Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tropical Depression 2... Still Alive. Forecast to weaken...

Let's look at the newest cone for Tropical Depression #2

Here's a view from the NHC site of the Depression

I look at this image from the NHC & all I can think is...
"Wow! Look at the wave behind TD 2!!"
It's hard to see the small cyclone that is TD 2 because their red circle is directly over it.
But it is worth noting there are waves behind it coming off of Africa

Let's look close up at the TD2

A healthy looking strong red ball.
Ironically we've had better bigger Tropical Storms that didn't have this perfect a center.
Alas... it's not forecast to live much longer according to the NHC.
A bigger question is how did it form and maintain itself this long?

So let's talk about Tropical Depression #2...

He is surrounded by dry air as has been stated over and over by everyone at the NHC. Still... TD2 keeps hanging in there firing up and then looking weak and then firing up. I'm sure there are few meteorologists who take this personally who would like to seed it with pamphlets saying "Die TD2, Die!!"

Being silly, but honestly it's easy to say it will fall apart. Not because of dry air (which hasn't stopped it from forming) but from shear as it approaches the Lesser Antilles. That's what I've heard.

However when you look at this image showing shear I don't see it being that bad.

If I look around look enough I could find a graph that shows a worse scenario.. 
There's always an image to try and prove whatever point you are trying to prove.

The NHC says this about TD2

1100 PM AST TUE JUL 22 2014

The tropical depression is producing a little more deep convection
than it was earlier today.  Satellite images indicate that the
convective pattern consists of a small circular area of
thunderstorms near the estimated center, with limited banding
features surrounding it.  The initial wind speed remains 30 kt
based on a Dvorak classification from TAFB and ADT values from

The global models show the depression becoming highly titled in the
vertical during the next day or so due to a substantial increase in
shear.  These unfavorable environmental winds combined with a dry
air mass should prevent significant strengthening.  The cyclone is
forecast to become a remnant low or open into a trough in 36 to 48
h, but this could occur sooner as suggested by some of the models.

The depression is moving west-northwestward at about 16 kt.  An even
faster westward to west-northwestward motion is predicted, taking
the depression, or its remnants, across the the Lesser Antilles
late Wednesday or on Thursday."

So what will be?

It's hard to say really. Easy money is on this small, but stubborn system to finally give up the ghost.

But for now I'm just watching her confound her critics and keep moving west.

Let's look at the moisture loop that shows how she has more moisture available than anyone really says in discussion. She is small, very small but she has moisture around her.

The 2 shows TD 2 and the pink is moisture ahead of her that she keeps utilizing. 
TD 2 is what you call an over achiever.

latest_wv_loop.gif (535×440)

The loop above that may or may not show up for you... shows TD2 pulsing up again after going dim. It's the loop used by most meteorologists who want to prove how there is no way for TD2 to ever become Bertha.

This is the image that the NHC is referring to when they said "The tropical depression is producing a little more deep convection than it was earlier today."

Truth is I'm like most of you. I go on and off all day looking at the satellite loops thinking.. "is it still there?" "Did it fall apart yet?" "Come on be there" because it's become a drama of sorts that is huge despite the small size of TD2.

Again why do we care if it's there??

Because the models show the following:

Here's another:

Note a path over the islands would, could be a problem.


She is here in the tomorow still...

I want to highlight one last thing... 

Off the East Coast there is an area mildly worth watching. Not officially, but hey the area has been ripe so far this year so I wouldn't count it out. A new cold front should pick it up and blow it out to sea but still.. I'm watching. Always watch the tail end of stalled out frontal boundaries.

On a personal note I'm in Tampa tonight. Beautiful city, great lighting storms and wandering around with my brother on a family quest looking at mostly empty lots where my family once lived in what was once upon the time known as Tampa Heights. And where my Great Uncle had cigar store offices in the Tampa Bay Hotel and offices in Ybor City.

Besos Bobbi... 
Stay tuned.. it's not over ... til it's over :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

TD 2 Forms in the Atlantic. Low Confidence by NHC in their Forecast & her ability to be Bertha...

Good call for a small, solid cyclone that is rolling west just underneath a wall of Saharan Dust. No over hype... good logical discussion.

It is what it is and it is a Tropical Depression.

Salient part of the discussion is quoted below:

"The initial intensity of 30 kt is based on data from the ASCAT pass.
The environment is marginal, at best, for development during the
next couple of days, as the depression will be moving over marginal
SSTs and into a region characterized by dry air and subsidence as it
approaches the Caribbean Sea. Most of the global model guidance and
the HWRF shows the system weakening and dissipating by 48 to 72
hours. The official forecast follows suit, but the cyclone could
dissipate sooner than shown here. The SHIPS and LGEM intensity
forecasts seem much too high in this scenario, and are not given
much weight in the official forecast."

