[IMG: Luis; Credit: Norm Nelson, Bermuda Biological Station for Research - http://www.bbsr.edu/Weather/]

The Hurricane Page - 1997

Updates from the Islands

What is going on now?

The 1997 Atlantice Hurricane season was quite uneventful for the Caribbean. Erika was the only major player this season, despite the fact that it didn't make landfall in the Caribbean the reports send in by the special hurricane correspondents on the islands are quite exciting. Read all about the 'snowfall' on Antigua, and other happenings in the 1997 hurricane season. Current information is featured on the Caribbean Hurricane Page

- Weather Discussions and Local Reports -

March 25, 1998 - NHC Preliminary Reports 1997
The National Hurricane Center posted their preliminary reports of the 1997 Atlantic Hurricane Season on their website. Very detailed information, including damage reports, of each named storm is given. Find it at: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/1997.html

December 5, 1997 14:00EST - 1997 Summary
For your files: A summary of the 1997 Atlantic Hurricane Season can be found on the Ohio-State website (also locally available in case they remove it from their website). Erika was the only major hurricane this season. Although it didn't make landfall in the Caribbean, it was a close call. Read the exciting reports from our special hurricane correspondents on the islands. Tension rose when Erika came closer and closer...

November 26, 1997 16:35EST
Dr. Gray and his team of 'hurricane-forecasters' at Colorado State University released their report today on this year's Atlantic hurricane season. Due to an unprecedented extremely strong El Niño, hurricane activity was far below average and lower than forecasted. If it would have been a 'normal' strong El Niño their forecast would have probably been pretty close.

On December 5 the first forecast of the 1998 season will be released. Dr. Gray is less optimistic than I am (see below). He states in the press release that the 1997 El Niño "will [not] be around to influence the 1998 hurricane season to any significant degree". I hope this El Nino last longer than one year (as it did in the last strong El Niño in '82-'83) and thus can have a dampening impact on 1998's hurricane activity.

You can read the complete report and the press release on the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology webpages.

September 26, 1997 15:30PM EDT
El Nino and the Atlantic Hurricane Season

So far it has been a very quiet season for the Atlantic (the Pacific is another story). Many times this has been attributed to the very strong El Nino (or ENSO [El Nino-Southern Oscillation]) event. In the years 1982/83 we also had a very strong one ('the El Nino of the century', although this year's El Nino is probably even stronger). During those years the hurricane season was very slow as well, but just like last year the year preceding the 1982/83-event was very active. Look at the numbers below... Coincidence? Will this mean that if El Nino stays for awhile that next year will be in-active as well? The year after 1982/83 on the other hand was a very active season... Will that be the case next year or the year after? Maybe, maybe not. According to Dr. Gray climatic conditions are very different between these two events, like different direction of equatorial winds and warmer sea surface temperature this year (more information). Comparing 2 cases is statistically not very sound, but in any case, it is pretty safe to say that during an El Nino hurricane activity is suppressed in the Atlantic.

                      | average | pre-El Nino |  during-El Nino  | post-El Nino
                      | 1950-90 | 1981   1996 | 1982  1983  1997 |     1984
     named storms     |   9.3   |  11     13  |   5     4    (7) |      12
     tropical storms  |   3.5   |   4      4  |   3     1    (4) |       7
     hurricanes       |   5.8   |   7      9  |   2     3    (3) |       5
     major hurricanes |   2.2   |   3      6  |   1     1    (1) |       1

September 22, 1997 17:55PM EDT
No, I haven't refrained from updating this page, there is just nothing going on! Those upper-level winds just shear every wave in the Atlantic apart. This season seems to become a very good one for the Caribbean! (knock on wood)

September 16, 1997 17:55PM EDT
Still very quiet in the tropics, at least on the Atlantic side. Was Erika it, or can we expect a big one? Sonny Bellevue (Guadaloupe) send me his perspective:

     Since last time I send yu a message, no evolution in the weather,
     thermometers indicate very hot temp for the season, and lot of old man
     tell that if it make so hot next day, before the end of the month
     arrive, we'll got an important storm.... what d'you think about this
     analys (or this kind of analysis)?
     About Montserrat, although i could see one of the explosion from my
     house, I got no information i could tell you except media
     informations.... or that there is since the beggining of the vulcano
     activity more fish in the sea near basse-Terre West coast,due to hot sea

September 11, 1997 11:50PM EDT
This is the way we like to see it at the peak of Hurricane season! Except for Erika up north, nothing going on in the tropics. Even the low pressur area in the SW Gulf associated with some disturbed weather has moved inland. Unfortunately the season isn't over yet, we have to wait and see.

