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2015 October

Category 4 Chapala On Its Way to Yemen; Texas Gasping after More Record Rain

Tropical Cyclone Chapala, the second strongest storm on record for the Arabian Sea, is holding its own at Category 4 strength as it continues plowing westward toward Yemen. Meanwhile, yet another round of epic downpours struck the heart of Texas from Friday into Saturday, dumping more than a foot of rain in some areas and causing widespread flooding.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 5:30 PM GMT on October 31, 2015

2nd Strongest Storm in Arabian Sea History: Extraordinary Chapala Hits 155 mph

Tropical Cyclone Chapala took advantage of the the warmest waters ever recorded in the Arabian Sea at this time of year to put on a remarkable burst of rapid intensification overnight. Chapala topped out as a top-end Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds (1-minute average) at 2 am EDT Friday, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). This made Chapala the second strongest tropical cyclone on record in the Arabian Sea.Chapala is the sixth strongest tropical cyclone ever observed in the North Indian Ocean.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 4:14 PM GMT on October 30, 2015

South Africa Sets Earth's Hottest October Temperature on Record: 119°F

Earth's hottest temperature ever recorded in the month of October occurred on Tuesday in South Africa, when Vredendal hit a remarkable 48.4°C (119.1°F). The new global October heat record was made possible by a "Berg wind"--a hot dry wind blowing down the Great Escarpment from the high central plateau to the coast.

Jeff Masters • 2:33 PM GMT on October 29, 2015

Weather Underground Bought by IBM

IBM announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire The Weather Company’s B2B, mobile and cloud-based web properties, including WSI, weather.com, Weather Underground and The Weather Company brand. The TV segment – The Weather Channel – will not be acquired by IBM, but will license weather forecast data and analytics from IBM under a long-term contract.

Jeff Masters • 3:45 PM GMT on October 28, 2015

Weird Olaf Dies; Huge Tides Swamp SE U.S.; Indonesia Ties All-Time Heat Record

The weird and remarkable Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclone season of 2015 is on the wane, and we don't have any active systems anywhere on the planet to discuss today. On Tuesday morning, Tropical Storm Olaf met oblivion over the cool 25°C waters between Hawaii and California, ending a long run as a most unusual tropical cyclone.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 3:33 PM GMT on October 27, 2015

The Cataclysm That Wasn’t: Hurricane Patricia Largely Spares Mexico, Texas

Expectations of calamity were running high on Friday, October 23, as Hurricane Patricia neared the southwest coast of Mexico. Just a few hours earlier, top sustained winds in Patricia were 200 mph. As Patricia stormed ashore, an automated station in Cuixmala, near the point of landfall, reported sustained winds of 185 mph, gusting to 211 mph. Despite this ferocity, a number of factors lined up to minimize Patricia’s impact in Mexico.

Bob Henson • 1:42 PM GMT on October 26, 2015

Patricia’s Remnants to Fuel Dangerous Rains in Texas

After growing extraordinarily quickly to Category 5 strength, and striking the Mexican coast less than a day later, Tropical Depression Patricia is rapidly dissipating--but its remnants are heading for Texas, where they will exacerbate a highly dangerous rain/flood episode this weekend.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 6:09 PM GMT on October 24, 2015

Category 5 Hurricane Patricia Hitting Mexico's Pacific Coast

Incredibly strong Hurricane Patricia is barreling ashore on the Southwest coast of Mexico near La Manzanilla as a Category 5 storm. At 5 pm EDT Friday, NHC put Patricia's intensity at 190 mph winds. Early on Friday morning, Patricia reached a remarkable intensity of 200 mph sustained winds, which the storm maintained for 12 hours. These are the highest reliably-measured surface winds on record for a tropical cyclone, anywhere on the Earth.

Jeff Masters • 10:13 PM GMT on October 23, 2015

Stunning, Historic, Mind-Boggling, and Catastrophic: Hurricane Patricia Hits 200 mph

Stunning, historic, mind-boggling, and catastrophic: that sums up Hurricane Patricia, which intensified to an incredible-strength Category 5 storm with 200 mph winds overnight. At 2:46 am EDT October 23, 2015 an Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft measured a central pressure of 880 mb in Patricia, making it the most intense hurricane ever observed in the Western Hemisphere.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 5:04 PM GMT on October 23, 2015

Hurricane Patricia Hits Category 5 En Route to Mexican Coast

History is being made tonight in the Northwest Pacific as Hurricane Patricia churns about 200 miles off the coast of Mexico, south-southwest of Manzanillo. With its 11 pm EDT Thursday advisory, the National Hurricane Center upgraded Patricia to Category 5, with top sustained winds of 160 mph and a central pressure of 924 millibars. Hurricane warnings are now in effect for the coast from San Blas to Punta San Telmo, including Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, with a hurricane watch and tropical storm warning eastward to Lazaro Cardenas.

