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!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cristobal Trying to Get a Name... Watches & Warnings May Need to be Issued for Bahamas. FL Pay ATTN! GFS Goes West

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The above image shows the weak, disorganized system & the trough moving down towards it.
Shame it's not a developed storm or the trof would catch it more likely.
For now it's taking some of the moisture off of the top.. but not enough.

The most likely poorly organized center is on the North coast of Hispaniola around here...

So what do I think?
Note the discussion from the NHC:

" Interests in the southeastern and central Bahamas should monitor the progress of this disturbance,
since tropical storm watches or warnings could be required with little advance notice."

That is what the NHC said at 5PM during their special statement. They said a lot more, but that is the salient part of their discussion.

Early this morning the Invest looked like this after a particularly hard night of obviously partying in PR and VI.

Compare and contrast how it looks now that it has passed through the Mona Passage and is hovering around the tip of the Dominican Republic.

Now let's look at the bigger picture.

Everything south of 30N is going East. That includes parts of the front that is dipping down kicking off Tstorms in my area today. Everything south of there is moving West as the high is strongly in place. As a weak, developing system our soon to be Cristobal will continue going WNW scraping away along the north coast of the Dominican Republic. IF it had been a strong hurricane we would worry that the high mountains would destroy some of it's circulation. currently doesn't have much of a circulation to destroy and if anything the interaction of the rain and the mountains enhances convection. This can be seen on short term loops. 

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Note as it moved over Hispaniola convection kicked UP. 

Now let's look UP stream over the US where the front is moving across the Carolinas and out to sea. This is not a MASSIVE cold front. It is not a deep south cold front. It is moving off the mid Atlantic and the High pressure may get enhanced blocking Cristobal from catching it's ride out to sea. It may then stall in the Bahamas once it emerges off the North Coast of Hispaniola (when is not set in stone..or where) and stay a while on a Bahama Vacation... enjoying very nice bath tub type water that makes the Northern tourists all squeamish.

Put this into motion.

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The low is hanging back circulating over Illinois and not moving in tandem yet with the front.
The orientation of the air racing down towards the "system" is not strong enough to pick it up.
Not yet. Maybe down the road. Maybe a stronger system.
But not strong enough grab a system vacationing 
Note the N Coast of Dominica Republic has some mtns...but not many. 

So let's talk models. The GFS model has joined the lesser trusted models with a western bias. That takes it towards Florida not out to sea THIS model run.

What I find interesting about the blue highlighted models is that they do not simply head towards FL but they keep on going into the GOM or up making a 2nd landfall along the Big Bend coastline of Florida. They seem awfully sure it will not catch this trof but the next one.

The models highlighted by the red area take it obviously out to sea. The westbound models seem very sure. IS the difference because there are two paths or because some models are going with the old center and others have latched onto the center that may be further west and south.

If the high builds in an does block it from moving more to the north it will sit and spin over very warm water.

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Look at those reds in the  Bahamas. This is not where you want a developing tropical system to park itself for a few days. 

Old GFS pretty colored grid... shows the storm parked off shore of South Florida.

The local NWS for Miami still sees the trough picking up the storm.
That could change check with this link often if you live in Miami

Keep checking with the NWS for their most recent update that will change as the storm changes and if the NHC begins to issue advisories.

My biggest concern here is a "what if" the storm barely develops and then starts to intensify as it is sitting off the coast of South Florida in the area highlighted in blue.

This loop not only shows moisture but where he moisture is moving... WNW... for now.

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IF you live in South Florida...
Go shopping for anything you may need to update your hurricane supplies.
You may not need them in the end, but it's better than running out at 10PM Sunday evening.
Trust me on this. Been there...done nuts.

And...again if Cristobal misses you there is always Dolly..
Remember September is coming... that is for certain.
Prepare now.. while there still is water and tuna on the shelves.........

Besos Bobbi

Ps.. I'll be back after Shabbos .... curious to see what will be there.. vs now. Til then check in to see what Phil has to say from WSVN and he does a great job of breaking down the discussion into a logical clear cut way to understand it. Many mets make it all about them as if they are putting out tropical fires all on their own. Phil talks about the weather!

Invest 96L Struggles - Forecast to Intensify. Now's a Good Time to Check Your Hurricane Supplies

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The problem with Invest 96L and I will say that this morning it definitely is just an Invest is that the longer it takes to develop the more of a problem it is for the SE Coast. Actually, add in Mid-Atlantic and other places need to keep their eye on it. Had it continued doing what it was doing yesterday it would have been Cristobal by now and on it's way towards recurvature. Only place that would have had to worry on it would have been Bermuda and even that was a maybe.

