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 🙁 .

Possible storm in Gulf – will it impact the #Delain #Amorphis Concert in Tampa Saturday?

Have been working on some complex computer issues the last few days, sorry didn’t get to comment more on the severe impacts of Hagibis on Japan, which were a bit worse than expected.  Not to minimize the impacts, but unlike the Bahamas (which still needs extensive help from Dorian) Japan is well equipped to deal with this.

As for current events, there is a system in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico that has some potential to impact the Gulf Coast this weekend.  NHC gives it a 50% chance of spinning up in the next few days.  The big question is of course how it will impact the upcoming Anneke Van Giersbergen/Amorphis/Delain Concert this weekend in Tampa.   The storm by then should be inland over Georgia, but being a weak tropical system with an extensive displaced rain inflow it is possible that it could be stormy across Florida for those trekking across that nightmarish landscape of alligators, tourists, huge dancing rats, and screeching auto-tuned princesses to get to The Orpheum for the show.  Here is the GFS forecast for late Saturday afternoon …

If this holds up the worst should be past, but it will be a nerve wracking wait to see how strong this thing gets, and how fast it moves.  Other models have it moving slower

Here is a current (2pm Wednesday Afternoon) GOES East image … the white blob on the Pacific side is what is left of Potential Tropical Cyclone 17E, the spiral shape in the center is the potential (as yet no ID) storm.  The line of clouds to the north is the cold front that is passing through the Southeastern US today.

Subtropical Storm Melissa (Fri, 11 October)

Could be there is an Allman Brothers fan down at NHC and couldn’t resist making sure there was a storm named Melissa.  Either way, they have started advisories on the system off the coast of the Yankee provinces of the US.  It’s more like a nor’easter than a tropical system, although there is some convection so it’s sort of tropical.  Either way it is deteriorating quickly, headed offshore, and in 24 hours should be below advisory strength.

Swirl of clouds off the SEUS coast (AL922019)

There is a small swirl of clouds off the coast of the Southeastern US that has winds just below tropical storm strength.  If you’re curious, here is the track map and a satellite view … conditions are not really favorable for development, but it’s giving the nice folks in Miami something to do.

There is a blob of clouds out in the mid Atlantic that has been flirting with being organized.  Again, conditions are not really favorable, so anything that does develop would likely be short lived.  Tropical Cyclone Hagibis is headed towards Japan and may hit as a decaying hurricane in 3 or 4 days.

Lorenzo still on track for Éirinn! (Sunday morning 29 Sept update)

No matter how you say it, tropical systems do impact Europe, and it’s not as unusual as you might think.  Lorenzo (AL132019) is a bit weaker, and looks to be essentially an extratropical storm by the time it gets to the Ould Sod.   Here is this morning’s visual satellite view from GOES 16.  Still a pretty storm …

Here is the forecast swath map using my Stribog model (based as usual on the official NHC forecast):

On this track the storm will pass close to the Azores Tue/Wed, so folks there should prepare for tropical storm force winds.  Although still a bit far out to forecast, Ireland might see tropical storm conditions.  As for the (not so) United Kingdom, the extended forecast is for wind, rain, and general misery.  Just like every other day 😛 !  But seriously worth keeping an eye on later in the week.

There is also a tropical storm in near the coast of Mexico (Narda) that is dropping a lot of rain (maybe up to 15″) there, potentially causing landslides and flash floods.  In the West Pacific may become a hurricane later today, likely to brush China, then hit the other China, before making landfall in South Korea.

Hurricane to hit … Ireland? (Lorenzo, AL132019)

Well, maybe.  It certainly seems to be headed towards the Suðreyjar (Southern Islands, as my Norse ancestors called them), although technically it won’t be a hurricane by then, “just” an extratropical system with hurricane force winds.  Here’s the Stribog model impact estimate, based on the official NHC forecast track:

And here’s the latest GOES East satellite image as the sun sets, the prominent eye visible having just gone through a replacement cycle.  Currently Lorenzo is a mature hurricane, flirting with category 3.  It will decay a lot as it move north, but as the structure and wind field changes it will likely still be a powerful storm if it does reach the British Isles …

Squashed Spider: Tropical Storm Karen (AL122019)

Tropical Storm Karen, while weak from a wind standpoint and technically well past the island, continued to dump rain on Puerto Rico into this morning, although it looks like things are clearing out, with the risk of mud slides.  Here is what it looks like as of noon Wednesday:

The mature storm out over the Atlantic is Lorenzo, which seems to be headed out to sea and nothing to worry about for a while.  And that little swirl at the top of the frame is what’s left of Jerry.

Karen is pretty disorganized, and NHC is having trouble finding the center.  The track models are showing the classic “smashed spider” pattern, with tracks going off in lots of different directions.  The turn to the west may look scary, but it’s not likely the storm will develop much, although the NHC is showing gradual strengthening.  Either way, it’s a “watch to see what it does” thing rather than a ZOMG! moment. Here’s the tracks …

#Russia, #Ukraine, and #Impeachment: some missing context

Administrative note: I had some problems with drafts being posted straight to the site/FB/Twitter, causing some confusion, broken links and partial posts.  Hopefully that is fixed! Update on storms will be coming this afternoon.