I just received the following note from our hurricane correspondent Sonny Bellevue in Guadaloupe, reporting some unusual weather:

     [...] since next time we was on alert n02, that means everybody
     should stay close in a safety room...
     And, miracle or capricious weather, the Storm move away, and no
     disasters to declare ; none wind and rain, only the sea was a little
     For now, i didn't take the time to check weather information for the
     next days, and with the high temperature (about 34°C), temperature that
     are not normal for the season, I suppose the hurricane activity notstop
     yet... so I'll see for the weather, and send you new information for the
     following days....
     Next on mail, and spare that no hurricane like HUGO ravage Guadeloupe.

September 9, 1997 17:45PM EDT
The tropical wave located about 750 miles east of the islands still doesn't show any sign of development, we have to thank those upper level winds again. Keep up-to-date by reading the 'outlook' reports of the NHC. Easy access can be obtained from our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

September 8, 1997 12:05PM EDT
Has the Weather Channel scared you again? They reported that, now that Erika has moved north, possibly a new system is threatening the islands. Although the satellite image looks pretty impressive, rest assured that the NHC reports that upper level winds are not favorable for development at this time.

- - - Keeping score - - -
     Name       Max. Winds   Classification
     Ana          40mph      Tropical Storm
     Bill         75mph      Category 1 - Hurricane
     Claudette    45mph      Tropical Storm
     Danny        80mph      Category 1 - Hurricane
     Erika       125mph      Category 3 - Hurricane
     Fabian       40mph      Tropical Storm
     Grace        45mph      Tropical Storm

                        Gray's forecast    1997 score so far
     Named storms             11                 7 (-4)
     Hurricanes                6                 3 (-3)
     Major Hurricanes          2                 1 (-1)

For more detailed information look at the 'finger' info of forecast@typhoon.atmos.colostate.edu (updated after each storm).

August 6, 1997 23:05EDT
Today an update of Gray's forecast came out. Some good news; due to the stronger than expected El Nino event they expect less hurricanes to form. They forecast one less hurricane (6) and one less major hurricane (2) than the earlier update in June. Remember, last year there were 6 major hurricanes. For more info see the Colorada State University website or our earlier analyses.

- - - TD #5 - - -

July 20, 1997 20:05EDT
The 5:30pm Tropical Weather Outlook (National Weather Service, Miami, FL) states the following regarding the remnants of TD#5:


July 20, 1997 12:05EDT
I received two new island updates regarding tropical depression #5, now a tropical wave. Sonny Bellevue reports the following from Guadaloupe:

     We got a lot of rain because of the depression but for the warning
     they just tell us about the rivers and clean the waterway so we don't
     get water in our houses. Last night we had a lot of ligthning but it's
     ok no storm rigth now.

And Rafael Buxeda Ímaz send in a followup on the previous update from San Juan, Puerto Rico. He also compiled a textfile (and MS Works spreadsheet) showing all the data from the National Hurricane Center advisories neatly organized.

     As the sun sets in Puerto Rico, (2200 Z) it has drizzled a bit in San Juan.
     Local reports expect rain fall to intensify at this hour in Vieques and
     Culebra, two off-shore islands, between Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin
     Islands. These islands might be especially hard hit, as sea conditions
     might prevent ferry service, this being the only way to get supplies to
     them. There is a flood watch in effect, as 3 to 4 inches of rain are
     expected during the night. Gusts are also expected. The areas expected to
     be hardest hit are the entire south and east coast, and the northern coast
     from Puerto Rico's NW corner to the capital, San Juan. The central,
     mountainous area is prone to landfalls. Authorities are advising motorists
     to avoid driving from midnight until dawn, as it is feared that streams
     might flood and overflow bridges.

