QuikSCAT satellite showing its age; ASCAT satellite helping out

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:48 PM GMT on December 05, 2007

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The now-famous QuikSCAT satellite, which measures winds at the ocean surface world-wide twice per day, was launched in 1999, and has now exceeded its expected lifetime by several years. A reminder of this satellite's age came during the week of November 21-28, when one of the cells on the satellite's battery went bad, forcing engineers to shut off data gathering on the satellite for about 10-15 minutes as it crossed over land in the Arctic. As a result, QuikSCAT provided only half of its usual data on winds and sea ice in the Arctic during that week. Fortunately, engineers were able to swap in a spare battery cell on November 28, and QuikSCAT is now back at full operation. This is good news, since QuikSCAT is a huge help for marine forecasts, sea ice forecasts, and predictions of tropical storms.

QuikSCAT now has help. An important new source of QuikSCAT-like data has been made available by the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). They launched their first polar-orbiting satellite, Metop-A, in October 2006, and declared the satellite ready for routine operations as of May 2007. This satellite carries a scatterometer called ASCAT which, like QuikSCAT, measures the winds at the ocean surface. ASCAT doesn't "see" the Earth's surface as well as QuikSCAT can--ASCAT sees chunks of the surface 25 km by 25 km, while QuikSCAT has a resolution twice as good--12.5 km. In addition, ASCAT only sees 60% of what QuikSCAT sees of the Earth's surface--QuikSCAT sees a swath of ocean 1800 km wide, while ASCAT sees two parallel swaths 550 km wide, separated by a 720 km gap. I found it frustrating to use ASCAT much this hurricane season, since it seemed that the passes missed the center of circulation of a storm of interest about 75% of the time.


Figure 1. Comparison of the coverage pattern of the QuikSCAT and ASCAT satellites, from December 4, 2007. Image credit: NOAA.

However, ASCAT has an important advantage--it can measure ocean surface winds where heavy rain is occurring, something QuikSCAT cannot. Both instruments carry an "active" radar (also called a scatterometer)--an instrument that emits a pulse of microwave energy that bounces off the ocean surface and returns to the satellite. The amount of microwave energy bounced back to the instrument is inversely proportional to how rough the sea surface is, and one can compute the wind speed and direction at the ocean surface based on this information. QuikSCAT uses microwave energy with a wavelength of about 2 cm (Ku-band), which is significantly affected by heavy rain. Microwave radiation from ASCAT uses a wavelength of about 5 cm (C-band), which is much less affected by rain. Thus, ASCAT can retrieve winds more accurately in the heavier precipitation environments such as those found in hurricanes. However, QuikSCAT does have finer spatial resolution and better sensitivity to high winds than ASCAT. Another minor advantage of ASCAT is that the winds across the entire swath of ocean it looks at are of uniform accuracy. QuikSCAT, on the other hand, has a bit larger errors at the edge of its 1800 km-wide swath, and in the middle, making it more difficult to interpret the data in some cases.

QuikSCAT data is routinely ingested into all of the major computer models that forecast hurricanes. ASCAT data is not yet used in this way, since ASCAT is currently still in its calibration and validation phase. However, by the 2008 hurricane season, ASCAT data will probably be used in this fashion. Having ASCAT to complement QuikSCAT will be a big help to NHC forecasters, particularly for those storms far out at sea where the Hurricane Hunters cannot reach.

ASCAT data is available from the ASCAT web page. QuikSCAT expert Dr. Paul Chang of NOAA also has ASCAT data available on his NOAA Marine Observing Systems web page.

Next blog
This Friday, the Colorado State University team issues its first forecast for the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. I'll present an analysis of the forecast Friday afternoon.

Jeff Masters

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219. flaboyinga
6:28 PM GMT on December 17, 2007
Patrap, and StormW, Mail call.
218. flaboyinga
6:26 PM GMT on December 17, 2007
Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope the new year treats you great. I've been tied up a lot with my family and extended family and have stuck to lurking in the pantry. (Some of us are old enough to remember the La Choy cooked in dragon fire commercials.) I got my taste of Global Warming last night and more is expected here in SE Ga. It's probably warm over at St. Simon's Island, tho.lol I hope everyone is having a blessed day. Back to lurking.
217. NEwxguy
6:55 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
Hope we get a little break soon,hate this continous cold weather.My prediction is its going to stay wintery until the middle of January.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 862 Comments: 15064
216. LakeShadow
6:46 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
Yeah things are pretty quiet on the radar now...take it when I can get it. Its supposed to warm up a little. They keep changing the day that the warm-up is coming. was Fri then Sat, then Sun, so I see it posted for Tues... ugh. And thats only to 40 deg.
April cant come soon enough!
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
215. NEwxguy
6:17 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
Im expecting a little light snow before the afternoon is over,but shouldn't amount to much
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 862 Comments: 15064
214. NEwxguy
6:15 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
212. LakeShadow 6:13 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
bone's about to get his dose pretty soon...
I think hes in NW NJ...