And, the NHC has been calling for slow development and edging their "area of possible development" further to the West each day. Currently there is high confidence that it SHOULD take a turn up into the Bahamas rather than say heading for the Florida Straits. Nothing is for certain with this system. The only certainty is uncertainty and that is never good when a system keeps heading closer and closer to land.

Every wave before it rolled up into the Florida Straits and I don't see much reason to believe that IF this doesn't pull it together that it won't continue that popular track of 2014. BUT, the NHC has high confidence that it WILL form at some point down the line and make that turn. I'm hoping they are right, because the LAST place I want any system to form is over the Gulfstream stalled off of South Florida. They usually go two ways there... towards Florida while intensifying or up the Gulfstream towards a landfall on a beach in North Carolina as Hurricane Arthur did when it took the left side of the cone and smashed into Cape Lookout, North Carolina. 

Sometimes though you have a system that travels across the ocean and carries with it the whole time two or three multiple centers. Those systems, like this one, are often large waves and large waves take longer to pull together for numerous of those reasons being multiple area of low pressure and strong convection. Think of a llama push me - pull me toy or the scene in Dr. Doolittle. 

For the parents or any child care giver reading this blog let's put it this way. Say you have a 2 year old and an infant and you live in an apartment with stairs. In order to get up the stairs you have to either park the baby in the stroller at the bottom of the stairs and carry the 2 year old up the stairs and then begging him "not to move" run back downstairs to get the baby and the stroller. Or you could leave the stroller, walk up slowly with the 2 year old holding his hand while carrying the baby at the same time leaving the stroller for later.  Either way it's not an easy process and trust me I have been there..  Invest 96L has a two or three parts and the one that the NHC has been tracking is not the 2 year old out ahead screaming "LOOK AT ME" it's quietly back in the cat seat waiting to take over and have it's day in the sun over the warm Gulfstream waters.

Hurricane Jeanne in 2004 is a storm that many have compared this Invest to as a possible comparison for a stalling, looping track in the Bahamas with a possible knock out punch to South Florida. This is not 2004 and the set up is different and Cristobal is just as likely to loop out to sea or up the coast towards the Carolinas but there are commonalities.

It's just an example. Not a track or a forecast but a lesson in how quirky storms can be in years when the steering currents are not set in stone.

Now let's look at Invest 96L that is forecast to become Cristobal when it gets itself together, puts the baby to bed and leaves the 2 year old with the Lego and gets the stroller back upstairs.

The red circle with the line through it is NOT THE CENTER. The area closer to the blue circle in the middle that is partly devoid of convection IS THE CENTER. At times the tail, or what will be the tail, flares up and pressures drop and it looks like there is a center there too. But..the one that the NHC is tracking and hopefully the one that the models are picking up on is the one in the middle. 

Concerns me that if the 2 merge it is suddenly closer to the SE and the models will come out with more scary looking landfalls making everyone in Miami nuts...before the next run of models that show something else. 

Just too many variables right now. Too many intangibles too close to my neck of the woods. When you can see the Turks in the floater's getting closer to South Florida. It's not like watching a great Cape Verde wave far out in the middle of the ocean.

You can watch this ballet on the Funktop for yourself. Check back and forth. If you see greens forming and dark reds maintaining then something is brewing and it's name is Cristobal.

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Note currently the dark reds are not directly over the center. It's a mess. It's so so close to coming together and every time it looks like it will it throws a temper tantrum and gets sent to it's room. Another day... another good loop before it goes poof. Another day ...another model ...another set of possible tracks.

So....................going to take this time as we are going into the weekend to tell you to make a list, check it twice and make sure you have your hurricane supplies and plans in order. This is one of the last weekends of August... summer is almost over and we move into Prime Time in the Caribbean for Hurricanes!!

Remember September. Let the camera shy Cristobal be a good wake up call to go out and update your hurricane supplies and to make a good list of what to do if Cristobal comes knocking at your door...or maybe Dolly.

One of the best things I read yesterday online was not discussion from the NHC but a tweet from the Director of the NHC. Dr. Rick Knabb is so on the money. Now is the time to prepare.. not worry on which model has the best handle on this system. It's the job of the NHC to figure that out for you and it's your job to prepare your family and your home ...even if you live alone for a hurricane. IF you live in Hurricane Country ... you will one day get a hurricane. It is inevitable. And note that's good advice anytime you travel. I always take an extra pair of glasses with me ... just in case. Extra cash on hand (ATMS lose power), meds, make a list... it's more than just about stocking up on water at Publix.

