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 , 1:54 PM GMT on September 22, 2006
The winds and rain of former Hurricane Gordon have subsided over Ireland today, and golf's famed Ryder Cup is proceeding without weather disruptions. High winds due to the remnants of Gordon injured three people at the Ryder Cup's K Club golf course yesterday, where the final practice round was being held. A tree on the main avenue of The K Club was blown over, injuring a woman, and two men were injured when a temporary wall blew down at a bus terminal that ferried fans to distant parking lots. Radar imagery from the Irish Meteorological Service shows just a few scattered showers lingering over Ireland today. The counterclockwise circulation around the remains of Gordon helped pump hot air from Spain northward into the eastern British Islands. A record high temperature for September 21 was set with 28.4C (83.1F) in Bedford yesterday.
Figure 1. Hurricane Gordon on its way toward Ireland to play havoc with practice rounds of golf's famed Ryder Cup. Photo taken at 18:15 GMT, Sept. 17, 2006, from the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Image credit: NASA.
Gordon lashes Spain and Portugal
The remains of Gordon brought hurricane force wind gusts and heavy rain to Spain and Portugal yesterday. In the Spanish province of Galicia, four people were injured and one hundred thousand homes lost power. In Portugal, local media described chaotic scenes due to flooding from heavy rain and winds that damaged roofs and uprooted trees. Traffic was severely affected. Meteored, a Spanish weather forum, reported some impressive winds gusts:
Castro Vicaludo-Oia (Pontevedra): 168 km/h (104 mph)
Fisterra (A. Coruña): 165 km/h (103 mph) (INM)
Cabo Vilán (A. Corurña): 152 km/h (94 mph) (INM)
Ferrol (A. Coruña): 119 km/h (74 mph) (INM)
Alvedro (A. Coruña): 111km/h (69 mph)
Ancares (Lugo): 101 km/h (63 mph)
Oiz (Bizkaia): 109 km/h (68 mph)
INM is the Spanish government's weather service. I thank Luiz Fernando Nachtigall, Chief Meteorologist for Brazil's MetSul Meteorologia Weather Center, for providing this information. His site's weather blog has an impressive Youtube video of the damage in Spain.
Shower activity has increased today in association with a tropical wave featuring a broad surface circulation near 13N 39W, about 950 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. This wave was designated as "Invest 96L" by the Hurricane Center Wednesday. The storm is under 10 knots of vertical wind shear and is over warm ocean waters of about 28C, and some slow development is possible over the next few days as it moves northwest over the open Atlantic. Both the GFS and GFDL predict that 96L will follow a break left by Hurricane Helene in the Bermuda High and recurve harmlessly out to sea early next week. The other models think that the break in the Bermuda High will close up and a high pressure ridge will build in, forcing 96L more to the west-northwest. In this latter scenario, a long range threat to Bermuda is possible, or perhaps even the northern Lesser Antilles Islands. None of the computer models intensify 96L into a hurricane, though.
Figure 1. Preliminary model tracks for Invest 96L.
Naming scheme for "Invest" storms
The tropical wave naming scheme goes like this: If the National Hurricane Center deems a tropical disturbance worthy of running their forecast track models on, the disturbance is given a number 90-99. A letter is affixed to the end denoting the ocean basin--"L" for the Atlantic or "E" for the Eastern Pacific. "A" is not used for the Atlantic, since that letter is reserved for cyclones in the Arabian Sea. The Navy uses the same naming scheme on their web site with zoomed-in satellite imagery of all the official "Invest" disturbances and all the regular named tropical cyclones:
Click on "96L.INVEST" at upper left to see a full suite of conventional and microwave satellite imagery of the 96L invest area.
When NHC issues track forecasts for an "Invest", wunderground.com plots up the forecasts, and I make them available on my blog. These plots will always be labeled "Tropical Disturbance Invest". We need to fix the labels on these plots to say "96L" and make them available on the main tropical web page along with the latest satellite image of the disturbance. These improvements are on our to-do list.
Hurricane Helene headed out to sea
Hurricane Helene is headed northeast out to sea. Helene is expected to gradually weaken and morph into a powerful extratropical storm with hurricane force winds over the next few days, and pass between Iceland and the British Islands early next week. Helene's winds have blown long enough and strong enough over a vast area of ocean to cause large swells up to six feet high that have arrived along the East Coast of the U.S., prompting the issuance of rip current advisories from Florida to Cape Cod. Bermuda is also seeing some impressive waves along its shores.
I'll have an update Saturday morning.
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