The View From the Surface

Just How Quiet Has It Been in the WestPAC?...And Other Stats

By: MargieKieper, 2:37 PM GMT on June 29, 2007


Sunday morning update: Regards the slow May-June in the West Pacific, the two images below, the first from 2007 and the second from 2004, compare the 850 mbar zonal wind anomalies for this very slow past two months with one of the most active May-June periods ever, 2004. As noted by Professor Chan at the University of Hong Kong, the anomalies for 2007 indicate easterlies in the deep tropics and westerlies in the subtropics, resulting in anticyclonic anomalies that are not conducive for tropical cyclone formation. The conditions in 2004 were the opposite:

850mbar zonal wind anom 2007 May-June


Also, while playing around with the daily mean composites, note that the large quantities of dust that have been coming off Africa have actually lowered the SSTs in portions of the eastern tropical Atlantic from above-normal to normal or slightly-below normal right off the African coast:

850mbar zonal wind anom 2007 May-June

* * * * * * *

Friday evening update: Updated statistics on just how slow a year it's been in the West Pacific compared to recent climatology -- first, the earlier statistics from mid-June:

Using the JTWC best track data from 1965 to present, and counting the number of tropical cyclones (TC) at tropical storm strength or higher (i.e. named TC), between the first of the year and mid-June, the 2007 West Pacific season is below the mean, with two storms, but by no means unusually slow.

Out of those 43 years, 40% of the time only two TC or fewer have formed by this date.

The average number of TC in the WP by this time is three to four (3.5 is the mean).
By 30 June, the percentage of years with only two or fewer named TC drops to 19 percent -- still on average one year out of every five. By this date, the average number of named TC in the West Pacific is 4 to 5 ( 4.7 is the mean).

If no additional named TC form by 15 July, the percentage will drop to one year out of every ten. The latest start date for the third named storm of the season, using the JTWC best tracks, was in 1998, with the best track beginning at 06Z on 1 August, and named the next day (Otto). But that counts a best track in the third week of July that JTWC briefly had at 35-40 kt, that was not considered a named storm by the official RSMC, JMA. That makes Otto officially the second named storm of that season, and the third named storm, Penny, was not named until 9 August!

In 1975, the third named storm best track started on 30 July and reached tropical storm strength at 18Z on 31 July.

Now those were slow years to start!

* * * * * * *

Friday morning: The Atlantic basin: "FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.". The East Pacific basin: "FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.". The West Pacific basin is quiet. The Central Pacific basin -- well, that's almost always quiet.

With the exception of the Northern Indian Ocean basin, June has been a quiet month for tropical cyclones, globally. And except for a new invest in the West Pacific, it doesn't look like there is much on the immediate horizon to change that. A trough over the Florida peninsula includes a developing low just northeast of Lake Okeechobee which might be able acquire some vorticity as it moves offshore, but this is a bit of a long shot.



Katrina's Surge

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Updated: 4:26 PM GMT on July 01, 2007

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Unacknowledged Tropical Cyclone Leaves 250,000 Homeless in Pakistan

By: MargieKieper, 3:48 AM GMT on June 28, 2007


Afternoon update: The death toll from 03B has risen in Pakistan, and India is now faced with a naming decision on 04B, as it continues to slowly intensify, remaining almost stationary offshore of the same stretch of coastline in eastern India where 03B killed approximately 140 people and left many homeless less than a week ago.

Both the Air Force (AFWA) and JTWC have determined the most recent intensity estimates of 04B at T3.0 / 45 kt, and IR imagery shows continued outflow.

* * * * * * *

News reports are that the unnamed tropical cyclone 03B has caused devastation to coastal regions in Pakistan, leaving approximately 250,000 people homeless, mainly in the Balochistan area. There were reports of people clinging to trees or on the roof of their homes, and the government unable to rescue them or to provide food, water, or shelter, as rains washed out roads and winds delayed access by helicopter. There are also a number of missing boats, and news of several rescues at sea.

Some of the news reports referred to the tropical cyclone as Yemyin. However this storm was never officially named or acknowledged as anything more than a tropical depression by the official account.

In contrast to the official forecasts, provided by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Tropical Cyclone 03B was at minimum a strong tropical storm, and there is evidence to suggest it had reached hurricane strength, when it hit Pakistan exactly 24 hours ago, as I write this, at 0200Z (early morning local time) on 26 June.

At this point it had already been identified by JTWC as reaching tropical storm strength, 35 kt, for 20 hours, and by their estimation had sustained winds of 50 kt, on their 0000Z advisory on the 26th. Therefore, by the JTWC forecasts, almost a day had passed since the time that the tropical cyclone should have been officially named (Yemyin). They also estimated landfall in two hours, at 0200Z. Yet at this time, 0000Z on the 26th, just two hours before landfall, the IMD issued a warning for only a "deep depression," which they define as a range of maximum windspeeds between 28 and 33 kt (officially, 3-min winds, which can be compared to 1-min winds with negligible differences).

But there is more. At 0000Z, two hours before landfall, the IMD differed from JTWC in position by over 60 nautical miles in latitude (although it is possible this may have been a typo in their advisory), and even though landfall was imminent, advised that landfall would not occur until noon -- and updated that one hour later, in the 0100Z shipping advisory, to late afternoon or evening on that day, approximately twelve hours later than the actual landfall.

And the website, with the warnings, was offline and not available for approximately twelve hours beginning with the landfall period. Can you imagine this happening in the U.S? A hurricane hitting land and leaving thousands homeless, not warned on, and the warning agency website down throughout the critical landfall period? This truly is unimaginable -- yet this is what occurred yesterday, halfway around the world from Wunderground's home base.

As the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center for the northern Indian Ocean, the India Meteorological Department has the responsibility to warn not only its shores, but those of its neighboring countries, of risks from tropical cyclones. It is so tasked by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and to not meet this responsibility is a serious matter. Complicating this event is a history of hostility bewteen India and Pakistan, and the fact that this type of omission has happened before, recently! -- when a tropical storm named "Baaz" threatened the Pakistani coast in 2005 (hat tip: storm2k). Baaz did not cause the widespread devastation and destruction that Yemyin did. Given this, it would not be surprising for the WMO to take some action.

Since Yemyin was not officially named -- how did it get its name, which has been widely reported in the international news, even within India? When India did not name the storm in a timely fashion, the Pakistan Meteorological Department named the TC themselves, using the next name on the official RSMC list, at 8pm local time (UTC+5) on June 25th, nine hours after JTWC upgraded the intensity to tropical storm strength -- 35 kt at 0600Z. It is clear from the wording on the Pakmet advisory that they were taking official note that IMD had neglected its OPs plan:

UPDATE: Tropical Cyclone Named & Numbered

This evening Tropical cyclone formed in Arabian Sea as per international practice has been named and numbered as follows

1. Number: 03B

2. Name: YEMYIN

What happened in 2005 when IMD neglected to name "Baaz," threatening the Pakistani coast, and Pakmet stepped in and named it? IMD ignored this and named their next tropical storm Baaz. If they try this again, and name the next tropical storm in that region "Yemyin," this will cause much confusion as the name Yemyin has now been associated widely in the news with the destructive unnamed storm 03B.