Yeh,most of the activity has been down toward his area.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 862 Comments: 15064
213. NEwxguy
6:14 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
thats good,doesn't look like there will be much mechanism for getting it started in the near future,but the pattern is definitely going to be unsettled at least until the middle of next week.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 862 Comments: 15064
212. LakeShadow
6:13 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
bone's about to get his dose pretty soon...
I think hes in NW NJ...



Link
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
211. LakeShadow
6:09 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
didnt really get kicked up last night around here...the wind shear is supposed to keep it light. not much right now, but still some showing up on the radar. very localized.
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
210. NEwxguy
5:58 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
afternoon lake,did the LES stop?
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 862 Comments: 15064
209. Natgas
5:47 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
206. tornadofan 4:54 PM GMT on December 07, 2007

Be careful of the two very popular weather terms El Nino and La Nina. They are as much TV hype terms as anything.
Member Since: October 26, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
208. LakeShadow
5:21 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
We had like 2 clippers this week. Some schools have been closed/delayed 2 or three times.

no offense, but better you than me :o)
And people move south to escape the cold... it will track you down, it will!

Afternoon, NE, Storm...everyone else..
merked out there for a while, children's breakdowns....
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
207. NEwxguy
5:15 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
206. tornadofan 4:54 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
204. NorthxCakalaky 4:36 PM GMT on December 07, 2007

Weak El Nino conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean are expected
to play a role in this winter's weather...

Did I miss something the past couple of weeks?
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 862 Comments: 15064
206. tornadofan
4:54 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
204. NorthxCakalaky 4:36 PM GMT on December 07, 2007

Weak El Nino conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean are expected
to play a role in this winter's weather...


HUH?
Member Since: April 5, 2007 Posts: 83 Comments: 12345
205. NEwxguy
4:42 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
SW,any long range signs of this winter pattern breaking down??
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 862 Comments: 15064
204. NorthxCakalaky
4:36 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
Current Severe Weather


Public Information Statement
Statement as of 7:00 am EST on December 7, 2007


The governors of Virginia and North Carolina have declared the week
of December 2nd to 8th... 2007 winter preparedness week. The National
Weather Service offices serving Virginia and North Carolina... in
cooperation with their respective departments of emergency
management... will send public information statements each day
through Saturday at approximately 7 am. These statements will focus
on different aspects of winter weather... and preparedness actions
the public should take for the upcoming winter season.

Today's topic: heavy snow.

For most of the last 10 Winters... temperatures have been normal to
above normal. What will this winter bring? The National Weather
Service outlook for this winter is calling for below normal
temperatures and near normal precipitation across the commonwealth.
Weak El Nino conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean are expected
to play a role in this winter's weather... by producing a stronger
than normal southern jet stream called the subtropical jet. Storm
systems intensifying rapidly along the eastern Seaboard during the
colder months of the year are usually responsible for producing most
of the heavy snows in our area.

These systems... called nor'easters... can also produce strong winds
which may result in blizzard conditions and huge snow drifts. Heavy
snow tends to occur 100 to 150 miles to the northwest of the track
of the surface low. Snow amounts well in excess of 30 inches have
occurred with nor'easters in our area. In addition... strong winds
and very cold temperatures can result in blizzard or near blizzard
conditions... dangerous wind chill values... and have resulted in snow
drifts up to 12 feet high.

The exact track the surface low pressure takes and how much cold air
is in place ahead of the system... determines if and where heavy snow
will occur. Given that cold air is in place... a surface low that
travels a hundred miles or so off the coast can produce some snow in
the central portion of Virginia and North Carolina... with the
potential for heavy snow confined to the eastern portions of the
area. If the surface low travels along the coast or slightly
inland... heavy snow is most likely in the northwestern one third of
Virginia.

