Caribbean Hurricane Network

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Weather discussions by Gert & Dave during the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The homepage with the links to local reports from the islands, latest satellite image, current weather outlook can be found here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 09:16AM PDT - NOAA predicts near normal hurricane season
Not that it really means much, since one hurricane can spoil your whole season, it is still interesting to look at the different long-term forecasts. NOAA just came out with their's and they predict that there is a 40% chance of a near-normal season, 30% chance of above-normal and 30% below normal... They expect 9-15 named storms (12 is average), 4-8 hurricanes (6 is average), of which 2-4 could become major hurricanes (3 is average), the ones we fear most.

They do note that even though an El Nino is going on which normally suppresses hurricane activity, the above normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean plus an enhanced west African monsoon kind of cancels out the 'negative' impact of the El Nino.

With the better satellites up in space hurricane forecast models should become better. NOAA's GFS weather model has gotten a major upgrade as well. Models have been getting very good at predicting the path of the storm. Intensity is another story. We have seen many times in the last couple of years that seemingly tame hurricanes all of a sudden became Cat-5 monsters. Last but not least, NOAA's National Hurricane Center and weather office in San Juan will this year also issue coastal storm surge watches for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. I am actually surprised that they hadn't so far...

So, only a few days left for the official start, we already had one storm, now is a good time to start your preparations.... You know what to do, you have been through it before! Just don't wait for the last moment. -Gert

Monday, May 20, 2019 19:42PM PDT - Andrea
Guess I was just in time with updating my website, or maybe I jinxed it? In any case, we have our first (sub) tropical storm on our hands, Maria. It is currently about 300 miles southwest of Bermuda, and expected to move south of it (see the Closest Point of Approach-tool). It actually might not get close to the Rock at all, since Andrea is expected to dissipate in about 2 days and merge with a cold front. Storms like this we like! One (almost) down! -Gert

Sunday, May 19, 2019 15:46PM PDT - 2019 Season
An annual ritual, making my website ready for the new season... New names are posted above. The names repeat every six years, so this is the same list as 2013. Sometimes names of 'big ones' get retired. The only new name on this list is Imelda, which replaced Ingrid. Ingrid was retired becaue it created a lot of damage in Mexico, which with hurricane Manuel attacking from the Pacific side, struck Mexico within a 24 hour period. Manuel was retired as well.

This is my 24th year of doing this! I started in 1996, 2 years before Google started, and when 'blogging' was not even a word. Maybe for its 25th anniversary I will change the look of this website and give it more 'modern' feel :-). Making the website ready for a new year involves moving a lot of files around, updating some scripts that download/process images, advisories, and making sure that my special tools will keep working. Hopefully I didn't break anything :-). In any case, welcome again to a new season. Hope that it will be a boring one! Also, don't forget that in order for me to keep the website running I am dependent on donations from you... -Gert

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 18:23PM EDT - New Season

Good afternoon!

After a "winter" and a spring, the new 2019 hurricane season is at our doorstep officially in 18 days. This June 1, 2019. I hope everyone has at least thought of it's impending approach and also had those storm preparation plans somewhere in their thoughts as well.

Currently all is calm on the Eastern front with a few waves starting their migration off the coast of Africa but as is customary at this time of year, far south along the monsoon trough close to the inter tropical convergence zone. This, along with early season cool surface water temperatures aka SST's, wind shear and that always present Saharan Dust Layer aka SAL, usually mean none will develop or get close to developing this early. So far so good.

Here in the Virgin Islands, a drought has ensued. The island is dry, brown, getting bereft of foliage and brings back visions of everything stripped after a hurricane. Water trucks are running rampant, farmers are suffering immense troubles with crops and livestock, with no respite in short sight. Hopefully, in a few weeks, the drought should break but Âhopefully not all at once. A deluge will be harmful as well with flooding, runoff, and erosion.

Yes it's that time again. Preparation time, emergency kit time, evacuation if necessary planning time, check your generator time, hey you know the drill!

Plan for the worst. Hope for the best. We have been there done that Caribbean. Let's do it again!

Dave

Friday, May 3, 2019 13:55PM PDT - Cyclone Fani in India
Fani made landfall in India just below Category 5 strength. One hundred million people are apparently in its path and more than a million have been evacuated. Hopefully it won't be as bad as in 1999 when more than 10,000 people died. The path takes it also close to Bangladesh. A lot of people live in river delta areas which are just above sea level, so even a minor storm surge could give a lot of problems... Read more on Google News. -Gert

Friday, April 5, 2019 09:51AM PDT - Normal season ahead?
It is that time of the year again that Klotzbach et al., researchers at Colorado State issue their forecast of Atlantic Hurricane activity. They expect this season to be slightly below normal, with 13 named storms (12.1 is normal), 5 hurricanes (6.4 is normal) of which 2 become major (Category 3 or higher, 2.7 is normal). The probability for at least one major hurricane tracking through the Caribbean (a large area) is 39% (42% is normal).

The big question mark is as usually if El Nino conditions occur this Summer, which suppresses hurricane formation and strengthening. Right now we are in an El Nino, and although models are all over the place, most predict that the El Nino will still be there later this year. Good for us! Also, sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic are a bit below normal, which is good as well.

They also issued an Excel spreadsheet with landfall probabilities for the Caribbean and Central America region. Below is the top 7 of the chance that at least one tropical storm (TS), hurricane (H) or major hurricane (MH) will track within 50 miles. I sorted the list by hurricane.

  Region               TS     H    MH
  Bahamas, The         68%   41%   22%
  Cuba                 66%   40%   20%
  Mexico               74%   40%   14%
  Dominican Republic   40%   24%    8%
  Haiti                35%   19%    9%
  Antigua and Barbuda  32%   19%    7%
  Cayman Islands       32%   19%    7%

As always, take these forecasts not too serious. They are not set in stone for sure, esp. the April forecast has modest skill. Nevertheless, it is nice to hear that it will probably be an about normal season, better than a forecast that predicts a highly active season. In any case, keep in mind that just one hurricane in your backyard will spoil your whole season! We still have to prepare as best as we can. A good time to start checking your hurricane shutters, possible flying/falling hazards around your house, emergency supplies, etc., is now. -Gert

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


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