"Note that the global models are having a difficult time tracking the small
vortex, and confidence in the details of the track forecast is lower
than usual."

Note they end the discussion by saying confidence is low in the forecast... the details. And, yes the devil is often in the details. IF things change down the line they will change their forecast as they always do as is warranted.

Small cyclones do not translate well with the big global models. Often details get lost in the translation. An example of that is that none of the big models picked up development today in the Atlantic.  She is small, but she is also solid. She has a window of opportunity to pull herself together, get a name and have a fighting chance with the shear and dry air.

The new models on the block are not impressed. SHIPS is... so time will prove which ones were right.

She is solid looking right now. How she managed to develop is up for discussion and is being discussed, but my job is to give you the facts in a way that you can understand without a Masters in Meteorology.  

She is what she is... despite the Saharan Dust and less than perfect conditions. She is, like many other storms, a product of the Monsoon Trough that is out in the Atlantic. At some point some storms spin and continue on their own when they leave that region. Think of it like a child learning to ride a bike with training wheels. For now she is holding her own and moving fast, despite the negative discussion written by the NHC on their doubts on her even making it to be a Tropical Storm let alone Hurricane. I would not be surprised to see her become Tropical Storm Bertha. 

She has a long way to go and she's rolling along fast so we will know soon enough!

Official stats currently:

LOCATION...11.6N 43.8W

If she continues to surprise the NHC and continues to develop the models show her moving into a part of the tropics where she would really need to be watched.

I don't want to hype this storm.
I don't want to be a naysayer either.

It's just the honest truth that it is up to Tropical Depression 2 to keep doing what she has done all day and continue to impress us. Or she can give up...  It's the ones that do not give up that often go on to be memorable storms. Keep that in mind.

One thing worth remembering is that if she continues to intensify and exist she moves into warmer waters. Yes, there is shear and yes there is dust .... but that didn't bust her up from getting this far so logic and experience says that often a storm learns to function in negative conditions. She wouldn't be the first or the last. 

Keep watching... she seems to enjoy putting on a show. Is she a one hit wonder or will she continue to entertain us with her dust buster moves?

Besos Bobbi

Invest 92L Goes Red 70% Chance ... Will it be Bertha This Evening?

Tropics are alive and kicking.

Model Tracks

Despite the Saharan Dust breathing down it's back it has managed to come together well enough today to impress the NHC to upgrade it to 70% chances. 

Worth noting that small cyclones are less likely to be picked up in advance by models or handled very well. If and when we get recon in there we would get better data. It was obviously there the last few days but without much model support few would talk on it expecting the dust to get it before long. That still could happen, but it's looking pretty impressive this afternoon.

Question remains can Invest 92L... possibly TS Bertha go the distance?

Please read the earlier post as the thinking is still the would be the track. Note the current track puts the SE Coast under the gun after it would tangle with Haiti and/or Cuba...or it could ride up and over the island. First it has to form...then it has to stay together. Talk about a long shot!

Besos Bobbi

Will Invest 92L Become Tropical Storm Bertha? Where would Bertha Go? What is in a Name? Bertha 1996...

Fast changing situation as the NHC puts out a "special outlook" hours ahead of their normal update.

ABNT20 KNHC 211507

1110 AM EDT MON JUL 21 2014

For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:

Special outlook issued to update discussion of system in the
central tropical Atlantic.

Updated: Shower activity associated with a small area of low
pressure located about midway between the Cape Verde Islands and the
Lesser Antilles has increased a little during the past few hours.
Although this activity remains limited, it continues to show signs
of organization. Satellite data also indicate that a closed
circulation could be forming and that the system is producing a
small area of winds near tropical storm force. A tropical depression
could develop during the next couple of days while the system moves
westward to west-northwestward at 15 to 20 mph. After that time
however, environmental conditions are expected to become less
conducive for development. Interests in the Lesser Antilles should
monitor the progress of this system.
* Formation chance through 48 hours...medium...50 percent.
* Formation chance through 5 days...medium...50 percent.

Forecaster Brennan/Roberts"

And suddenly there was a yellow X that has been updated to an Orange X and there is an Invest in the Atlantic.

After days of posting predictions of nothing happening for the next 48 hours....the NHC put up a yellow X this morning with 20% chance of development citing the difficulties down the road for this system. Then, suddenly, this morning based on satellite imagery and model support they put out a Special Outlook hours ahead of their normal update scheduled for this afternoon.

