aircraft spotted a well-defined area of circulation over the central Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday afternoon.

The storm is expected to dump 5-7 inches of rain on Manatee County, starting Wednesday night.

A tropical storm warning was issued a 6 p.m. from Boca Grande north to the Ochlockonee River. The National Weather Service upgraded the mass of low pressure to tropical storm status Wednesday evening after a reconnaissance aircraft spotted a well-defined area of circulation over the central Gulf of Mexico.

At 6 p.m., Andrea was 310 miles southwest of Tampa moving north at 3 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.

A flood watch has been issued for most of Southwest Florida, including Manatee County through 8 p.m. Thursday. A flood watch means that flooding is possible during the next 24 to 48 hours. Residents in flood-prone areas should take action to protect property.

Coastal flood and high surf advisories have also been issued for the area until 8 p.m. Friday.

The weather service predicts 5- to 7-foot waves with large breaking surf and rip currents at area beaches through Friday. High tides may run 1 to 3 feet above normal.

Barricades are already up in flood-prone areas of Anna Maria Island and sandbags are being distributed.

“We always have sand available for residents,” at North Bay Boulevard and North Shore Drive, said Diane Percycoe, the city’s finance director and emergency manager. Sandbags can also be picked up at city hall, 10005 Gulf Drive.

City workers are also cleaning out storm drains in anticipation of heavy rains, Percycoe said.

Officials in Holmes Beach, Bradenton Beach and Longboat Key all report they are ready for flooding in low-lying areas and are monitoring weather reports.

Even odds that tropical system will form, forecasters say

There's now a 50-50 chance that the area of low pressure heading our way could become a subtropical or tropical storm, the National Weather Service says.

A satellite photo taken at 8 a.m. Wednesday.
The odds have been steadily increasing since the system began dumping large amounts of rain on western Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula at the beginning of the week.

An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is on call to make a flight into the system this afternoon if forecasters deem it necessary, the weather service reported.

At 8 a.m., the broad area of low pressure is producing a number of disorganized thunderstorms and strong gusty winds. Forecasters say environmental conditions could become a little more conducive for development over the next day or so, becoming a tropical depression by late Thursday.

The next update from the National Weather Service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Weather system coming our way

Manatee County is in for a soaking this week, as a large low pressure system works it way up the Gulf of Mexico.

Thomas Dougherty, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Ruskin, says the system is causing heavy rains in western Cuba and the Florida Keys and will reach our area by Thursday.

Manatee should expect to see at least five inches of rain between now and Saturday. “At least an inch a day, through Saturday, with more rain in isolated areas,” he said. “We’ll have some big numbers in the next few days,” Dougherty said Tuesday.

While forecasters don't expect the disorganized system to form into a tropical storm, the chance of that happenig has gone up from 30 percent ot 40 percent Tuesday. They say they'll have a better idea of what will happen in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Manatee County officials are keeping a close eye on the weather, said Steve Simpson, emergency operations manager with the Manatee County Department of Emergency Management. “We’re looking for rain, and possibly some flooding,” he said Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hurricane Barbara to weaken before reaching Gulf of Mexico Thursday

Hurricane Barbara, on the southern coast of Mexico, is expected to cross over land into the Gulf of Mexico by Thursday but will pose little threat, the National Hurricane Center predicts.

A 2 p.m. Wednesday, Barbara a minimal hurricane, moving north-northeast at 9 mph with maximum winds at 75 mph. By early Thursday, the system should weaken significantly and move into the southern Gulf as what forecasters are calling a "remnant low."

Barbara is expected to dissipate within the next day or so, dumping an average of 6-10 inches of rain in eastern Oaxaca and western Chipas, Mexico.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

NOAA says prepare for active hurricane season

Federal forecasters are predicting yet another busy hurricane season. People living along the Gulf coast should consider themselves warned -- officially.

If you live in hurricane prone areas along the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico coasts, "This is your warning," acting NOAA administrator Kathryn Sullivan said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there is a 70 percent chance that this year will be more active than an average hurricane season.