If the amount of cold air in place is marginal for snow... it is
possible that heavy wet snow could occur in the higher elevations
with just a cold rain in the lower elevations. Heavy snow is capable
of bringing down tree limbs and power lines which may result in
power outages. In rare instances... heavy snow may result in the
collapse of roofs of buildings and homes. In addition... heavy snow
may result in snow covered or ice covered roads. This typically
leads to vehicle accidents and potentially major traffic jams. If
there is enough heavy snow and... or wind... some roads may be closed
and other roads may only be successfully traversed by 4 wheel drive
vehicles.

The following is a summary of historic snowstorms in virginia:

February 14-18 2003. 7 to 36 inches of snow across central and
northern Virginia (highest far north)... significant ice southern
Virginia.

January 24-25 2000. 6 to 19 inches of snow across much of central
and eastern Virginia.

January 6-7 1996. 12 to 30 inches of snow in much of
western... central... and northern Virginia. A few locations in the
mountains received over 3 feet of snow. Twenty four hour snowfall
records were established at Roanoke and Lynchburg. In
Virginia... there was one fatality directly attributed to the storm.
In the mountains... strong winds on January 8th created snow drifts
up to 10 feet high.

March 12-15 1993. 20 to 30 inches of snow with some amounts over 3
feet in the mountains. In the foothills... 10 to 18 inches of snow
fell. In Virginia... there was one fatality directly attributed to
the storm. In the mountains... strong winds up to 50 mph whipped
drifts up to 12 feet high and created near blizzard conditions.

February 10-12 1983. 10 to 20 inches of snow in a large portion of
Virginia with up to 30 inches of snow in northern portions of the
state. The storm established 24 hour snowfall records at
Roanoke... Lynchburg... and Richmond.

March 5-8 1962. 10 to 24 inches of snow in many interior portions of
Virginia.

Being prepared means making good decisions based on information
contained in outlooks... watches... warnings... advisories... other
statements and forecasts from the National Weather Service. The key
is to know what to do in advance. If a winter storm like what
occurred in 1993 or 1996 was predicted to hit Virginia in two
days... what would you do between now and when the storm arrives to
get ready? You should make sure you have enough food... water and
medication for several days. You also need to be prepared for the
loss of power and... or heat.

Up to date weather information is available at:

Www.Weather.Gov/Blacksburg

The National Weather Service winter weather awareness home Page is
found here:




" " " " " " " " " " " " "" " " "

Much of N.C schools systems are under a 2 hour delay/closed where I live.Not one weather station predicted ice/snow.Though weatherunderground said a 20% of freezing rain above 3000f.t. We had ice down around 1000f.t and below.

When the met came on air this morning he said the "Alberta Clipper diped more south than expected".None of the roads were treated this morning with salt.

We had like 2 clippers this week. Some schools have been closed/delayed 2 or three times.
202. NEwxguy
4:22 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
morning SJ, doing well up here,but cold.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 862 Comments: 15064
201. taistelutipu
4:22 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
Good afternoon everyone,

Daman seems to undergo an eyewall replacement cycle, the structure as become quite asymetrical over the past hours. In the first frames of the water vapor loop you can still see the former well-organized storm with a clear eye which collapses in the next frames. At the end of the loop I think I see a new eye forming. I'll be out for some hours now, let's see how Daman looks like then.
I'm quite happy that the cyclone did not take the forecast track over the island but seems to miss it. This one is really unpredictable. Yesterday the forecast still called for a passage between the two bigger islands, then it had the storm going over the island and now it circles it to the east.
Member Since: August 20, 2007 Posts: 12 Comments: 623
200. NEwxguy
4:22 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
Thanks Storm,good analysis as always.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 862 Comments: 15064
199. StormJunkie
4:20 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
Morning NE and SW, hope y'all are well.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
198. StormJunkie
4:19 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
Yep, I think so press, and good to see you around. Shoot me a WU mail though just in case.

Morning Ike, good to see you too.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
197. NEwxguy
4:19 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
GM all.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 862 Comments: 15064
195. presslord
4:08 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
stormj....things are lightening up...let's get together soon....Still have my #?
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
194. presslord
4:07 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
yea IKE...I've already started shuttering the windows and gassing up the cars....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
193. LakeShadow
4:07 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
cool, lawntonliookers, let me know how you do.
:o)
snowcounting is a fun way to deal with the snow...
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
192. lawntonlookers
3:56 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
This is the most recent forcast map from Figi. Sounds like it could be another big storm.

LakeShadow, I tried you snow formula for Harrisburg, PA and will see how it works. I will keep you posted.

