Caribbean Hurricane Network

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Weather discussions by Gert & Dave during the 2024 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 17, 2024 13:48PM PDT - First storm?
Although a hyper-active season is forecasted we still don't have our first named storm. According to Brian McNoldy's blog this is the lates since 2014, when the first storm formed on July 1. But now we have two areas of interest:

The first one (Invest 91L) is not surprisingly in the Gulf of Mexico, where the ocean has been plenty warm for a long time now. It is not moving slowly northwestward, and is expected to make landfall as a web storm in Mexico. At this time it is not expected to drift too much north so that it would make landfall in Texas.

The other area of interest is east of the Bahamas. The NHC gives it a low chance of becoming something, but it is expected to make landfall in Florida/Georgia or North Carolina. The storm is not as wet as 91L. See below the 7 day forecast from NHC. Just a little teaser for us, to make us aware of what will eventually head our way. Stay safe everybody! -Gert

- - - Seven Day Forecast (June 17, see NHC for the current one) - - -

Wednesday, June 5, 2024 20:00PM EDT - Quiet now but....

Good soggy evening from St. Thomas, VI,

Not a tropical storm or depression but the blobs over the VI and the DR are producing heavy downpours and a flash flood warning is in effect here per the NWS until 8 pm tonight. Puerto Rico has seen some heavy rains especially on the eastern end as well. Our water and power authority has been having major issues (they have for the 35 years I have been here so nothing has changed there) but the outages are not caused by the storms. This does not help the stormy situation and bodes ill going into hurricane season.

Speaking of which, as shared previously by Gert and myself, it portends to be an active, if not hyperactive season. So far, surprisingly enough, there have been no named storms or even depressions. That's due mainly to very strong wind shear, a low lying jet stream assisting that wind shear, and the omnipresent Saharan Dust, which has been layered across the tropical Atlantic so far. However, these features do not affect the GOMEX and the SW Caribbean as much and that's where the "fun" might begin starting next week as the jet stream and accompanying wind shear lift off to the north.

So, in a nutshell, look for the possibility of activity moving into South Florida next week to start from the SW Caribbean, followed by another possibility from the third or fourth tropical wave coming from Africa. The Florida possibility could actually be moved west to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama but the high is not forecast to be strong enough to shove it that far. Either way, it portends to be a wet middle of next week and maybe stormy depending. A bit early to tell. The initial waves coming across the Atlantic will almost but not definitely get beat up by the wind shear and Saharan Dust but they are the vanguard taking one for the team, clearing the way forward.

So look for some probable activity the last few weeks of June to jumpstart the season. As always, awareness, not complacency is necessary. Just because it has started off negligible does not mean it will stay that way and will take only one to remind you. It's time still to get prepared, a plan ready, pets, kids, parents and neighbors, etc... This is not an alarmist message. This is the truth. Having been through every storm here in the VI but 2 since 1989, plus a few Florida ones in recent years, I can attest. Marilyn, Irma and Maria. Pretty names. Destructive and deadly natures.

Stay safe and prepared!

Dave

Sunday, June 2, 2024 08:10AM EDT - 2024

Good morning my time or good day wherever you may be,

Was traveling yesterday so I was unable to post at that time. Welcome back to another edition (2024) of the Tropical Atlantic Hurricane Season. With La Nina conditions expected to increase and the SST's already reaching record levels, it is projected to be a rabbit race of a season aka very active. What is weird actually is that nothing has formed in the month of May although conditions are already ripe for the picking, especially in the GOMEX (Gulf of Mexico). That's ok for the time being. However, ramp up time will soon come.

Speaking of time will soon come, now is the time to prepare and get your storm supplies in order and readily available. Also, evacuation plans should be updated and ready if you live in a place that necessitates evacuation. Flood prone, storm surge low lying land, etc.... You can go on the web for a complete list of hurricane prep supplies which are numerous which can save lives and also make the transition from a hurricane strike to just basic living more manageable and tolerable.

As Gert shared, let's wish for the fish!!

Stay safe and prepared!

Dave

Saturday, June 1, 2024 14:05PM PDT - Start of 2024 Hurricane Season
June 1st... we know what that means. Start of hurricane season, which runs to November 30. This is the 29th year of stormCARIB! If you haven't heard it already, it is expected to be a busy one, due to record high Atlantic seawater temperatures and a looming La Nina (se my previous posts below and many articles on the web). At least we haven't had any storms before the official start yet. However, because of the already warm ocean temperatures we might have some big ones earlier in the season and it might be busier near the end of the season...

Below is the list of names for this season plus pronunciation. It is rotated every 6 years. There are two new names, Francine and Milton, after Florence and Michael were retired in 2018.