Bob Henson • 4:28 AM GMT on October 23, 2015

Major Threat to Mexico from Category 4 Patricia

Turbo-charged Hurricane Patricia, now at Category 4 strength, on track to deliver a one-two punch: a major landfall along the Mexican coastline, followed by extreme rainfall in parts in Texas. Meanwhile, two other major hurricanes--Olaf and Champi--are prowling the North Pacific.

Bob Henson • 8:07 PM GMT on October 22, 2015

September 2015: Earth's Warmest Month in Recorded History, Says NOAA

September 2015 was Earth's hottest September since record keeping began in 1880, and had the largest departure of temperature from average of any month among all 1629 months in the record that began in January 1880, said NOAA. NASA rated September 2015 as the 2nd warmest September on record, falling below September 2014's mark. September 2015's warmth makes the year-to-date period (January - September) the warmest such period on record, according to both NOAA and NASA.

Jeff Masters • 3:40 PM GMT on October 21, 2015

Patricia Threatens Mexico; Big Surf in Hawaii From Olaf; Koppu Finally Dies

Tropical Storm Patricia formed on Tuesday evening in Mexico's Pacific waters about about 400 miles east-southeast of Acapulco. Satellite loops on Wednesday morning showed that Patricia was a poorly organized minimal tropical storm with 40 mph winds. Patricia will move to the west, roughly parallel to the coast, today through Thursday, then turn abruptly to the north on Friday, making landfall in Southwest Mexico, possibly as a hurricane.

Jeff Masters • 2:02 PM GMT on October 21, 2015

Koppu Pulling Away from Philippines; TD 20-E May Threaten Mexico

Tropical Storm Koppu is now arcing slowly around the northern tip of Luzon island after dumping more than 40 inches of rain over parts of the Northern Philippines. At least 28 deaths and widespread damage have been reported. In the Pacific, Category 4 Hurricane Olaf is expected to pass well east of Hawaii, while Tropical Depression 20-E may threaten Mexico late this week.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 6:03 PM GMT on October 20, 2015

Koppu Kills 12, Dumps 30+ Inches of Rain on Philippines; Olaf Hits Category 3

Tropical Storm Koppu has weakened below typhoon strength, but is still bringing dangerous torrential rains to much of the Philippines' Luzon Island as the storm drifts north-northeastwards at 4 mph along the west coast of the island. Koppu has already brought more than 22" of rain to Baguio, on Luzon's west side.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 4:43 PM GMT on October 19, 2015

Worst Flooding Still to Come in Philippines from Koppu; Champi Now a Super Typhoon

Although it has weakened to Category 1 strength since making landfall, Super Typhoon Koppu continues to hold high potential for catastrophic multi-day rainfall in the large Philippines island of Luzon, with widespread amounts of 1 to 2 feet possible over northern Luzon and higher local amounts expected to cause mudslides and floods. Another super typhoon, Champi, could affect Japan's Volcano Islands by Wednesday, and a new disturbance may become a tropical storm off Mexico's southern coast later this week.

Bob Henson • 7:07 PM GMT on October 18, 2015

Super Typhoon Koppu Could Hit Philippines as a Cat 5

Intensifying Super Typhoon Koppu is pounding the Philippines' eastern Luzon Island with torrential rains as the storm crawls west-northwest at 6 mph. Koppu could achieve Category 5 status before making landfall between 2 - 6 pm EDT Saturday. According to wunderblogger Dr. Phil Klotzbach, Koppu is the nineteenth Category 4 or 5 tropical cyclone this year in the Northern Hemisphere, setting a new record for these most powerful of storms.

Jeff Masters • 4:13 PM GMT on October 17, 2015

Disastrous Rains Possible in Philippines from Typhoon Koppu; Mudslides Wallop SoCal

Heavy rains have begun on the Philippines' main island of Luzon as intensifying Typhoon Koppu heads west-northwest at 11 mph towards the Philippines. With up to two feet of rain possible, widespread damaging flooding is possible, which could lead to a top-five most expensive disaster in Philippine history. In the southwest Gulf of Mexico, a tropical or subtropical system may slowly develop late next week. Meanwhile, parts of Southern California just north and east of Los Angeles are dealing with major flash floods and mudslides that have entrapped hundreds of vehicles.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 5:43 PM GMT on October 16, 2015

NOAA Winter Outlook: El Niño a Dominant Player, but Wild Cards Still Possible

There’s no missing the influence of El Niño on NOAA’s winter outlook for 2015-16, released on Thursday. The odds are heavily weighted toward the types of winter weather prevalent during the very strongest El Niño events: a wet and cool South, and a mild and dry North.