And if you live further inland outside the red outlined area... you may have inland flooding from a hurricane. Just do it! Prepare just in case this one or the next one or the one after that comes to blow your house down... be prepared!

I'll be back later to talk more on Invest 93L that is forecast to intensify at some point. Personally I wish it would do so sooner rather than later as every day it stays weak it works its way further west. If and when it develops odds are that a trough will pick it up and take it out to sea. But, sometimes a Hurricane like Arthur takes the left side of that cone and does make landfall.

Be prepared always!

Lastly, please note the discussion from the NHC regarding the state of Invest 96L this morning and it's future.

" However, environmental conditions are expected to
be more conducive for development when the disturbance moves near or
over the southeastern Bahamas on Saturday, and a tropical depression
or tropical storm is likely to form over the weekend or by early
next week. "

Besos Bobbi

Ps... keep the large view in mind when watching the tropics. Floaters are nice, but a larger view shows you the whole picture. Note yesterday it did look like a depression and then it fell apart. Good call by the NHC ... another good call is to worry more on if your hurricane supplies are ready for a hurricane not what the EURO thinks vs the GFS.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

CRISTOBAL pronounced KRIS-TOH-BAAL Practice Saying It & Good Time to Stock Up on Your Hurricane Supplies

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This is a close up animation of Invest 96L on the Funktop satellite imagery.

There is a sense that it has pulled itself together yet it is having problems wrapping the convection around the center. Part of the problem is that it is a very large system and it is system that incorporates both the strongest center plus the old area of convection with it's own low pressure.

That means that despite the fact that Recon did find a "center" it also has multiple weak centers.

The bigger problem is that they also found Tropical Storm force winds in the system.

I'm getting tired of calling it a "SYSTEM" as by parameters I've been used to over time this is a Tropical Depression. A weak tropical depression going through it's evolution into a Tropical Storm. I don't get that call and we have to wait for the NHC to call it a Tropical Depression with Tropical Storm force winds in stronger gusts. I'd like to see a TS watch at least put out for PR with information on flash floods being possible. Yes, the NWS is there but the NHC gets the big press. Not saying that's right.. just saying it is what it is and without a name no one really pays much attention. Even a "Tropical Depression" status heightens awareness.

Then again if the center is indeed further to the north it will most likely brush PR and the Virgin Islands on it's way into the Bahamas. Always hard to be sure what is going to happen with a developing system. It's so much easier to be sure with a Category 2 Hurricane what is going on..

Did they find the "west wind" and can we really say it's a totally closed off circulation?

Will the NHC wait until tomorrow's morning visible?

What worries me is that this "system" has a very large envelope of moisture. As it becomes a Tropical Storm and maybe even a Hurricane that area wraps up and this will have a long tail of moisture that will help feed it with tropical energy. It could at some point develop a very classic signature.

When you put this into motion you can see better it's signature and spin.

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Moves in tandem as one system. 

Yes it may have some multiple centers but there is a difference between a Tropical Depression and a Hurricane. Many a Tropical Storm has looked much worse on satellite imagery and had more centers than 3 Faces of Eve. 

It seems this last year or two a Tropical Depression has to look like it's about to become a Hurricane before it gets designation. Hard for me to deal with as I've been around long enough to see many a strong Tropical Storm that looked worse... and traveled with multiple centers.

Tropical Storm Earl in 1998 comes to mind, mostly because of all my met friends who were pulling their hair out at how poorly the presentation was and how many multiple centers it had... and yet... that did not stop it from becoming a TS or a Hurricane eventually for a short time.

Imagery of TS Earl with beautiful Hurricane Danielle to the far upper right.

Compare and contrast that image with the one below of Tropical Disturbance Invest 96L

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The biggest problem that Invest 96L is that it's got a big caboose... 

So where do we go from here....

Currently the system is moving quickly to the WNW...carrying with it the remnants of the other X remember that. Next the frontal boundary that will cool off the South in a few days is going to move off to the East. The steering currents could get iffy and a possible stall in the Bahamas has been indicated by many models. IF so..........that becomes problematic. A high that builds in can steer it more to the West. Eventually it would in theory go out to sea even though some versions of the EURO drew a bulls eye over Miami earlier today. Next model run will show something else most likely.

It has ample moisture to work with... 

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If this storm wrapped up fast it would go nicely, out to sea the way Danielle did.. As a large, lumbering Tropical Depression or Storm moving in tandem with a few other centers it will not do that as easily. 

Also there is always the problem that one of the other centers could take over and if so... you got to throw the models out and start all over.