I wouldn't be surprised if they issue advisories at 5Pm or later this evening if it continues organize to the way it has been doing all day.

Invest 92L has a very tightly, recognizable low level center that is moving quickly west. It is a small system and small systems often spin up quickly and models do not always work well with small systems. The SHIPS model likes it so much it predicts it will become a Tropical Storm soon and even shows it nearing hurricane strength in 120 hours. Note RaleighWX is not predicting that, they are just showing what the models show...

Why would we worry on this so far out? Because if Bertha does form from this the models show a classic Cape Verde Track up and over or through the islands.

Closer up view of the models so far...

IF and that is a real IF the NHC begins advisories a 5 Day Cone COULD look something like this:

This is NOT a product but a guesstimate of an approximate long term track for Invest 92L and shows why the NHC would take it so seriously despite it being early in it's development.

Surprisingly Invest 92L is that type of wave I talked about yesterday that finds a way to develop despite the High, despite the SAL and despite climo that would say it's too early for July. 

A great map was posted this morning by the NWS in Key West that shows where storms usually form in the tropics this time of year. Note one of those early rare dots in the Central Atlantic was another Bertha storm in 1996.

What is in a name? Previous Arthurs formed close to where this year's Arthur formed. Now we have a Bertha like July system forming again. Go figure...

With regard to patterns...
Note that Bertha followed a path similar to this year's Arthur tho a bit different.

A close up look at Invest 92L shows how dusty her environment is...

Oddly being a stubborn wave it almost looks as if she is sticking her finger up at the dust..

Loop shows this better:

She is intensifying where she should be struggling. 
Is this a long term intensification or a short term one... time will tell.
But the NHC is on it and running models and watching her frame by frame.

There Invest 92L stubborning sits.. nestled just below SAL

Note again how it looked yesterday when I put up discussion on SAL 

And this is what bothers me and why I rant on not listening to sound bites and headlines writing off the Hurricane Season based on:

1) SAL
2) Low Water Temps
3) El Nino Forming
4) Bermuda High
5) All of the above.

Because despite all of the above hurricanes always happen. The water temps in July are always too low. The Bermda High is usually in place moving waves west but making it more difficult for them to form. El Nino is always forming it seems...yet the models this year have been as off on that prediction as they were last year in calling for a very busy 2013 season...

Somewhere some family that has been debating buying a generator decided not to this year based on a quick sound bite or headline that the 2014 Hurricane Season would be a no show. Yes, they will have nicely painted new bedrooms or a newly landscaped yard but alas no generator if a hurricane happens to show up threatening them.

I prefer we discuss hurricane seasons in retrospect, after they are over and we know for sure what they brought vs a forecast for what they might not bring. I'd prefer people to prepare, check with their local weather people/apps daily and stay on top of fast changing situations that are common in the tropics. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best and always stay on top of the ever changing situation.

Invest 92L will have a hard time down the road if it becomes Tropical Storm Bertha. But, being a small storm she has the ability to spin up fast and do what a larger, lumbering sort of storm might  not be able to do. Only time will tell.

Can't wait for the next model run and watching NHC to see what they say later today.

I'd guess that unless something changes fast Invest 92L will become a Tropical Depression if not get the Bertha sooner rather than later. Some say based on visible images the circulation is closed and very there...  but waiting to see what the NHC says.
Invest 92 L is definitely rolling along...

Besos Bobbi

Ps...for old timers here's some video from TWC in 1996 of their coverage with John Hope of Hurricane Bertha.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

SAL 2012 & SAL 2014. July Stand By.... A comparison by the brown eyed girl..

It's a big wide world and everything is connected and related.. 
Over the USA there are a plethora of low pressure systems
Over the Atlantic there is a huge double barrelled high pressure system 
Worth noting how low down that high pressure system goes

Note the next image... it shows how far south the H holds sway compared to 
the rest of the world.. similar but lower
the dots in the high are DUST...Saharan Dust

This is within the realm of normal for the hurricane season for July.
That's why we remember September..

Obviously sometimes June & July bring hurricanes
..sometimes it's not all over in October 

But on an average this is how the hurricane season rolls...

Up close note 2 things..
watch the edge of the High on the right
watch the moisture in the GOM on the left
For parts of FL it's like rain, rain go away... come again another day..
Watch the orange moisture feed loop to see where the moisture is going

I put the image up on the top that can be found here:

It's a good site to use and it's highlighted at Rainy Sundays like today are in the Carolinas are good for taking a chance and going out or staying home and going through your to do list. Add some of those links on Mike's site to your "to do things" to learn more about how the tropics work.. or... just watch my blog for updates and the NHC and your other favorite sites for breaking news. 

