WEEKLY WEATHER AND CLIMATE NEWS
10-14 September 2018
Items of Interest:
- Approaching the peak in the Atlantic hurricane
season -- The historic or statistical annual peak in the
Atlantic hurricane season will occur near the end of this week (8-12 September), as
determined as the date during the entire season with most frequent
number of named tropical cyclones (tropical storms and hurricanes),
based upon over 100 years of record. This date corresponds closely with
the time of peak sea-surface temperatures across those sections of the
North Atlantic considered hurricane-breeding areas. [NWS
National Hurricane Center]
- September is National Preparedness Month -- The upcoming month of September has been declared National Preparedness Month (NPM), which is aims to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies, including natural disasters. NPM is managed and sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Administration's (FEMA) Ready Campaign in conjunction with the Ad Council, A toolkit of marketing materials is provided to help promote the month and represents the lead on this campaign that was originally launched in 2004. The overarching theme for 2018 NPM is "Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How" with an emphasis on planning. Week 2 of the 2018 NPM ends this Saturday (15 September) with the theme of "Learn Life Saving Skills." Saturday has also been designated as a National Day of Action.
Week 3 of the 2018 NPM (16-22 September) has the theme "Check Your Insurance Coverage." [FEMA's Ready.gov]
- High Tide Bulletin for autumn 2018 indicates higher than normal ocean tides along nation's coasts at the start of this week -- According to the recently released NOAA National Ocean Service's High Tide Bulletin for Fall 2018, higher than average tides are expected between 7 and 11 September along most of the nation's Atlantic Coast, running from Maine southward to Florida's East Coast as well as along the Pacific Coast of the US, stretching southward from Washington state to California. Higher than average tides also can be expected surrounding Hawaii and the U.S. Pacific Islands. The coasts of Alaska and the Gulf Coast of the U.S. should not have higher than normal tides. A new moon that occurred during the midday hours of this past Sunday (10 September), coupled with lunar perigee (when the Moon is closest to Earth) that was reached more than a day and a half earlier (Friday night), are responsible for the perigean spring tide that creates higher than normal high tides. Furthermore, mean sea level is typically higher in the early fall months along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the continental U.S. due to warmer, expanding ocean water and changes in weather patterns.[NOAA National Ocean Service News]
- Celebrating preservation of Earth's ozone layer -- This Sunday, 16 September, has been designated by the United Nations as World Ozone Day, the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. This day is celebrated to mark the day back in 1987 when the Montreal Protocol was signed. [United Nations Environment]
Weather and Climate News Items:
- Eye on the tropics -- The weather across the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean basins of the Northern Hemisphere continued to remain active last week with several named tropical cyclones (low pressure systems that form over tropical ocean waters, with near surface maximum sustained winds that intensify to tropical storm or hurricane force status):
- In the North Atlantic Basin (that also includes the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico):
- Tropical Storm Florence was traveling toward the west-northwest across the waters of the Atlantic approximately 900 miles to the west-northwest of the southern Cabo Verde Islands at the start of last week. Over the next 36 hours, Florence strengthened to become the third hurricane of 2018 in the North Atlantic basin as maximum sustained surface winds reached 75 mph. At that time the center of Florence was located approximately 1270 miles to the east-northeast of the Lesser Antilles. Florence continued to strengthen rapidly, becoming a major category 3 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Scale) late Wednesday morning as maximum sustained surface winds surrounding the hurricane's eye were estimated by satellite to have reached 120 mph. By Wednesday evening Florence had strengthened to a category 4 hurricane with maximum winds estimated to have reached 130 mph as the center of the hurricane was approximately 1300 miles to the east-southeast of Bermuda. Weakening over the next day, Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm as it was approximately 1000 miles to the east southeast of Bermuda. Continuing its travels toward the west-northwest over this past weekend, Florence remained a strong tropical storm before strengthening to become a hurricane again during the midday hours of Sunday. At that time Hurricane Florence was located 750 miles to the southeast of Bermuda. By late Sunday night, Florence was a strong category 1 hurricane that was traveling toward the west approximately 685 miles to the southeast of Bermuda or 560 miles to the northeast of the northern Leeward Islands. Current forecasts indicate that Florence could intensify to a major hurricane of at least category 3 status by late Monday as it heads on a projected path toward the Southeast Coast of the U.S. by Thursday. Additional information and satellite images for Hurricane Florence can be found on the NASA Hurricane Blog Page.