No one said it would be easy. Not all Tropical systems are beautiful and perfect. You take them as they come and you do the best you can forecasting their track and intensity. A good forecast gets the intensity right as it can greatly affect the track. A good forecast also gets the timing right. IF you get the timing wrong... Bertha makes landfall rather than staying off the coast while curving out to sea.

Personally the last thing I would want is a still weak TS stalled out close to Florida in the Bahamas trying to figure out which way to go over very warm water. 

Note where INVEST 96L is currently is over marginally warm water
compared with where it is going and where it could stall in the Bahamas.

When it does become Cristobal it will be pronounced

Again the storms we have to worry about in Florida are the ones that come UP and OVER the islands as they do not tangle with Haiti or the high mountains in the Dominican Republic. It all becomes about where the Bermuda High is and as I have mentioned it moves back and forth just enough to open up a door out to sea or to push it towards Florida...or the Carolinas. This system is large and part of it could tangle a bit with Hispaniola ... confidence in that is still low.

The reason I say this is not to hype the storm, but to make sure you know that it is out there and you need to be on top of your hurricane preparation list. If your kids got into the Twinkies.. buy new ones. If you used up the water... buy more. Make sure you have medication on hand. We are moving into the height of the hurricane season and you need to be prepared. If Cristobal makes you double check your supplies then good for Cristobal.

As always often has some great first hand reports from the islands.

This is where Cristobal could be on Monday according to the NWS
(that will change in real time as the "system" changes)
(note the loop changes in real time... as weather changes)

Stay tuned... 

Watch this video it has a great discussion about the developing Cristobal.. 

(link below)

Besos Bobbi

Ps.. I will be back if it is upgraded. I think it deserves an upgrade. I'm personally not sure they have the right center. I've seen this before where they decide a center is in one place, investigate that center and then in a day or so they say the center jumped or reformed. IF this center "reforms" under the area further to the NW that would drag the models more to the West. I'm less concerned with the current models and more concerned with the possible stall in the Bahamas. 

Stall rhymes with BALL as in Cristobal!

Will Invest 96L become Cristobal? Why can't Essie choose the Hurricane Names for Next Year?

Tropical Depression?

Is this the center?? That's what the NHC will find out today when recon goes in.....

Invest 96L is S L O W L Y coming together in a swirly sort of dance where occasionally the energy shifts from one center to another and then back to what appears to be the real center. Recon is going out this afternoon to get a good fix on just where the real center is and we should know more later today. We may even have a Tropical Depression by 5PM...or 8PM...or 11PM. Well, you get the idea.

Tropical Storm?

Why color is so important and why sometimes you need to stand back and get a wide view.
Pet peeve: Friends who use close ups to look at each cell that lose the bigger picture..

Loop this for yourself and watch it's progress.

So....while we wait and watch Invest 96L tease us hourly with bursts of color and then hand offs of energy better suited to a college football game...I'm going to throw out an idea about a better way to name Hurricanes. And, by the way I've heard a lot of complaints this year more than most years.

It occurred to me this morning that we should let Essie give the names for the Hurricane Season. Or maybe OPI. Their lists are beginning to get stale... I mean how many versions of Chris and Ed can you come up with?? We are now on Cristobal and Edward deviations are running high with two... count em 2 variations on that name being the always impossible to spell Edouard and Teddi buried at the back of the list. How does that even happen? Shouldn't their be laws? I mean it's redundant.

And....some names need mediation on the exact way to say them despite the NHC having to put out a cheat sheet for pronounciation.

Originally it was said they named them after wives, friends and relatives. Got to tell you someone at the NHC was watching a whole lot of One Life to Live as the names were heavily slanted towards that there show...

The list goes on.. some may have been retired...

And, seriously it's nice to say that these are Caribbean names but I live in the Capital of the Caribbean (or Gateway if you prefer) Miami...and these are not all Caribbean names...


Nooooooooooooo  not unless the Caribbean means somewhere out in horse country or Homestead.

So why don't they turn this job over to the people who do it best? The nail polish companies who specialize in finding just the right name for the each season. Why not have a Hurricane palette for the next Summer season?

So let's look at my new colors for the NHC Main Page

Yellow for weak systems with multiple centers........

The trendy 2014 Summer color of ROARRRRANGE for Medium probabilities

And...Russian Roulette everyone will want to know where's it going... 

As for the name question..... why not famous football players or NASCAR drivers? 
Just something to think on while wondering when Invest 96L becomes Cristobal.

As for where Cristobal goes it ALL depends on where the real center of Cristobal is...

Why you ask?

