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Amazing! It's Epsilon

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 8:01 PM GMT on November 29, 2005

The official end of hurricane season lies only two days away, but the all-time records set by the Hurricane Season of 2005 continue to grow. Epsilon has become the 26th tropical storm of the season--far exceeding the previous record 21 storms seen in 1933. Epsilon may grow into the 14th hurricane this year, extending this year's record number of hurricanes to two more than the 12 hurricanes observed in 1969. Epsilon is really a hybrid between a tropical storm and a regular extratropical storm,
but its winds are nevertheless of tropical storm strength. Both Delta and Epsilon are more properly termed "subtropical" storms, but I guess the Hurricane Center has stopped calling storm "subtropical" to avoid confusion. Subtropical storms gain their energy not only from the warm ocean waters--like hurricanes do--but also from the release of potential energy created when cold and warm airmasses interact--like extratropical storms do. Epsilon is unlikely to strike any land areas, and will probably recurve to the north and east late in the week and be absorbed by a cold front sweeping over the north Atlantic Ocean.

Figure 1. Model forecasts for Epsilon.

Delta hits Canary Islands hard
Tropical Storm Delta slammed into Spain's Canary Islands last night at near hurricane strength, killing at least seven people. One man died when he was blown off the roof he was trying to repair, and six African illegal immigrants drowned after winds caused their boat to capsize while attempting to reach Gran Canaria Island. Twelve of the immigrants remained missing while 32 were rescued. Each year, thousands of migrants try to reach the Canary Islands from Africa and many die in the attempt, but usually not in a tropical storm!

Sustained winds of 71 mph gusting to 86 mph were recorded at Tenarife, and a wind gust of 94 mph was recorded at La Palma. The near hurricane force winds caused extensive damage to utility poles, roofs, and trees all across the islands, which are a popular tourist destination for Europeans. Power is still out to over 223,000 residents today, but is expected to be restored to a large majority by Wednesday. Delta weakened considerably after smashing through the Canary Islands, and came ashore in Morocco this morning with only 45 mph winds gusts and some isolated pockets of heavy rain. Delta's rains were expected to provide a boon to local farmers unaccustomed to heavy precipitation.

Jeff Masters

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Ok, who squashed a bug on the Forecast Model Map ? :-)
...and the hits just keep on coming!
I have to say, I can see Zeta or Theta by year's end. These cutoff low storms will continue for a while.
The Word of The Day: Epsilon
definition: adj. Very small, negligible; less than marginal.

Hopefully Tropical Storm Epsilon is Aptly Named!
All I wanna see is OMICRON. Now thats a spooky name!

That's in calculus...lol.

That's the "Delta" on the historical map...but it isn't named Delta?
I wonder...in past years, especially pre-satellite, how many of these late-season subtropical storms formed, but were never tracked by the U.S. National Hurricane Center?
Thats probably true RWD. Even global warming, we have only been able to notice a 1 degree increase in just the past few years, and maybe decades.
Curiouser & Curiouser...
Skeetobite Archives
Storms of 1972
A Delta & An Alpha Named Storm...Who Knew??!!
Compare 1972 with a year like 2003 or 2004. Pretty ammusing.
Sorry, Bad Link...
Do Over:
Storms Of 1972
Check out 1914, they didnt have much to worry about during WWI hehe.


15. dcw
Oh, I think I know why they used Alpha/Delta. Extra-season storms (remember that the Nov 30 end is recent)
When is the last time 3 storms formed in November? I can't find that ever happening before.
Quick diversion guys:

It is becoming clear that Arkansas was massacred by tornadoes on Sunday evening. I have the most recent info on my blog, but over a half dozen counties have yet to be surveyed.
Dr. Masters and CNN both describe Delta as a tropical storm when it hit the Canary Islands and Morocco. I thought it had already turned extra tropical. Shouldn't they have said "former tropical storm Delta" or something like that? Also, if it was still a tropical cyclone, would that make it the first one to hit Africa?
Alpha 72 Was A Pre-Season Storm. Charlie 72 & Delta 72 were Late Season Storms.
Guess the Names were derived from Military...Alpha, Charlie, Delta (NOGAPS-Like Invest Models??)

NAME...DATE................. Pressure..Landfall Winds.. Category
ALPHA 5/23 - 5/29/1972... 991mb 69mph TS

AGNES 6/14 - 6/23/1972 ...977mb 86mph CAT1
BETTY 8/22 - 9/1/1972 ... 976mb 104mph CAT2
CARRIE 8/29 - 9/5/1972 ... 992mb 69mph TS
DAWN 9/5 - 9/14/1972 997mb 81mph CAT1

CHARLIE 9/19 - 9/22/1972 ...944mb 69mph TS
DELTA 11/1- 11/7/1972 ...1001mb 46mph TS

Source: National Hurricane Center/Skeetobiteweather.com
We had some wind and tornado damage near KC on Sunday as well. That was a very deep low that spawned the storms; the t'storms came in spiral bands. On the backside of the low were blizzard conditions, snow and 40-60 mph winds.
Trouper415 - LMBO with 1914! Maybe I lived then, in an earlier life, and spit out something dum like: "Oh, I do wish I could some day see a real "hurricane season"... LOL
torn, thanks for taking the time and energy to keep us informed on tornadoes. Now, when I press the F5 key (refresh) on my computer, I need to stpo for a sec, cause it reminds me of the red button to detonate some terrible disaster!
22. dcw
"When is the last time 3 storms formed in November? I can't find that ever happening before."

