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2016 August

Gulf of Mexico's Hermine Finally Gets its Name; Hurricane Madeline Lashing Hawaii

ropical Depression Nine in the Gulf of Mexico finally got its act together enough to deserve a name, the NOAA Hurricane Hunters discovered on Wednesday afternoon. They found top sustained winds of 45 mph in Tropical Storm Hermine, ending a week-long drama that left us all wondering if someone had cast a “hold” spell on the storm.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 10:50 PM GMT on August 31, 2016

Hurricane Watch Continues for TD 9; Hawaii Hunkers Down for Madeline

A hurricane watch continues for the Florida Gulf Coast from the Anclote River to Indian Pass, and tropical storm watches have been issued for portions of the Florida and Georgia Atlantic coasts as Tropical Depression 9 is still expected to intensify--possibly drenching the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast this weekend. Meanwhile, a hurricane warning continues for Hawaii's Big Island, with a tropical storm warning for several other islands, as Hurricane Madeline moves closer.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 4:20 PM GMT on August 31, 2016

Hurricane Warning for Hawaii, a Watch for Florida; TD 9 Headed Towards NE U.S.?

With a tropical depression expected to strengthen on Wednesday in the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center (NHC] has issued a Hurricane Watch for the Florida Gulf Coast from the Anclote River to Indian Pass, and a Tropical Storm Watch for the Florida Gulf Coast west of Indian Pass to the Walton/Bay County line. The expected system could sweep near the mid-Atlantic and New England coast over the Labor Day weekend. Meanwhile, a Hurricane Warning is in effect for Hawaii's Big Island as Hurricane Madeline approaches.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 10:51 PM GMT on August 30, 2016

Twin Major Hurricanes Menace Hawaii; Little Change to Atlantic's TD 8 and TD 9

Powerful Hurricane Madeline continues edging toward Hawaii’s Big Island, where a Hurricane Watch remains in effect. An astounding 36-hour burst of intensification peaked early Tuesday, with top sustained winds of 135 mph at 5 am EDT making the hurricane a Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Close behind is Hurricane Lester, now a Category 3 storm with 120 mph winds.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 3:59 PM GMT on August 30, 2016

Hurricane Watch for Hawaii’s Big Island; TDs 8, 9 May Become Tropical Storms

In a dual scenario unprecedented in hurricane recordkeeping, two major hurricanes are heading toward Hawaii, and both could affect the island with high surf, torrential rain, and potential high winds over the next week. A hurricane watch is now in effect for the Big Island of Hawaii as Category 3 Hurricane Madeline approaches, with Category 4 Hurricane Lester several more days away from potential impacts. Meanwhile, a tropical storm warning is in effect for North Carolina's Outer Banks as TD 8 threatens to draw near as a tropical storm, and TD 9 is still organizing in the southeast Gulf of Mexico, with models suggesting a potential landfall on Florida's Gulf Coast around Thursday as a strong tropical storm.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 10:33 PM GMT on August 29, 2016

TD 9 Organizing in the Gulf of Mexico; TD 8 Headed Towards North Carolina

Neither Tropical Depression Nine, in the Florida Straits, nor Tropical Depression Eight, approaching North Carolina, have strengthened into a tropical storms yet, confirmed the Hurricane Hunters on Monday morning. Both depressions are predicted to become tropical storms by Tuesday.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 3:39 PM GMT on August 29, 2016

Invest 99L Finally Develops Into Tropical Depression 9 in the Florida Straits

After spending ten days in meteorological limbo-land frustrating forecasters as an “Invest”, 99L finally developed into Tropical Depression Nine, confirmed a NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft late Sunday afternoon. But the storm isn’t done perplexing us yet—the model predictions for the future intensity of the storm remain wildly divergent, even if we now have growing confidence that this storm will track into the coast of Florida north of Tampa on Thursday.

Jeff Masters • 12:11 AM GMT on August 29, 2016

TD 8 Forms in Atlantic; Still Watching 99L; Hawaii in Sights of TS Madeline

We may see up to three newly named storms between now and Labor Day in the Atlantic. Each of these could eventually affect the United States in some form or fashion. Another named storm could sweep over Hawaii in the next week--and Japan is bracing for its third tropical cyclone in a week.