July 19, 1997 10:10EDT
More good news, the tropical depression has further degenerated, and has now been downgraded to a tropical wave! No more advisories will be issued (unless it redevelops of course...).

Two local reports, nonetheless. Jan Jackson reports the following from Antigua:

     Just to let you all know, in Antigua at the moment we are experiencing alot of
     rain associated with the tropical wave, and we had some thunder and lightning
     overnight.  Skies are very overcast and it looks like its going to be a dark,
     wet day.

Rafael Buxeda Ímaz reports the following from San Juan, Puerto Rico:

     The latest and last NHC advisory has TD #5 downgraded to a squall. From the
     onset, local media were warning residents of the danger that it might
     develop to a storm.

     This is a three day long week-end. And to a certain degree, authorities
     were worried that people would take off on vacations, especially to the
     western end of the Island, and not be aware of storm developments.
     It has rained on and off all night in San Juan. And although there is no
     major cloud cover as the sun rises, there is a 70% possibility of rain

     The question now remains if the rain might cause local flooding.

     On the brighter side, San Juan has had water service rationed for the last
     month, 24 hours on and off. If we have enough rain, especially where the
     resovoirs are located, rationing might end. The downgrading also means that
     people that have not prepared for a storm will not flood local food stores
     and hardware stores, most of the purchases being unnecesary. This is
     principally due to memories of Hugo and Hortense last year. The later was
     barely a hurricane, with 50 mph winds in San Juan, it did cause power and
     water outages, lasting up to a week.

     If nothing more TD #5 served as a good scare to those that are not
     prepared, since we still face the brunt of the hurricane season.

July 18, 1997 10:40EDT
There is some good news regarding this tropical depression. The first thing is that it is still a depression, not a named tropical storm. It is strengthening slower than earlier expected. The convection still persists near the center but it is not well organized, and there appears to be some vertical shear nearby which slows down strengthening.

At the moment there seems to be some uncertainty of the exact location of the center of this system, since aircraft fixes and satellite imagery don't agree very well. But for the books the National Hurricane Center puts it at 14.7N, 58.or about 230 miles east southeast of Guadaloupe. Maximum sustained winds are still near 35mph, and the minimum central pressure is with 1013mbar somewhat higher than before.

So it is strenghening a lot slower than previously thought, winds are expected to be about 45 miles in three days. It is still moving west northwest near 15mph. The current three day forecasted track takes it more north than previous model runs, right in between Guadaloupe and Dominica. The ETA is around 18hours, but since winds are expected to remain 35mph no tropical storm warnings or watches are necessary for the islands. And as always, for the latest advisories, satellite images, etc. skip to our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

July 17, 1997 20:00EDT
And another update from Hanniff Sutherland on St.Vincent:

     at 6:32 pm local time,

     the sky is 45% overcast there is a stillness in the air, (calm before
     the storm) the airport is quiet, there is an american eagle  aircraft in
     the tarmac, which takes the first flight out tomorrow at eight. there
     are clouds gathering in the east and north, but the west is clear. there
     is no more activity at this time.

July 17, 1997 17:00EDT
The latest National Hurricane Center advisories are in: the 17:00EDT position of TD#5 is 12.8N, 54.9W, or about 350 miles east of the Windward Islands. Maximum sustained winds are still 35mph, and the minimum central pressure 1008mbar. There has not been a real change in cloud pattern since the last update; there is deep convection near the center and the outflow is fair.

What happens next to this system is mainly dependent on the strong upper-level westerlies in the Caribbean. The current forecast track for the next 72 hours is a little bit more to the south than the last one. Now the center of the storm is projected to cross the Windward Islands in between Martinique and St.Lucia. Before that the center will pass by Barbados within about 75 miles to the north. The grunt of the storm is to the northern part of the center, so as it looks right now, despite the expected strengthening, I don't think that Barbados will feel tropical storm force winds. But as always, it's better to be prepared for the worst! For the latest advisories and satellite images see our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

July 17, 1997 15:20EDT
I just received the following report from Hanniff Sutherland who lives on St.Vincent:

     things have been pretty busy here, as usual, but the only signs of
     preparation are around the boating areas. I visited a few of these
     areas, and noticed a few of the yacht charters had postponed day tours,
     and are working towards securing boats. an interesting note however, i
     learnt from a friend in the insurance business, that business was booming
     this morning for quotes and actual purchases for insurance for homes
     etc. otherwise the local CB radio club is on the alert, and ready to
     assist if possible.

