Monsoon rains approaching Myanmar

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:22 PM GMT on May 14, 2008

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The weather in the region ravaged by Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar has taken a turn for the better today, after a low pressure system that brought heavy rains and 20-30 mph winds yesterday weakened and moved off to the north. This system appeared to be a threat to develop into a tropical depression yesterday, but interaction with land is hindering its development, and the low is no longer expected to become a tropical depression. You can view the latest satellite images of the low (dubbed 96B) at the Navy/NRL web site.

The monsoon is coming
However, the respite from bad weather will be short-lived, as the mighty summer monsoon is almost upon the disaster area. The Southwest Monsoon (called that because the winds typically blow from the southwest) is an annual rainy period lasting from late May to mid-September in the regions surrounding the North Indian Ocean. The monsoon forms in response to the unequal summertime heating of the air over the land and oceans. The land heats up quicker than the oceans, creating low pressure and rising air over the Indian subcontinent. Moist air from the oceans is drawn in over the land areas to replace this hot, rising air, and the moist oceanic air brings heavy rains to the region. Truly prodigious rains accompany the arrival of the monsoon. The capital of Yangon averages about one inch of rain per month in the period just before the monsoon starts, and twenty inches per month thereafter.


Figure 1. Current position of the Southwest Monsoon, (northernmost green line), compared to average. The northern edge of the monsoon is almost upon the region hit by Cyclone Nargis. Image credit: India Meteorological Department.

As of today, the edge of the monsoon was just 100 miles south of Yangon and the Irrawaddy delta region (Figure 1). The monsoon is expected to push northwards into the region by Saturday--about one week earlier than average. The monsoon will greatly complicate relief efforts in Myanmar, which can expect flooding rains and problems with mud-choked and washed out roads. The monsoon will continue to affect the area until September. One bright side: once the monsoon arrives, it greatly reduces tropical cyclone formation in the North Indian Ocean. Major tropical cyclones in the North Indian Ocean are most common in May and November, just before and just after monsoon season.

Was the population warned?
Many of you have expressed amazement that so many could die from a tropical cyclone in this day and age of satellites and modern communications. Why did it happen? I believe there are two main reasons: the historical lack of tropical cyclones that have hit the Irrawaddy delta, and the unwillingness of Myanmar's leaders to provide adequate warnings for fear of jeopardizing their May 10 referendum to consolidate their power.

I've been sent an image of the warning for Cyclone Nargis as it appeared on May 2 in one of Myanmar's main newspapers, "The New Light of Myanmar". The warnings for Nargis on the day it made landfall as a major cyclone did not make the front page, but instead were buried on page 15 of the obituaries and miscellaneous section. The story did not talk about the storm surge or the cyclone's maximum sustained winds, and only mentioned that Myanmar might experience 50 mph winds in squalls. At the time the newspaper was likely preparing this article, both the Joint Typhoon Warning Center and the India Meteorology Department were calling for Nargis to be a Category 1 or Category 2 storm at landfall in Myanmar.

Jeff Masters

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484. msphar
3:52 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
diurnal min as well as shear are taking the punch out of these early waves.
Member Since: August 20, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 289
483. icepilot
2:45 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
new blog up
Member Since: July 9, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 387
482. HIEXPRESS
1:51 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
GFS (now) hinting at a little low pressure in the Southern BOC (didn't before)
in 48 hours on top of the warm anomaly that has persisted there. I know - nothing. Still, the M8B model saw the same thing 3 days ago, moisture returning there including some drifting overhead from the EPAC (does that warming nino 1 region add to that?), pressures low (earlier) on end of old front, shear relaxed some. Maybe a trend, maybe just cannon fodder for bloggers. LOL I'm watchin' it.
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
481. A4Guy
1:49 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
Does anyone know about the supposed correlation between between a dry May in FL and an active H-cane season?
It has been very dry here in Broward for several weeks.
Member Since: June 23, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 660
480. Patrap
1:41 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
Semper Fi..I hear that FRick.

Off to sons Graduation.