Figi
Member Since: March 22, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1570
191. IKE
3:53 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
FORT COLLINS, Colorado (AP) -- Hurricane forecaster William Gray called Friday for seven Atlantic hurricanes, three of them major, during the 2008 season.

Yawn.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
190. LakeShadow
3:34 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
pardon,, Daman...I miss read..I thought he might be named after the evil kid in OMEN..
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
189. LakeShadow
3:32 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
morning...slow again...
Damian is big...Nice evil name for an evil storm... :O
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2134
188. StormJunkie
3:30 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
Im really curious what they went through to make this all happen.

Welcome aboard 711!

My guess would be that it was all done electronically. That is one of the beauties of space exploration. The contingency plans are pretty well thought out during development of things like the QS. Again, all just my guess.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
187. sydneyaust1
3:10 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
oops!! that would be 1 Hour and 25 Mins ago
186. sydneyaust1
3:04 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
Issued 25 Mins ago

Special Weather Bulletin Number TWENTY for Fiji ON SEVERE TROPICAL
CYCLONE DAMAN
ISSUED FROM RSMC NADI at 1:48am on Saturday the 8th of December 2007

TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNING

A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR CIKOBIA, NORTH-EASTERN PARTS
OF VANUA LEVU AND NEARBY ISLANDS.
A STORM WARNING IS IN FORCE FOR KIA, THE REST OF EASTERN HALF OF
VANUA LEVU, TAVEUNI AND NEARBY ISLANDS, NORTHERN AND CENTRAL LAU
GROUP.
A GALE WARNING IS IN FORCE FOR THE SOUTHERN LAU GROUP.

SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE DAMAN CENTRE 935HPA [CATEGORY 4] WAS LOCATED
NEAR 15 DECIMAL 7 SOUTH 180 DECIMAL 0 EAST OR ABOUT 110 KILOMETRES
NORTHEAST OF LABASA AT 1.40AM TODAY. CLOSE TO ITS CENTRE, THE CYCLONE
IS ESTIMATED TO HAVE AVERAGE WINDS UP TO 160 KM/HR WITH MOMENTARY
GUSTS UP TO 240 KM/HR. THE CYCLONE IS NOW MOVING EAST-SOUTHEAST AT
ABOUT 20 KM/HR AND EXPECTED TO CURVE TOWARDS THE SOUTHEAST.

FOR CIKOBIA, NORTH-EASTERN PARTS OF VANUA LEVU AND NEARBY ISLANDS,
WINDS OF VERY DESTRUCTIVE HURRICANE FORCE WITH AVERAGE SPEEDS UPTO
160 KM/HR WITH MOMENTARY GUSTS TO 240 KM/HR.

FOR KIA, THE REST OF EASTERN HALF OF VANUA LEVU, TAVEUNI AND NEARBY
ISLANDS, NORTHERN AND CENTRAL LAU GROUP, WINDS INCREASING TO
DESTRUCTIVE STORM FORCE WITH AVERAGE SPEEDS UPTO 110 KM/HR WITH
MOMENTARY GUSTS TO 160 KM/HR TOMORROW.

OVER THE SOUTHERN LAU GROUP, WINDS INCREASING TO DAMAGING GALE FORCE
OF 65 KM/HR WITH MOMENTARY GUSTS TO 110 KM/HR FROM LATER TOMORROW.

EXPECT HEAVY RAIN AND SQUALLY THUNDERSTORMS ESPECIALLY OVER THE
EASTERN HALF OF THE COUNTRY. FLASH FLOODING OF LOW-LYING AREAS,
RIVERS AND STREAMS. SEA FLOODING OF LOW-LYING COASTAL AREAS,
ESPECIALLY AT THE TIME OF HIGH TIDE.

FOR THE REST OF FIJI SOME SHOWERS WITH ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS. ROUGH
SEAS. MODERATE TO HEAVY SWELLS.

FOR ROTUMA.
NORTH TO NORTHWEST WINDS FRESH AND GUSTY. CLOUDY PERIODS WITH
OCCASIONAL SHOWERS AND A FEW SQUALLY THUNDERSTORMS. ROUGH SEAS.
MODERATE TO HEAVY SWELLS.


The following information is provided especially for the mariners:
EXPECT WINDS OF VERY DESTRUCTIVE HURRICANE FORCE WITHIN 25 MILES OF
CYCLONE CENTRE WITH PHENOMINAL SEAS. DESTRUCTIVE STORM FORCE WINDS
WITHIN 40 MILES OF CENTRE WITH VERY HIGH SEAS. DAMAGING GALE FORCE
WINDS TO 60 MILES WITH VERY ROUGH TO HIGH SEAS. DAMAGING HEAVY
SWELLS.

THE NEXT SPECIAL WEATHER BULLETIN FOR FIJI WILL BE ISSUED AROUND 5AM
TODAY.
185. weatherboyfsu
2:45 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
Good morning,

Isnt it amazing how below the equator the spin is the opposite. It kind of gives you a headache to look at when your so use to looking at Northern hemisphere storms. Very intense storm.
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
184. Ronald711
2:29 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
engineers were able to swap in a spare battery cell on November 28

Im curious how this was done? Its a satellite, I would they they would either have to go have NASA do something with it, or launch a new satellite. Unless there is something they did electronically by sending commands from a ground station, which the article doesn't make it sound like.. Im really curious what they went through to make this all happen.
Member Since: February 18, 2003 Posts: 9 Comments: 2
183. aspectre
2:15 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
Chicklit "...main island...flight scheduled...on Monday. ...asking if...delayed."

NadiInternationalAirport is 59feet/18metres above sealevel and Fiji is regularly hit by TropicalCyclones, so I'd suspect structures have been engineered to resume normal flight operations very quickly after the equivalent of a moderate Cat.3 hurricane has passed.
In fact, Daman appears to be bypassing the main island Suva entirely...

...and the airport should remain unaffected.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
182. StormJunkie
1:27 PM GMT on December 07, 2007
Morning all, good to see ya JFla, and Chick ☺

Just made a trip through Florida and have some pics posted in my blog for those who are interested.

JFla, what kind of interesting for the SE?
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
180. Chicklit
11:28 AM GMT on December 07, 2007
My brother in law is on the main island and has a flight scheduled out of there for England on Monday. My sister is asking if he'll be delayed. Anybody have an idea?
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11034
179. aspectre
10:06 AM GMT on December 07, 2007
The Australian Scale is based on the maximum speed of wind gusts rather than sustained winds.
Category 5 means gusts equal to or greater than 280kilometres per hour / 174miles per hour
and is more weakly associated with sustained winds equal to or greater than 200kph/124mph

"SevereTropicalCyclone Daman...(Category4)...is estimated to have average winds up to 180kph with momentary gusts up to 260kph" from RSMC-Nadi (Fiji Meteorological Service)
means sustained winds of ~112mph with gusts up to ~162mph
which would be a weak Cat.3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

"Max sustained winds - 105knots , gusts - 130knots" for Daman from the JointTyphoonWarningCenter
means sustained winds of ~121mph/~194kph with gusts up to ~150mph/~241kph
which would be a moderate Cat.3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
178. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
9:22 AM GMT on December 07, 2007
JTWC advisory for Daman
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 48 Comments: 43646
177. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
9:02 AM GMT on December 07, 2007
TROPICAL CYCLONE DAMAN ADVISORY NUMBER NINE - ISSUED AT 8:30AM UTC
====================================

SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE DAMAN [925 hPa] located near 15.5S 178.7E as of 0600 AM UTC. Position Good based on radar, Hourly MTSAT Enhanced Infrared Radar Imagery with animation. Cyclone has 10 minute sustained winds of 100 knots and is moving east at 8 knots.

Hurricane Force Winds
=====
30 NM from the center

Storm Force Winds
=====
50 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
====
65 NM from the center

Additional Information
=======================
Eye now embedded and not clearly discernible. Shear over the system increased significantly past 6 hours. SST 28-30C. Organization steady. Convective bands though beginning to lose organization. Dvorak Based on Embedded Center Pattern with B Surround and 0.5 Banding, Yielding a DT 5.5, PT=5, Met=5 Thus T5.5/6.0/D1.5/24 HRS.

Cyclone is steered east by a mid level ridge to the north. Global models generally agree on an easterly then southeast track with little intensification.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 48 Comments: 43646
176. vortfix
8:42 AM GMT on December 07, 2007
Special Weather Bulletin Number EIGHTEEN for Fiji ON SEVERE TROPICAL
CYCLONE DAMAN
ISSUED FROM RSMC NADI at 8:06pm on Friday the 7th of December 2007

TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNING

A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR THE KIA, CIKOBIA,
NORTH-EASTERN PARTS OF VANUA LEVU AND NEARBY ISLANDS AND THE NORTHERN
LAU GROUP.
A STORM WARNING IS IN FORCE FOR THE REST OF EASTERN HALF OF VANUA
LEVU, TAVEUNI AND NEARBY ISLANDS AND CENTRAL LAU GROUP.
A GALE WARNING IS IN FORCE FOR THE SOUTHERN LAU GROUP.

SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE DAMAN CENTRE 925HPA [CATEGORY 4] WAS LOCATED
NEAR 15 DECIMAL 5 SOUTH 178 DECIMAL 7 EAST OR ABOUT 130 KILOMETRES
NORTH-NORTHWEST OF LABASA AT 7PM TODAY. CLOSE TO ITS CENTRE, THE
CYCLONE IS ESTIMATED TO HAVE AVERAGE WINDS UP TO 180 KM/HR WITH
MOMENTARY GUSTS UP TO 260 KM/HR. THE CYCLONE IS NOW MOVING EAST AT
ABOUT 15 KM/HR BUT EXPECTED TO CURVE MORE SOUTHEAST TONIGHT.

FOR KIA, CIKOBIA, NORTH-EASTERN PARTS OF VANUA LEVU AND NEARBY
ISLANDS AND THE NORTHERN LAU GROUP , WINDS INCREASING TO VERY
DESTRUCTIVE HURRICANE FORCE WITH AVERAGE SPEEDS UPTO 180 KM/HR WITH
MOMENTARY GUSTS TO 260 KM/HR OVERNIGHT.

FOR THE REST OF EASTERN HALF OF VANUA LEVU, TAVEUNI AND NEARBY
ISLANDS AND CENTRAL LAU GROUP, WINDS INCREASING TO DESTRUCTIVE STORM
FORCE WITH AVERAGE SPEEDS UPTO 110 KM/HR WITH MOMENTARY GUSTS TO 160
KM/HR TOMORROW.

OVER THE SOUTHERN LAU GROUP, WINDS INCREASING TO DAMAGING GALE FORCE
OF 65 TO 85 KM/HR WITH MOMENTARY GUSTS TO 110 KM/HR FROM LATER
TOMORROW.

EXPECT HEAVY RAIN AND SQUALLY THUNDERSTORMS ESPECIALLY OVER THE
EASTERN HALF OF THE COUNTRY. FLASH FLOODING OF LOW-LYING AREAS,
RIVERS AND STREAMS. SEA FLOODING OF LOW-LYING COASTAL AREAS,
ESPECIALLY AT THE TIME OF HIGH TIDE.

FOR THE REST OF FIJI SOME SHOWERS WITH ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS. ROUGH
SEAS. MODERATE TO HEAVY SWELLS.
175. vortfix
8:08 AM GMT on December 07, 2007
Fiji Meteorological Department runs out of cash at critical timeFriday, December 07, 2007

AS the Nadi weather office monitors the movement of Hurricane Daman Director Rajendra Prasad says his department has run out of cash.

Prasad says this means the department does not have any money for fuel. Prasad says the department has not been able to pay its electricity bill and that the FEA called him today to say power to the Met Service would be disconnected.

He says the Nausori radar has gone down and he needs money to send his staff from Nadi in their official vehicle to fix the problem but there is no money for fuel.

“Yes certainly our financial constraints have been there and with this automation of our budget process as soon as you run out of allocation we can’t even purchase fuel no. Our power bills basically the allocation was busted so it will not accept in the system in the bar system with manual processing."

" We could actually issue the LPO than reach to the fund later but in this case the system is not accepting so today I think FEA wanted to come and disconnect the power in the centre over here.”

Prasad says there will be consequences but his office cannot do much.

“But what can we do if you are at fault not paying up your bills, you don’t have the funds and now our Nausori radar is down. I have been trying to send a technician down but somehow the person did not get there in time so the radar has gone down and which means we have a blackout in terms of reaching the Nausori radar which covers Vanua Levu, Lau group, etc and given the system is expected to curve towards southeast the problem now is we trying to look around pay fuel and I have used my pocket fuels in the past but how long can you go?”

Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Limited...listen live!
174. vortfix
7:54 AM GMT on December 07, 2007
A New Zealander, on a small island, waiting for a fierce tropical cyclone to hit in a couple of hours has describe an incredible calm before the storm.
Listen to audio ... Fiji braces for cyclone


Cyclone Daman is due to hit northern Vanua Levu island tonight and on over Taveuni and the islands of the Lau Group.

In the last two hours Cyclone Daman has changed course away from the tourist heavy areas of western Viti Levu.

Neighbouring Tonga has been put on alert.