I am personally not too concerned for the Lesser Antilles at this time, it is not even a tropical storm yet. If it makes landfall on one of the islands it will not be a devastating hurricane. However, interesting is to see what it will do after it passes the Lesser Antilles, will it strengthen a lot more? And where will it go...?

July 17, 1997 11:20EDT
And indeed, the tropical wave east of the Windward Islands, has been upgraded to Tropical Depression #5. However the center is small and difficult to locate. The center is located near 12.4N, 53.4W or about 475 miles east of the Windward islands. Maximum sustained winds are 35mph, and the minimum central pressure 1008mbar. It is moving west northwest near 14mph.

It is expected that this tropical depression will develop into a tropical storm soon. Warnings may be posted later today... The current forecast takes the storm in 48 hours right in between Dominica and Martinique. Expected winds at that time are around 50kts (58mph, is tropical storm strength, a hurricane has winds exceeding 74mph, for more info, see our practical guide). For the latest advisories and satellite imagery, check out our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

- - - Danny - - -

July 24, 1997 16:30EDT
And yes, it has happened. The National Hurricane Center is issuing advisories on Danny again! It is currently a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds near 50mph. The center of the storm is presently located at 36.8N, 75.4W or about 45 miles east of Norfolk (Virginia) and moving towards the east northeast near 23mph. Especially the area from the Chesapeake Bay to Cape Cod should monitor Danny. It is very well possible that Danny will redevelop into a hurricane again. It is currently not expected that Danny will curve more towards the north and make landfall again. The 3-day forecast shows that it will continue its east northeast track out to sea... For the latest advisories and satellite images see our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator. No further updates will be given from our side since we are more focussed on the Caribbean. There are many other great websites (see below) for obtaining timely information regarding this system.

July 24, 1997 12:15EDT
It's not over yet! The remnants of Danny have been traveling over land for the last couple of days. Usually hurricanes loose a lot of their strength and character while over land, since their source of energy (warm water) is gone... However, the remnants of Danny stay very well organized. It is expected to move over the Atlantic later today. It is possible that Danny could restrengthen over water again... If advisories are re-issued by the National Hurricane Center they can be found at our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator. Since we are focussing more on the Caribbean we will not really follow the developments of this systems. There are many other sources on the net available (see below or the links section in our Practical Guide to Hurricane Tracking and Plotting).

July 18, 1997 11:00EDT
Danny has strengthened to a hurricane and is currently pounding the coast of Louisiana. These hurricane pages have their focus on the Caribbean, so not the best source of information for this tropical system. Advisories and the latest satellite images can of course still be found in our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator. Other good websites for news-stories are the Palm Beach Post Storm97 Website, USA Today, and some other sites which are listed in our Practical Guide to Hurricane Tracking.

July 17, 1997 16:50EDT
The latest position of Danny is 28.5N, 91.0W or about 110 miles south southwest of New Orleans. Maximum sustained winds are near 60mph, the minimum central pressure is 1001 mbar. The last couple of hours it has hardly moved. The steering currents are still very weak, but it is expected that Danny will move very slowly to the northeast. For advisories, strikeprobabilites, satellite images, etc. go to the Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

July 17, 1997 11:00EDT
The first advisories are in on tropical storm Danny. Its center is located near 28.3N, 91.9W or about 165 miles southwest of New Orleans. Maximum sustained winds are near 50mph. Tropical storm winds extend up to 70 miles, mainly to the east, of the center. A tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch are in effect from Cameron, Louisiana to Orange Beach, eastern Alabama.

