We have small tropical storm in the Atlantic headed towards the Windward Islands, a hurricane (expected to weaken) headed towards Hawai’i, and we had a big earthquake off the coast of Alaska last night, so finally something to discuss other than the pandemic (which has become a political story more than biology or public health at this point, but I’ve ranted about that enough already).
Let’s start with the earthquake. There was a M7.8 Earthquake off the coast of Alaska overnight (and a bunch of aftershocks, which are always expected after a big quake). Damage on land should be light, it did cause a tsunami warning that was later retracted. Here’s a quick look map of the impact area:
The Atlantic has finally dusted itself off and figured out it’s hurricane season. Last night NHC started tracking TD#7, and this morning it was organized and intense enough to get the name Gonzalo. As of 11am they have started the key messages product. Here is the impact swath from my TAOS(tm)/TC model:
NHC substantially changed their intensity philosophy as of the 11am advisory, and now forecasts Gonzalo to become a hurricane. The guidance is split – the major global models like GFS and the ECMRWF models kill off the storm in a few days because there is some dry air ahead; specialized hurricane models like HWRF intensify it. NHC is sort of splitting the difference with a bias toward the high end.
Economic impact should be in the low millions of US dollars, but as in many areas of the world, any economic stress is unwelcome at this point. The Caribbean is especially dependent on tourism, so this hurts more than the raw numbers might seem.
Another island is at potential risk half a world away: Hurricane Douglas is strengthening in the open waters of the east Pacific, and on the current track should be passing near or over the Islands of Hawai’i as it decays. If the current NHC/CPHC track holds, it might cause a few million USD of disruption to the big island. Here’s the current forecast impact:
Last and probably least, there is an invest area moving into the Gulf of Mexico, bound for the Texas/Mexico border. NHC gives it a 50/50 chance of becoming a depression or greater by then. Given the spread of the virus in Texas, hopefully it won’t spin up and trigger any evacuations …