Caribbean Hurricane Network
- 2 0 2 0 Season -
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Weather discussions by Gert & Dave during the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The homepage with the links to local reports from the islands, latest satellite image, current weather outlook can be found here.
Monday, June 1, 2020 21:07PM EDT
A huge milestone, this is the 25th year for this website! I started it back in 1996, when I realized that the mainstream news coverage of hurricanes in the Caribbean is largely absent or too generalized to be worth anything. The 'internet' was very different back then, blogging was not a word and Google didn't even exist yet. We were using the Altavista search engine and Mosaic browsers... A lot has changed, and news is easier to get nowadays, including first hand reports through Facebook. But for now, this website still fills a need.
A special thanks to Dave McDermott who helps me with writing hopefully easy to understand updates. Thanks to all the special hurricane correspondents on the islands. Without all these volunteers this website would be pretty boring! Some have been with us for a very long time. And of course, since there are considerable costs associated with this high traffic website, thank you all who have donated money, esp. the ones who have given year after year! Thank you all!
Another thing that came through recently and which I have been trying to get for many, many years is the ownership of the domain name stormcaribe.com, since many people like to add an 'e' to stormcarib. No one was doing something useful with that domain, but somehow different registrars kept renewing it, and I was unable to steal it when the registration expired. At one point is was even a porn site! When you type in stormcaribe.com by mistake you will automatically be redirected to stormcarib.com.
OK, today marks the first day of hurricane season. We have already had two storms. Pretty unusual, it only happened 6 times before in the last 170 years (see my earlier post). Although it seems to become more common, since half of the cases happened in the last 10 years. Hmm, I wonder what the cause of this could be... Many of the forecasts predict an above normal season. Pretty soon Colorado State will come out with their updated one. A lot of it will depend on the ENSO status. El Nino is good (suppresses hurricanes), La Nina is bad. The latest ENSO forecast from 2 weeks ago predicts mostly neutral conditions through August (65% chance, with 25% chance of La Nina and 10% El Nino). In September chances for an La Nina are going up a bit (50% neutral, 40% La Nina, 10% El Nino). So not really optimal and this is probably the main reason for the above average hurricane activity season forecasts. At the time of the last forecast by Colorado State La Nina chances were a bit lower (45% neutral, 35% La Nina, 20% El Nino), so I suspect that the number of storms they forecast will go up a bit. Below the names of the storms and pronunciation used this season:
Name Pronunciation Name Pronunciation ------------------------------------------------------------- Arthur AR-thur Laura LOOR-ruh Bertha BUR-thuh Marco MAR-koe Cristobal krees-TOH-bahl Nana NA-na Dolly DAH-lee Omar OH-mar Edouard ed-DWARD Paulette pawl-LET Fay fay Rene re-NAY Gonzalo gohn-SAH-loh Sally SAL-ee Hanna HAN-uh Teddy TEHD-ee Isaias ees-ah-EE-ahs Vicky VIH-kee Josephine JOH-seh-feen Wilfred WILL-fred Kyle KY-ull
Finally, I have updated the climatology section. Last time I did it was in 2011 so it was about time. A lot more work than I thought, since my scripts weren't really working anymore and I wanted to make nicer maps. I analyzed almost 1900 storm tracks from 1951-2019 (see image on the right). The climatology section contains over 600 webpages and over 4500 images. There are different sections: maps of storms that passed by your island, peak of the season for your island, five year analyses (are we seeing more storms lately?), hurricane capital of the Caribbean, and more. Also included is an analyses of where storms form for each month. Below is the map for June. In the last 76 years (since 1944) we had 57 storms form in June, 75% of them became 'just' tropical storms, no Category 4 or 5 hurricanes. More importantly, for us in the Caribbean it looks pretty good. Hope it holds true!
