Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:01 PM GMT on November 29, 2005
The official end of hurricane season lies only two days away, but the all-time records set by the Hurricane Season of 2005 continue to grow. Epsilon has become the 26th tropical storm of the season--far exceeding the previous record 21 storms seen in 1933. Epsilon may grow into the 14th hurricane this year, extending this year's record number of hurricanes to two more than the 12 hurricanes observed in 1969. Epsilon is really a hybrid between a tropical storm and a regular extratropical storm,
but its winds are nevertheless of tropical storm strength. Both Delta and Epsilon are more properly termed "subtropical" storms, but I guess the Hurricane Center has stopped calling storm "subtropical" to avoid confusion. Subtropical storms gain their energy not only from the warm ocean waters--like hurricanes do--but also from the release of potential energy created when cold and warm airmasses interact--like extratropical storms do. Epsilon is unlikely to strike any land areas, and will probably recurve to the north and east late in the week and be absorbed by a cold front sweeping over the north Atlantic Ocean.
Figure 1. Model forecasts for Epsilon.
Delta hits Canary Islands hard
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.
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