It is slowly moving towards the northeast near 5mph. The good thing is that it is pretty close to land already, so that it doesn't have that much time to strengthen a lot further. For the latest advisories and satellite images check out the Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

July 17, 1997 10:45EDT
An 8:45CDT Update reported that data from oil rigs in the Gulf (and there are a lot!) and satellite imagery indicate that TD#4 should be upgraded to tropical storm Danny. More later...

Another area we are closely watching is a tropical wave about 550 miles east of the Windward islands. It is moving to the west northwest near 15mph. This could become the first tropical depression in the Caribbean

July 16, 1997 17:00EDT
The National Hurricane Center reported that 'the area of disturbed weather in the Gulf of Mexico has become better organized and is now a tropical depression'. Maximum sustained winds are near 35mph, with a minimum central pressure of 1012mbar. It is located 27.5N, 92.5W or about 230 miles southwest of New Orleans. At the moment it doesn't move that much, but it is expected to move to the east northeast during the next 24 hours.

Strengthening is expected, some models suggest that it could develop into a hurricane within 60 hours. Watches or warnings may be posted along the Gulf coast during the next 24 hours somewhere from Louisiana to northwest Florida. For the latest advisories and satellite imagery go to our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

- - - Claudette - - -

July 16, 1997 11:00EDT
The National Hurricane Center is still issuing advisories for tropical depression Claudette. Winds are still at 35mph, but it is not threatening any landmass since it is located about 550 miles south of Sable Island (Nova Scotia). Claudette is now very close to a front, and it is expected that it will either dissapate or merge with the front in a day or so.

July 15, 1997 11:30EDT
Claudette has just been downgraded to a tropical depression. Again, not much harm done. We like it this way. If Dr. Gray's prediction is right; three down, eight more tropical storms to go. We wouldn't mind a couple more Anas, Bills or Claudettes.

July 13, 1997 16:50EDT
Tropical Depression #3 has just been upgraded to Tropical Storm Claudette. It is currently located at 32.2N, 72.9W or about 280 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras and about 480 miles west of Bermuda.

Maximum sustained winds are around 45mph, the minimum central pressure is 1003mb. Some strenghtening is expected. Currently it is hardly moving due to the lack of steering currents. However it is expected to drift to the north, and later more to the northeast, not threatening any landmass. For the latest advisories see our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

July 13, 1997 16:30EDT
Tropical Depression number 3 has formed of the southeastern coast of the US, similar to Bill and Ana. With 35 mph it is close to tropical storm strength. It is, and probably will, not threaten any landmass. For the latest advisories see our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator.

- - - Bill - - -

July 12, 1997 22:25EDT
The effects on Bermuda were minor, no high winds and only a little rain. Too bad, since they need more rain, it's been a dry summer so far.

The 11:00PM advisory of the National Hurricane Center states that: "Bill has lost its tropical characteristics of deep organized convection near its center and appears like a frontal low on satellite imagery. It is now declared to be extratropical."

July 12, 1997 22:00EDT
Tropical storm watches were discontinued for Bermuda last night at 11:00pm. In the meantime though, Bill has rather unexpectedly strengthened to a hurricane. The 11:00am advisory reports that an eye has developed and that maximum sustained winds reach 75mph! However, it was shortlived. At 5:00pm the eye has disappeared. It is racing northeast near 33mph, not threatening any landmass. Bill is further weakening as it starts interacting with a cold front. Bill is expected to be extratropical within 12 hours or less. For the latest advisories and satellite images go to our Resource Locator.

July 11, 1997 17:30EDT
Bill has become a little bit stronger with maximum sustained winds of around 50 mph. It is moving faster to the northeast as well. Storm watches for Bermuda are likely to be discontinued later tonight. Bill is over cold water in a day or so, and to become extratropical in about 48 hours. Another short lived tropical system...as we like them! See also the latest advisories from the National Hurricane Center.

July 11, 1997 14:00EDT
The second tropical storm of the season, Bill, has formed in the Atlantic. It is still a minimal storm, with maximum sustained winds of 45mph and a minimum central pressure of 1010 mbar. At 2:00pm it was located at 33.0N, 68.0W, or about 200 miles west northwest of Bermuda. Bill is moving at 17 mph to the northeast and is expected to pass north northwast of Bermuda tonight. Therefore a tropical storm watch is in effect for Bermuda.