"It has undergone some very erratic behaviour and its path is changing all the time," Fiji Meteorology Service head Rajendra Prasad told Fairfax Media a short time ago.

It was heading for the Vanua Levu town of Labasa which on January 14, 2003, was devastated by Cyclone Ami, killing nine people.

Daman is a now a category four hurricane on a five point scale and is stronger than Ami.

Prasad said while Vanua Levu is most likely to face the full force, he warned all of Fiji to be careful.

"This storm has been so unpredictable so far, if it could take a southward dive the rest of Fiji will get hit too."

Auckland engineer Murray Thomson is working on a resort on Laucala Island, just east of Taveuni and is in the bulls-eye.

He told Fairfax Media that they had suffered strong winds and heavy rains for the last couple of days but in the last couple of hours an "absolute calmness" has settled over the island.

Looking north, toward Daman, the sky was very black.

"But one thing you do note is that the water has taken on this beautiful pristine blue which is unusual with this kind of cloud cover," Thomson said.

People were moving around quickly getting ready with material tied down, containers re-packed and boats put out to sea.

There was no sense of panic.

"It seems to be calm with the people, they know what to do.... Its basically, the scenario, is the calm before the storm."

Dr Prasad said two days ago Daman was not taken seriously by international forecasting agencies which each day reach a consensus agreement on what will happen.

"At the beginning all these models were not giving it any interest, thinking it was a weak feeble thing."

But last night it underwent "explosive development" and grew in power and changed track several times.

In the latest formal warning the Fiji weather office says that at 11 am Daman was 235 kilometres west-northwest of Labasa and moving at 20 kilometres per hour.

They warn it may change course in the afternoon and are expecting it to cross Vanua Levu and out over Taveuni and the Northern Lau Group.

On the scale Daman "is a very severe cyclone and increasingly very dangerous".

Storm surges of three to five metres above normal are expected along the coast and flooding in low lying areas.

The weather office has called for evacuations.

"Resident and authorities in Tonga should closely watch this system as it works its way through the Lau Group."

A short time ago Air Pacific cancelled flights out of Nadi. In a statement they said flights to Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney were halted until operating conditions could be confirmed.

Sala Toganivalu of the Fiji Tourist Bureau said it was very calm in Nadi right now, with no strong winds and no rain.

"The calm before the storm I would think," he said.

State owned Fiji Broadcasting is reporting that Labasa was at a standstill with people racing to prepare for the storm.

Fiji's National Centre for Disaster Management says its offices nationwide are on full alert.

173. vortfix
7:43 AM GMT on December 07, 2007
Cyclone Daman Heads Toward Northern Fiji
By PITA LIGAIULA – 44 minutes ago

NADI, Fiji (AP) — A powerful tropical cyclone packing wind gusts up to 155 mph headed Friday toward northern Fiji, where officials feared that it would blow away the thatched homes of islanders overnight.

Cyclone Daman was rated a Category 4 cyclone, and it was expected to cause major flooding and serious damage to islanders' homes in the South Pacific nation after smashing ashore later Friday, senior forecaster Matt Boterhoven said.

People in the Lau, Lomaiviti and Vanua Levu island groups — where many villagers live in flimsy houses made of thatch and palm fronds — were advised to move from coastal areas to cyclone shelters and other secure buildings, Fiji Disaster Management Office director Joeli Rokovabe said.

"It's most likely going to be one of the severest cyclones to hit the country in recent times," Rokovabe told The Associated Press.

About 90,000 people reside in the three island groups where the storm was expected to pass, many of them living on subsistence-level fishing and farming.

"Wind gusts of up to 250 kilometers (155 miles) an hour are going to take out a lot of those lean-to houses and have pretty serious affects," Boterhoven said.

A number of tourist resorts in the area were at risk, he added.

"We hold very serious concerns for the safety of the people there," Boterhoven said, with the cyclone forecast to dump up to 10 inches of rain.

Fiji has been slammed by 13 tropical cyclones in the past decade — the worst in 2003 when the lower-intensity Cyclone Ami hammered the Labasa region of Vanua Levu and killed 17 people.

The country's worst death toll in recent decades was 70 killed when the moderately strongCyclone Lottie sank two ships off western Fiji in 1973.