- An area of low pressure, which was identified as Potential Tropical Cyclone 7, formed late during the previous weekend over the waters of the western Atlantic to the east of the Florida Straits and the Florida Keys. Traveling toward the west-northwest, this disturbance became Tropical Storm Gordon, the North Atlantic's seventh named tropical cyclone of 2018, on Monday morning as maximum sustained surface winds reached 45 mph. At that time the center of Gordon was located approximately 10 miles to the west of Key Largo, FL. Over the next 40 hours Tropical Storm Gordon strengthened as it traveled toward the west-northwest and then to the northwest across the Gulf of Mexico before its center made landfall along the Gulf Coast just to the west of the Alabama-Mississippi border late Tuesday night. At the time of landfall the maximum sustained surface winds surrounding Gordon had reached 70 mph, just shy of the 74-mph threshold for classification as a hurricane. Traveling inland, Gordon weakened to a tropical depression on Wednesday morning over central Mississippi to the south-southeast of the capital city of Jackson. Over the next two days, Tropical Depression slowly traveled toward the northwest and then north across Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri before becoming a remnant low over the Ozark Plateau. Widespread torrential rain that produced flooding across sections of Alabama and Mississippi northwestward into the lower and mid-Mississippi Valleys over much of this past week. The
NASA Hurricane blog Page has satellite images and additional information on Tropical Storm Gordon.
- A tropical disturbance in the winds developed over the waters of the eastern North Atlantic approximately 460 miles to the east-southeast of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands late Friday (local time). This disturbance developed into a tropical depression (a low pressure area accompanied by thunderstorms that produce a circular wind flow with maximum sustained winds below 39 mph) early Saturday before becoming Tropical Storm Helene on Saturday morning. Helene strengthened over this past weekend as it traveled westward. By late Sunday night, Helene had become the fourth Atlantic hurricane of 2018 As of early Monday morning, Helene was a category 1 hurricane that was located approximately 200 miles to the west-southwest of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands
- A tropical depression formed late Friday night over the eastern North Atlantic approximately 1760 miles to the east of the Windward Islands. Traveling toward the west, this tropical depression became Tropical Storm Isaac on Saturday evening when maximum sustained surface winds reached 40 mph. Isaac strengthened on Saturday night and through Sunday as it continued to track toward the west. By late Sunday, Isaac became the fifth Atlantic hurricane of 2018 as it was approximately 1300 miles east of the Windward Islands. Isaac was forecast to strengthen through Tuesday, as it was projected to move across the Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea by Wednesday night or Thursday.
- In the eastern North Pacific basin (east of the 140-degree West meridian of longitude):
- Hurricane Norman, which had become a major category 4 hurricane at the end of the previous weekend, began weakening last Monday as it continued traveling toward the west across western sections of the eastern Pacific basin. On Monday evening, Norman had crossed the 140 West meridian of longitude and into the central Pacific basin. (continue below)
- Tropical Storm Olivia was slowly moving toward the west-northwest as it was located approximately 490 miles to the southwest of Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula at the start of last week. By Monday evening, Olivia became the ninth hurricane of 2018 to form in the eastern Pacific basin. Olivia continued to strengthen to become a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale by Tuesday evening. Over the next three days, Hurricane Olivia continued toward the west or northwest with some changes in intensity -- first weakening and then re-intensifying. As of Saturday afternoon, Olivia had approached the 140-West meridian of longitude, the western boundary of the eastern Pacific basin, where it entered the central Pacific basin.(continue below)
- Tropical Depression 18-E (TD-18E) formed this past Saturday morning approximately 600 miles to the southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Initially traveling generally toward the west, TD-18E strengthened to become Tropical Storm Paul during the predawn hours of Sunday morning as it was heading toward the northwest well off the coast of the Baja. By late Sunday evening, Tropical Storm Paul was located approximately 660 miles to the west-southwest of Cabo San Lucas. Paul was forecast to weaken on Monday as it continues toward the northwest.
- In the central North Pacific basin (between the 140-degree West meridian of longitude and the International Dateline),
- Hurricane Norman entered the central Pacific basin from the eastern Pacific late Monday night. At that time, Norman was located approximately 870 miles to the east of Hilo, HI. As of this past Saturday, Norman had become a post-tropical low as it was located approximately 440 miles to the north-northeast of Honolulu. Over the early part of the week, Norman continued to travel toward the west and then to the west-northwest passing to the east-northeast of the Hawaiian Islands as a major category 3 hurricane. By late last week, Norman weakened and became a tropical storm on Friday morning as it was heading toward the north-northwest approximately 330 miles to the north-northeast of Hilo. As of this past Saturday, Norman had become a post-tropical low as it was located approximately 440 miles to the north-northeast of Honolulu. Consult the NASA Hurricane Blog Page for satellite images and additional information on Hurricane Norman.