Have a nice morning everyone.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
479. FloridaRick
1:38 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
Thanks for the answer. I always look forward to reading your input. Veteran to Veteran you always have to trust your battle buddy to get your back.
Member Since: July 27, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
478. Patrap
1:35 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
Yes..a closed low with differnt rings of color denote a Tc.Or Low
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
477. FloridaRick
1:34 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
Patrap-
I follow what you are saying and would definately not rely on anything that far out. I was more interested in what the picture depicts. Are those two colored bulls eyes how tropical systems or lows depicted? I was interested so that when looking at closer range modeling I knew what to look for. Thanks
Member Since: July 27, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
476. Patrap
1:31 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
Much happier TYVM.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
475. Patrap
1:30 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
Dude..the rules are the rules.
Get your own Blog here and Link away to ones Hearts desire.
I surly dont want the Public relying on that info...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
474. Patrap
1:28 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
The Long Range is Just a Window into the Future.
If one would see the trend at 7 days out from today.I'd give it some credence.
Long range models,those out more than 96 hours are ..not as reliable as those within the 96hour mark.
Persistents thru time is what one wants to see for Possible Cyclone Development.

Its a interesting note though and climatology Favors that area and the GOM , Bay of Campeche area as well. We dont look Far east to Africa till later in the season.

Good to see ya again FRick.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
473. cchsweatherman
1:27 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
Happy now Patrap?!
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
472. FloridaRick
1:23 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
Picture did not show up here is the link Link
Member Since: July 27, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
471. Patrap
1:22 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
470. FloridaRick
1:22 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
All- I usually only comment in the blog when it has to do with response to a disaster, but I have a met question. In reading modeling info, what do the features located off the North East Coast of Florida and in the Area in the SW Carribean Down by Central America depict in this model at 384 hours or Sun, June 1? I know that they are not reliable that far out but was just wondering what I was looking at.
Member Since: July 27, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
469. Patrap
1:18 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
LSU ESL site..Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
468. Patrap
1:18 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA)

Date: 16 May 2008
ReliefWebLink

Myanmar government says cyclone death toll tops 43,000
Link

Bangkok/Yangon_(dpa) _ The official death toll from Cyclone Nargis has increased to 43,318, Myanmar state-run media reported, but relief organizations said Friday the number of dead could be much higher.

Myanmar state television reported that in addition to the confirmed death toll of 43,318 people, another 1,403 were injured and 27,838 remained missing.

Representatives of some of the 16 aid organizations working together for cyclone relief said in Bangkok a true figure of dead and missing is difficult to determine, but put it somewhere between the Myanmar military government's combined 70,000 and the 130,000 the Red Cross has estimated.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
467. cchsweatherman
1:17 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
Personal Tropical Weather Discussion for Friday, May 16

Figure 1 - Western Atlantic Satellite (Source: University of Wisconsin CIMSS Images 2008)

Figure 2 - Eastern Atlantic Satellite (Source: University of Wisconsin CIMSS Images 2008)
Right now, we have three confirmed tropical waves across the Tropical Atlantic.

At this time, we have a tropical wave on 26W between 4N to 10N moving westbound. This was the impressive tropical wave I mentioned in yesterday's discussion, but the structure is not well-defined. Satellite imagery seems to indicate some broad low-level circulation, but it remains too far south for the circulation to get better organized.

Our next tropical wave as we move across the Atlantic and towards home exists at 49W between 3N to 8N, also moving westbound towards northern South America. In terms of structure, this remains the most defined as there is evident low-level turning occurring and there exists a decent moisture surge that could lead to some shower and thunderstorm development over the wave axis. But again, it remains too far south for the circulation to get better organized and will enter an area with higher wind shear soon that will remove any thunderstorms from the wave, but will not completely destroy the structure.

I'm surprised the NHC (National Hurricane Center) has continued tracking a tropical wave that moved into South America three days ago. It does not look like a tropical wave anymore as it has lost its structure overland. The supposed weak tropical wave exists over the Columbian/Venezuelan border at around 74W and between 5N to 9N. The wave is causing showers and thunderstorms to develop over the area, but should no longer be classified as a tropical wave based upon my analysis.

In my opinion, there exists a fourth tropical wave in the Atlantic, but it has not been designated by the NHC. The tropical wave I have analyzed just emerged off Africa last night. I have tracked this across Africa the past few days as it seemed to resemble a classic developing tropical wave. There has been a noted increase in convection in the southern end of the wave axis, but no low-level turning just yet. I will have to continue watching this wave for further development, but none is expected in the coming days as there remains very dry air to the north.

No computer models are suggesting tropical development anytime soon, which is not at all unusual. But, computer models begin to break down the extreme dry air in the Caribbean and depict a moisture surge moving through the region and possibly starting the rainy season for South Florida by late next week.

