Tropical Tidbits from the Tundra

Alaska Fire Danger EXTREME

By: Levi32, 4:16 PM GMT on May 27, 2006

It has been a while since I have done an Alaska weather update, so I will write one now. We couldn’t ask for any better weather here. Summer started with a bang last week, and I mean a BANG! We were all sulking about winter not going away and temperatures wouldn’t even approach 50 degrees last week. Then three days ago, a monster ridge built in from the west and presto, we had a 76 degree high yesterday! That ties the highest temperature I recorded summer before last, and only 2 degrees short of last year’s highest temp of 78. The bad news is that this early warm up has dried and dehydrated everything way to fast this spring. Fire danger is extreme and all burning of any kind is banned until further notice. To make things worse, there is a sharp cold front-trough racing down from the north this morning that will kick up the winds to 40 MPH. Meanwhile the humidity will continue to hover around 20-40%, and temps will approach 80 degrees inland.

This hot pattern will relax some in a few days, but no decent rain is forecasted for a good time yet. I am very worried about this coming summer because of this early dry warm up. The upper air pattern over the last couple years here in Alaska has had a ridge poking up from the western US giving us a bunch of dry hot air from Texas and surrounding areas. This pattern should manifest itself again this year. The western US ridge is already trying to hook up with the Bering Sea ridge which is responsible for this hot weather. Once that block establishes itself, it is very hard to bring down. This will be bad news for the wildfire season here. Almost all of the Spruce Trees are dead in south central Alaska making us a giant tinder box. Hopefully we will get some rain soon, but that is not likely. Satellite and radar images are below. Click on the satellite images for a loop of that image:





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A Tropical Wave and Disturbance Enter Caribbean

By: Levi32, 9:33 PM GMT on May 16, 2006

Note: I will be gone the rest of this afternoon and may not be able to post until tomorrow.

We have our first tropical wave of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season. It has been moving slowly west for the last few days east of South America. It is now moving WNW towards the eastern Caribbean. Convection has been trying to fire for the last day or so but the shear keeps ripping it up. That could change if the wave survives for the next three days. The wave will be mostly over the Caribbean waters but part of it will be over South America. The shear is forecast to become very low over the Caribbean in 3 days. The lowering of the shear will start today in the western Caribbean, and eventually spreading east. Our little wave could be something to watch if if survives and moves into the low shear area.

Also I am keeping an eye on a little curly Q of thunderstorms on the tail end of the cold front that is giving Florida some much needed rain. The NHC surface forecast seems to hint that this will not move north with the front and will stay in the western Caribbean. If this is true, then by tomorrow this disturbance will be encountering lower shear and more favorable conditions for development. This curly Q is a low according to the GFS. It came from the southwest Gulf of Mexico and crossed the Yucatan Peninsula on its way to the Caribbean. It is barely warm core and I think it bares watching closely if it doesn't get dragged north by the cold front. Some strong convection is firing along it giving it the curly Q shape.

These are the two areas in the Atlantic worth watching for any possible tropical development. Images regarding them are below:

In these images you can see both disurbances. Click on the images for a loop of that image. Note: the SSD loops and images are having some problems at this time and are not updating right.







Updated: 9:35 PM GMT on May 16, 2006

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Chanchu Cat 4 Could be Cat 5 in 24 hours

By: Levi32, 4:17 PM GMT on May 14, 2006

Typhoon Chanchu is now a Category 4 and strengthening. Cat 5 is almost certain. The forecast now has Chanchu directly over Hong Kong at landfall as a borderline Cat 5. If it makes landfall to the left of the bay, the storm surge will march right up that bay and clobber a lot of land. The JTWC says that Chanchu will have a hard time maintaining intensity above 135 knots because it will lack a solid outflow channel. This is what they have said for a lot of storms lately but it never happened. Right now on water vapor loop Chanchu looks great and the outflow is expanding. I don't see a problem with outflow ahead but we will see.

The SSTs drop off a little before the coast, which the JTWC has not taken into account yet. The heat potential drops off dramatically, and the depth of the 26º isotherm becomes slightly shallower. I am uncertain as to this will all affect Chanchu. It is worth noting that Cyclone Monica in Australia became one of the world's strongest cyclones over less heat content then Chanchu will have, so it is not out of the question that those waters can sustain a Cat 5. Increased shear is also forecast to have an effect on Chanchu shortly before landfall.

Note that this situation is frighteningly similar to Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans. A Cat 5 possibly weakening a little before landfall in a major city with a bay that will funnel the storm surge into the city. Sound familiar? PLEASE take some time to pray for these people. Think about how we all felt as Katrina approached land. Think about how scared we were when that Category 5 came out of its EWRC. These people in China are now faced with a situation very similar to ours of last year. We know how they must feel because we have lived it before. Please pray that they will all make it through safe.

Links and images regarding Chanchu are below:



MIMIC-IR Loops of Chanchu

Floater Water Vapor Loop of Chanchu


CIMSS Upper Winds, Shear, and other Maps

Dvorak Intensity Estimates

SSD Dvorak Positions and Intensities

Indepententwx

Model Forecast Tracks and Intensities

SSTs and Marine Forecasts





Updated: 5:26 PM GMT on May 14, 2006

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Fasten Your Seatbelts!

By: Levi32, 12:35 AM GMT on May 14, 2006

Because it's gonna be a rough ride from here on out. The collapse of the sub-tropical jet that I anticipated is only three short days away. Shear will be under 10 knots over the entire Caribbean in a week, and the long Range GFS has everywhere from North Carolina, Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and most of the western Atlantic under less than 15 knots of shear. Also tropical waves are going to start coming farther north into the Caribbean and the gulf. We already have our first official tropical wave east of South America. This wave is forecasted to work its way into the Caribbean during the next 5 days. This is just a shaky forecast, but with the shear lowering simultaneously as the wave moves west, we could be looking at a more organized tropical wave or low in the Caribbean, with an outside chance of our first TD of the season, but I will not start talking about a TD until I see the wave survive for a couple days and make it fully into the Caribbean.

The ITCZ is very active right now with the MJO being in phase 8. The MJO index is also increasing in strength, further enhancing the convection. I still think we will see Alberto before June. If not, then it will be very early June. Hurricane season is on the doorstep, so fasten your seat belts, it is going to be a wild ride. Please see my previous blog for current information on Typhoon Chanchu as it approaches China. Tropical links and images are below:

Here is a satellite image showing the tropical wave. Click on it for a loop of the image.





AVN 72-hour Atlantic Shear Forecast

Tropical Forecast Models for the Atlantic (including shear forecasts out to 6 days)

SSD Tropical Formation Probability and lots of other charts.


Coolwx Buoy Data

Penn State Atlantic Tropical Page

Atlantic SST's, Heat Potential, and other products

CPC Atlantic Hurricane Products

CIMSS Atlantic Satellite Analysis

NASA Interactive Satellite

RTOFS SST Analysis and Forecasts for the Atlantic

AVHRR Atlantic Satellite SST Images



This is SST's overlayed on Satellite for the Atlantic:



This is the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO)Index:




Updated: 12:41 AM GMT on May 14, 2006

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Typhoon Chanchu Aiming for Hong Kong

By: Levi32, 3:27 PM GMT on May 12, 2006

Typhoon Chanchu has crossed the Philippines and will begin reintensification in a few hours. The forecast track now take it just southwest of Hong Kong, which is very bad news. Also the shear has been slackening near the Chinese coast which will aid greatly in sustaining Chanchu near landfall. As mentioned yesterday, the SSTs will drop off rapidly as Chanchu approaches the coast. Therefore I expect slight to moderate weakening to begin about 24 hours before landfall. My forecast from yesterday still looks good. I still think Chanchu will hit Cat 4 status over the China Sea, and then weaken to a low-end Cat 3 before landfall. Regardless, this will be a quite a storm for Hong Kong and the Chinese coast, and I hope everyone is prepared. Links and images regarding Chanchu are below:



MIMIC-IR Loops of Chanchu

Floater Water Vapor Loop of Chanchu


CIMSS Upper Winds, Shear, and other Maps

Dvorak Intensity Estimates

SSD Dvorak Positions and Intensities

Indepententwx

Model Forecast Tracks and Intensities

SSTs and Marine Forecasts



Updated: 7:25 PM GMT on May 12, 2006

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Typhoon Chanchu

By: Levi32, 4:34 PM GMT on May 11, 2006

Typhoon Chanchu is making landfall in the Philippines at this time. It will move across the islands and into the China Sea. Wind shear is much lower in this area and Chanchu will be sitting right under a strong Anticyclone, which will benefit it greatly. The SSTs are also very high in that area. The JTWC forecasts Chanchu to intensify over the China Sea after slight weakening while crossing the Philippines. I also expect it to strengthen and I am going out on a limb to say that Chanchu will become a Cat 4 over the China Sea. The current forecast track takes Chanchu right towards Hong Kong! The good news is that there is more than 20 knots of shear around that area. But if the shear lowers, look out Hong Kong! Also the SSTs become rapidly cooler as you approach the coast of China. Therefore my forecast is for Chanchu to make it to Cat 4 status in the China Sea, and then weaken to a low end Cat 3 at landfall near Hong Kong. The landfall location is still shaky because of the low confidence in how much troughing will develop in east Asia. Right now Hong Kong looks like a good bet. Links and images regarding Chanchu are below:



MIMIC-IR Loops of Chanchu

Floater Water Vapor Loop of Chanchu


CIMSS Upper Winds, Shear, and other Maps

Dvorak Intensity Estimates

SSD Dvorak Positions and Intensities

Indepententwx

Model Forecast Tracks and Intensities

SSTs and Marine Forecasts



Updated: 4:34 PM GMT on May 11, 2006

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Alberto in 10-15 Days!

By: Levi32, 4:22 PM GMT on May 07, 2006

Ok everyone, WAKE UP! Hurricane season is much closer than I expected, and my guess for Alberto on May 15 might actually turn out to be right. I have been blind this past week! There are rapid changes occurring in the tropics that I have almost completely ignored (I am sure you all saw them but if not then stay with me). Have you all noticed the ITCZ lately?? My gosh it has gotten much stronger and convection is firing all across the Pacific and Atlantic. Also it has been sneaking north over South America right under our noses! Look at the satellite. There is a blob of convection over the extreme SW Caribbean. That means the ITCZ is finally starting to move north!

Here’s the deal, I have been monitoring the GFS long range shear forecasts (144-384 hours). I have noticed the last two days that the GFS is forecasting light shear to overtake much of the Caribbean, the western Atlantic, and at times the gulf. Due to the data I have seen, I am forecasting a complete failure of the sub-tropical westerlies within a week. After that, the GFS has tropical waves and bursts of convection moving into Puerto Rico and all of the Caribbean. Last night the GFS forecasted a tropical storm near Jamaica at 240 hours. Today the GFS still forecasts tropical waves, lows, and possible depressions moving through the Caribbean. This mornings run has a TD moving through the Caribbean, crossing Cuba, and into the Bahamas in two weeks.

ALL OF THIS IS ONLY 10 DAYS AWAY! It has been sneaking up on us. The shear will break, the ITCZ will come north, and Alberto will be on the doorstep. This is serious here. The shear is supposed to completely collapse from the Carolinas to South America. Trust me things are going to start rapidly changing very soon. We will see what happens. My normal links and images are below:



AVN 72-hour Atlantic Shear Forecast

Tropical Forecast Models for the Atlantic (including shear forecasts out to 6 days)

SSD Tropical Formation Probability and lots of other charts.


Coolwx Buoy Data

Penn State Atlantic Tropical Page

Atlantic SST's, Heat Potential, and other products

CPC Atlantic Hurricane Products

CIMSS Atlantic Satellite Analysis

NASA Interactive Satellite

GOES Tropical Satellite Sectors (has all regions, satellite enhancements, and 4-5 more floater satellites that are never used on other sites)

RTOFS SST Analysis and Forecasts for the Atlantic



This is SST's overlayed on Satellite for the Atlantic:



This is the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO)Index:


Updated: 10:50 PM GMT on May 07, 2006

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Website Blog

By: Levi32, 2:47 PM GMT on May 06, 2006

I have had this little idea in my head for a while and I thought this was a good time to bring it up. We are fast approaching the hurricane season and I am sure that everyone has their own arsenol of websites to get information from. I thought it would be kind of neat to have everyone share any weather sites they know of. That way everyone can have all the right sources to glean from this season. Therefore this blog is going to be open to website suggestions. They can be about almost anything regarding weather. Satellite, radar, models, tropical, you name it. I am sure that everyone has almost all of the good sites, but you never know if someone has missed something good and I thought it would be nice to share those sites that would benefit us this hurricane season. My normal tropical links and images are below:



AVN 72-hour Atlantic Shear Forecast

Tropical Forecast Models for the Atlantic (including shear forecasts out to 6 days)

SSD Tropical Formation Probability and lots of other charts.


Coolwx Buoy Data

Penn State Atlantic Tropical Page

Atlantic SST's, Heat Potential, and other products

CPC Atlantic Hurricane Products

CIMSS Atlantic Satellite Analysis

NASA Interactive Satellite

GOES Tropical Satellite Sectors (has all regions, satellite enhancements, and 4-5 more floater satellites that are never used on other sites)

RTOFS SST Analysis and Forecasts for the Atlantic



This is SST's overlayed on Satellite for the Atlantic:



This is the water vapor quantity for the Atlantic:

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Hurricane Season Poised to Begin

By: Levi32, 1:13 AM GMT on May 05, 2006


Note: I just found this terrific website for Atlantic bouy data! I have added it to the links below. It is titled "Coolwx Bouy Data". It has bouy plots, surface analysis and streamlines based on bouy data, SST data and maps, and much more! I love it! All of the sudden I am finding new sites right and left lol. The rest of my blog is unchanged below:

I am finally back! We have had such a busy week. We went to Soldotna for most of yesterday for dental appointments. Also I sprained my ankle for the first time since I was 6 years old. Otherwise I was just so busy that I didn't have time to write any blog entries. To tell you all the truth I was also enjoying this new weather software I found for free on this site. It is called the "Integrated Data Viewer" (IDV), and if you register on the site it is downloadable free! I can't believe this stuff is free! I am amazed what you can do with it. Anyway, back to the weather.

Long range GFS forecasts are hinting at the shear in the western Caribbean lowering to below 10 knots. Also a large portion of the Atlantic is forecast to have shear less than 20 knots. The Gulf of Mexico is still forecast to have very high shear, but I think it will clear out shortly after the Caribbean. SSTs continue to rise rapidly, with temps in the Caribbean approaching 30 degrees Celsius. SST anomalies are showing cooling in the eastern gulf, but the western gulf is still way above normal and I expect that to continue. The ITCZ is becoming more active especially in the Eastern Pacific. Obviously the Pacific season is only 11 days away. It is definitely heating up out there and the Atlantic is not far behind believe me.

Also as I was writing this I found this great site from Oklahoma Weather Lab. It is student created and the satellite data is very nice. It also has surface, upper air, severe, radar, and model data for the lower 48 states.



AVN 72-hour Atlantic Shear Forecast

Tropical Forecast Models for the Atlantic (including shear forecasts out to 6 days)

SSD Tropical Formation Probability and lots of other charts.


Coolwx Buoy Data

Penn State Atlantic Tropical Page

Atlantic SST's, Heat Potential, and other products

CPC Atlantic Hurricane Products

CIMSS Atlantic Satellite Analysis

NASA Interactive Satellite

GOES Tropical Satellite Sectors (has all regions, satellite enhancements, and 4-5 more floater satellites that are never used on other sites)

RTOFS SST Analysis and Forecasts for the Atlantic



This is SST's overlayed on Satellite for the Atlantic:



This is the water vapor quantity for the Atlantic:

Updated: 5:57 PM GMT on May 05, 2006

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About Levi32

Levi Cowan has been tracking tropical systems since 2002, and is currently working on his bachelor's degree in physics at UAF.

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MesoWest NERRS METEOROLOGICAL SITE AT KAC AK US
Fritz Creek, AK
Elevation: 32 ft
Temperature: 57.0 °F
Dew Point: 46.0 °F
Humidity: 67%
Wind: 13.0 mph from the SE
Wind Gust: 17.0 mph
Updated: 3:30 PM AKDT on August 27, 2014
Overlooking Peterson Bay
Homer, AK
Elevation: 27 ft
Temperature: 158.0 °F
Dew Point: 0.0 °F
Humidity: 0%
Wind: Calm
Wind Gust: 13.0 mph
Updated: 3:38 PM AKDT on August 27, 2014
RAWS HOMER AK US
Homer, AK
Elevation: 854 ft
Temperature: 58.0 °F
Dew Point: 45.0 °F
Humidity: 62%
Wind: 7.0 mph from the SE
Wind Gust: 22.0 mph
Updated: 2:54 PM AKDT on August 27, 2014

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