Typhoon Phanfone hitting Philippines on Christmas Day

Disasters don’t take a break for holidays … Typhoon Phanfone tracked through the Philippines this morning, damaging or destroying hundreds of homes. Here is the estimated damage swath and position as of this morning US East Coast time …

Economic impact is estimated to be on the order of $500 Million to $1 Billion US Dollars, or less than 1% of GDP (which is no consolation if it was your home destroyed).  The Philippines has had a rough year this year, with multiple damaging landfalls.  As you celebrate and enjoy Western Christmas (recalling the traditional Feast of the Nativity is still 13 days off, according to the Julian Calendar in use by the majority of the Canonical Orthodox Churches :O …), please keep in mind those impacted by natural disasters as well as human stupidity and greed like conflict zones, and consider a year-end contribution to one of the many aid agencies that are trying to make the lives of those in harms way better.  Then you can enjoy the holiday in good conscience!


Late season stormfest

I got busy with administrative/legal stuff (which I hate, but is something that has to be done … the money doesn’t flow till the paperwork is shuffled), but have to note the three active tropical cyclones.  In the Atlantic tropical storm Sebastien (yes, with an “e”) is north of the Windward islands, and headed towards open water.  It probably won’t become a hurricane before it devolves into an extra-tropical cyclone.  Here’s the map …   

In the Pacific we have two storms stirring up trouble.  Tropical Cyclone Kalmegi has made landfall on in the northern Philippines, and area hit several times this year …

And Fung-Wong is a weak tropical storm headed towards Taiwan but will probably be a rain event rather than a wind/surge problem …

TTITG to become Storm?

It’s starting to look like NHC will begin advisories on The Thing In The Gulf (TTITG, known officially as AL97 at the moment) at 11am, as tropical depression 17 (AL172019).  If it gets a name it will be Olga.  Here’s the current (9:40am Friday) satellite view,  Infrared on the left, visual (sun is just coming up so a bit dark) on the right.  On the IR note the dark red/black, indicating cold cloud tops, stronger and better organized than yesterday …

As usual, click to embiggen.  For more on Satellite IR, try this brief lesson.

Chances are the front sweeping down through the middle of the country will absorb it, and it won’t last long, but the moisture will be drawn up across Louisiana, Mississippi, and East Mississippi/Sharpiebama this weekend.  The latest QPF shows a peak of 5″ of total rain up near the Mississippi/Arkansas border.

The Thing In The Gulf Redux

There is a system lurking in the Bay of Campeche that has some potential to very briefly become a tropical system just before it merges with a cold front pushing across the US.  Here is the view from space, both IR (left) and Visual (right) … click to embiggen.

You can see TTITG as the blob of red in the lower left off of Mexico.  The red (and small blocks of black) indicate cold cloud tops, which are signs of convective (thunderstorm) activity.  Compare that with the cold front across the middle of the US.  More than likely this thing will just go away overnight, but NHC gives it a 60% chance of becoming a storm.  Either way, the moisture will give a boost to the front while heading across the Gulf to Louisiana or possibly that controversial state between Mississippi and Florida that cannot be named without starting a debate.  So expect a bunch of rain across the SE again this weekend (although maybe not so much for Coastal GA/Lowcountry SC).  If you just have to have a spaghetti map, here it is … but it’s hard to take any of these very seriously given the situation (except maybe the blue GFS line).

not really very Tropical Storm Nestor (AL162019) SaturdayUpdate

As NHC notes in their forecast discussion this morning, Nestor really isn’t very tropical.  As I’ve been saying all along, structurally it’s more like a nor’easter.  While it is raining heavily across Florida this morning, there is very little convection or thunderstorm activity, mostly off the Atlantic shore over the Gulf Stream.  There do seem to be a lot of storm tracks with rotation in them.  Here is the 7:22am composite radar, long with a neat product from the “Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor” or MRMS system, low level rotation tracks …  those “streaks” in the map or the right are storm tracks where there is rotation, or potential tornadic activity.  That is probably the biggest threat from not-really-tropical Storm Nestor.Same map with the watch boundaries … as always, click to embiggen and see detail!

Expect tornado watches to expand north into Georgia and probably South Carolina later today, so keep your weather radio handy.  Finally, here is the forecast rain and surface pressure from the High Resolution Rapid Refresh model for 5pm this afternoon …

So again, bottom line, rain, gusty (but not dangerously high) winds, potential for tornadoes.  Try not to travel if you don’t have to, but if you are going to a football game or something take extra time, and bring a raincoat (the umbrella will just blow away 😛 ).