Lastly.... it's just not so hot in the Atlantic. There has been so much talk on DUST and it's important, but it's only one part of the problem for waves trying to form. Without the heat underneath their wings they cannot grow. Dust is almost always present. IF you have no dust and a strong high and colder water temperatures you got nothing. I've seen years where there was more dust and waves developed despite the dust and dragged the dust all the way into the Caribbean.

Let's look at why it's not just the DUST and more the placement of the HIGH & cool water temps.

This was July of 2012. The season the brought us Hurricane Sandy proving the old adage wrong as October is was not all over. Lots of SAL. Similar look to the image of dust above, waves below.

There was a lot of dust in July of 2012. You will note the dust didn't stop Sandy or Valerie from forming later in the year. 

Compare and contrast that dust signature with the one today...

Today on July 20th, 2014 the same SAL is terrorizing the waves.

Discussion from 2012 note the date ... June 2012:

What is the bigger difference between 2012 and 2014?

The super duper High Pressure is one monster high for now but as always things change fast in the tropics.

Another odd similarity to 2012 from this year was that we were watching an El Nino develop (supposedly) and we had similar derechos in the NE that set up a boundary line around NYC that worries me going forward with the rest of the season. I'm hoping an early winter will save the
NE from more hurricane landfalls and sweep anything tropical out to sea. That same set up could be a problem for the Gulf Coast as storms that get into the Carib and GOM could be pulled north towards a date with an early season, strong cold front.

Only time will tell...

Did I mention this is a good week to go to the beach...or the mall ....or to stock up for the rest of the 2014 Hurricane Season when Sal loosens his grip, the water warms up and the MJO becomes favorable.

Besos Bobbi

Friday, July 18, 2014

Quiet in the Tropics... too quiet..Meteor or Fireball along Mid-Atlantic Last Night? Enjoy the Weekend..

Ever teach kindergarten? I have...

When it's too quiet you better start looking around the room to see why and count the heads of the kiddies to make sure they are all there and no one is stuffing something dangerous into his mouth...or sticking is fingers into a light socket he took the cover off of......

Quiet is good when you want peace and quiet and I do. Quiet is not good down the line and that line being the Tropical Choo Choo Train that runs from Africa to the Leeward Islands. There's a wave train forming and pretty soon you're going to hear that whistle blowing and see the flags being hoisted.

When I was just a baby my momma told me that when it's hurricane season you can feel it in the the rain... in the air. My grandma who was raised in Tampa would shake her head back and forth and stare at the sky and declare "this is hurricane weather" and she was usually right. Old timers knew...

You see what that wave train does exactly is it adds moisture to the air the way you stoke a fire.

Then the train engine gets HOT and steamy like the tropics and it's starts rolling down the tropical tracks..

That's how it works. When does it work? Soon....

We aren't there yet, but the Mother Nature is doing her job adding moisture to the atmosphere
Heating up the ocean until it's just the right temperature to start boiling...
Look at those waves lined up like planes coming in to land at MIA or FLL in Mid January.. 
It's all in the timing...

You are here:

You should be here this weekend:

Botton line today is................. my job here is to highlight and point out to you what is coming down the track. My job is not to rewrite what the NHC or NWS site says and put up better graphics. My job is to highlight areas to watch that may pop down the a few days, in a week or so... down the tropical line. My job is to remind you that we are at the beginning of the process and you need to stock up on supplies, make a plan and go to the beach this weekend because gang.. you may not be able to in a few weeks...when you are getting ready to send those kiddies off to school again and those kiddies be wondering if school will be cancelled by a Labor Day Hurricane.

In other news of the METEORology world lol... what was that meteor that lit up the Mid Atlantic last night? Fireball reported looked like a space ship returning to where the shot off the last one in Virginia... or a meteor that drove up the Highway 301..

No I didn't see it but I watched my Twitter feed go crazy... and the video of it streaking across the sky was taken here in Raleigh and posted by WRAL last night.

Makes you want to go HMMMMNNN....

Enjoy the beach this weekend... it may be one of the last weekends you got to enjoy it before worrying on tropical trouble... 

Besos Bobbi

Ps.. love maps and thinking I want to go back to New Orleans...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Problems of Wanna Be Hurricane Bertha

This is what the tropics looks like this morning in Mid July. A very early, humongous Cape Verde Wave that looks hot to trot is departing Africa as I type this..

If this was another year or later in the year I'd go "oh my goodness" or some other phrase that is not acceptable on my blog (unless I'm in a really bad mood maybe...) as that is the type of wave that hurricanes are made of...........