The equivalent intensity ratings for tropical cyclones in the northern Indian Ocean basin (thanks to Gary Padgett for this information) are:

Low-pressure Area -- weak, diffuse area of low pressure without a definite surface circulation
Depression -- well-defined low-level circulation but with MSW generally less than 28 kts / Dvorak rating of T1.5
Deep Depression -- depression with MSW in range of 28-33 kts / Dvorak rating of T2.0
Cyclonic Storm -- tropical cyclone with MSW in range of 34-47 kts / Dvorak rating T2.5 - T3.0 (equivalent to tropical storm strength and the point at which storms are named)
Severe Cyclonic Storm -- tropical cyclone with MSW in range of 48 - 63 kts/ Dvorak rating of T3.5
Very Severe Cyclonic Storm -- tropical cyclone with MSW exceeding 63 kts / Dvorak rating T4.0 or higher

According to JTWC forecasts, 03B reached the level of "Severe Cyclonic Storm" at 50 kt, and, since this last forecast before landfall (issued every six hours) was based on intensity estimates prior to the time of peak intensity at landfall a couple of hours later, judging by satellite estimates, it is possible that the JTWC best track will be revised to a higher intensity.

Evidence that the tropical storm reached hurricane strength can be seen on the AMSU intensity estimates:

AMSU intensity estimates for 03B


In addition to this, some meteorologists skilled in Dvorak intensity analysis determined a reading of T4.0 (65 kt) from their personal analysis of the storm, around the time of landfall.

Shortly after landfall, an eye briefly became visible on visual, IR, and water vapor imagery. Yesterday I also provided a link to a microwave image that showed convection wrapping around a well-defined center. There were several microwave images that showed a clear indication of an eye. This followed a period of intensification with very cold cloud tops. There was absolutely no question that this was a strong tropical storm, and suggestive indications that it was a Cat 1 hurricane -- not the tropical depression that it was labeled by IMD:


03B vis 0330Z 26 June

03B IR 0330Z 26 June

03B WV 0330Z 26 June


Here are several microwave images during this timeframe, all showing an eye present:

03B microwave

03B microwave

03B microwave

03B microwave




Katrina's Surge

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Updated: 8:02 PM GMT on June 28, 2007

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Nothing on the (Dusty) Horizon

By: MargieKieper, 12:11 PM GMT on June 26, 2007


Large amounts of dust continue to sweep off the coast of Africa with the waves of SAL that have accompanied each tropical wave. This pattern shows no sign of changing. The large amount of stable dry air will likely prevent anything from getting started in the Atlantic for quite awhile. In the enhanced Eumetsat image below, areas of dust show as pink and lavender:


Eumetsat dust

* * * * * * *

Pakistan is pounded by the season's second tropical cyclone in the Arabian Sea: Tropical Cyclone 03B moved inland over Pakistan -- oddly, without officially being named by India Meteorological Department -- with the most intense convection near the border with Iran, and some additional rainfall over Karachi. Since yesterday evening, very cold cloud tops were seen in the strongest convection (for the most part remaining offshore):

enhanced IR image of 03B NONAME


This recent microwave shows the TC continued to develop to strong tropical storm strength prior to landfall, with convection wrapping almost completely around a clearly-defined center:

microwave image of 03B NONAME


India Met Dept website is down, and JTWC continued to issue warnings with the storm over land:

CURRENT INTENSITY IS BASED ON DVORAK SATELLITE INTENSITY ESTIMATES OF 45 TO 55 KNOTS. TC 03B MADE LANDFALL ALONG THE COAST OF SOUTHERN PAKISTAN ABOUT 260300Z AND THE LOW LEVEL CIRCULATION CENTER IS NOW APPROXIMATELY 23 NM INLAND. A DECREASE IN DEEP CONVECTION HAS BEEN OBSERVED AS THE SYSTEM TRACKS OVER LAND. THE STEERING RIDGE TO THE NORTH HAS LED TO A MORE WESTWARD TRACK AND TC 03B IS EXPECTED TO TRACK INCREASINGLY WESTWARD BEFORE DISSIPATING OVER LAND BY TAU 24. THE MAJORITY OF THE AIDS ARE IN GOOD AGREEMENT WITH THE TRACK FORECAST AND THE DISSIPATION SCENARIO. AS AN ALTERNATE, BUT LESS LIKELY SCENARIO, A COUPLE OF THE AIDS ATTEMPT TO TRACK THE REMNANT CIRCULATION BACK OVER WATER WHERE WEAK REGENERATION IS POSSIBLE. NEXT WARNINGS AT 261500Z, 262100Z, 270300Z AND 270900Z.
Note the extremely large circulation of this TC -- larger than Gonu, and covering almost the entire Gulf of Oman. This likely generated waves in the gulf affecting shipping and loading of petroleum exports:

IR image of 03B NONAME


BBC News provides some information on the areas of Pakistan hardest hit by the tropical cyclone, and notes that some fishing vessels are missing.



Katrina's Surge

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Updated: 12:18 PM GMT on June 26, 2007

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Tropical Cyclone 03B Redeveloping and A Potential Threat

By: MargieKieper, 4:28 PM GMT on June 24, 2007


Monday evening update: TC 03B has improved in organization, and a recent microwave shows banding convection that has formed closer to the center as well as a well-formed low level circulation with an open warming center. Compare this with the microwave from earlier today:

microwave image of 03B NONAME


It appears that the TC will continue to skirt the Pakistani coastline, moving northwest; JTWC has forecast landfall on the Pakistani coast near the border with Iran. But, if it does get stronger, then it will track more to the west, due to the ridging to the north, and make landfall along the Iran coastline. There is the potential for some surge along both the Pakistani and Iraninan coastlines, even with a weak tropical storm, because they have shallow offshore water similar to the northern Gulf Of Mexico. The surge will not have to be very high to have a devastating effect for the onshore population.

Here is the link to the current rainfall potential (this image will update as new information becomes current). Notice that a small area of the Pakistani coast is forecast to receive up to eight inches of rain, and that quite a bit of rain is forecast to fall in portions of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and inland Oman:

TC 03B tropical rainfall potential


How long will this unusual weather pattern in the Arabian Sea continue, providing conducive conditions for tropical cyclone potential development?


Monday morning update: It is no longer a question of if 03B will regenerate -- it has become a tropical storm, and has moved into an area of reasonably low shear. It is drawing on moisture from the south, and a semicircle of convection has built up along the southern edge of the storm. A large robust circulation is continuing to build (a recent microwave image showing the well-defined LLCC is below). It appears that, at approximately 23N 67W, it is already north of the warmest water in the Arabian Sea -- however, the water is warm enough to support some development:

TC heat potential in the NIO

Moisture and upper level divergence are to the south, and this IR image from last night shows the outflow in that area:

IR image of 03B NONAME

Right now the storm is headed WNW and appears to be on target for the Gulf of Oman, but the rain associated with the storm could be a continued threat to Karachi, Pakistan.

Overnight JTWC issued a warning and only anticipates that the TC will develop a little further, to 55kt, but again the issue in Pakistan, Iran, and Oman will be any possible rainfall. Currently the center is just southwest of Karachi, and if convection redevelops closer to the center it could mean more rainfall there.

A recent microwave showing the currently-exposed but well-defined large LLCC:

microwave image of 03B NONAME

* * * * * * *

Tropical Cyclone 03B Kills Hundreds in India and Pakistan: Tropical Cyclone 03B barely had time to develop into more than a depression before making landfall in the Andhra Pradesh area along the eastern coast of India, in the Bay of Bengal, but the associated rainfall caused flooding, killing 45 people there and leaving thousands homeless. Many areas bordering the Bay of Bengal are low-lying for miles and miles, and densely populated. People have no way to escape the flooding except by climbing on top of their homes or into trees. Convection associated with the system, as it crossed into the Arabian Sea (where it may reform), caused flooding in Karachi, Pakistan, killing over 200 people, as reported by BBC News. The vulnerability of Karachi to flooding by surge or rain became evident earlier this year when TC Gonu threatened the areas bordering the Arabian Sea.