It hasn't, one more record for 2K5.
I think it's bad karma that Delta wound up going back into Africa. I'm afraid that Africa will seek it's revenge next season.
No problem LakeWorth.
Hey rwdobson, another KC guy!! the storms weren't too bad in Lawrence, not much wind, but the rain and lightning was intense, and we had a nice snowfall afterward. What part of KC area are you in?
I'm near downtown Overland Park, 80th and Metcalf. We didn't get much wind, just some pea-size hail and rain. It was weird seeing lighting flashes over the Christmas lights that everyone has up.
Question about Delta: is this the first time a tropical storm hits Africa? Just curious ...
I have a question for Jeff Masters: What is the most tropical storms in November on record.
yovonc - Delta was no longer tropical when it hit Africa, so Delta doesn't count as making landfall in Africa. Not sure if there's been one before, though.
30. dcw
Until this year, two, or so many people seem to beleive.
I have an interesting thought, now I do expect for there to be some more storms such as Delta to form. But has there ever been any thought persay if we were to run out of names during a hurricane season, and subtropical season what would the response be as to naming sytems. Or would we just be naming them via numbers?

Here is an interesting note, since we are all discussing the possibilty of this season extending past the artificial end of the Atlantic Hurricane season of November 30th.

What's the record for the most number of Tropical storms to form in December?

The answer is two in 2003 when both Odette that Dr. Masters mentioned in his blog and Peter (If I remember correctly, name might not be correct)formed only a few days thereafter.
it keep going and going and going well it ever end or well it go right in to the next hurricane year and what are the CH that we will see the Z storm and if this keep going will we down to the O storm or will we start wih are new for 2006 hurricane year like the A storm
hey hurricanechaser what up?
If I remember correctly..the list is for the 2005 hurricane season which although it ends on November 30th will follow the pattern of using this new list until January 1st 2006 if and when another Tropical storm forms. This was the case as mentonec in regard to the record setting two tropical storms that formed in December of 2003.

Another reference to this point is that the first ever tropical storm to form in April of that same year began with the first name of that seasons list hich was Ana.
must be k.c. reunion day. i'm from k.c. been living in fla for two years. hey all fellow chief fans!
Hey David..I might be in the miniority here but I'm ready for this exhausting season to end..I've had to forecast , track and intercept the landfaling storms all year..the average of named storms for a season is roughly 10 for the years 1900 through last season... so basically we have already had two and a half seasons in one as far as named systems are concerned.. Before I worked in the Meteorological field...there couldn't be enough storms to develop to satisfy me enough..lol
Hey ric,

I'm not fron KC but I am a Chiefs fan as well. There rank about number 3 on my list of favorite teams.:)
I'm confident that those at the NHC are ready for it to conclude as well but I suspect it won't.
hurricanechaser did you get hurricane C of last year done yet?
ok just stopped in to say hello...going to go update my blog...have a good night everyone.:)

I wont be able to get that completed or even start honestly till the end of next MOnth most likely... I work a ful time job...work part time (just a few hours a week) at the local weather office of a TV station and I have to make time to edit and produce five different Live Action Hurricane documentaries from this incredible season. Since this season doesn't seem to want to end, it doesn't leave me alot of time to work on my DVDS/Documentaries much less look for the footage you want...HOwever, I will definately get you all I have that you are looking for first chance I really get. This doesn't mention that I have a wife, a 4 and half year old precious little girl and my wife is 20 weeks pregnant with our second child which we just found out by ultrasound today that its going to be a boy.:)

In short, I will get it done for you..it's simply a matter of when not if I will do it for you.:)
I will try to stop in again later if I have time..I need to update my blog...
I hope everyone has a goodnight.:)
last day of hurricane year would any one like to say good bye in tell next year lol
2 december storms also formed in 1887, and one of those was the srongest December hurricane they have in the database--winds of 100 mph but no figures for central pressure.
Tropical Storm Arlene 06/08 - 06/12 70 989
Tropical Storm Bret 06/28 - 06/30 40 1004
Tropical Storm Cindy 07/03 - 07/06 70 997
Hurricane Dennis 07/05 - 07/11 150 930
Hurricane Emily 07/11 - 07/21 155 930
Tropical Storm Franklin 07/21 - 07/29 70 997
Tropical Storm Gert 07/23 - 07/25 45 1005
Tropical Storm Harvey 08/02 - 08/08 65 994
Hurricane Irene 08/04 - 08/18 100 975
Tropical Depression Ten 08/13 - 08/14 35 1008
Tropical Storm Jose 08/22 - 08/23 50 1001
Hurricane Katrina 08/23 - 08/30 175 902
Tropical Storm Lee 08/28 - 09/02 40 1007
Hurricane Maria 09/01 - 09/10 115 960
Hurricane Nate 09/05 - 09/10 90 979
Hurricane Ophelia 09/06 - 09/18 85 976
Hurricane Philippe 09/17 - 09/24 80 985
Hurricane Rita 09/18 - 09/25 175 897
Tropical Depression Nineteen 09/30 - 10/02 35 1006
Hurricane Stan 10/01 - 10/05 80 979
Tropical Storm Tammy 10/05 - 10/06 50 1001
Tropical Depression Twenty-two 10/08 - 10/09 35 1008
Hurricane Vince 10/09 - 10/11 75 987
Hurricane Wilma 10/15 - 10/25 175 882
Tropical Storm Alpha 10/22 - 10/24 50 998
Hurricane Beta 10/27 - 10/31 115 960
Tropical Storm Gamma 11/14 - 11/21 45 1004
Tropical Storm Delta 11/23 - 11/28 70 980
Tropical Storm Epsilon

