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2016 October

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Before the Flood: A Movie Review

“Before the Flood” is Academy Award-winning actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio’s worthy 95-minute documentary on climate change that will be streamed for free all week. While the movie does not cover much new ground, it is entertaining to see DiCaprio’s remarkable star power—which allows him to interview President Obama, Pope Francis, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. My rating: three stars out of four.

Jeff Masters • 3:09 PM GMT on October 31, 2016

Scary Warm: Welcome to the Halloween Heat Wave of 2016

Temperatures across much of the United States will soar to unusually warm heights as we roll through Halloween and into the first several days of November. Thus far in 2016, the nation has seen less than half of the number of record lows observed in any other year for almost a century.

Bob Henson • 3:55 PM GMT on October 28, 2016

Sea Ice Extent Is Near Record Lows--South as Well as North

Sea ice is at a record-low extent for late October in the Arctic and close to a record low in the Antarctic. The latter is a big change from unusually high extents in recent years. The global total of sea ice (Arctic plus Antarctic] is more than 1 million square kilometers below the previous record for late October.

Bob Henson • 4:03 PM GMT on October 26, 2016

Small Yet Mighty, Hurricane Seymour Quickly Strengthens

Only a minimal tropical storm on Sunday morning, Hurricane Seymour has become a small but powerful Category 3 storm, with top sustained winds of 125 mph as of Tuesday morning. Seymour is about 600 miles southwest of Baja California and is expected to dissipate long before threatening the Pacific coastline of North America. Forecasters correctly pegged Seymour's rapid intensification, which isn't always the case.

Bob Henson • 4:17 PM GMT on October 25, 2016

Hurricane Seymour Gains Steam in East Pacific

Hurricane Seymour, the first named storm in more than three weeks over the East Pacific, could become a major hurricane late Tuesday or Wednesday. Seymour is expected to remain well out to sea throughout the week, although its remnants could feed into a storm system expected to strike California next weekend. Seymour adds to what has been an even busier season in the Central and Eastern Pacific than forecasters had expected.

Bob Henson • 3:48 PM GMT on October 24, 2016

At Least 13 Killed by Typhoon Haima; Atlantic Quiets Down

A weak system dubbed Invest 99L is unlikely to become a tropical storm, but it will feed moisture into the Northeast U.S. this weekend, helping to fuel drought-quenching rains. Another tropical wave in the central Atlantic has a chance of developing over the next several days. Meanwhile, residents of the Philippines and China are assessing damage after the one-two landfalls of Typhoons Sarika and Haima, which together caused hundreds of millions in damage and at least 15 deaths.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 4:59 PM GMT on October 21, 2016

Drought is the Watchword as Winter 2016-17 Approaches

After a year with a record number of billion-dollar flood disasters, the United States is now heading into a period where drought may be the leading concern, according to forecasters behind NOAA’s initial winter outlook for 2016-17 that was released Thursday. The most confident signal in the outlooks (see Figures 2 and 3) is for warmer-than-average conditions across the Sun Belt, from California to Florida, and for dryer-than-average conditions across the southern tier of states, especially from the Southern Plains to the Southeast.

Bob Henson • 5:20 PM GMT on October 20, 2016

Haima Slams into Northern Philippines

Still raging at Category 4 strength, Typhoon Haima (dubbed Lawin in the Philippines) was moving into the northern Philippines on Wednesday night local time. Northern parts of the island of Luzon were bracing for winds as high as 140 mph along with torrential rains of 10" - 20". Over the North Atlantic, a disturbance called Invest 99L could develop into a weak tropical or subtropical storm later this week.

Bob Henson • 3:57 PM GMT on October 19, 2016

Global Temperature Just Short of Record in September, Says NOAA

September 2016 was the second warmest September in NOAA records extending back to 1880, coming in just shy of the September 2015 record. This marks the end of a remarkable string of 16 consecutive record-warm months globally. NASA ranked September 2016 as the warmest in its database.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 10:25 PM GMT on October 18, 2016

Super Typhoon Haima Takes Aim on Philippines

Category 5 Super Typhoon Haima is en route to hammer parts of the far northern Philippines that were slammed by another typhoon, Sarika, just days ago. Haima is expected to approach northern Luzon island with top sustained winds near 160 mph on Wednesday night local time. Meanwhile, a tropical or subtropical storm may develop this week east of the Bahamas.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 4:00 PM GMT on October 18, 2016

Twin Typhoons in Philippines; Nicole of the North; Hundred-Degree Heat in Plains

The northern Philippines island of Luzon may soon experience its second typhoon strike in less than a week, as Typhoon Haima gains strength. Haima may strike northern Luzon as a Category 5 super typhoon just days after Sarika, which dumped torrential rain and killed at least two people. Meanwhile, Hurricane Nicole continues heading into the far North Atlantic; a major October heat wave is spreading east from the Great Plains; and a rare significant tornado in Oregon swept in from the Pacific Ocean on friday.

Bob Henson • 2:18 PM GMT on October 17, 2016

Bermuda Endures Direct Hit from Nicole; Fierce Winds in Store for Pacific NW

Hurricane Nicole brought powerful hurricane-force winds to Bermuda on Thursday, although damage was relatively minor. Fierce winds will be hitting the Pacific Northwest over the weekend as the remnants of Typhoon Songda redevelop just off the coast of Oregon and Washington.

Bob Henson • 4:09 PM GMT on October 14, 2016

Our New Name: Category 6™

Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog is no more. After much deliberation among ourselves and WU colleagues, as well as some jumping through logistical hoops, we are delighted to announce that we are now the Category 6 blog!

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 10:55 PM GMT on October 13, 2016

Category 3 Hurricane Nicole Pounding Bermuda

Category 3 Hurricane Nicole is pounding Bermuda after putting on an impressive round of rapid intensification that saw the hurricane top out as a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds early Thursday morning. Radar imagery shows that the northern eyewall of Nicole is the strongest part of the storm, and Bermuda began taking a wicked beating from this powerful northern eyewall beginning around 9 am EDT.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 2:03 PM GMT on October 13, 2016

A Warm Kickoff to Autumn Across Eastern U.S.

Last month was the ninth warmest September for the contiguous 48 U.S. states in records going back to 1895, according to NOAA. A regional drought continued in New England, while parts of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic had a very wet September.

Bob Henson • 10:20 PM GMT on October 12, 2016

Hurricane Warning in Bermuda as Category 2 Nicole Approaches

Category 2 Hurricane Nicole is heading toward Bermuda and could make a direct hit on Thursday on the island. Socked by destructive Hurricane Gonzalo in 2014, Bermuda is now under its fourth hurricane warning in just three years. Meanwhile, flooding continues from North Carolina to Nova Scotia in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, and a typhoon over the North Pacific will contribute to torrential rains over the Pacific Northwest this coming weekend.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 5:02 PM GMT on October 12, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Floodwaters Slowly Recede; Hurricane Watch for Nicole in Bermuda

Multiple rivers continue rampage above major flood stage in North Carolina as the state reels from a multi-billion dollar flood disaster wrought by the torrential rains from Hurricane Matthew over the weekend. Meanwhile, a Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch are posted for Bermuda, where Tropical Storm Nicole is headed.

Jeff Masters • 4:45 PM GMT on October 11, 2016

Flooding from Matthew Continues over Carolinas; Nicole Eyes Bermuda

Record flood crests are moving through parts of North Carolina in the wake of excessive rains produced over the weekend by the passage of Hurricane Matthew near the coast. New reports confirm that Matthew is already one of the deadliest and most destructive hurricanes of the 21st century. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Nicole is expected to track near or over Bermuda as a hurricane around Thursday.

Bob Henson • 6:09 PM GMT on October 10, 2016

Matthew Flings All-Time Surge and Rainfall Records Across Southeast

Concluding a devastating 12-day rampage from the Caribbean to the U.S. Mid-Atlantic, Hurricane Matthew set rainfall records over the Carolinas and Virginia on Saturday, causing widespread flooding. Matthew is the deadliest Atlantic hurricane in 11 years, with more than 900 deaths from the Caribbean to the U.S.. Insured damage is expected to top $4 billion.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 7:20 PM GMT on October 09, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Pounds Southeast With Record Storm Surge, Massive Flash Flooding

High water from storm surge and inland flooding was causing major problems from Georgia to North Carolina as Hurricane Matthew continued its trek just offshore of the Southeast U.S. Two stations along the coast saw their highest water on record, while Savannah, GA, had its second-wettest day on record. Flash flood watches and warnings extend northeast to Delaware.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 5:36 PM GMT on October 08, 2016

Matthew, Atlantic’s Deadliest Hurricane in 11 Years, Heads for Georgia, S. Carolina

Hurricane Matthew stayed just far enough offshore to spare Florida its worst, but life-threatening storm surge is possible on Friday night along the Georgia and South Carolina coasts, and major inland flooding may develop over the Carolinas during the weekend. Meanwhile, reports from Haiti showed that Matthew was far more of a disaster than initially thought, with at least 800 deaths reported.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 10:15 PM GMT on October 07, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Spares Florida Major Winds; Dangerous Storm Surge and Rains Arrive

Hurricane Matthew has spared Florida the worst. A mighty Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds when it devastated Grand Bahama Island on Thursday, Matthew underwent a collapse of its inner eyewall on Thursday evening, which resulted in the hurricane weakening dramatically. Matthew has yet to generate sustained winds of hurricane force anywhere in Florida, though a gust of 107 mph was recorded on Cape Canaveral this morning.

Jeff Masters • 4:16 PM GMT on October 07, 2016

Matthew Toys With Florida Coast; Major Surge Threat Remains

After barreling across the Caribbean and through the Bahamas, Hurricane Matthew backed away from an immediate U.S. landfall on Thursday night, and odds were rising that the system might not come fully ashore before looping out to sea over the weekend. Regardless, the potential remained for widespread power outages and other damage along the central and northern Florida coast, with storm surge a major threat up the coast to South Carolina.

Bob Henson • 5:49 AM GMT on October 07, 2016

With or Without a Landfall, Category 4 Matthew Will Pose an Extreme Threat

Hurricane Matthew has been hanging on to its formidable strength while charging through the northwest Bahamas. Matthew was going through a very complicated evolution on Thursday night, but it still appeared on track to arrive on or near the Florida coast by early Friday, potentially bringing extreme impacts to coastal areas from central Florida to South Carolina.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 12:22 AM GMT on October 07, 2016

Once Again a Cat 4 Storm, Potentially Disastrous Matthew Rolls Toward Florida Coast

Hurricane Matthew is once again an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm. Matthew’s top sustained winds were upgraded to 140 mph on Thursday morning, and the storm is projected to roll northward along the central and northern Florida coast on Thursday night and Friday. Impacts could be disastrous, including hurricane-force winds, severe storm surge, and very heavy rain.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 6:27 PM GMT on October 06, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Steadily Intensifying, Likely to be a Category 4 Storm for Florida

Powerful Category 3 Hurricane Matthew has steadily intensified over the warm waters of The Bahamas, and is poised to become a Category 4 hurricane this afternoon. Matthew’s pressure 24 mb between 11 pm and 8 am, and this will likely lead to an increase in Matthew’s winds to 135 - 140 mph by Thursday afternoon.

Jeff Masters • 1:25 PM GMT on October 06, 2016

Matthew’s Shrieking Winds Hit Bahamas

Hurricane Matthew was churning its way through The Bahamas on Wednesday evening. Matthew remains on track to scrape northward along or near the central and northern Florida coast on Friday as a major hurricane.

Bob Henson • 4:10 AM GMT on October 06, 2016

Matthew Raking Bahamas; Could Be First Major Hurricane for Florida’s Space Coast

Hurricane Warnings are in place along much of Florida’s Atlantic coastline, where Category 3 Matthew is expected to trace a grinding path on or very close to shore on Friday. Matthew is now embarking on a course through the heart of The Bahamas, where it will bring torrential rains and the risk of dangerous storm surge.

Bob Henson • 10:34 PM GMT on October 05, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Reorganizing Over The Bahamas; Major Shift in Long-Range Track

Hurricane Matthew was a weakened a Category 3 hurricane with 120 mph winds on Wednesday morning at 11 am EDT, thanks to the disruptions to the storm caused by landfalls in Haiti and Cuba on Tuesday. However, the storm is quickly re-organizing over the warm waters of The Bahamas, and poses a serious threat to The Bahamas and Southeast U.S. over the next three days.

Jeff Masters • 3:40 PM GMT on October 05, 2016

Matthew Holding Its Own; Threat Shifting to Bahamas, Southeast U.S.

Hurricane Matthew remains a formidable Category 4 storm as it crosses eastern Cuba and heads toward a potentially destructive encounter with The Bahamas on Wednesday. A hurricane watch is in effect for much of Florida's East Coast. There is still much uncertainty about Matthew's path near and beyond the Southeast U.S. coast, but hurricane impacts remain possible over a huge swath of coastline.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 9:20 PM GMT on October 04, 2016

Matthew Hits Haiti, Their Strongest Hurricane in 52 Years

Hurricane Matthew made landfall on the southwestern tip of Haiti near 7 am EDT October 4, 2016 as a Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds. Matthew’s extreme rains, large storm surge, and Category 4 winds are likely to be catastrophic for Haiti.

Jeff Masters • 1:21 PM GMT on October 04, 2016

Matthew Slamming Hispaniola; Southeast U.S. Landfall a Growing Threat

Colossal amounts of rain are soaking Haiti and the Dominican Republic as Category 4 Hurricane Matthew heads for an encounter with the western end of Hispaniola on Tuesday. Hurricane Warnings are also in effect for eastern Cuba and the southeastern and central Bahamas. Computer models on Monday pointed to the growing possibility that Matthew will move onto or along the Southeast U.S. coast from Florida to North Carolina late this week.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 12:23 AM GMT on October 04, 2016

Matthew Dumping Extreme Rains; Threat to Southeast U.S. Growing

Category 4 Hurricane Matthew is dumping colossal amounts of rain as it approaches Jamaica, Haiti, and eastern Cuba. Matthew will be moving into the Bahamas by late Tuesday, and the latest model guidance shows an increasing risk that Matthew could approach the U.S. East Coast later this week.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 6:14 PM GMT on October 03, 2016

Hurricane History of Matthew's Targets: Haiti, Eastern Cuba and Jamaica

Very dangerous Category 4 Hurricane Matthew is strengthening as it churns northwards towards Haiti, Jamaica, and eastern Cuba, and is poised to deliver a historic pounding Monday and Tuesday to these unfortunate nations. Haiti will take the brunt of Matthew’s heavy rains, and will suffer the most from the storm. I detail here the hurricane history of these three nations.

Jeff Masters • 12:29 PM GMT on October 03, 2016

Category 4 Hurricane Matthew Continues Northwest Toward Greater Antilles

Category 4 Hurricane Matthew continues to move slowly into the heart of the Caribbean Sea with top sustained winds at 145 mph. Matthew is expected to move on a potentially destructive path over or near Jamaica, Haiti, and eastern Cuba early this week, with The Bahamas at risk by midweek. Matthew may still move near the U.S. East Coast, although its track beyond midweek remains quite uncertain.

Bob Henson • 12:00 AM GMT on October 03, 2016

Matthew Stalls and Weakens, but Expected to Head North; Threat to U.S. Increases

Hurricane Matthew is weaker as it meanders over the central Caribbean south of Haiti, but the mighty Category 4 hurricane is expected to move northwards later today and deliver a punishing blow to the islands of Hispaniola, Cuba, and Jamaica on Monday and Tuesday.

Jeff Masters • 4:02 PM GMT on October 02, 2016

Hurricane Warnings for Haiti, Jamaica as Category 4 Matthew Restrengthens

Hurricane Matthew, a high-end Category 4 storm, was beginning to turn north on Saturday afternoon on a track that puts Jamaica, Haiti, and eastern Cuba at risk. Matthew is expected to continue north and move through The Bahamas as a major hurricane by the middle of next week. Matthew's subsequent track and potential U.S. impacts remain very uncertain.

Bob Henson • 10:55 PM GMT on October 01, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Now a Category 4 After Topping Out at Category 5 Strength

Hurricane Matthew weakened slightly on Saturday morning to a still-ferocious Category 4 storm after topping out Friday night as the Atlantic’s first Category 5 storm in nine years. Matthew put on a spectacular and wholly unexpected display of rapid intensification on Friday, strengthening from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane in a remarkably short period of time—just 36 hours.

Jeff Masters • 3:47 PM GMT on October 01, 2016

Matthew Becomes the Atlantic's First Category 5 Hurricane in Nine Years

Now packing top sustained winds of 160 mph in the southern Caribbean Sea, Hurricane Matthew is the Atlantic's first Category 5 hurricane since Felix in 2007. Matthew is expected to turn north this weekend, potentially affecting Jamaica, Cuba, and Haiti and entering the Bahamas by early next week. Matthew's long-term future is highly uncertain, but it could affect parts of the East Coast anywhere from Florida to Maine by later next week into the weekend.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 4:01 AM GMT on October 01, 2016