The smallest distance between Bill and Bermuda will be around 160 miles. Winds of 34kt (~40mph) extend to about 100nm (~115m) from the center. Bill is not threatening any landmass in the United States nor in the Caribbean. Also, I expect the effects on Bermuda, other than some squalls, to be minimal.

For the latest National Hurricane Center advisories and satellite imagery go to our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator or visit the Bermuda Weather Page (select 'Tropical') of the Bermuda Biological Station for Research.

July 7, 1997 15:00EDT
Looking at the satellite images (see our Quick Hurricane Web Resource Locator) the tropics are relatively quiet (knock on wood). It is still quite early for tropical storms to form in the Atlantic, since water temperatures are too low. Last year, however, we had a very early start with hurricane Bertha. It made landfall in the Windward Islands, like St.Maarten/St.Martin, and passed close by the USVI. You can find some local reports in our 1996 season pages.

- - - Ana - - -

July 2, 1997 13:00EDT
On Monday, June 30, tropical depression #1 formed off the southeastern U.S. coast. It is, and will not, pose a threat to the Caribbean, and most likely the US Coast. Therefore no detailed discussion re: TD#1 will be found here. Current advisories can be found on our Quick Hurricane Websource Navigator. Yesterday TD#1 strengthened to a tropical storm, Ana. The first named storm of the year. The latest advisory reported that Ana was getting poorly organized and moving out to sea.

June 11, 1997 11:30EDT -- Caribbean Category 5 Hurricanes: The Time is Ripe?
Category 5 Hurricanes (the highest category on the Saffir-Simpson scale) are relatively rare. On the other hand they seem to 'cluster', ie., if there is one in a given season, it is highly probable that more will follow. Hurricanes moving through the (warm) Caribbean Sea (so those who have already passed the Lesser Antilles) have a lot of opportunity to strengthen and reach the Category 5 status. Most likely these will make landfall at full strength in the US Gulfcoast or Mexico (esp. Yucatan peninsula). Michael Schneider argues that there seems to be a 9 year cycle for Category 5 storms. It has been 9 years, so is it time for another one? For more information read his article.

June 9, 1997 17:30EDT -- New era of high tropical activity; true or false?
Dr. Gray's forecast (see press-release) states the following:

     If this 1997 hurricane forecast is approximately correct, then the 3-year
     period of 1995-1997 will have been the most active consecutive three years
     of hurricane activity on record.  This suggests that we are entering a new
     era of generally greater Atlantic basin hurricane activity.
However, could it also be true that due to better technologies (=satellites) we just 'see' more storms, which would otherwise have been missed? The following is a posting crossposted in several Usenet newsgroups (sci.geo.meteorology, sci.geo.oceanography, bit.listserv.wx-talk, csu.general, csu.lance.atmos, co.fort-collins.general). Copied here with permission from the authors, Michael Schneider and Daniel Vietor, Dept of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Purdue University.
Michael Schneider writes:
        I wonder how much can really be made of this, since the advent of the
     satellite has allowed us to bag a lot of "one-day wonders" that before
     then would never have been noticed. In particular, those storms which form
     in the open Atlantic, late-season suspicious-looking hybrid storms, and
     everybodies' favorite: the weak tropical depression upgraded to a tropical
     storms 90 minutes before hitting some deserted shoreline.

       I see no reason to believe there are more, let alone substantially
     more, storms going on than there were in previous hot cycles.

Daniel Vietor responds:
     I tend to agree with you. I think it is not a coincidence that the 1995
     mega-year corresponded with the first year of the new GOES satellites.
     Now, those weaker storms which represented small indiscernable cloud
     masses in GOES 7 now can have recognizable circulations thanks to GOES
     8. This means that the NHC has more ammo to make weak cloud systems
     tropical depressions and then tropical storms. There are cloud systems
     that would have been dismissed 5 years ago that are tropical storms

     I have noticed in the last 2 tropical season a ton of cases where
     rather unipressive cloud masses were tropical storms and a host of
     hurricanes that showed no visible eye. We had two hurricanes last year
     alone that showed little resemblence to a hurricane. Hurricane Bertha
     which was category 2 when it hit N Carolina had more of a subtropical
     look to it as it had no convection south of the center.