wow look at all of this from 2005 what will next year be like
I have to say, Epsilon does not look very impressive to me.
Congratulations on your expectant son!
Delta incidentally moved this season up to tie for 3rd place according to the ACE index (accumulated cyclone energy) which measures the the sum of all the energy released by storms in a season. Epsilon will take us to second place, above 2004 and 1995. It will be very hard for Epsilon to get us past the mark set in 1950.
This is a link that gives the energy released by each storm this season. Katrina was in forth place, behind Rita, Emily, and Wilma (which was 1st place)
Oops here is the link:

Hi Everybody,
Well I see that we will have this season last a little longer... :-( WOW WHAT A SEASON....
her is a cool web sit for ever one to take a look at Link
Yeah an unbelievable year!
56. dcw
"The temperature at Kipp MT rose 30 degrees in just seven minutes, and 80 degrees in a matter of a few hours"

57. TBA
From what I can recall, we had hurricanes in DEC, JAN, MAR and May. Not sure about Feb or Apr.

They should just call it the high season and the low season for hurricanes, as it appears that tropical storms have formed or are capable of forming year round.
dcw or you talking about water temp or air temp?
hey all if any one is there i got a ? for all of you if you no it

ok her is the ?

why would Tropical Storm Arlene have 70mph with a 989mb?

and Tropical Storm Cindy with winds at 70mph and a 997mb?

and Tropical Storm Delta with winds at 70mph and a 980mb?

if any one on her yet me no lol
St Simmons...very interesting......thanks!
Chaser! congrats........trust me....older sisters are more helpful than older brothers :)

To answer your question about these:
why would Tropical Storm Arlene have 70mph with a 989mb?

and Tropical Storm Cindy with winds at 70mph and a 997mb?

and Tropical Storm Delta with winds at 70mph and a 980mb?

Keep in mind that the winds speeds aren't merely the result of the central air pressure, but can also be a product of the pressure gradient force...that is difference between airpressures over a given distance. So take Cindy for example... rather high pressure for that windspeed. What that tells me is that this is likely a compact storm since the difference between it and say 1013mb would have to be very small to move air like that.

Now take Arlene. What that tells me is that this storm and its wind field were probably large in size which means that difference betweeen 987 and 1013 was covered by a much larger difference.

Hope I got all that right...
hey anyone here hello
64. dcw
1013 is actually normal air pressure :D

Epsilon not looking good this mornin.
Alpha, Charlie and Delta from 1972...

The were subtropical storms. They are not identified as such on skeetobite.com, but go to http://weather.unisys.com/hurricane/atlantic/1972/index.html
# Name Date Wind Pres Cat
1 Subtropical Storm ALPHA 23-29 MAY 60 991 -
2 Hurricane AGNES 14-23 JUN 75 977 1
3 Hurricane BETTY 22 AUG- 1 SEP 90 976 2
4 Tropical Storm CARRIE 29 AUG- 5 SEP 60 992 -
5 Hurricane DAWN 5-14 SEP 70 997 1
6 Subtropical Storm CHARLIE 19-22 SEP 60 944 -
7 Subtropical Storm DELTA 1- 7 NOV 40 1001 -

Big deal. When I was in Alaska, I saw the temperature go from 60 below to 40 above in 30 SECONDS! And that was the limit of the thermocouple used to measure the temperature. The temperature rise was probably much quicker than that.

The rise was caused by the sudden onset of the Chinook winds reaching speeds of up to 50 MPH. A couple hours later you could go outside and hear trees exploding!
Is it me or does the water in the Caribbean and the Gulf look to be not only staying warm but getting warmer in the Gulf?
Think of winds like a ball rolling down a hill. The speed of the ball is determined by the steepness of the slope, not by the final elevation at the bottom of the hill.

So for winds, the speed is determined by the pressure gradient--how much the pressure changes over a given space--not by the lowest pressure.
rwdobson: Yup...case in point...Wilma...it reached a record 882 mb but only had max sustained winds of 175 mph because it was in an area of already lower pressure at the time. Normally, 882 mb would have max sustained winds approaching 200 mph.