TTITG is now Tropical Storm Nestor (AL162019)

At the 2pm intermediate advisory NHC declared that The Thing In The Gulf (TTITG, aka Potential Tropical Cyclone 16) was tropical enough to be named Tropical Storm Nestor.  This doesn’t change anything about the potential impacts other than now that it is a named storm, your insurance deductible might have tripled or worse, depending on the details of your policy.  This is a perfect example of how unfair the present homeowners insurance system has become.  But that’s a rant for another day …


The Not-A-Tropical-Storm in the Gulf (AL162019), Friday mid-day update

Structurally TTITG isn’t a tropical storm yet, although with 50 knot winds (60mph) if it had a closed circulation it would be a healthy one.  Sort of looks like one too …

… and it will cause tropical-storm like damage across the Big Bend area of Florida and south Georgia.  Potential economic impacts jumped a bit with the higher winds speeds, up to nearly a Billion dollars, most of it indirect like canceled travel plans (grumble).

Here is the estimated impact swath based on the new (11am) forecast by NHC:

Bottom line hasn’t changed much: heavy rains, gusty winds, scattered power outages, just a wet messy day tonight and Saturday across North and Central Florida, extending in to Georgia and South Carolina Saturday.  For GA/SC, a bit more drift to the right (east) will keep the worst of it offshore, so those worried about Football in Athens and Columbia might get off a bit easier.  In short, inconvenient, hazardous to travel or be outside in the darker red areas, or south or east of the pink line on the above map, but not really dangerous except right on the Florida shoreline from maybe Clearwater around to the Pensacola area.

The Inconvenient Thing In The Gulf (AL162019): weekend mess for the Southeast US

The system in the Gulf is complex from a meteorological standpoint.  There are formal definitions for what is a tropical cyclone (basically, a low pressure system with closed circulation, warm core) or various kinds of extratropical cyclones like a nor’easter.  The primary difference between a tropical storm and a nor’easter is that nor’easters have a cold core, but there are structural differences resulting from the different environments they form and travel in.  Nature being nature, it doesn’t like our nice neat categories.  The Thing In The Gulf (TTITG) is one of these transitional forms.  It is warm core, but will likely have a broad, elongated wind field with the main impacts extending hundreds of miles to the east of the “center”.

Here is the current impact map from my Stribog model, based on the official forecast track:

It is likely that sometime today the circulation of TTITG will close (there are currently several “centers”), and NHC will classify it as a tropical storm as the winds are high enough to support that.  But behavior and structure wise, this thing is more like a warm rainy nor’easter.  It will likely have impacts in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but as insurance costs are likely to be minimal, you probably won’t hear much about that.

The bottom line is aside from very vulnerable locations that flood fairly often (you should know who you are by now; right on the coast, in areas that flash flood, and so forth), this isn’t a dangerous storm.  That said, there is some concern for tornadoes across North Florida/Georgia/SC Saturday, so keep your weather radio handy for alerts. Otherwise, as you can see from the map, most of FL, AL, GA, SC, and eastern NC will have winds and likely rain over the weekend.

I rarely get angry at storms, but this one has really annoyed me, as readers of this blog have probably figured out by now.  From an inconvenience standpoint this one has messed up my long established plans to go to a concert  in Tampa by some of my favorite musicians, Anneke van Giersbergen, Amorphis, and Delain.

Yeah, first world problems.  Lots of folks in The Bahamas don’t have houses right now …

Potential Tropical Cyclone 16 (AL162019): implications for Amorphis/Delain Concert

The National Hurricane Center has started advisories on Potential Tropical Cyclone 16, and issued Tropical Storm Warnings and Watches for parts of the Gulf Coast from just north of Tampa west to south of New Orleans.  It is expected to become a tropical storm overnight as it moves rapidly towards the Big Bend area of Florida.  Here is the 11am satellite view of the Gulf …

Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but Delain and Amorphis are on tour and will be in Tampa this Saturday.  The storm is projected to have a rather large wind field, with stormy conditions extending across much of north Florida and south Georgia as it makes landfall early Saturday morning. The watches and warnings are all north of Tampa itself. although the storm surge watch does extend to Clearwater (just north of St. Petersburg – the hot and sticky one, not the formal imperial capital).  The biggest concern is travel to Tampa and power outages from gusty winds that might disrupt the concert.  Here’s my Stribog model impact estimate based on the official NHC forecast …

Hopefully the storm will clear out by Saturday afternoon (of Florida that is; Georgia will probably still be getting lashed by winds and rain but who cares 😛 ).

Potential System in the Gulf (AL962019, Thursday Morning 17 Oct 2019)

The tropical low in the Gulf of Mexico that is threatening to ruin our weekend (that  we’ve been planning for six months, not that I’m resentful or anything) is slowly developing, and NHC now gives it a 80% chance of becoming a storm in the next 48 hours.  Here are the possible tracks, and intensity/wind forecast from the GFS model.  Note there is not an official forecast track at this time, and no watches or warnings.  While it is likely to remain a weak system, it could still disrupt travel across Florida for those making the pilgrimage to Tampa to see the Anneke, Amorphis, and Delain concert.  But … you can’t control the storm 🙁 .