Sorry this article-length post isn’t about the weather, but it is on a topic I know quite a bit about, and like hurricanes it is an area that the US media and political establishment exploit for drama and manipulation.  And, like hurricanes, it is a complex and nuanced thing.  As the US House of Representatives gets serious about Impeachment over the Trump, Biden, Ukraine and Russia connections, I hope everyone will take some time to understand how and why we got here and realize it’s not really about Russian or Ukrainian attempts to interfere in our politics, it is blow-back as a result of over two decades of the US  manipulating and exploiting financially those countries after the fall of the Soviet Union, and how US domestic politics got entangled with them.  I hope you will take a few minutes to read it through, and not jump to a conclusion based on which political team you cheer for.  As in so many things, both parties have utterly failed you, and are blaming the “other” for the ensuing mess.  Although this post is long, it’s still overly simplified, but at least it’s a start.

It’s hard to know where to begin this story, but to avoid writing a book we’ll start it with the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s, and why the shadows of that event are now cast in the heart of US Politics.  The Soviet economy was in shambles, and numerous deals were made to facilitate a peaceful transition between the Former Soviet Union (FSR) and the independent nation-states that resulted from the breakup.  There are two key elements of that breakup that are of interest to us here: the disposition of the nuclear arsenal, and  reforms of the “communist” economies (they weren’t really communist, and barely deserve the term “socialist,” but that’s the label that stuck).  First let’s look at the post-Soviet borders and military situation …

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Lots of storms … two are “interesting”: Monday, 23 September 2019

Lots of storms today: three in the Atlantic, two in the Eastern/Central Pacific, one in the Arabian Sea, and one in the West Pacific. Of the seven active storms at this time, two are worth discussing in detail, Karen (in the Atlantic) and Hikka (in the Arabian Sea).  As for the rest, the East Pacific storms are not major threats at this point.  The West Pacific storm is Typhoon Tapah, a tropical storm strength system dropping rain, disrupting flights, and potentially triggering landslides across Japan today, but damage is light so far.   In the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Jerry will likely bring rain and gusty winds to Bermuda, while Tropical Depression 13 is in the far east Atlantic.  It will likely become a tropical storm (named Lorenzo) later today or tomorrow. Tropical Storm Karen is the first of the two “interesting” storms.  It is currently barely a tropical storm, and is moving north towards Puerto Rico (which, along with the Virgin Islands, is under a tropical storm watch).  The main threat is flash flooding and landslides along steeper slopes, along with some gusty winds that, given the fragile electrical infrastructure, will cause power outages and light damage  Here is the impact swath map …

What makes this interesting (and likely the subject of chatter amongst those inclined to do so) is the stall, strengthening, followed by a turn to the west on day 4 or 5 of the forecast.  Some of the models even show a loop south of Bermuda.  The track guidance of the major models (highlighted in color below) are pretty scattered, and if you toss in the secondary models and ensembles, it’s a mess.  So what to do?  Wait and see … and not get too excited about it, unless you ate all your tuna and crackers waiting for the last storm, in which case restock your kit when you get a chance.

Finally, as if the region needed any more drama, Cyclone Hikaa is in the northern Arabian sea, and is headed towards the coast of Oman. It will disrupt tanker traffic trying to enter or leave the Persian Gulf a little.  The biggest threat is for flash floods; past storms have caused significant damage to refineries and piplelines across the southern Arabian peninsula from that source.  It will likely, as a post-tropical system, dump rain across war ravaged Yemen.  Here’s the forecast swath map …

Sunday Storms (22 Sept 2019)

Here’s the view from GOES East mid-morning Sunday … four systems are visible (and labeled):

All are just tropical storms (or invest areas in the case of the blob off of Africa). Jerry is likely to brush by Bermuda as a tropical storm (didn’t Humberto just do that, albeit as as full blown hurricane?).  Karen is causing rain and gusty winds across the southern Windward islands, but is likely to bring tropical storm force winds to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Tuesday.  They are under a tropical storm watch, so take appropriate precautions.  After that the storm is projected to head due north, then stall out south of Bermuda, giving them another storm to worry about, and the SEUS something to chatter about until the track guidance resolves.  Mario is falling apart, and will likely be just a remnant in a few hours.  AL90 is forecast to become a storm later today or tomorrow, but it’s on the other side of the Atlantic right now and early tracking indicates it will turn northwards rather than do the scary “Cape Verde” storm route.

Here are the Stribog model impact maps for Jerry and Karen … the big fan-out increase in size by Jerry is more due to the fancy oblique projection rather than the storm really exploding in size.  But it does make a more dramatic picture 😛