The current convection associated with the remains of 03B are shown below:

VIS image of 03B NONAME


JTWC has issued a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert (TCFA), headed guess-where. If this regenerates, it will be the third area of disturbed weather of note with potential for a tropical cyclone in the Arabian Sea this year (recall 94A followed Gonu, but it did not develop). This level of activity in the Arabian Sea is definitely out of the ordinary.

* * * * * * *

Meanwhile, I have received a detailed account of the flash flooding in Muscat from the rains of Gonu:

"We survived….. but we lost the lower half contents of the house we were staying in as the wadi that was just down the road burst it banks at 4:40 on the Wednesday afternoon and flooded our street and well to cut a long story short we were hit bad but not as bad as others. At 4 pm there was just a sheen of water due to the rain outside; at 5 30 pm there was about 10 cm water outside our back door – hmmm interesting we thought. At 5:45 we had 1.5 m water (which was a mixture of raw sewage and wadi water - uck) in the house, but it was over 2 m outside and flowing fast – thank goodness for the steps leading up to the front door…. Furniture was exiting the front door (which broke due to the water pressure outside at 5:40), like toy boats in a bath tub. By 10 pm the water started to recede inside and by 1 am it was ankle deep. It was a nightmare. We lost both of our cars - both were under water for hours."
I hope to have some direct information from the Sur area this week.

* * * * * * *

Recall that the Sun-Sentinel reported Saturday morning that Mary Glackin questioned the numbers provided by Bill Proenza regarding reduction in track forecast accuracy that would come about from the loss of Quikscat data, saying specifically, "I’m not willing to stand by these numbers." The Sun-Sentinel subsequently published an editorial stating that it was a case of "he said, she said." In an additional story this weekend, the Sentinel noted this interesting bit of news:

"Proenza said he had intended to share the letter only with his staff at the hurricane center, which is in Miami-Dade County. He said a staff member gave it to a reporter."
The unbiased truth about the QuikSCAT issue has not come out in the news -- but will be documented on Jeff's blog this week.

* * * * * * *

Patrap mentioned the MODIS imagery, and that reminds me to post a remarkable image I was looking at on Friday from that web site, of the very dense layer of dust that was associated with the most recent wave of SAL to come off the African coastline. Note that the air is brown:

MODIS SAL 22 June 07


Here is a link to the 250m resolution image, showing remarkable detail of the edge of the dust-laden air as it is moving quickly into clear air, before it has dispersed, and also showing how it obscures the details of the clouds, resulting in a "hazy" effect.



Katrina's Surge

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Updated: 1:00 AM GMT on June 26, 2007

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Proenza In Media Whirl

By: MargieKieper, 7:44 AM GMT on June 22, 2007


Cop: Havin' a time for yourself, aren't you?
Alicia: People like you ought to be in bed.

.......................................--Notorious

Just days after receiving a written reprimand that in essence requested NHC Director Bill Proenza to consult with his boss before even using the office stapler, along with a list of caveats regarding contact with the media, his media dance card has been been fairly full, with the latest waltz tonight on the "Barometer Bob" internet radio show, where he mentioned that he has assigned several senior hurricane forecasters to work full-time on QuikSCAT-related tasks (and this year there have been frequent mentions of QuikSCAT in NHC tropical storm advisory discussions). Recent comments to the media, for the most part, have been fairly tame, continuing the ongoing NHC pre-season emphasis on hurricane preparation; the point seems to be not so much that Proenza had something new to say this week, as much as he may have wanted to make it clear that he is going to say what he wants, when he wants.

On Tuesday I reported about how NOAA blinked first, as Florida's Congressional delegation made some noise in the media and a show of support. The next day Proenza attended a media tour of the hurricane disaster survival house, which quickly became an impromptu NHC media conference instead. The Palm Beach Post quoted him as saying, "I intend to be very up front with the needs of the program." He also mentioned again, as he did last month, that he ostensibly plans to stay in his position as NHC Director for some time, as reported by the Sun-Sentinel:

Bill Proenza is hunting for a new home in South Broward County. That's because he intends to remain the director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami-Dade County for at least five years.
Less than a week after telling the Miami Herald that he feared he would be fired after receiving the critical memo, Proenza had this to say:

On Wednesday, Proenza said he has no fear of losing his job.

He said he has the support of several members of Congress — including U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., — as well as the general public.
However, the Miami Herald reported that Bill Nelson had noted he would run interference for Proenza earlier in the month.

Yesterday, as reported by the Sun-Sentinel, Mary Glackin questioned the numbers provided by Bill Proenza regarding reduction in track forecast accuracy:

The acting director of the National Weather Service flew from Washington, D.C., to South Florida last week to tell the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Editorial Board that she isn’t buying what Bill Proenza is selling, which is that if the QuikSCAT satellite fails, hurricane forecasts would be hurt significantly.

Specifically, Proenza, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami-Dade County, says three-day forecasts would deteriorate by 16 percent and two-day forecasts would slip by 10 percent.

“I’m not willing to stand by these numbers,” Glackin said.

She said she resented some observers -- mainly Wayne Sallade, emergency manager in Charlotte County -- implying the hurricane center would be “flying blind” if the satellite dies.

“That [is] so far from the truth,” she said.

According to Glackin, hurricane forecasts would be affected, but not much, if QuikSCAT fails.
Next week I'll provide a more in-depth review of those numbers and how they were determined.

The focus on QuikSCAT has obscured the fact that NOAA has yet to restore the $700,000 budget cut to the NHC Joint Hurricane Testbed, or to enhance the budget of the NHC. Only a renewed interest in a replacement for QuikSCAT has resulted from the two-month-old imbroglio.


Katrina's Surge

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Updated: 7:51 AM GMT on June 22, 2007

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Prepare, Prepare, Prepare (To Spend Money, That Is)

By: MargieKieper, 12:46 PM GMT on June 20, 2007


The state is urging residents to prepare for disasters and to have a survival kit:

"Box upon box of pasta and rice, a couple hundred cans of fruits and vegetables, 120 gallons of water. Powdered milk. A first aid kit. A lantern. A weather radio. Plastic sheeting. Duct tape. Bleach."
Sound vaguely familiar? Well, it may surprise you to learn it's the state of Minnesota (yes, that explains the extra emphasis on carbs). Before too long perhaps every state will be encouraging its citizens to have "disaster kits." This article appeared in the Mpls Star-Tribune Monday. The state is spending half a million dollars on a publicity campaign called 'Code Ready' to convince consumers of a new way to spend their money, in this 21st-century twist on 1950's era bomb shelters:
"The suggested stored servings of food for mom, dad and two kids for a month rivals the inventory of a small minimart: 780 of grain, 240 of fruit, 360 of vegetables, 360 of dairy and 660 of protein foods such as meat, dried beans and nuts."
The campaign suggests storing enough food for up to a year, and contains a local response to this that is priceless:
"It's ridiculous. It's just way too much stuff for anybody to have at home. I can't imagine what they're having us prepare for...If society breaks down to the point where we need all that food, trust me, we've got other problems."
No kidding.

In the land of Pillsbury and General Mills, they should have considered having the food industry subsidize the campaign.

In Florida, a grocery chain, Publix, has "partnered" with a hurricane preparation web site, OneStorm, noted in this Brandenton Herald article, also from Monday. Of course, Publix has their own hurricane planning web site, where they provide consumers -- er, coastal residents -- with hurricane planning advice peppered liberally with suggestions, including photos of what the Coneheads would delightedly call "mass quantities," about what to buy at Publix (they recommend buying enough food for two weeks).

Hurricane planning has morphed into disaster planning, with an unhealthy overemphasis on consumerism. With this idea that the best way to prepare for disaster is to go on a shopping spree, perhaps the new response to the news that a hurricane may be coming ashore will become, "Quick -- check to make sure we've got enough Pop Tarts!"