- Hurricane Oliva entered the central Pacific from the eastern Pacific basin late Saturday afternoon. Olivia continued traveling to the west toward the Hawaiian Islands on Sunday as a weak category 1 hurricane. By Sunday evening Hurricane Olivia was approximately 600 miles to the east northeast of Hilo. Olivia was forecast to continue traveling toward the west, approaching the main Hawaiian Islands by Tuesday
night. Little change in intensity was anticipated through early Tuesday. Additional information and satellite imagery for Hurricane Olivia appear on the NASA Hurricane Blog Page.
- In the western North Pacific basin (to the west of the International Dateline):
- Typhoon Jebi, which had been a super typhoon with maximum sustained surface winds of nearly 172 mph over the previous weekend, was passing to the east of Okinawa, Japan at the start of last week. Jebi made an initial landfall on the southern part of Tokushima Prefecture on Japan's Shikoku island during the midday hours (local time) of Tuesday. After crossing Osaka Bay, Jebi made its second landfall over Kobe on Honshu Island during the afternoon. By late in the day, Jebi emerged out over the Sea of Japan. Jebi was downgraded to a tropical storm at the following morning as it traveled across the island of Hokkaido. Ultimately, this storm lost its tropical characteristics and became an extratropical cyclone (or midlatitude storm) during Wednesday afternoon off the southeastern coast of Far East Russia. The NASA Hurricane Page has satellite images and additional information on Super Typhoon Jebi.
- A tropical depression developed late last Friday (local time) over the waters of the western Pacific at least 250 miles to the east-northeast of Enewetak Atoll. This tropical depression traveled toward the west, strengthening to become a tropical storm and then Typhoon Mangkhut by Sunday morning. As of early Monday morning, this category 1 typhoon (on the Saffir-Simpson Scale) was approximately 290 miles to the east-northeast of Guam. Manghkut was forecast to intensify as it continues to travel toward the west-southwest passing close to Guam late Monday and then to the west on Tuesday. Eventually, Manghkut should curve toward the west-northwest and pass to the north of the Philippine island of Luzon later in the week.
- National Hurricane Center's use of "Potential Tropical Cyclone" was not intended to scare the public -- Dr. Marshall Shepard, an atmospheric science professor at the University of Georgia and a past President of the American Meteorological Society, recently posted a blog explaining the motivation behind the National Hurricane Center's motivation for using the term "Potential Tropical Cyclone" over the recent Labor Day weekend to identify a weather disturbance that had developed off the southeastern coast of South Florida. Eventually this low became Tropical Storm Gordon on Labor Day. The forecasters at the Hurricane Center used the potential tropical cyclone tag as they were issuing advisories, watches, and warnings for a disturbance that had not yet been declared a tropical cyclone, but which posed the threat of bringing tropical storm or hurricane conditions to land areas within 48 hours. [F3 News]
- Real-time hurricane tracker for eastern Pacific launched for 2018 season -- NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) recently launched its "2018 Pacific Hurricane Tracker" for the eastern North Pacific that allows the public to track hurricanes from the NOAA fleet of satellites in essentially real time. This tracker complements the "2018 Atlantic Hurricane Tracker" that was launched in early August before the Atlantic hurricane season began to intensify. [NOAA NESDIS News]
- Addressing common misconceptions about hurricanes -- The communications and public affairs officer at NOAA's National Hurricane Center recently posted a feature in which he addressed five popular misconceptions held by the public for hurricanes, providing corrections to these misconceptions. [National Weather Service News]
- Making the discovery of NOAA data easier -- A search engine entitled "Dataset Search" that is dedicated to searching environmental datasets held by the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) has been unveiled for public use. This search engine was developed in a partnership between NCEI and Google, a U.S. technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products. NCEI hosts over 37 petabytes of data, which include NOAA datasets, such as weather, geophysical, and ocean records. [NOAA NCEI News]
- Above-average sea surface temperatures were found across western North Atlantic in August 2018 -- NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) recently assembled an image of the sea surface temperature departures from long-term averages for the month of August 2018 over the North Atlantic Ocean basin. This visual was produced by the NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory from data collected by NOAA’s fleet of polar orbiting satellites. The map also shows much above-average temperatures across waters off the coast of New England and eastern Canada, where some locations experienced temperatures 9 Fahrenheit degrees above average. [NOAA NESDIS News]
- Efforts made to determine what wildfires are emitting to help improve air quality and smoke forecasts -- A feature was posted to NOAA's ClimateWatch Magazine that describes how atmospheric scientists at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory and colleagues have been participating in FIREX (Fire Influence on Regional and Global Environments Experiment), a multi-agency project designed to understand what chemicals are produced directly or indirectly by wildfires. New equipment was used in FIREX revealed certain toxic chemicals that could adversely affect human health and the economy. In addition, work is being done to improve current smoke forecast models, such as the U.S. Forest Service's BlueSky tool and the NOAA Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Product that predict where smoke plumes will travel. [NOAA Climate.gov News]
- Scientist answers questions on how weather sparks and spreads wildfires -- A fire weather forecaster at NOAA's Storm Prediction Center recently fielded questions on fire weather, the relationship between weather and wildfire, and how NOAA forecasters create timely forecasts tailored to help firefighters battle wildfires. [NOAA News]
- Skies in eastern North America lit by "northern lights" in late August -- Several "day-night" band images obtained near the end of last month from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite sensor on the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite show several bands of visible light emissions from the aurora borealis (or "northern lights") stretching from Quebec in eastern Canada across the northern Great Lakes to Minnesota in the U.S. This northern light display, which was also witnessed by people on the ground, was an unexpected and delightful nighttime light show caused by high speed solar particles colliding with the constituents of the Earth’s atmosphere residing in the magnetosphere [NASA Earth Observatory]
- Satellite monitors summertime "ship tracks" in North Pacific -- A natural-color image was made in late August by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on NASA's Aqua satellite showing "ship tracks" across the North Pacific Ocean approximately 900 miles off the northern California and southern Oregon coast. "Ship tracks" are distinctive, linear clouds created when water vapor condenses upon tiny hygroscopic particles (aerosols) that are emitted in the exhaust from ships traveling across the region. Ship tracks typically form in areas where thin, low-lying stratus and cumulus clouds are present such as off the west coasts of North and South America. In a study conducted by German researchers, ship track clouds in the North Pacific appear most often in meteorological summer in the Northern Hemisphere (May, June, and July) and are only occasionally present in meteorological winter (December, January, and February). [NASA Earth Observatory]
- Deployment of large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara could increase area's rainfall and vegetation -- A team of researchers from the U.S., China and Italy recently reported on the results of their climate and vegetation model experiments focusing upon the deployment of large-scale wind and solar farms across the Sahara region of Africa. They found that in addition to supplying sufficient energy to replace the energy generated by fossil fuels, the wind and solar farms could result in more than doubling the amount of rainfall in the arid Sahara, along with substantial increases in the rainfall in the semi-arid Sahel located to the south. The increase in rainfall could promote more widespread vegetation. The reason for this increase in rainfall appears to be due to changes to land surface properties involving the reduction in the surface reflectivity (or albedo) and the increase in land surface friction and low-level convergence of air, thus producing upward motion and precipitation. [University of Maryland News]
- Impacts from El Niño and La Niña events expected to intensify with a warming climate -- Researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of California, Santa Barbara recently reported that during the occurrence of a warm phase El Niño event (anomalous atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns featuring warmer than average waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean) or its opposite, the cold phase La Niña event (with below average equatorial waters in the eastern Pacific), more intense impacts in the weather and climate are found over many land regions as a consequence of a warming climate. These changes would be found in amplified changes in the temperature, precipitation and wildfire risks. The researchers came to these conclusions based upon running numerous computer simulations using the NCAR-based Community Earth System Model and NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Earth System Model. The large number of model simulations allowed the scientists to distinguish impacts linked to El Niño and La Niña conditions from those caused by the natural chaos in the climate system. [NCAR & UCAR News]
- An All-Hazards Monitor-- This Web portal provides the user information from NOAA's National Weather Service, FAA and FEMA on
current environmental events that may pose as hazards such as tropical
weather, fire weather, marine weather, severe weather, drought and
floods. [NOAA/NWS Daily Briefing]
- Earthweek -- Diary of the Planet [earthweek.com]
Return to RealTime Weather Portal
Prepared by Edward J. Hopkins, Ph.D., email email@example.com
© Copyright, 2018, The American Meteorological Society.