Bob Henson • 5:18 PM GMT on August 28, 2016

Little Change to 99L in The Bahamas; 91L Headed Towards North Carolina

There is little new to say about the saga of tropical wave Invest 99L, which continued to chug west-northwest at 10 mph through the northwestern Bahamas on Saturday morning towards South Florida and the Florida Keys. Satellite loops late Saturday morning showed little change in the storm’s organization and heavy thunderstorms since yesterday; 99L still lacked a well-organized surface circulation center and the amount of heavy thunderstorm activity was modest at best.

Jeff Masters • 4:35 PM GMT on August 27, 2016

Wait-and-See Drama With 99L Will Continue For Up to Another Week

The week-long wait-and-see drama will continue for up to another week with the large but disorganized tropical wave (Invest 99L) chugging west-northwest at 10 mph through The Bahamas. At this point, pretty much any outcome you can imagine is still on the table--failure to develop, development into a weak but rainy tropical storm, or intensification into a hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico.

Jeff Masters • 9:28 PM GMT on August 26, 2016

Still Too Soon to Write Off Struggling 99L

After vexing and perplexing forecasters and the public for days, the strong tropical wave dubbed Invest 99L is attempting once more to organize itself in the waters of the central Bahamas.

Bob Henson • 3:42 PM GMT on August 26, 2016

Taking Its Time, 99L Remains a Potential Threat for Florida, Gulf

The watching and waiting continues for Invest 99L as it rolls toward The Bahamas. 99L remained a very large but very disorganized tropical wave on Thursday afternoon, with a surface circulation that was largely naked, with little cloudiness around it.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 10:20 PM GMT on August 25, 2016

Is the Wait-and-See Game With 99L Ending? Also, Tornadoes Rip Indiana and Ohio

A high-stakes game of wait-and-see is underway with a large but disorganized tropical wave (Invest 99L) centered near the southeastern Bahama Islands on Thursday morning, and the storm could become a tropical depression or tropical storm at any time over the next three days as it heads west-northwest through The Bahamas.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 3:27 PM GMT on August 25, 2016

Huge 99L Generating 55 mph Winds, But Remains Disorganized

A huge and powerful tropical wave (Invest 99L) is generating winds of tropical storm force near the Virgin Islands, and could become a tropical storm at any time over the next two days as it heads west-northwest at 15 mph towards The Bahamas. If 99L develops a well-defined surface circulation, it will be called Tropical Storm Hermine.

Jeff Masters • 10:13 PM GMT on August 24, 2016

99L Poised to Become Tropical Storm Hermine

A strong tropical wave called Invest 99L is already bringing winds of tropical storm force to the northern Lesser Antilles Islands, and it could become a tropical storm at any time over the next day as it heads west-northwest at 15 mph towards Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The future of 99L remains uncertain, although models suggest a good chance it will be heading toward Florida this weekend and perhaps entering the Gulf of Mexico early next week.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 3:57 PM GMT on August 24, 2016

Unwelcome Rains Will Put Stress on Lake Okeechobee’s Dike

Even if 99L never develops into a tropical cyclone, it has the potential to dump a large amount of rain on a place that doesn’t need it—the catchment basin of Lake Okeechobee in Central Florida. Torrential rains of 7+ inches from a tropical storm or hurricane are capable of raising the lake level by over three feet in a few weeks. The Army Corps must dump water out of the lake as fast as it can in order to keep high stresses on the lake's dike from causing a failure if 99L brings heavy rains.

Jeff Masters • 11:32 AM GMT on August 24, 2016

Still-Disorganized 99L Remains a Threat to Southeast U.S. Coast; Gaston Growing

A large and strong tropical wave about 250 miles east of the Lesser Antilles continues to move west-northwest at about 20 mph on a course that would bring it within striking distance of the southeast U.S. coast by late in the weekend or early next week, quite possibly at hurricane strength. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Gaston is on its way to becoming a hurricane far out in the central Atlantic.

Bob Henson • 9:54 PM GMT on August 23, 2016

Threat to Southeast U.S. Growing From 99L; Gaston Forms in Eastern Atlantic

The Hurricane Hunters are in the air, investigating Invest 99L, a steadily organizing tropical wave that was located about 300 miles east of the northern Lesser Antilles late Tuesday morning. This storm will bring heavy rains and gusty winds to the northern Lesser Antilles Islands Tuesday evening through Wednesday, and is likely to develop into a tropical storm or hurricane that will affect the Bahamas and the Southeast U.S. coast late this week or early next week.

Jeff Masters • 3:40 PM GMT on August 23, 2016

99L a Potential Threat to Hispaniola, Bahamas, U.S. East Coast

A strong tropical wave about 800 miles east of the northern Lesser Antilles could affect the Bahamas late this week and potentially pose a landfall threat for the U.S. East Coast early next week. The wave may entrain moisture from Tropical Depression Fiona, still spinning over the central Atlantic. Meanwhile, another strong wave in the eastern Atlantic may become a tropical storm by midweek. In the West Pacific, the second tropical storm in three days to hit Japan is bringing torrential rain, while another system could be a major threat in a few days.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 4:38 PM GMT on August 22, 2016

99L and 90L May Soon Develop in Atlantic; Fiona Clings to Life

A tropical wave called Invest 99L will bring some heavy rains and gusty winds to the Lesser Antilles on Tuesday and Wednesday. The storm could be a long-range threat to the U.S. East Coast from Florida northwards in about 7 - 10 days. Meanwhile, a large tropical wave in the far eastern Atlantic may become a depression by Tuesday. Tropical Storms Fiona (Atlantic] and Kay [East Pacific} pose no threat to land, while back-to-back tropical systems are bringing a flood and landslide threat to parts of Japan.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 4:28 PM GMT on August 21, 2016

Disorganized 99L May Develop Before Reaching the Caribbean; Fiona No Threat

A large but disorganized tropical wave (Invest 99L), located in the tropical Atlantic midway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands on Saturday morning, was headed west at 15 - 20 mph. Residents of the islands in the eastern Caribbean should closely monitor this disturbance, as it has the potential to develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm before moving into the Lesser Antilles Islands on Tuesday night.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 4:38 PM GMT on August 20, 2016

Fiona May Fizzle; 99L is Set to Strengthen

A less-than-impressive Tropical Storm Fiona continues to work its way across the central tropical Atlantic, while another system--Invest 99L--is drawing more interest from tropical weather watchers. It appears 99L could make a break for the Caribbean early next week, perhaps as a significant tropical cyclone

Bob Henson • 4:35 PM GMT on August 19, 2016

Fiona Forms in Tropical Atlantic; Tens of Thousands Flee California Wildfire

Tropical Storm Fiona is holding its own in the remote eastern Atlantic, heading on a northwest course that will keep it well away from land into early next week. Meanwhile, a new tropical storm may develop off the southwest coast of Mexico, and Tropical Depression Dianmu is bringing the risk of flash floods and mudslides to northern Vietnam and Laos. In southern California, the Blue Cut fire continues to cause massive disruption, with tens of thousands of residents evacuated and many roads blocked.

Bob Henson • 4:47 PM GMT on August 18, 2016

Warmest July--and Warmest Month--On Record for the Globe

July 2016 was Earth's warmest July since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA on Wednesday. July 2016 marked the 15th consecutive month that NOAA’s global monthly temperature record was broken, which is the longest such streak since global temperature records began in 1880.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 8:11 PM GMT on August 17, 2016

TD 6 Continues to Develop; Where Were News Media during Louisiana Flood?

Tropical Depression Six is likely to become Tropical Storm Fiona later on Wednesday in the remote Central Atlantic. Although some modest development is possible, TD 6 is expected to curve north well before it reaches the Caribbean. Meanwhile, Louisiana residents are slowly picking up the pieces after massive flooding--and asking why there was so little attention given to their plight in national media.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 3:52 PM GMT on August 17, 2016

The Great Arctic Cyclone of 2016: After Four Years, a Summer Sequel

As of Tuesday, the deepest cyclone in the Northern Hemisphere wasn’t anywhere near the tropics--it was spinning in the central Arctic Ocean. A surface low located near 83°N, about 500 miles from the North Pole and about 1000 miles north of Barrow, Alaska, deepened to a central pressure of 968 mb at 2 am EDT Tuesday morning, August 16. This is on par with the central pressure you might find in a moderately-sized Category 2 hurricane. The low harks back to the Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012, which played out as the Arctic hurtled toward its lowest ice extent on record.

Bob Henson • 6:29 PM GMT on August 16, 2016

Louisiana Floods Overtop Levee, Inundating 15,000 Homes; 98L May Develop

The highest flood crest ever observed on Louisiana’s Amite River has overtopped the Laurel Ridge Levee in Ascension Parish, about 20 miles southeast of the capital of Baton Rouge, resulting in the flooding of at least 15,000 homes—one third of the parish’s homes. At least nine people have died in flooding in Louisiana that began last Friday, with at least 20,000 people rescued from flooded homes and vehicles and 10,000 people in shelters.

Jeff Masters • 3:48 PM GMT on August 16, 2016

Billion-Dollar Flood Has Louisiana Reeling; 98L May Become a Tropical Depression

Floodwaters have finally crested across most of southern Louisiana after a harrowing weekend of record-high water that left at least six people dead, pushed at least 10,000 people into shelters, and prompted the rescues of more than 20,000 people. Rainfall of more than 30" was observed, along with record-high crests on a number of rivers. Meanwhile, a tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic may develop into a tropical depression later this week.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 4:19 PM GMT on August 15, 2016

Historic Flood Event in Louisiana From 20-30 Inches of Rain

A historic flooding event continues over central Louisiana, where widespread rainfall amounts in excess of twenty inches since Friday have brought all ten river gauges on the Amite, Tickfaw, and Comite Rivers to record flood crests, flooded thousands of homes, and caused over 1,000 water rescues. The most extreme floods have occurred on the Amite River, which flows along the east side of the Baton Rouge metropolitan area.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 5:31 PM GMT on August 14, 2016

Record Flooding in Southeast Louisiana May Get Worse

A devastating flood event was unfolding over southeast Louisiana on Friday, and conditions may get worse yet, as an extremely slow-moving center of low pressure is dumping colossal amounts of rain on the region. This sprawling, “stacked” low is carrying more water vapor than many tropical cyclones, and its slow motion is leading to persistent rains that could add up to all-time record totals in some places. Already, as much as 17" has been reported, and at least one river has reached an all-time flood crest. The region near and east of Baton Rouge is being especially hard hit.

Bob Henson • 8:20 PM GMT on August 12, 2016

Warm Nights Tip the Scales as Summer Grinds On

Meteorological summer so far--June plus July--has been the fifth warmest for the contiguous U.S. in 122 years of recordkeeping, according to the July climate report issued by NOAA. Muggy nights are a big reason for the warmth: the average daily minimum was the warmest on record for June-July combined, and several locations have been setting records for the most consecutive nights above unpleasant thresholds of warmth. Meanwhile, NOAA updated its outlook for the 2016 hurricane season, raising the odds for a more active year than average.

Bob Henson • 5:11 PM GMT on August 11, 2016

Mexico's 2nd Highest Death Toll From an Atlantic Storm Since 1988: 45 Killed in Earl

Hurricane Earl hit Mexico as a tropical storm August 4 - 5, dropping torrential rains in excess of 12" over the coastal mountains of Mexico east of Mexico City which are being blamed for 45 deaths in the nation. The last Atlantic hurricane to exact a higher death toll than Earl was Hurricane Gilbert of 1988, which killed 240 people in Mexico.

Jeff Masters • 9:20 PM GMT on August 10, 2016

Researching the Wet, Wild World of Atmospheric Rivers

When a molecule of water vapor heads toward the poles, it may well be hitching a ride on an atmospheric river (AR). A growing amount of research is zeroing in on these narrow but powerful channels of airborne moisture, which are far more widespread and influential than scientists once thought. Close to 100 researchers are gathered this week at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography/UCSD for an international conference on atmospheric rivers. Meanwhile, very heavy rains could pose a flood risk this week along the Gulf Coast, in the Desert Southwest, and over parts of the Upper Midwest.

Bob Henson • 2:51 PM GMT on August 09, 2016

Wet Week Ahead for Gulf Coast, Arizona Deserts

With moist air predominant over much of the United States, several distinct areas of heavy rain will take aim on roadways, drainage systems, and people’s nerves over the coming week. The deluge has already begun across the central Gulf Coast, especially along the Florida coast from Tallahassee to Tampa, where totals of 3-6” were widespread on Sunday into Monday. A broad swath of rains may total 7” to 15” by the end of the week along the central Gulf Coast. Meanwhile, monsoon rains will drench parts of southern Arizona from Tuesday into Thursday, perhaps extending into Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Flash flooding will be possible in localized areas of very heavy rain. The rains will be fueled by moisture channeled into the Southwest by Tropical Storm Javier, which is cruising northwest along the west side of Baja California. Javier should dissipate later this week before reaching hurricane strength.

Bob Henson • 8:02 PM GMT on August 08, 2016

CSU’s Latest Hurricane Outlook: Steady As She Goes

In their August update, forecasters at Colorado State University are calling for a near-normal amount of activity during the remainder of the Atlantic hurricane season, with an additional 10 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes. CSU cautioned that there is still considerable uncertainty in the factors shaping the season, so a wide range of outcomes is still possible. A new website co-created by CSU pools all of the seasonal Atlantic hurricane outlooks issued by various groups.

Bob Henson • 7:13 PM GMT on August 05, 2016

Earl Lingering Over Mexico; New Disturbance Will Bring Heavy Rains to Southeast U.S.

Tropical Storm Earl was clinging to tropical storm status on Friday morning, as its center skirted the southern coast of the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche. Earl is still a major rainfall threat, but so far the torrential destructive rains that were feared from the storm have not materialized.

Jeff Masters • 3:04 PM GMT on August 05, 2016

Hurricane Earl--First Caribbean Hurricane Since Sandy of 2012--Hits Belize

Hurricane Earl--the first hurricane in the Caribbean since Hurricane Sandy of 2012--made landfall near Belize City, Belize as a Category 1 storm with 80 mph winds near 2 am EDT Thursday, August 4, 2016. Earl was the strongest hurricane to hit Belize since Hurricane Richard on October 23, 2010, which made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds.

Jeff Masters • 2:02 PM GMT on August 04, 2016

Hurricane Warnings in Belize, Honduras, and Mexico for Earl

Hurricane warnings are flying for the coast of Belize, the southern portion of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and the islands off the north coast of Honduras, as a strengthening Tropical Storm Earl speeds westwards at 14 mph. The Hurricane Hunters did not find hurricane-force winds in Earl in a mission that departed from the storm around 8 am EDT Wednesday, but a new airplane arrived in Earl around 11 am, and will likely find that Earl is a hurricane by mid-afternoon Wednesday.

Jeff Masters • 3:29 PM GMT on August 03, 2016

Tropical Storm Earl Forms in Caribbean

Newly christened Tropical Storm Earl is moving across the Caribbean with top sustained winds of 45 mph. Earl could approach hurricane strength as it nears Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula, where landfall is expected late Wednesday. In the Eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Howard continues to cruise westward, and its remnants could bring squalls and surf to Hawaii this weekend. Typhoon Nida caused little damage as it crashed ashore near Hong Kong on Tuesday.

Bob Henson • 5:11 PM GMT on August 02, 2016

Tropical Storm Likely to Form in Caribbean; Flash Flood Devastates Ellicott City, MD

The tropical wave in the eastern Caribbean dubbed Invest 97L continued to organize on Sunday night, and it will likely become a tropical depression or tropical storm on Monday and move into the western Caribbean as an intensifying tropical storm over the next day or so. The system could affect Jamaica on Tuesday and parts of Central America and Mexico later in the week. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Howard became the latest in a remarkable string of Eastern Pacific named storms, and Typhoon Nida could make a direct hit on Hong Kong in the next 48 hours. In the eastern U.S., the historic downtown of Ellicott City, Maryland, was devastated by a flash flood on Saturday night that killed at least two people.

Bob Henson • 2:00 PM GMT on August 01, 2016