* * * * * * *

Roberta: Desperate. I love that word.
Leslie: Everybody I know is desperate, except for you.
Roberta: I'm desperate.
Leslie: Ha!
Roberta: Well, sort of. *

Imagine my surprise last night, upon checking the NRL tropical cyclone web site for the first time in a couple days, to see an image of an upper low just west of the dateline identified as an invest. Yes, it is a slow year. CPHC may be responsible for this hack, but it may just be tongue-in-cheek, as their latest TWO notes:
Scattered thunderstorms in the vicinity of Midway island and the far northwest Hawaiian islands, about 1300 miles west northwest of Honolulu, are associated with a low aloft that is centered west of the international date line. A weak surface low is associated with the low aloft but the thunderstorms lack significant organization and development of a tropical cyclone within the central north Pacific is not expected.
* Desperately Seeking Susan

* * * * * * *

Is NOAA desperate? On Monday their latest news release, "NOAA SATELLITES READY FOR ACTIVE HURRICANE SEASON," is a detailed effort to assure us that NOAA has many satellites in the sky, none of them called Quikscat, sending many (yes, count em!...that is -- somebody was actually forced to do that) images to NHC to aid in hurricane forecasting.


Katrina's Surge

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Updated: 12:50 PM GMT on June 20, 2007

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Someone Finally Goes on the Record for Proenza

By: MargieKieper, 4:23 AM GMT on June 18, 2007


Noon Update: Another player in the Atlantic seasonal forecasts has gone public, and this is a major player. Remember last year I mentioned forecasts by the UK Met Office, ECMWF and Météo-France? These forecasts were not made public and were even kept under wraps from most of the meteorlogical community -- but they were very promising, and now the Met Office has announced their forecast service. The past two years, 2005 and 2006, the forecast, based on a dynamic climate model, did very well. This year's forecast, by the way, is for 10 named storms in the Atlantic from now until the end of the season, which, counting Andrea and Barry, is twelve in total -- a close-to-average year, as opposed to the very active season predicted by NOAA and CSU.


Tuesday morning update: Yesterday Florida's congressional delegation spoke out against NOAA's letter of reprimand and defended NHC Director Bill Proenza's actions, considering a Congressional investigation, in the Miami Herald's late Monday update. Senator Bill Nelson wrote his own quickly-written letter in reply, to the head of the DOC. NOAA's immediate public response was a feeble backtracking, claiming this was a distraction to the necessity of preparation for the hurricane season (more on this litany of preparation tomorrow), and that the letter was not really a reprimand. With the exception of USA Today, so far this story has been ignored by the national media. It remains to be seen which stragegy, NOAA's or Proenza's, will gain enough momentum to direct the outcome one way or the other, and whether there is any merit to battling this out in the court of public opinion, but it does appear that while making nice is no longer in the cards, NOAA isn't ready to deal with the publicity it would receive by letting Proenza go (they'll probably opt for making his tenure at NHC miserable). My gauge on public opinion? Let's move on already: NOAA, fork over the money NHC needs, and Proenza, get off the soapbox.


ENSO Update: Well, talk about good timing. After months and months (since...February?) of the weekly, "Subsurface conditions and recent CFS forecasts indicate a possible transition to La Niña conditions within the next 3 months," today CPC has finally replaced it with:

Recent trends in surface and subsurface ocean temperatures indicates that ENSO-neutral conditions are likely to continue during the next 3 months.
If a La Nina does develop, it won't be in time to affect the NATL hurricane season. The bad news: don't discount ENSO-neutral conditions. In terms of ramping up / dampening hurricane seasons, only strong El Nino events have a significant effect on dampening the hurricane season -- busy years can occur in both La Nina and ENSO-neutral conditions (for example, 2005).


More SAL, Less Potential for La Nina: Even given that June is not normally a very active month in the Atlantic hurricane season, SAL is closing the tropical Atlantic for business at the moment. The surge that I showed a couple of days ago on the edge of the Caribbean now completely covers it. That SAL came just ahead of a strong tropical wave -- and another surge of SAL has just come off Africa, also ahead of another strong tropical wave, and this surge is major league:

SAL 17 June 18Z


It's possible the strong tropical waves are enhancing the SAL (hat tip to Steve Gregory).

* * * * * * *

The much-hyped potential La Nina has become La Nada. Warmer water continues to advance across the depths of the equatorial Pacific, while the cool water disperses:

Tdepth anom

Compare the temperature depth anomalies from mid-May to mid-June along the equator:

depth temp anom comparison mid-May to mid-June

* * * * * * *

Strong shear knocked the convection right off of another tropical disturbance, Invest 94A, that had formed in the Arabian Sea, headed towards Oman, leaving a well-defined low level swirl on morning satellite images:

Invest 94A


Another invest has been started in the northern Indian Ocean -- and except for the Bay of Bengal, there is quite a bit of shear across the entire region:

Invest 94A

* * * * * * *

As The World (er, Tropical Cylcone) Turns: I'll probably be adding a brief update to the blog Monday afternoon (about you-know-what). Additional versions of the Miami Herald story ran on Saturday and Sunday, with direct quotes, additional information, and emphasis that Proenza believes he is being set up for dismissal (which was changed to "termination" in the Sunday byline). Apparently the Herald spent Friday night and the weekend tracking down anyone and everyone they could get hold of at the NHC:
Several forecasters and other staffers at the hurricane center have told The Miami Herald that they fully support Proenza, and his comments have earned compliments from many emergency managers and others.
That can be interpreted as at least two of the five senior forecasters and at least two others working at the NHC -- but nobody willing to go on the record publicly. That brings up a question: just how fully will Proenza be supported if he is fired from NOAA? Will there be mass resignations at NHC, or some kind of group public statement? Anything? If this plays out over the next couple weeks, there won't be much to distract NHC hurricane forecasters from the first-time spectacle of an NHC director being considered for termination only months after taking the position, except for the six-hourly, "TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS."

* * * * * * *

NHC Update: The Miami Herald has now made available the entire NOAA memo sent from acting NWS Director Mary Glackin to Bill Proenza.


Katrina's Surge

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Updated: 7:44 PM GMT on June 19, 2007

Permalink

Collision Course

By: MargieKieper, 4:12 PM GMT on June 16, 2007


It appears that NOAA has made a decision on how to respond to new NHC Director Bill Proenza's outspoken (and on the mark and long overdue) comments about the lack of funding for weather satellites and hurricane research: he and NOAA will probably be parting ways. This may not occur until the dead of winter when no one is paying any attention to hurricanes in the Atlantic, or it may happen sooner. But the first step along the path appears to have been taken: a three-page internal memo of reprimand, delivered in person by the acting director of the NWS,* which Proenza brought to the public via a Friday article in the Miami Herald.

Proenza will stick to his strategy of public exposure, and we can hope that Congress will step in and eventually rectify the budgeting issues and slow deterioration of our national weather service under years of the Bush administration. But for the National Hurricane Center, this season, forecasting and weathering the internal storms may be the challenge of the 2007 season.

* recall that the top two NWS officials recently announced they were leaving...both on the same day
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Katrina's Surge

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Updated: 4:28 PM GMT on June 16, 2007

Permalink

Toss Your PC on the Bed and Forget About It

By: MargieKieper, 5:46 AM GMT on June 14, 2007


Noon update: Avila put the kabosh on that pretty quick:

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

THE SHOWER ACTIVITY OVER THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA AND PORTIONS OF CUBA HAS BECOME LESS ORGANIZED SINCE YESTERDAY AND SURFACE PRESSURES ARE RISING IN THE AREA. THE RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT PREVIOUSLY SCHEDULED TO INVESTIGATE THE AREA HAS BEEN CANCELED.

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.


I know, I know already: By the time I get into work, satellite imagery will show if any low level circulation has started in ex-Wilma stomping grounds, or just dry stable air and trades, after the upper level low (ULL) moved over Cuba on its path east.

I was the first child, and when I was just home from the hospital, a premie, my parents tended to overreact. My mother must have called the family doctor, who lived next door, just one too many times. His response, finally, to the latest "emergency" (I was hiccuping and hadn't stopped), was, "Toss her on the bed and forget about her!" So have a nice weekend (and if you're in the Twin Cities, enjoy the heat wave), don't obsess, and wait until Sunday morning to see if anything is cooking the the GOM (in the NW Caribbean, pressures are rising, and surface wind readings just show trades -- and besides, the 8-Ball says "very doubtful").

* * * * * * *

Slow? No...But It Seems So! With only two named tropical cyclones so far, has the West Pacific typhoon season been slow? It feels like it, but, statistically, the answer is no.

Using JTWC best track data from 1965 to present, and counting the number of tropical cyclones at tropical storm strength or higher (named storms), between the first of the year and mid-June, the current West Pacific season is below the mean, with two storms, but by no means unusually slow.

Out of those 43 years, 40% of the time only two named storms or fewer have formed by Jun 15th, and on three years there were no named storms at all by this date -- 1998, 1973 and 1983.

The average number of named storms in the West Pacific basin by mid-June is three to four (3.5 is the mean).

Looking at Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) as well, 47% of the time it was the same as the current 2007 season or lower, by mid-June.

So, from the perspective of these statistics, the 2007 West Pacific season is slightly below the mean, but close enough to consider it an average season so far.

* * * * * * *

Noon update: Looking at the North Atlantic this morning, it was easy to see the intense dust from the SAL that has made it to the eastern edge of the Caribbean Sea, and why there is no convection in the ITCZ in this area:

NATL dust

NATL dust


And while there are tropical waves, but no tropical development, there is a nice image of a different kind of wave: the steady stream of troughs that have been rolling off the East Coast of the U.S...

NATL -- a different kind of wave

NATL -- a different kind of wave


...and as posted this morning and noted by Wundergrounder FormerAussie, causing a very wet early summer in the UK:

Flooding in Sheffield, UK
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Katrina's Surge

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Updated: 8:08 PM GMT on June 15, 2007

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Gonu's Aftermath, and TD Three-E Makes a Brief Appearance

By: MargieKieper, 6:19 AM GMT on June 11, 2007


Wednesday morning update: Here's a great link to the NASA TRMM site showing rainfall from Gonu (Muscat and the coastal area to the south received over 200mm of rainfall, as did a very small portion of the Iranian coastline). NASA also maintains an interesting web log of extreme events as documented by TRMM, including tropical storms, tornadoes, floods, and El Nino.

The damage from Gonu in Oman is estimated now to exceed one billion. The most costly Cat 1 ever?


Tuesday morning update: TD Three-E is fading away as expected, without improving enough to be named, even for this season's standards. And once again this year, there is no tropical activity on the immediate horizon, worldwide. However weather patterns over the East Pacific and Atlantic have been starting the shift to summertime mode in the past week or so.

Monday noon update: Once shear dropped off last night over the area of disturbed weather in the East Pacific, it developed enough organization and convection to be named TD Three-E today -- and indeed is almost at tropical storm strength. However it is living on the edge (on the edge of a lot of dry stable air, that is) and if TD Three-E makes it to TS, which is forecast, it will have a very short lifespan before, to paraphrase James Franklin, its chances to develop further will "rapidly evaporate." So the lame duck East Pacific season (not to mention the Atlantic and West Pacific as well) continues.

* * * * * * *

Update: There seems to be a bit of a PR campaign going on. Friday, Reuters reported, "The main liquefied natural gas terminal at Sur, which was badly hit, was not operating, a shipper said." And in almost a week, no word has been heard from these areas of Oman most severly affected by Gonu. However, today the news read, "The Oman Liquefied Natural Gas Company announced that its production facility in the Sur province was undamaged. The company reopened production on Thursday, just a day after the cyclone hit, said Brian Buckley, the company's chief executive." That seems doubtful.

Oman has rejected all outside offers of aid; the same news story noted:

"Oman is relying on its own resources in cleaning up from the worst natural disaster to hit the country since record-keeping started in 1945. The government has not asked for international help and did not accept the U.S. Navy's offer of aid."

* * * * * * *

Oman, and Iran were hit hard by Gonu, as well as the cities of Fujairah and Kalba on the UAE coast on the Gulf of Oman. Immediately after the storm there were shortages of water and food, and no electricity. The death toll is 70, with a number of people still missing, including 10 sailors from a boat sunk in the cyclone.

The bathymetry of the two coasts of the Gulf of Oman affected by the cyclone is very different -- the water depth drops off quickly on the extreme southeastern Oman coastline facing the gulf, which resulted in more damage from waves and wave runup, rather than surge. Offshore of Iran, the water is shallow for quite a distance, resulting in surge such as that experienced along the northern Gulf of Mexico, rather than high waves. Iran also experienced flooding from rainfall in these same coastal provinces.

Wave heights from Gonu were astounding, and even the day after the cyclone, were still causing new flooding in the UAE. Waves on the order of 10 meters high, or higher, were modeled to have affected the extreme southeastern Omani coastline, and wave 6 meters high were documented in Fajairah, UAE.

In Iran, surge from Gonu inundated somewhere between 300 and 1000 coastal villages, according to various news sources.

Even more damaging for Oman's coastline was the flash flooding. The narrow coastline is backed by a 3000-meter-high mountain range, and communities are built right over the many wadis, or dry riverbeds. Rain against the mountains caused tremendous flash flooding, which knocked out bridges and removed pavement from sections of coastal roads linking the communities. The flooding also knocked out the machinery that pumped the water supply to the capital, Muscat, leaving the city with a critical water shortage for several days after the storm. The flooding was so extensive that the city was described as a "lake" by one public official.

Following are some images culled from various news sources in the Middle East, most from Gulf News.

The waves coming ashore in Muscat (notice the higher breakers offshore):

waves Oman


Does this look familiar to those on the northern GOM coast? Debris along the Oman coastline:

Gonu damage Oman

Gonu damage Oman


Surge damage in Iran:

Gonu damage Iran


Damage in Muscat, Oman:

Gonu damage Oman

Gonu damage Oman

Gonu damage Oman

Gonu damage Oman

Gonu damage Oman

Gonu damage Oman

Gonu damage Oman

Gonu damage Oman


* * * * * * *

These videos from You Tube show the wind, waves, and flash flooding:

Beach swells Muscat

Waves pre-cyclone (June 5th) in Sidab area

Waves on private hotel beach in Muscat

Wind, waves Muscat

Gonu's effects in Hormuz strait at Qeshm Island

* * * * * * *
BBC News

Muscat flash flooding

Flooding in Muscat

Muscat after road gone, flooded wadi

Destroyed roads in Seeb

Flash flooding in Muscat

Muscat flash floods

Muscat beach road flooding, road gone

Muscat flash flooding
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Katrina's Surge

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Updated: 1:13 PM GMT on June 13, 2007

Permalink

Say Goodbye to Gonu

By: MargieKieper, 1:11 AM GMT on June 07, 2007


Gonu was sheared apart today, while traversing the Gulf of Oman. Clouds over the center dissipated, and convection thinned and dispersed northward from increased shear. A recent IR loop shows that the LLCC and the remaining mid-level circulation decoupled, and the mid-level circuation came ashore over Iran in the last couple hours (about 05-06Z), and can still be seen rotating.

Nevertheless Gonu still made a striking and unusual satellite presentation, as captured in this earlier high-resolution image, moving north towards the coast of Iran:

Gonu 6 June 1812Z


This recent microwave shows the LLCC quite clearly, but it can be seen on the vis as well. It basically stayed put, while the remainder of the TC was sheared off to the north.

Gonu 7 June 0210Z 37gHz H


Gonu 7 June 0400Z vis


It appears that damage was severe along the extreme southeastern coast that I talked about on Jeff's blog Tuesday. Roads to the area have been washed out, and now that winds have subsided, helicopters will be able to access the area. It will be morning shortly in Oman, and likely this will bring the first news of what has happened in these areas.

In researching news about the cyclone, I was struck by the similarity between the situation in Oman and what would normally occur were a significant hurricane to affect the southeast U.S. Look at these reports from the Oman Daily Observer -- does this sound familiar?

Much of the capital city was on edge yesterday as businesses and private organisations closed early for the day, while people scrambled to stock up on foodstuff, provisions and essentials. Supermarket shelves were stripped bare of dairy products, bakery items, drinking water, candles, flashlights, and other such supplies. Motorists fearful of supply shortfalls also queued at filling stations to top up on fuel.

Meanwhile, a pall of apprehension descended on Muscat and other cities as people anticipated the worst from Gonu’s arrival...Responding to advisories from the Royal Oman Police (ROP), many shop and homeowners began to take precautions to protect their premises from hurricane-force winds and floodwaters anticipated in Gonu's wake. In the Qurum area, shop owners were seen boarding up glass shop fronts and sandbagging entrances.

With supermarkets and grocery stores being emptied of, among other things, bottled water, National Mineral Water Company, which markets a number of bottled water brands, said it was rushing supplies to stores around Muscat and other areas.
And for a country that has not seen even a minor tropical cyclone in decades, not only did the government go all out to prepare for the situation, but they knew exactly what to do:
Those who find it difficult to find safe, alternative lodging during the storm can approach the ROP, who will coordinate with other government departments to provide suitable shelter during this period. “Arrangements are being made to ensure provisions of food, water and other essentials during this period," he said.

All 17 security agencies and government ministries that make up the National Civil Defence Committee have been issued 'work orders' setting out their respective roles in providing active support to the emergency services. ..They will be available to supply food, medicine and provisions where needed. We are sending food and water to areas likely to be affected by the storm. Essential supplies are being stockpiled in these areas." A number of schools, and even some government departments, on the mainland have been earmarked for use as temporary shelters during the period of the storm.

The ROP is positioning ambulances in areas likely to hit by the cyclone. Doctors attached to Health Ministry institutions in these areas are being urged to cancel all leave during the storm alert. With communications likely to be disrupted and telecom masts damaged, authorities plan to turn to wireless and satellite-based Thuraya communications.

Importantly, the Met Office will also begin issuing a regular stream of forecasts every three hours or so to keep the general public updated about the approaching cyclone.

Finally, their meteorological office issued a good prediction of the storm's path and rainfall potential:
Gonu...is expected to bring very heavy rains and strong winds. Tidal waves along the coast can range from 4 to 10 metres. This combination of rain, wind and waves can pose a threat to low-lying areas. We expect 150mm of rain to fall over a 24-hour period as the storm makes landfall.
The TRMM product indicated that about 175mm of rain fell in Mascat the last 24 hours.

Wundergrounders in Oman document the flooding in Mascat:

flooding in Muscat


flooding in Muscat


flooding in Muscat


I'll have an additional update either late this evening or tomorrow morning, of news reports of the impact of the cyclone on the coastal areas.
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Katrina's Surge

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Updated: 6:45 AM GMT on June 07, 2007

Permalink

Cylone Gonu -- Updates

By: MargieKieper, 5:45 AM GMT on June 05, 2007

Wednesday morning update: Weather obs from Musqat showed that pressure went down to 993mb and stayed there for three hours, and winds have been steady at around 30mph with gusts to 50mph.

The AP reported, 'Oman's eastern provinces were cut off, with heavy rains making the roads unusable and communication lines severed. "We have no communication with them, nothing," said a senior police officer.'

GulfNews notes: 'Azhar Al Kindi, a member of Oman's National Committee for Civil Defence, said the government was working to restore power to the region.

He added: “There is extensive damage to properties in most towns in the eastern region including Sur and Ras Al Hadd.'

Gonu has weakened and is moving parallel to the Oman coast, but enough offshore that there will be very little in the effects of wind -- however surge and waves will still be a problem, and possibly rain. Below is one of the last vis images of the day there:

Gonu 6 June 1130Z

Steve Gregory's Wednesday morning forecast:

GONU has just passed about 60-70 miles North of Muscat. Observations from Muscat show near zero VSBY in heavy rain/T-storms - with winds gusting to over 50mph. This has been been going on for about 3-4 hrs now. Pressure fell to 993mb last hour and just went steady. (FYI-Muscat is on the 'good' side of the storm (SW Quadrant).

Imagery shows the storm now 60-70NM North of MUSCAT - and it is likely that the storm is still producing wind gusts in the 85-100Kt range near the eyewall (gusts to 115mph) This also implies SIG Wave heights within 100miles of the center are still in the 20-30ft range.

Considering mountains rise anywhere from 6,0000' to a peak of 10,000 feet along the Omani coast and to the 'spine' that separates the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf itself - this storm is holding together incredibly well. Heaviest convection is wrapping around the north-northwest side of the storm.

Track thinking (mine) is unchanged. Will have a more complete update around noon ET.

* * * * * * *

Tuesday evening:

The cyclone is headed for the straits of Hormuz and the Iranian coast. Here is the latest JTWC track:
Gonu JTWC forecast
Gonu has strengthened as seen in this microwave image:

Gonu

* * * * * * *

Steve Gregory's Tuesday Evening Forecast:

Cyclone GONU is tracking closer to - but NOT OVER the Omani coastline - at a slower rate of speed. The low end CAT 2 storm will continue on a course that is close to the the coast,m and then head more NNW towards the Straits of Hormuz.

The storm will weaken however - and while damage/flooding will be higher than most anticipated along the Oman coast - including the capital of Muscat - and it would appear there will be an extra day of no movements in or out of the Persian Gulf - the storm will weaken considerably before reaching the Iranian coast Thursday.

There is some 'bullishness' to this development - but it should not last too long unless reports out of Oman indicate significantly greater damage or problems than they were expecting earlier Tuesday.

My current Track and surge forecast is actually very similar to the one I issued Tuesday morning.

Gonu SG surge forecast

* * * * * * *

Late afternoon update: This is sad -- the very area that I documented last night, at the extreme southeastern tip of Oman, is going to be the hardest hit area from Gonu. The cyclone has moved slowly northwest during the day, approaching Oman, and the latest track has it making landfall right at the southeast corner that juts into the Arabian Sea, and then sliding along the coastline, up towards the capital, Musqat, and dissipating against the mountainous terrain.
Gonu JTWC forecast
So if the cyclone follows this track, all along the coastline winds will be onshore.

However this track is not verifying. Current IR imagery shows the cyclone moving NNW, into the Gulf of Oman. It appears that it did not make landfall, but just skirted the tip of Oman. Cloud tops over the small center are cooling, and if the increase in speed is maintained, there could be some more redevelopment before landfall in Iran.

Microwave imagery from two and five hours ago confirms the remaining convection is strongest in the northwestern quad and right at the southeastern tip of Oman. It also shows that the organization of the cyclone, with the larger eye that remained after the ERC, is still intact:

Gonu microwave 5 June 22Z


Gonu microwave 5 June 19Z


And IR imagery shows the core of the hurricane just offshore (although with what appears to be a slightly more northward movement, which would track it over water into the Gulf of Oman):

Gonu IR 2200Z


Noon update: This morning has seen a rapid collapse of Gonu, both in terms of organization and intensity, due to dry air entrainment, as it approaches the southeastern tip of Oman. The core and eye are still visible on microwave imagery, but not on visual or IR.

It does appear that with most of the convection now on the west side of the cyclone (see below), and with onshore winds, that the communities I talked about on Jeff's blog, along the extreme southeastern tip of Oman, are being hit hard, and likely are experiencing surge and waves, rain, and wind. Unless the cyclone turns to the north, this northeastern-facing shoreline will continue to be pounded by onshore winds as the cyclone moves closer to land today.

Gonu microwave 5 June 17Z


Steve's noon update:

Latest imagery analysis indicates Gonu is about 60NM from the Oman coast, and did weaken to a CAT 3 - and may be down to a strong CAT 2. It is currently over the 'coolest' water in the region - but will be back over warmer SST temps in about 6 hours.

The latest JTWC forecast is now faster (and matching my original timing) for bringing the storm to the Iranian coast on Wednesday - but they have also lowered the intensity to a CAT 1 at landfall. Currently imagery shows a surprisingly strong convective band stretching from the interior of Iran across the Gulf of Oman and then wraps around the SW quadrant of the storm where another strong convective 'feeder' band may be forming. Cloud tops have cooled around the center of the storm as well and it seems quite plausible that Gonu will stabilize as a CAT 2 Storm during the next 24 hours up to the point of landfall given its faster forward motion, warmer SST's and slightly higher TCHP - and a larger area of the storm remaining over the water..

--Steve Gregory

* * * * * * *

Morning update: Overnight, dry air from overland Oman was entrained into Gonu as the ERC was completing, disrupting the cyclone's organization. JTWC current intensity has dropped to 105 kt, and also calls for more eastward movement, so that the core of the cyclone winds will miss Oman and be over the waters of the Gulf of Oman.

I'll be making updates this afternoon and evening.

* * * * * * *

Steve's morning update:

Imagery shows a clear weakening of the storm over the last 4 hours - and GONU is likely a strong CAT 3 Hurricane at this time.

The storm is moving over slightly cooler SST's - that exist along the SE facing shore of OMAN, and is also drawing in drier air at low levels from the desert regions to the west. At the same time - the latest model tracks show the storm missing the coast of OMAN later today, as it turns more NNW into the Gulf of Oman. So while the storm has already weakened to a MAJOR CAT 3 system, high resolution images show the SST's just NE of Oman increase from 29degC to 32degC - albeit in relatively shallow waters where the total available heat energy for the storm will automatically be lower. With recurvature, the foreword motion of the storm is likely to increase, so additional weakening will be slower as it heads for the Iranian coast.

Currently expect the storm to become a strong CAT 2 cyclone by the time it is crossing the Gulf of Oman this evening. Winds of 100KTS sustained, and 125Kts gusts are likely at that time - along with 20-35 ft seas along and to the right of the storm center.

ASSUMING the turn to a more N-NW course develops as the models indicate - the threat to the Oman coast is lessened, as is the area near the Straits of Hormuz where seas of 10-15 ft, a tidal surge of 1-3 feet now seems most likely. The storm and wind surge threat increases for the Iranian coast where landfall Wednesday as a very strong CAT 1 or low end CAT 2 seems most likely. Though below major hurricane intensity - the infrastructure of facilities along the Iranian coast is most likely the oldest and in poorest condition to withstand hurricane force conditions. The threat of life threatening flooding to the city of Karachi, Pakistan also increases.

Storm surge conditions will be worst near and to the south (right) of where the center makes landfall Wednesday, around 12 Noon New York time - and will reach 10-15 ft - while generally a 6-10 foot storm surge is likely for a 200 miles stretch of the Iranian coast. Significant flooding of the Pakistani coast near Karachi also seems more likely - where sea level is a extremely low - and the ocean could surge inland for over a mile - with a storm surge of just 2-4 feet. Again - all this is based on the storm re-curving NNW today, and then northward on Wednesday as it crosses the Gulf itself.

--Steve Gregory

* * * * * * *

Below are wind and surge predictions from Watson Tech Consulting:

Watson Tech Consulting - Gonu wind prediction

Watson Tech Consulting - Gonu wind prediction

* * * * * * *

Today Steve Gregory and I are guest bloggers for Jeff Masters while he is on vacation, and the topic is historic Severe Cyclone Gonu about to make landfall in the Mideast.


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Katrina's Surge

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Updated: 3:33 PM GMT on June 06, 2007

Permalink

Alvin is Back, and Gonu is the First Documented Cat 5 in the Arabian Sea

By: MargieKieper, 6:51 PM GMT on June 03, 2007


There's a bit of a surprise on the blogs coming late this evening, for tomorrow morning. That's all I'll say for now!

* * * * * * *

Morning update: Gonu has continued to intensify overnight and is now the equivalent of a Cat 5, intensity currently at 140 kt by JTWC, and on a northwest track to brush the eastern coastline of Oman. Not only that, but India Meteorological Department (IMD) has the current intensity at 130 kt 10-minute average sustained winds, which is higher than the current JTWC intensity.


Gonu at Cat 5


Here is the remarkable visual image:

Gonu at Cat 5


* * * * * * *

It also appears that NHC is about ready to restart Alvin -- the trend towards more convection has been maintained, intensity is back up to 30 kt, and organization has improved this morning.


Evening update: Gonu has continued to intensify, as can be seen in the first visual image below. JTWC has increased the intensity to 115 kt. This is the threshold for Cat 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, and, interestingly, this is the first documented Cat 4 in the Arabian Sea in the JTWC best tracks, which have intensities back until about the mid-1970s. These show four other major hurricanes in the Arabian Sea, and all were Cat 3 at peak intensity:

1977 at 110 kt
1998 at 105 kt
1999 at 110 kt
2001 at 110 kt

Notice that the last three have been within the past ten years. When intensifying to Cat 3, the 2001 storm was traveling along a similar track; the 1977 storm was headed the opposite direction, southeast, at a lower latitude; and the 1998 and 1999 storms were in a similar location but traveling north.

Gonu


Gonu has been moving over some very warm water (the "zero" point on the map is eight hours ago):

Gonu


* * * * * * *

Afternoon update: Alvin continues to generate some convection, and looks slightly improved since this morning. However the afternoon East Pacific TWO does not indicate any change.

Gonu has been intensifying all afternoon (CONUS time), with an eye finally visible on IR and water vapor. The latest JTWC intensity jumped from 60 kt to 90 kt. The recent microwave shows the eye that was visible on the earlier image, has warmed and cleared out:

Gonu

* * * * * * *

Now that Friday-night-to-Saturday-night's canard du jour* is behind us, a glance at the tropical happenings around the globe show that the remnant low of Alvin, which still has a low level circulation, is hugging the ITCZ and generating a bit of convection -- while a well-formed TC, Gonu, is crossing the Arabian Sea to bring rain to Oman in a couple of days (why can't we have names like that in the Atlantic?...then we could read a discussion on what the CONU had to say about Gonu).

Below microwave images of Gonu from early this morning and mid-morning:

Gonu


Gonu


* any FZ fans out there?
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Katrina's Surge

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Updated: 12:33 AM GMT on June 05, 2007

Permalink

Oh! -- Can We Move On Fast Enough?

By: MargieKieper, 11:24 PM GMT on June 01, 2007


Is there anyone who cannot wait to forget "TS Barry?"

This is a pleasant sight:

TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1030 PM EDT SAT JUN 2 2007

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER KNABB

Putting aside the unwelcome hype and "cry wolf" potential, maybe it's best to just remember the ROFL moments associated with this chapter of the Atlantic 2007 hurricane season: that initial just-home-from-work oh-they-didn't! moment when seeing the word "Barry" in the inbox (after which I generated a blog entry in record time -- five minutes -- then got on the phone with the equally-unbelieving Steve Gregory, where we hypered each other into a frenzy)...the comment by NWSFO Miami in their local discussion when Barry was named by NHC...the inability to provide Dvorak intensity estimates because there was nothing there except a LLCC (ok -- that was hysterical -- when has "shear" ever prevented Dvorak analysis, or, in the case of a subtropical cyclone, H-P technique)...just pick your favorite. Maybe NHC will quietly change it to subtropical in the post-season analysis.

Just to clarify, my take on Barry was that it tried to become tropical -- obs showed that, although they also showed the extratropical nature of the disturbance -- but there wasn't persistent convection near the center, so it never developed, and did not fit the NHC definition of a TC. Development was not anticipated -- initially because of the shear over the GOM, then because of the enroaching upper low. The distant convection was baroclinic in nature, and winds were generated from the pressure gradient between ridging in the western ATL and the large mid/upper low/trough that had dropped into the western Gulf, moved east, and mowed over the developing surface low.

I wouldn't have been surprised if it had been started as a subtropical storm, given the recon obs, and then switched fairly quickly to extratropical, but who ever heard of a tropical storm with a totally exposed low level circulation? Digging around, the closest images I could find that matched with Barry, indicated it was a frontal wave (extratropical).

And is the situation with the generate-fear-and-hype media so out of control, that Barry was named, rather than risk some kind of media backlash, because no one believes that Florida residents can handle some minor coastal flooding, significant rain, and 25 mph winds, without framing it as a tropical storm? Or is it that no one thought they would prepare adequately unless it was called a tropical storm? Too bad for those who really did think they experienced one, because those folks will be caught unprepared when the genuine article shows up.

* * * * * * *

And did everyone notice that Bill Proenza signed his name to the Saturday morning advisory package after Avila's?


More Fancy Footwork: At least the overnight advisory struggled trying to characterize Barry as a tropical cyclone, "DATA...INDCIATE THAT BARRY HAS MINIMAL CENTRAL CONVECTION AT THIS TIME." That is, there is none at all. And it gets better, "DUE TO THE SHEAR...THERE ARE NO SATELLITE INTENSITY ESTIMATES." That would be due to the complete absence of convection as well.

What follows is a description of an extratropical cyclone, with convection driven by baroclinic, not barotropic, forces: "BARRY IS ACCELERATING TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHEAST...THE STORM SHOULD BECOME EMBEDDED IN THE SOUTHWESTERLY FLOW BETWEEN A DEEP-LAYER TROUGH OVER THE CENTRAL UNITED STATES AND A DEEP-LAYER RIDGE OVER THE WESTERN ATLANTIC." It is already embedded in the flow, with the low level circulation a distorted oval. "WATER VAPOR IMAGERY INDICATES THAT BARRY IS INTERACTING WITH A NEGATIVELY-TILTED MID/UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO...WITH STRONG SHEAR AND DRY AIR OVER THE STORM CENTER. HOWEVER...THE ASSOCIATED UPPER-LEVEL FLOW IS VERY DIFLUENT." No kidding. "ONE CHANGE...IS TO INCREASE THE INTENSITY DURING THE EXTRATROPICAL PHASE. THE LARGE-SCALE MODELS AGREE THAT THE MID/UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH WILL ALLOW BARRY TO CONTINUE AS A VIGOROUS EXTRATROPICAL SYSTEM." But it is already extratropical.

Here's a recent NOAA satellite image, showing the line of convection along the frontal boundary (notice the difference in dewpoints behind and ahead of the front):

TS Barry


And a NWS recent radar image showing the line of convection, below. After the cold front slides obliquely through the Tampa - St. Pete area, residents there will have an unseasonably cool and breezy day -- definitely not the type of experience you'd associate with a tropical cyclone!

TS Barry


I see it...but I don't believe it: It reads like a tropcial storm discussion. It has all the things that you'd expect to see if talking about a real tropical storm -- but compare it with the satellite imagery. The convection associated with the cold front has morphed into a "convective band." The single good-old-college-try convective puff while moving over the Loop Current has become a "brief period of intensification," where "shear has removed most of the deep convection." However, as someone who used to blog here commented to me, "At least he is killing it." :)

Check out the dew points below:

TS Barry


This storm is going to bring lots of rain to Florida and points further north -- which begs the question, when was the last time the East Coast saw a nor'easter in June?

* * * * * * *

Friday evening astonishment: You can throw out the "deep organized convection" part of NHC's definition of a tropical cyclone -- because they did. One tiny poof of convection near the center of the low in the GOM, which was blown away as soon as it formed, and it has been named Tropical Storm Barry:


TS Barry


And don't blink, because it'll be gone that quick.

We can probably also say goodbye to any considerations of persistence of convection in future discussions, as we used to find in the discussions of previous years, such as, "OVER THE PAST SEVERAL HOURS...THE SYSTEM HAS BEEN MAINTAINING ENOUGH DEEP CONVECTION TO BE CONSIDERED A TROPICAL DEPRESSION," and "DURING THE PAST SEVERAL HOURS THE DEEP CONVECTION HAS BEEN PERSISTENT...AND ADVISORIES ARE INITIATED..."

The Miami NWSFO (which happens to work out of the same address as the NHC) had this to say about TS Barry, in the area discussion: "THE HIGHLY SHEARED AND ASYMMETRIC DISTURBANCE IN THE SOUTHEASTERN GULF HAS BEEN UPGRADED TO TS BARRY."
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Katrina's Surge

Comments may also be emailed to viewfromthesurface at wunderground dot com.

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Updated: 7:03 PM GMT on June 03, 2007

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Ringwraiths, and -- Safety In Numbers?

By: MargieKieper, 4:14 AM GMT on June 01, 2007


Friday noon update: Barbara's organization improved greatly overnight and this morning, and although light on convection near the center, now has a very well-defined LLCC and banding convection:

TS Barbara


Recent imagery of Barbara does show repeated convection firing nearer the center, so Barbara will likely continue to strengthen today.

* * * * * * *

Taking stock, on the eve of the official beginning to the Atlantic hurricane season, the East Pacific and Atlantic tropical cyclones ushered in during the month of May -- Andrea, Alvin, and Barbara -- have been, for the most part, incorporeal. Maintaining a bare minimum of convection, and with none reaching a higher intensity than 40 kt, these almost seemed like ghosts of tropical cyclones, rather than the real thing.

And, considering the lingering tropical jet, continuing massive waves of African dust pouring into the Atlantic, strong digging troughs moving off the East Coast, and lack of development of the much-publicized La Nina, the Atlantic hurricane season will certainly be off to a slow start. Unless things change, this could be a herald for the active months of the season. And some changes, such as a return to weak El Nino conditions, would not enhance the Atlantic season activity.

Don't assume that because CSU, NOAA, and TSR all have forecast numbers in the same ballpark, that the forecasts are more likely to be correct. There is not always safety in numbers; remember last year, when the same situation occurred, but the season was just below climatology, and the forecasts were wrong.


Priceless #2: From Avila's discussion on Barbara tonight, a little tropical cyclone humor: "THE SATELLITE PRESENTATION CONSISTS OF A LARGE CLOUD BAND RESEMBLING THE INTERTROPICAL CONVERGENCE ZONE." This can best be appreciated by looking at the recent IR imagery below:

Find the TC

What is left of Barbara is located just under an area of rotating convection in the center of the image. While now downgraded to a tropical depression, there is still a reasonable probability that Barbara could redevelop.
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Katrina's Surge

Comments may also be emailed to viewfromthesurface at wunderground dot com.

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Updated: 6:30 PM GMT on June 01, 2007

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