OK, this turned out to be a much longer post than I anticipated, so much new news :-). Everybody good luck this season! Hopefully things will go back to more or less normal regarding COVID-19 soon, with tourists coming back to the islands! Stay safe and don't do stupid things! And if you are able to, consider making a donation to the website, so that it can continue for many years to come! -Gert
|Storm Origins for June|
I am working on updating the climatology section (a lot more work than I expected, maybe that's why I hadn't updated it in the last 10 years or so...), so I have all the data to figure out how uncommon it is for two storms to form before the official start of the season. It is actually not that uncommon for storms to form before June 1, this is the 33rd time since 1851 (about every 5 years). However, this is only the 6th time that 2 storms have formed. The other years were 1887, 1908, 1951, 2012 and 2016. See the table below, showing date of formation, storm id, name, maximum wind (mph) and category. In 1908 two hurricanes formed before June 1 and in 2016 we did have a hurricane in January! In 1981 there were actually three systems before the start of the season, but the first 2 were tropical depressions (which I didn't count, I only include 'named' storms that formed between January 1 and May 31, so I didn't include storms that formed in December and persisted in January either). Five more days... -Gert
date stormid name wnd cat 1887/5/15 AL011887 UNNAMED 69 TS 1887/5/17 AL021887 UNNAMED 58 TS 1908/3/6 AL011908 UNNAMED 98 H2 1908/5/24 AL021908 UNNAMED 75 H1 1951/1/2 AL011951 UNNAMED 63 TS 1951/5/16 AL021951 ABLE 92 H1 2012/5/19 AL012012 ALBERTO 58 TS 2012/5/25 AL022012 BERYL 69 TS 2016/1/7 AL012016 ALEX 86 H1 2016/5/27 AL022016 BONNIE 46 TS 2020/5/16 AL012020 ARTHUR 60 TS 2020/5/27 AL022020 BERTHA 50 TS
Saturday, May 23, 2020 20:46PM EDT
- A PSA & Season Approach
That brings me to my second topic, a paper was just published in PNAS by NOAA scientist, noting that climate change ("global warming") is indeed causing stronger storms, esp. in the Atlantic. See also this article in the Washington Post. This is a big deal since storm force increases exponentially (not linearly) with windspeed. The little sidebar on the right shows that there is a big difference in storm force between the different category hurricanes, even though windspeeds differ only by about 15-25 mph. In the WP news article, meteorologist Elsner is quoted as: "Hurricane destruction in the United States, in terms of physical damage costs, has historically increased by 10 percent for every 5 mph increase in wind speed".
The PNAS study finds that the chances of a storm becoming Category 3 or higher is increasing about 8 percent per decade. Also, not only are storms stronger, and due to higher seawater temperature, wetter, they also seem to intensify much more quickly, like Amphan did, and as we have recently seen in the Caribbean, like Maria. So, unfortunately it looks like we will see more 'big ones' in the future... More the reason to be well prepared... -Gert
This is the 6th year in a row that a tropical storm has formed before the official start of hurricane season (June 1) according to Brian McNoldy. He also shows that there is indeed a trend that storms form earlier. However, no need (yet?) to change the official start of hurricane season, because it is still pretty seldom that a hurricane forms outside hurricane season (see the First Storm of the Season page, hmmm, I really have to update that with more recent data). -Gert
Wednesday, May 13, 2020 07:40AM EDT
- It's that time again!
The new names are posted above. The names repeat every six years. Remarkable storm names are retired, but since 2014 was a quiet season, none were taken of the list. Although some names, like Arthur, Berth, Dolly and Edouard sound eerily familiar from previous seasons... -Gert
The no shadow effect should make for some interesting pictures. See for example the Pringles can below with no shadow made by Hogan. Jurgen posted some on the Barbados page as well. Since we are all spending a lot of time at home now, maybe a fun thing to do is make a creative picture and post it (or send to me if you are not a correspondent)! Make sure that your object or whatever is on a level surface.
If your island is not listed you can follow Hogan's directions below to find the exact date/time for you:
Use the Heavens Above website: Select your Location
Click on 'Sun' and look at Maximum Altitude, then change the date until you see the figure in the altitude column get as close to 90 as possible.
This is also a good website if you want to see the International Space Station go over; on the main page click on Satellites - ISS. Lots of other useful info too.
Enjoy, looking forward to see some creative photos! -Gert
Maintained & moderated by: Gert van Dijken (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Weather discussions also by Dave McDermott, St.Thomas, USVI.
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