Note the words in the fine print: "There are no active storms in this basin"

Yes, true and as Mike says "nothing is cooking" but the ingredients are on the table. The chef is missing in action and Mama doesn't want to start the grill without she's home eating sushi while he is off fishing. But...steaks are in the freezer and fresh ears of corn are waiting to be cooked... but we aren't there yet.


Some mets will say any of the following reasons:

a) too much dust
b) water temperatures are too cold
c) El Nino will be here ANY minute
d) projections were for a slow season
e) all of the above
f) none of the above
g) some of the above but it's complicated...

Yes Virginia it's G!

Some who go deeper and do not repeat the press releases for the Atlantic Hurricane Season of 2014 will point out that there is a big, huge high that is out there that has parked itself like a big broken Winnebago looking for someone to take it to the shop to be fixed so it can head out west before the hurricane season really gets going.

I mean if it was a smile it would be grinning from ear to ear from The OBX to the Azores.
It's just sitting there grinning... 
Shear is pretty strong.

The problem with this set up is that IF something were to form it would follow under the High.. 
If Bertha was a Cape Verde Storm (low odds) she would go west under the high...
She'd do that little tango dip move that the CV Waves do and head west..and turn somewhere.. 

Those highs are living breathing things.. they expand, inhale, pulse out... expand..
Loop a model and you will see:

Any model as they all show the same thing... 

See the big high on the GFS...


All the models are variations on the same theme... 

Maybe we could name the huge high Bertha???

Okay seriously here the point of today's blog post is to show you how difficult it is to get lift off in the tropics this year. And, may I add normally (without any hype) we do not see hurricanes form until the last week in July and early in August. The ditty goes "Remember September" for a reason. The problem is some years are unique and when you average out all of the "weather" from this year and that you get an average. That is climo... all added up over history... 

This is the image above I call "Big Momma" not because I think Bertha is a red head, but because it's the first thought I had when I saw it and I'm a huge Tennessee Williams fan.. 

 You can check out all the models, loops and information on Mike's Spaghetti Models site..
See address in web browser??? I did that on purpose ;)

The 48 Hour Tropical Cyclone Formation Probability Product shows the following areas as worth watching:

I'm watching..
It's shows a large area off the coast (to the W of the Huge High)
and oh my goodness what is that off the coast of Africa??? A Cape Verde Wave??

Let's go closer and be a weather stalker...

Note the little man at the top must live in Charleston as he is leaning over and trying to get a good peek!

Then there is the area off the coast of Africa that is shall I say a bit low...

Preferably they should be higher up near the beach at Dakar but whose going to argue with the ghost of Hurricane Donna departing the coast of Africa?? Really just an illusion... great wave, sign of possibilities down the road. Think of it as a starlet not ready for prime time. It got enough mention by the models to get TWC to show it on air and to mention that the "Cape Verde Season" is around the corner. I mentioned it yesterday and before that without having the models verify what I knew and was obvious.

Just because the ingredients are there and the waves are rolling does not mean we will have Hurricane Bertha any time soon.

Hurricane Bertha, wherever she is and she may be a mild Tropical Storm barely there just off the coast, will show up when she sees the weakness. 

It's like jumping rope.. you have to know how you can't just swing that rope around and jump..

Oh wait.. my bad that's for an intense work out at home alone..  

Let's go with a double dutch style game..

Okay...seriously does that look easy? Yes, as the Z girl said you have to take little steps but getting a hurricane going is like getting the timing perfect between the ropes going around and when to jump in or it isn't pretty trust me. 

It's all a matter of timing. It's a matter of having the right conditions.

1. Warm water..
2. Moist air...
3. Low shear so that the thunderstorms can go UPPP HIGH into the sky (are you reading this or rewatching that first video???) and then expand outward and get going
4.The Huge High cannot be breathing down it's back so much that it can't think...or breathe...
5. Needs model support to get any attention from the NHC, TWC and you over there watching the girl jump rope.. 

So... does this wave have any model support?
Yes and no... signs of things to come...

So enjoy the really cool temps if you live in Carolina, Georgia or parts of Florida and know that there is another shot of cool air behind it. Know we are really into early August in some ways more than what you see on the Calendar. Think of it like a beautiful aging model... Late July is the New August :)

And, why don't we have any hurricanes named Heidi? I think, given her June 1st birthday, we should add Heidi to the list. Don't you?

For now... Bertha is out there somewhere having such a problem forming... 

"Ran into a rainstorm
Ducked into a bar door
It was all night pouring, pouring rain
But not a drop on me"

Besos Bobbi Storm :)

Ps.. Perhaps Bertha should check in the mirror and see what she is doing wrong...