The NOAA forecast agrees with the prediction issued earlier this spring by experts at Colorado State University. 

Thursday's outlook by the NOAA calls for 13 to 20 named storms, 7 to 11 that strengthen into hurricanes and 3 to 6 that become major hurricanes.

Last year was the third-busiest on record with 19 named storms. Ten became hurricanes and were two major storms, with winds over 111 mph.

That included Sandy, which caused $50 billion in damage even though it lost hurricane status when it made landfall in New Jersey, the Associated Press reported.

The last time a major hurricane made landfall in the United States was Wilma in 2005. The seven year U.S. landfall drought is the longest on record.

 All the factors that go into hurricane forecasts are pointing to an active season, or extremely active one, said lead forecaster Gerry Bell of the Climate Prediction Center.

Those factors include: warmer than average ocean waters that provide fuel for storms, a pattern of increased hurricane activity, the lack of an El Nino warming of the central Pacific Ocean, and an active pattern of storm systems coming off west Africa.

The six-month season starts a week from Saturday, June 1.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

2013 storm season is off and running

More than two weeks before the official start of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season and the year's first named storm has appeared.

The newly upgraded tropical storm -- named Alvin -- has formed in the eastern Pacific about 665 miles southwest of Acapulco. Alvin is moving west-northwest, away from land, at about 12 mph with maximum sustained winds at 46 mph.

It's supposed to strengthen over the next few days and is likely to become a hurricane.

While it's no threat to Florida, it could point to a busier than normal year for big storms. See our May 1 post for more on that. And stay tuned to this blog as the Bradenton Herald cranks up coverage for the 2013 season.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hurricane workshop May 23 in Lakewood Ranch

Find out what local emergency officials have learned from last year's storms at a presentation at 7 p.m. May 23 at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall.

Steve Simpson, emergency operations manager with the Manatee County Department of Emergency Management, and others will share lessons learned from Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, explain the storm surge and flood zone maps for Manatee County, and discuss emergency evacuation routes.

Members of the Lakewood Ranch Community Emergency Response Team will also be on hand.

Residents will also learn how the county emergency shelter system operates, the location of pet-friendly shelters, and arrangements for the elderly and special needs populations. Additional information will be provided about storm supplies to have on hand and how to provide for needs during the post-storm recovery period.

Information: 941-749-3507.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

If you believe the odds, Manatee County likely to have quiet hurricane season

Professor William Gray and research scientist Philip Kloztbach from Colorado State University's Department of Atmospheric Science have become the go-to guys in the last few years as hurricane predictors.

The pair have been making predictions about hurricane season for the last 30 years. Last month, they released their report for the 2013 season, which starts June 1. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be releasing its forecast later this month.

The overview: In the Atlantic this year, we can expect 18 named storms, nine of them hurricanes. Four of those will be major hurricanes.

It's very similar to last year, where there were 19 named storms, nine of which attained hurricane strength.

But delving deeper into their CSU research, they predict landfall probability by region, and by individual county. 

The CSU data suggests there's a 1.2 percent chance of a hurricane coming ashore in Manatee County. There's even a smaller chance (0.7 percent) of a major hurricane hitting Manatee.

There a much larger chance (27.9 percent) of tropical storm force winds hitting Manatee County. That's wind of 40 mph or more.

You can read the entire forecast and the supporting documentation here

Thursday, April 11, 2013

'Sandy' retired from hurricane list

The World Meteorological Organization has decided that no tropical storm or hurricane will ever be named "Sandy" again.

Storm names typically repeat every six years in both the Atlantic and eastern Pacific basins, according to the Weather Channel.

But when a storm occurs that is particularly memorable for its cost of lives or property, the WHO retires the name.

"Sandy" becomes the 77th name to be officially retired from the Atlantic list since 1954.

Sandy did extensive damage last year in Cuba and Jamaica before slamming into the northeastern U.S.

"Sara" will replace "Sandy" in 2018.

For those for us gearing up for the 2013 season, here are the names for this season's storms: