Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:58 PM GMT on November 29, 2005
Tropical Storm Delta slammed into Spain's Canary Islands last night at near hurricane strength, killing at least seven people. One man died when he was blown off the roof he was trying to repair, and six African illegal immigrants drowned after winds caused their boat to capsize while attempting to reach Gran Canaria Island. Twelve of the immigrants remained missing while 32 were rescued. Each year, thousands of migrants try to reach the Canary Islands from Africa and many die in the attempt, but usually not in a tropical storm!
Sustained winds of 71 mph gusting to 86 mph were recorded at Tenarife, and a wind gust of 94 mph was recorded at La Palma. The near hurricane force winds caused extensive damage to utility poles, roofs, and trees all across the islands, which are a popular tourist destination for Europeans. Power is still out to over 223,000 residents today, but is expected to be restored to a large majority by Wednesday. Delta weakened considerably after smashing through the Canary Islands, and came ashore in Morocco this morning with only 45 mph winds gusts and some isolated pockets of heavy rain. Delta's rains were expected to provide a boon to local farmers unaccustomed to heavy precipitation.
Now that Delta is gone and the official end of hurricane season lies only two days away, we must ask--is hurricane season over? Of course not! This is the Hurricane Season of 2005, and naturally there is another area of disturbed weather we need to be concerned about. A large non-tropical low pressure system in the mid-Atlantic near 30N 50W continues to look impressive, with two areas of deep convection firing up near its center. Wind estimates from the military's F-14 polar orbiting satellite show winds of 30 - 40 mph near the heaviest convection. If this convection manages to wrap all the way around the center of the center of circulation, the NHC will likely start issuing advisories on Tropical Storm Epsilon. This does not appear likely to happen today, but could occur on Wednesday or Thursday as the storm slowly moves westward towards Bermuda. This system is unlikely to reach Bermuda, and will probably recurve to the north and east late in the week and possibly threaten the Azores Islands.
Figure 1. Early track model forecasts for the tropical low that may turn into Epsilon.
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