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 , 4:23 PM GMT on November 30, 2005
Today marks the official final day of hurricane season, but the Hurricane Season of 2005 continues to show little regard for climatology. Tropical Storm Epsilon will linger at least until December 2, when strong wind shear and passage over cooler waters to the northeast are likely to reduce Epsilon to an ordinary extratropical storm. Epsilon's formation marks the first time on record that three tropical storms have formed in November. The previous record was two November storms, which occurred six times, most recently in 2001.
Epsilon is over ocean waters with temperatures of 23 - 25C, which are too cold to support a fully tropical system. Epsilon is a hybrid "subtropical cyclone"--one that gets its energy from both the warm water of the oceans and the temperature differences of cold and warm airmasses interacting. The difference between a subtropical storm and a tropical storm is not that important as far as the winds they can generate--Epsilon is near hurricane strength, and could well become a hurricane by this time tomorrow.
Delta destroys God's Finger
Tropical Storm Delta was declared extratropical at 10am Monday, so the deaths and damage it inflicted on the Canary Islands Monday night will probably not be counted in the official statistics for the Hurricane Season of 2005. Nevertheless, Delta was the first tropical cyclone in recorded history to affect the Canary Islands--a check of the tracks of storms since 1851 shows no other tropical storm has come within 500 miles of the islands. Delta dealt the popular tourist mecca a stunning blow that will be remembered for generations to come. Delta toppled the signature landmark of the islands, a narrow finger of rock called "God's Finger" that jutted out of the ocean. The Tenerife News, a local paper from the Canary Islands, reported it thusly:
The emblematic rocky pinnacle known as El Dedo de Dios or Godís Finger, which had pointed skywards from the sea for millennia, a natural wonder and one of the must-see sights of the archipelago finally gave up the ghost after thousands of years and collapsed into the broiling sea. The news of the loss has left islanders in a state of shock.
El Dedo de Dios (God's Finger)
Image credit: http://www.grancanariaschool.com
I'll be back tomorrow with Part I of a multi-part summary of this year's hurricane season--why was the U.S. hit so often, and why did Puerto Rico and the northern Leeward Islands escape harm?
Comments will take a few seconds to appear.