     I am not doubting the hurricane centers assessment of the storms
     but I think we are comparing apples and oranges. Now that NHC has
     the use of GOES satellite imagery, they can detect circulations
     much better and may be making more accurate reports of the status
     of the system. IMO, this has accounted for a 10-20% increase in the
     number of storms. Taking away this, 1995 is still a well above normal
     year but I think 1996 would have been very close to normal if GOES 7
     were still out there.  Gustav, Kyle and Arthur would never been named.
     Cesar, Dolly, and Marco would never had made hurricane. This would
     have left us with 10 named storms and 6 hurricanes. Pretty normal

     As for this year, I think it will be interesting to see if Gray's
     forecast holds up considering the tropical activity already in
     the eastern Pacific. The last two years on the Pacific have been
     dreadfully quiet and it looks like this year is off to a good start
     with good strong convection out well past Hawaii (something we
     haven't seen in a while) and our first named storm.  I think this year
     will be pretty close to normal and maybe even slightly below normal
     accounting for the 10-20%. Maybe 10 named storms and 6 hurricanes???

     We'll see!

     Daniel Vietor                        INTERNET devo@cell.atms.purdue.edu
     Dept of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences TITLE Senior Project Specialist
     Purdue University                          WXP Developer
     West Lafayette IN 47907              WXP http://wxp.atms.purdue.edu
     PH 765-494-3292   FAX 765-496-1210   EAS http://meteor.atms.purdue.edu


     Scott Erb: university professor and thief at-large.
     <5maaac$27l8$4@sol.caps.maine.edu>, scotterb@maine.maine.edu

     "If someone needs to take something from someone who is wealthy
     in order to survive, it would be morally just to do so"

The discussion continues in the above mentioned newsgroups...

June 6, 1997 11:15EDT
Today Dr. Gray and his team from Colorado State released an updated forecast for this year's Atlantic hurricane season. As was indicated earlier it is identical to April's update (see below). They predict an above average activity for this year, with 11 tropcal storms forming, from these 7 will develop into a hurricane and 3 will gain the intense hurricane status (category 3 or more on the Saffir Simson scale with sustained winds of at least 111 mph). The next update will be in August, just before the peak of the season... More details about hurricane forecasts can be found below.

- - - Andres - - -

June 6, 1997 10:30EDT
Andres has been downgraded to a tropical depression. Forecasts show that it is expected to dissipate soon...

June 5, 1997 13:00EDT
Tropical storm Andres is still meandering in the Pacific just off the border of Mexico and Guatamala. With maximum sustained winds of 40mph it just remains a tropical storm. It is not very likely that Andres will cross over to the Northwestern Caribbean and then restrengthen. The coastal mountain range will probably weaken Andres considerably. Its largest threat are the locally heavy rains which can result in dangerous flash-floods and mudslides.

June 4, 1997 14:00EDT
While tropical storm Andres is not an Atlantic storm it could have some effect on the Caribbean, and especially the Yucatan peninsula. Our Local Hurricane Correspondent Fernando Borges in Cancun reports the following:

     We are watching closely the path of Andres, it suppose that today at 12:00
     hitted a little town located in the Mexican state of Chiapas near from
     Guatemala, we do not think Andres will affect the Yucatan area. We think it
     is going to weak when it passes over the mountains of the Guatemala
     territory. In the event it enter to the gulf of Honduras in the Caribbean
     Sea and get strengh the path we are forecasting will not affect directly to
     us. People are not paying any attention to the storm because the local
     authorities has not issued any kind of warning so far. We do expect a lot
     of rain the next couple days but it is not associated with the storm.

June 2, 1997
Found at the Palm Beach Post/Storm97 website: Competition for William Gray? Ruby Marks, a psychic from Miami, feels a disaster coming for the Carolina's and the Caribbean; two hurricanes will make landfall in the Caribbean... Read her story and a comparison with Gray's forecast.