All in all, no tropical development is expected within the next 24 to 48 hours across the entire Tropical Atlantic. Just a sidenote, the Eastern Pacific hurricane season began yesterday. Since I have an audience that needs to know about any storms in the Eastern Pacific, I will cover any active storms in the Eastern Pacific as well this year, but will not have a Tropical Weather Discussion for the region.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
466. Patrap
1:15 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
To be sure..the Limited refining Capacity is at Capacity.
One has to produce Fuel to sell it.
One cant do it if running at 80%.
Also the refiners are switching over to Summer Blend processes now.

National PetroChemical and Refiners AssociationLink

Boutique Fuels Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
465. stoormfury
1:14 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
the tropical wave train off the african coast




Link
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2674
464. Patrap
1:12 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
GOES-12 Atlantic WV Loop with DRY AIR shaded Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127804
463. stoormfury
1:08 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
yes there are four waves and there is definitely one exiting the african coast. the one at 27w south of 11n looks quite impressive on recent sat pics
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2674
462. cchsweatherman
12:55 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
Good morning all! Based upon my current analysis, we have four tropical waves that exist in the Atlantic. We all know about the three waves mentioned by the NHC, but I believe we have a new tropical wave emerging off Africa. Will have to wait for confirmation, but that is what I am seeing right now. Anyone else seeing this?
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
461. ycd0108
12:54 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
Link to BBC blog. Reporter in Sichuan:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jamesreynolds/2008/05/buried_under_rubble.html
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 176 Comments: 4613
460. StormHype
12:38 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
I heard the refineries were only running at 80% capacity to keep the prices up. If that is true,

Ummm. I think it probably has more to do with oil ( you know, the stuff they make gasoline from ) hitting nearly $130 a barrel today, which is well over a doubling in price during the last 12 months.
Member Since: May 31, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1200
459. weathermanwannabe
12:38 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
Good Morning All.....Ahh, nice frontal remnants heading into the Gulf this am gettng ready to bring some much needed rain to Florida...If only it was mid-June to mid-July so we could get a real nice soaking from a few tropical storms........Guess I'll have to keep watering my dying lawn until then, but, it is very warm and humid this am in the Florida Panhandle; looks like the typical Summer weather pattern has arrived.....
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9024
458. biff4ugo
12:34 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
About gas and evacuation.

I heard the refineries were only running at 80% capacity to keep the prices up. If that is true, we could lose one in 5 and still deliver the same amout of gas produced right now.
Operating below peak capacity does have THAT benefit.
Member Since: December 28, 2006 Posts: 114 Comments: 1566
457. biff4ugo
12:28 PM GMT on May 16, 2008
We are supposed to get some Florida rain 2DAY! We need it for plants and to keep the wildfires down.
Those waves washing off Africa do look like an impressive bunch all clustered like that.
Where can I look to see the sheer climate along the Atlantic track again? It has been a while since I have looked.
Hope everyone has a peaceful Friday.
Member Since: December 28, 2006 Posts: 114 Comments: 1566
456. stoormfury
11:57 AM GMT on May 16, 2008
what is even more ominous is that sst are on the increase in the MDR , wind shear is beginning to slacken and the SAL seems to be very weak this year. we are in for a very active season
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2674
455. lindenii
11:53 AM GMT on May 16, 2008
Disasters always make headlines, even imaginary ones.
Policy decisions should be based on solid science.
When it comes to the environment, science has been polluted by politics.

False prophets of doom Environmentalists would prefer that we forget these predictions

WALTER WILLIAMS Creators Syndicate

Now that another Earth Day has come and gone, let's look at some environmentalist predictions that they would prefer we forget.

At the first Earth Day celebration, in 1969, environmentalist Nigel Calder warned, "The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind." C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization said, "The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed."

In 1968, Paul Ehrlich, Vice President Gore's hero and mentor, predicted there would be a major food shortage in the U.S. and "in the 1970s ... hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death." Ehrlich said 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980 and 1989, and by 1999 the U.S. population would have declined to 22.6 million. Ehrlich's predictions about England were gloomier: "If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000."

World `likely to be ruined' by 2000

In 1972, a report was written for the Club of Rome warning the world would run out of gold by 1981, mercury and silver by 1985, tin by 1987 and petroleum, copper, lead and natural gas by 1992. Gordon Taylor, in his 1970 work "The Doomsday Book," said Americans were using 50 percent of the world's resources and "by 2000 they [Americans] will, if permitted, be using all of them." In 1975, the Environmental Fund took out full-page ads warning, "The World as we know it will likely be ruined by the year 2000."Harvard University biologist George Wald in 1970 warned, "... civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind." That was the same year that Sen. Gaylord Nelson warned, in Look Magazine, that by 1995 "... somewhere between 75 and 85 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct."