Because the model is initialized from where the center is and if you get the center off the track is not as viable (good) as if you get it right (bingo) or as many say "garbage in, garbage out" when doing computer programming. 

A good model has to validate the way a good pass needs to reach the intended target not be intercepted because the timing was off...or something was off... 

Good model = TOUCHDOWN
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Now I think I've put this out there in the way that all the sexes involved in can get it...

I'll be back with hardcore information on modeling and analyses of whatever we have this afternoon...unless Invest 96L is just teasing us and falls apart a bit... blows out... busted.

Truth is it has negative conditions for quite a while as there is a lot of shear form the ULL to it's NW and it's more likely to develop or intensify further down the road and closer in.

Possible spoiler alerts:
The High might build back in forcing it towards a landfall vs out to sea. But... no lock on any track right now. 

Fish or not? That is the question... Oh look what that line is behind it? Hmnnn

Besos Bobbi

Ps... until we get that recon data or the NHC decides to upgrade based on satellite imagery I'm going to go shopping or paint my nails and save my eyes for later tonight when I'll be online for hours staring at loops and wondering on why can't the NHC be more creative with names!!

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Ps if this worked you truly are an angel ;)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Is Cristobal Forming? Recon should make that call tomorrow......

Quick update tonight to say that Invest 96L is well on it's way to being the next Tropical Depression or quite possible Tropical Storm Cristobal sooner rather than later.

Been a compelling day of satellite loop watching for those who are fascinated watching a system come together to a designated storm.

Starting with the current image.

Earlier ...

Another before and after...

A short discussion on what happened today is that the energy transferred from the center closer to SA that was lower back to the other area within the "elongated area of low pressure" and the area further north won out and the convection began to wrap around that new, improved center. This dance of tropical energy often occurs in large systems with multiple systems or where two waves are moving in tandem together.

Where does it go?

Most recent models have kept the storm on the East Coast of Florida with a few making landfall in South and Central Florida as a few have curved it out to sea. A dramatic difference from yesterday when models hit everywhere from South America to New Orleans...

As I said this morning. Each new run of the models or as we call them "spaghetti models" is like a box of chocolates. You just don't know for sure what you will get until you bite in! Read the previous blog for a longer explanation.

Lastly, as said this morning, different models show different information that is used to prepare a particular forecast. 

Tonight this was placed on Twitter. It's a good explanation in an easy to read format and good to study so you understand better that forecasting a 5 Day Cone is not as easy as it would seem.

Save it as your Model Cheat Sheet!

Note many websites have long, well written descriptions explaining the models and how to use them. However, for many time is limited and the meteorological jargon is difficult to understand. The chart above is just right

You can read the longer blog post explaining this in depth. It's a long read (which is a compliment for me.. but just a warning) so you might want to save it for when you have some time to digest it. With a good box of chocolates maybe.

Of course the best way to deal with spaghetti models is to use and use the many links that educate you about the many sites shown online.

And...a note here that Mike took the ALS challenge and will be donating money from the site itself. He'll also be making more ice as .... he doesn't have any left in the fridge :) Might be a good idea for people to buy a bag of ice so you have something to use on a hot summer day ...

I'll post tomorrow when we have more definitive news on this system and I wouldn't be surprised to see it get its name faster than we thought. 

Lastly a note of caution. When the NHC puts out this big elongated oval red area it is not a 5 Day Cone but an indication of where formation may occur. Somewhere in that area ....depending on where the Invest is over the next 5 days it could get a name. It indicates the direction the wave will move in but it is NOT a 5 Day Cone. I've had people ask me about it and refer to it as such and there seems to be a little misunderstanding on what it represents. A storm could form in any area in that red shaded area and the percentage is the change of it forming. The number goes up as the chances for the system to develop increase.

Again it is the "potential formation area" not a 5 Day Cone!

Tonight's models show the following story.

Again...there is no way of being sure what the models will show tomorrow, but they will reflect the Invest itself as they change in real time with the storm itself. is fluid and a work in progress.

Sweet Tropical Dreams.. 

Bobbi Storm
@Bobbistorm on Twitter

Ps......Thanks for the nice comments on the blog and glad I can educate and entertain you. As much as we never want to hype a storm ever... awareness of what is going on and how quickly things change can make all the difference if some tropical system comes to your town. I'd rather deal with a hurricane than a Flash Flood. You can prepare for a hurricane and the first step in that preparation is being prepared. Also... as important as it is to listen to the NHC it is always valuable to stay on top of your local NWS as they cover the weather in your particular area.
Put in your zip code and check it often especially if and when you are in a 5 Day Cone!