June 1, 1997
Today marks the official start of the Atlantic Hurricane season. Let's hope for an uneventful year! From the National Hurricane Center's Tropical Weather Outlook report:



     NAME            PRONUNCIATION            NAME        PRONUNCIATION
     ----            -------------            ----        -------------

     ANA                                      LARRY
     BILL                                     MINDY
     CLAUDETTE       CLAW DET-                NICHOLAS    NIK- O LAS
     DANNY                                    ODETTE      O DET-
     ERIKA           ERR- REE KA              PETER
     FABIAN          FAY- BEE IN              ROSE
     GRACE                                    SAM
     HENRI           AHN REE-                 TERESA      TE REE- SA
     ISABEL          IS- A BELL               VICTOR      VIC- TER
     JUAN            WAN                      WANDA


The 'official' hurricane season is from June 1 - November 30. Nothing going on yet. Stay tuned. As they say in the Caribbean:

June too soon
July stand by
August come it must
September remember
October all over

Take a look at the 1997 forecast or look back at the 1996 season.

- A look forward to the 1997 season -

In the media the 'Hurricane Forecasts' of Dr. Gray and his research team at Colorado State University are getting more and more attention. They get to their forecasts by looking at a number of key global environmental parameters which historically have shown to cause either a decrease or increase in tropical cyclone activity. Examples of these 'forecast parameters' include amount of rainfall in the Sahel, sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic and strenght of Atlantic subtropical (atmospheric) ridge. Dr. Gray's team have built up a very good reputation and many people (esp. insurance companies) are reviewing their forecast with a close eye.

For the 1997 season 6 of the 9 forecast parameters indicate an above average hurricane activity, while 3 lean towards a below average season. They come to the final conclusion that this season's activity will be 10% higher than a 'normal' year.

Gray et al. state that: "Whereas net 1997 tropical cyclone activity is expected to be 110 percent of the long term average, conditions should be relatively quiet in comparison with the unusually active 1995 and 1996 seasons. Still, 1997 should be significantly more active than the average of the generally suppressed hurricane seasons during the last 25 years and especially in comparison to the particularly quiet seasons of 1991-1994."

The table below shows this contrast in activity during the years 1995, 1996 and an average year and how the upcoming season forecast fits in (data adapted from Gray et al.).

Dr. Gray cautions that these forecasts are based on "statistical schemes and forecasting judgements which will fail in some years". Also, these forecast don't predict where a storm will strike. Only one major hurricane will be able to do a lot of damage...

For more background information Gray's 1997 Hurricane Forecast-paper is on-line at the Colorado State University Webserver.

Kerry Emanuel developed forecasts of 'Maximum Hurricane Potential Intensity'. On two seperate maps the minimum attainable central pressure of tropical cyclones (mb) and the maximum sustainable surface wind speed for a given analysis or forecast time is shown. Unlike Gray's forecasts these maps show the areas where tropical storms are most likely to develop or better intensify.

More general information can be found in the links section of our Practical Guide.
                     |  'normal'    1997      1996      1995      1994
                     | 1950-1990  predicted
   Named Storms      |    9.3        11        13        19         7
   Hurricanes        |    5.8         7         9        11         3
   Major Hurricanes  |    2.3         3         6         5         0
   Named Storms Days |   46.6        55        78       121        28
   Hurricane Days    |   23.9        25        45        62         7
   Major Hurr. Days  |    4.7         5        13        12         0

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Contents of these page are not to be taken as official forecasts. These are just my own thoughts about the subject, and I'm not a weatherman nor psychic. Tropical systems tend to be even more unpredictable than human beings. Accuracy of eye-witness reports could not be checked either. Just the fact that I personally know most of the persons quoted does not mean that they tell me the truth and nothing but the truth. The information on this page should be used at your own risk. Do not use it for making life-or-death decisions, always listen to the official and qualified authorities. The author can not be held responsible for lost property, ruined vacations and the like. Despite all this I hope you found the webpage informative and useful. Comments are always welcome. Just send a note to gert@gobeach.com. Gert