     Name         Pronunciation       Name         Pronunciation
     --------------------------------------------------------------------
     Alberto       al-BAIR-toe        Beryl         BEHR-ril
     Chris         kris               Debby         DEH-bee
     Ernesto       er-NES-toh         Francine      fran-SEEN
     Gordon        GOR-duhn           Helene        heh-LEEN
     Isaac         EYE-zik            Joyce         joyss
     Kirk          kurk               Leslie        LEHZ-lee 
     Milton        MIL-ton            Nadine        nay-DEEN     
     Oscar         AHS-kur            Patty         PAT-ee
     Rafael        Rah-fah-EL         Sara          SAIR-uh
     Tony          TOH-nee            Valerie       VAH-lur-ee
     William       Will-yum

If we run out of names we won't use Alpha, Beta, etc. from the Greek alphabet anymore, but the names will come from a pre-defined alternate list of names (see here). The main reason behind this is that in case of a significant storm the name can be retired. Hopefully we won't get that far. But as I always say, better be prepared!!! Now is a good time to start!!! Stay safe everybody this season and hoping for a lot of fish storms! -Gert

Thursday, May 23, 2024 10:39AM PDT - Another 'above-normal' forecast
NOAA just issued their forecast for the season. They say that there is an 85% of an above-normal activity season with 17-25 tropical storms, of which 8-13 hurricanes and 4-7 major hurricanes (14.4, 7.2 and 3.2 is normal, resp.). They blame the near-record warm sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic and the likely development of La Nina which enhances storm formation due to reduced wind shear. Apart from La Nina, 'near-record' temperatures will become more normal due to human induced climate change, so it does not bode well for the future... You can read more about the record heat in Michael Lowry's post on Eye on the Storm/Yale Climate Connections. Regardless, chances are still quite low that your island will get hit, but they are increasing. See the table in my previous post.

In NOAA's news release they also talk about some improved communications (for example, all advisories will now be in Spanish as well, not just the Public Advisory, also tropical storm watches and warnings can now be issued any time instead of in a regular advisory). They also mention new tools and system upgrades. Hope it all helps since the main key to minimize losses is being well prepared.

Lastly, there is a little disturbance northwest of Haiti. It is moving to the east. Although it is not expected to develop into something, heavy rains are still expected over Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. Stay safe everybody, and start some preparations now! Hurricane seasan is just over a week away... -Gert

Monday, April 8, 2024 10:18AM PDT - Another 'hyper-active' forecast
Tropical Storm Risk, recently absorbed by EuroTempest, a European storm and weather risk management services to the (re)insurance market, has issued their forecast for the upcoming season. It is exactly the same in number of storms as the one by Klotzbach et al's (see earlier post). They also call for a 'hyper-active' season with 23 tropical storms, 11 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes.

They say: "The reason why the TSR extended forecast for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane activity calls for a hyper-active season is our expectation that the warm sea surface temperature anomalies currently present in the Atlantic Main Development Region (MDR) and Caribbean Sea will persist through August-September 2024, and a moderate strength La Nina event will develop through spring/early summer and persist through summer and autumn.". Indeed, high water temperatures and La Nina conditions means bad news for us. Read the full report here.

Another 'hint' to start preparing now! In reality there is still a relatively small chance that a 'big one' will end up on your doorstep (see the table in my earlier post), so don't get too worked up about these forecasts. But you will feel better if you are well prepared. This might be a good year to invest in those hurricane shutters, if you don't have them already... -Gert

Thursday, April 4, 2024 10:15AM PDT - Extremely Active Hurricane Season forecasted...
Today Klotzbach and his team at Colorado State University issued there well respected forecast for the upcoming season. And it is not looking good... This may come as no surprise, since last year we had the battle between El Nino, which decreases hurricane activity, and warm sea surface waters, which increases hurricane activity. El Nino lost... This year we won't have an El Nino, but La Nina conditions, which normally enhances hurricane activity, plus the record warm sea surface temperatures are still here!

The forecast calls for 23 (!) named stormes (14.4 is normal), of which 11 are expected to reach hurricane strength (7.2 is normal) and 5 reach major hurricanes status (3.2 is normal). This is the highest number of storms ever forecasted by Colorado State in April...

The major drivers are La Nina and high sea surface temperatures. Although we are still in an El Nino, it is expected to fade in the next few weeks, and transform to La Nina conditions at the peak of hurricane season. During a La Nina vertical wind shear is lower in the Atlantic, making it easier for tropical storms to develop and become stronger. Sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic are currently at record levels, see for example the last plot on the my satellite imagery page (yellow/orange means above normal, it looks like 1-2° Celcius or more above normal!). And it is expected to stay above normal, giving more fuel to hurricanes...

Normally the April forecast doesn't have much skill, but this year they are more confident that there will indeed be an active season. It is hard to argue otherwise, with record sea surface temperatures and an La Nino, two of the main drivers in hurricane activity...

What does it mean for the Caribbean... For the Caribbean region the probability of at least one major hurricane tracking through the region (a big area) is 66% (normal is 47%, last year it was 49%). In the table below I summarized the chance of a major hurricane moving within 50 miles of a specific Caribbean island/country compared to the long term average (1880-2020) (source: https://tropical.colostate.edu/TC_impact.html). Note that some of the numbers are biased by area, for example The Bahamas. In any case, just one big storm in your backyard is more than enough. It seems that this is the season that you invest in some good hurricane protection.... Preparation will be key this season.

A good writeup can also be found on Jeff Masters' Eye on the Storm blog at Yale Climate Connections. It does not really make you happy reading it... -Gert

Probability of a major hurricane traveling within 50 miles

Maintained & moderated by: Gert van Dijken (gert@gobeach.com).
Weather discussions also by Dave McDermott, St.Thomas, USVI.


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