It's not just latter-day doomsayers who have been wrong; doomsayers have always been wrong. In 1885, the U.S. Geological Survey announced there was "little or no chance" of oil being discovered in California, and a few years later they said the same about Kansas and Texas. In 1939, the U.S. Department of the Interior said American oil supplies would last only another 13 years. In 1949, the Secretary of the Interior said the end of U.S. oil supplies was in sight. Having learned nothing from its earlier erroneous claims, in 1974 the U.S. Geological Survey advised us that the U.S. had only a 10-year supply of natural gas. According to the American Gas Association, there's a 1,000 to 2,500 year supply.

Here are my questions: In 1970, when environmentalists were making predictions of manmade global cooling and the threat of an ice age and millions of Americans starving to death, what kind of government policy should we have undertaken to prevent such a calamity?

When Ehrlich predicted that England would not exist in the year 2000, what steps should the British Parliament have taken in 1970 to prevent such a dire outcome?

In 1939, when the U.S. Department of the Interior warned that we only had oil supplies for another 13 years, what actions should President Roosevelt have taken?

Why believe them this time?


Finally, what makes us think that environmental alarmism is any more correct now that they have switched their tune to manmade global warming?

A few facts: Over 95 percent of the greenhouse effect is the result of water vapor in Earth's atmosphere. Without the greenhouse effect, Earth's average temperature would be zero degrees Fahrenheit. Most climate change is a result of the orbital eccentricities of Earth and variations in the sun's output. And natural wetlands produce more greenhouse gas annually than all human sources combined.

Walter Williams
454. ajcamsmom2
11:45 AM GMT on May 16, 2008
Hope these things don't get into the GOM, it should really start heating up soon...
Member Since: March 15, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 2490
453. Cavin Rawlins
11:42 AM GMT on May 16, 2008
numbers are one thing but these tropical waves have been well-define. There is a direct correlation between Rainfall in western Sahel and the health of tropical waves which increases the number of not just named storms, but hurricanes and major hurricane counts. So basically to answer ur question...yes.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
452. stoormfury
11:38 AM GMT on May 16, 2008
456
is the increas in tropical waves so early in the season a precursor of things to come?
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2674
451. Cavin Rawlins
11:29 AM GMT on May 16, 2008
The tropical Wave Train Continues
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
450. stoormfury
11:14 AM GMT on May 16, 2008
the wave train is on the move. most of the waves existing africa are very south of 10 deg n. is this a sign that we are heading for storms of low latitude this season? although forecasts are to the contrary we will have to wait and see where the Bermuda/Azores high will be positioned this summer.
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2674
447. all4hurricanes
10:06 AM GMT on May 16, 2008
more Rain for VA, VA needs this rain like Florida needs more Drought
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2370
445. StormJunkie
8:22 AM GMT on May 16, 2008
Not sure that will make it there, but looks like you at least have a chance of pops? Would be better then nothing. Looks like the GA/SC area is back in the slight risk for tomorrow. Looks to be seabreeze interaction with some other features.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16295
443. StormJunkie
8:11 AM GMT on May 16, 2008
Sorry JF, was in the middle of something else....You talking about the Tex/Mex area? Some serious storms down there.

Wunder if this clearing from the storms earlier today could lead to some rough weather for the SE during daytime heating?



Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16295
440. StormJunkie
7:28 AM GMT on May 16, 2008
Evening JF, up late too huh!
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16295
437. TampaSpin
5:45 AM GMT on May 16, 2008
436. orlandocanewatcher 1:06 AM EDT on May 16, 2008
Does anyone know by looking at your models, when the cen.FL area can expect some rain??? We are burning up here (literally) in some areas in Brevard. Texas, send us some of your rain.... :)


Not any rain in sight for the next 60 hours.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
436. orlandocanewatcher
5:06 AM GMT on May 16, 2008
Does anyone know by looking at your models, when the cen.FL area can expect some rain??? We are burning up here (literally) in some areas in Brevard. Texas, send us some of your rain.... :)
435. JRRP
4:28 AM GMT on May 16, 2008
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5697

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