Tropical storms are common in the South Pacific from November to April
172. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
7:26 AM GMT on December 07, 2007
HURRICANE WARNING NUMBER ELEVEN

Severe Tropical Cyclone DAMAN [CAT 4]
15.5S 178.7E - 100 knots 925 hPa

moving eastward at 8 knots, eventually turning southeast

Hurricane Force Winds
====
30 miles from the center

Storm Force Winds
=====
50 miles from the center

Gale Force Winds
====
90 miles from the center


This warning replaces Hurricane Warning number 10

Tropical Disturbance Advisory will be issued at 8:30 AM UTC
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 48 Comments: 43646
171. vortfix
7:25 AM GMT on December 07, 2007
Fri Dec 7, 2007 1:50am EST

SUVA, Dec 7 (Reuters) - A tropical cyclone bearing down on the South Pacific island nation of Fiji has intensified into a category four storm, the second most powerful cyclone, with destructive winds up to 200 kph (125 mph).

Cyclone Daman is expected to hit the nation's second largest island Vanua Levu early on Saturday, officials said, as people began moving to higher ground and securing their homes and animals.

Fiji's Director of Meteorology Rajendra Prasad told local media that Daman had increased in intensity and was "just one category short of being a super hurricane".

"It's moving at a very slow pace and this is a very stubborn hurricane," Prasad said.

Vanua Levu, with a population of about 360,000 people, is in the north of the Fiji island chain and has only limited tourism development, unlike the country's main island Viti Levu and its internationally renowned island resorts off its west coast.

Fiji media broadcast warnings to residents on Friday to prepare for destructive winds, widespread flooding of rivers and high seas along low-lying coastal areas.

"A warning to everyone listening, Hurricane Daman is changing its direction quiet rapidly and is intensifying as it heads towards Vanua Levu. Take precautions now," said one broadcast. "Mariners do not go out to sea and people are advised to prepare for the worst."

Airlines operating in Fiji have cancelled some international and domestic flights due to the cyclone, reported local media.

"There are many people in town today, mostly buying household items and canned food in preparation for the coming hurricane," said Sanjeet Maharaj in Rkiraki, on Viti Levu's north coast.

The Australian government issued a travel advisory telling its citizens holidaying in Fiji to identify cyclone shelters and contact families at home.

"In some areas, adequate shelter from a severe cyclone may not be available to all who may choose to stay. You should review and follow hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans," said the advisory by the foreign affairs department.

"You should carry your travel documents at all times or secure them in a safe, waterproof location. We also suggest that you contact friends and family in Australia with updates about your welfare and whereabouts."

Strong winds from Cyclone Daman swept a passenger ship onto a reef near the outer Rotuma island in Fiji's northwest on Wednesday night, local media reported.

"It is now stuck on the reef and we're still trying to find ways to pull the ship off the reef," said Josefa Tuamoto from Blue Lagoon Cruises Limited. The 12 crew were safe and still on the vessel, which had not suffered any major damage.
170. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
7:12 AM GMT on December 07, 2007
Joint Typhoon Warning Center

Tropical Disturbance Summary (0630z 07Dec)
=========================================
An area of convection persistent near 9.4S 87.3E or 890 NM east of Diego Garcia. Animated Multispectral Imagert and SSMIS Microwave Image indicates a persistent area of deep convection banding wrapping into a well defined low level circulation center. The convective banding is displaced to the southwest by moderate vertical winds shear from the northeast. Good outflow along with favorable ocean heat content has fueled the deep convection of the disturbance.

The moderate vertical wind shear is the main limiting factor of any further development. The maximum sustained winds near the center is 15-20 knots with a minimum sea level pressure of 1007 mb. The potential of this disturbance to form into a significant tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours is POOR.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 48 Comments: 43646
169. vortfix
6:45 AM GMT on December 07, 2007
Labasa residents braced themselves for flooding as torrential rain lashed the Northen Division yesterday.
Farmers in low-lying areas secured their livestock yesterday as adverse weather conditions prevailed.
Ramesh Fishman, who lives near the Labasa River, began fixing hurricane shutters to house and secured his property.
Fishman, 38, was fully aware of the wrath of cyclones following flooding to the area in 2003 when Cyclone Ami ravaged the Northern Division.
Mr Fishman said he lost his home and received no assistance from government while some families received $300, which was still not enough to rebuild their lives.
He said there were only two houses left standing when floodwaters receded.
Mr Fishman, who has four children, said if the Labasa River breaks its banks, they would have to evacuate to the Labasa Hospital until it was safe to return home.
He appealed to the Interim Government to dredge the Labasa River.
Assistant Divisional Police Commander Northern Anand Narayan said they are aware of the flood warning and appealed to the general public to exercise caution. He also reminded parents to keep their children away from playing in flooded field and drains.

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.