Bob Henson • 7:54 PM GMT on October 15, 2015

Blob Watch: The Latest on the Northeast Pacific’s Unusual Warmth

A huge swath of ocean, extending from Hawaii to Baja California and north to the Alaskan coast, has been dominated for much of 2015 by unusually warm sea-surface temperatures (SSTs). In part of the North Pacific, the warm temperatures extend back more than two years. The region that’s come to be known as “The Blob” is associated with a tenacious atmospheric ridge. This autumn, the Blob and the Ridge are intersecting with El Niño, posing new questions on how West Coast weather and marine life will be affected this winter.

Bob Henson • 6:17 PM GMT on October 14, 2015

Costliest (and Deadliest?) Disaster of 2015: Indonesia's $14 Billion Fires

Earth's most expensive weather-related disaster of 2015--and the most expensive disaster in Indonesia's history--is underway in that nation, where massive clouds of smoke from agricultural fires have choked the lungs of tens of millions of people for months. Indonesia's Center for International Forestry Research estimated the smoke will cost $14 billion in agriculture production, forest degradation, health, transportation and tourism.

Jeff Masters • 4:05 PM GMT on October 13, 2015

A Sizzling October Sunday for Northern Plains

Sweaters and jackets lay dormant, replaced by T-shirts and shorts, for many residents of the United States over the weekend. Temperatures soared into the 80s and 90s across many parts of the country west of the Mississippi River, setting many records for heat so late in the autumn. In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Nora well east of Hawaii was Earth's only active tropical cyclone on Monday.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 5:22 PM GMT on October 12, 2015

Deadly Worldwide Coral Bleaching Episode Underway--Earth's 3rd on Record

Earth is entering its third worldwide coral bleaching event of the last 20 years--a disturbing example of how a warming planet can harm vital ecosystems--NOAA announced on Thursday. NOAA also released an eight-month outlook that projects even more bleaching to come in 2016.

Bob Henson • 12:47 PM GMT on October 09, 2015

Ex-Hurricane Oho Going Where Few Hurricanes Have Gone Before: Alaska

Alaska and British Columbia are on alert to receive a very unusual dose of tropical weather: the remains of Hurricane Oho, which are on track to hurtle into the Alaska Panhandle on Friday evening. Oho completed the transition from a hurricane to an extratropical storm with 70 mph winds on Thursday morning, and after short period of weakening, is expected to interact with a powerful jet stream over the Gulf of Alaska and intensify on Friday afternoon off the coast of Alaska into a powerful 960 mb low pressure system with near-hurricane-force winds and heavy rain.

Jeff Masters • 3:45 PM GMT on October 08, 2015

Last Known Position of the Missing Ship El Faro: the Eyewall of Category 3 Joaquin

The last position of the missing container ship El Faro, at 7:56 am EDT on October 1, was 23.52°N, 74.02°W--right in the northwest eyewall of intensifying Category 3 Hurricane Joaquin.

Jeff Masters • 4:12 PM GMT on October 07, 2015

Why Did the ECMWF Forecast Joaquin So Well?

The post-mortems have begun on how well Hurricane Joaquin was predicted, and one of the key themes is why the flagship global model of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) beat NOAA’s Global Forecast System (GFS) to the punch in forecasting that Joaquin would remain well offshore.

Bob Henson • 8:35 PM GMT on October 06, 2015

Carolina Floods Breach 18 Dams and Kill 16 People; Tropics Quiet Down

South Carolina and North Carolina's epic deluge has finally ended after five days of ceaseless rains. No rain is expected to fall in either state through Thursday, giving time for the swollen rivers to recede and flooded communities to recover. The storm has killed at least 16 people in the Carolinas.

Jeff Masters • 3:16 PM GMT on October 06, 2015

More than Two Feet of Rain in South Carolina; Joaquin Heads to Sea

Rainfall amounts as high as 26.88" have been recorded during the multi-day deluge across South Carolina, which is now winding down. Hurricane Joaquin is finally heading to sea after blustering past Bermuda on Sunday, while Tropical Storm Oho is slowly gaining strength south of Hawaii.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 5:45 PM GMT on October 05, 2015

Devastating Rains in South Carolina; Joaquin Lashing Bermuda

A catastrophic multiday rainfall event continued to trigger flash flood warnings over large parts of South and North Carolina on Sunday. Meanwhile, Hurricane Joaquin is nearing Bermuda with strong winds and heavy rain, while Tropical Storm Oho organizes well south of Hawaii.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 8:01 PM GMT on October 04, 2015

Landslide in Guatemala Kills 86, Leaves 500+ Missing

One of the deadliest weather disasters of 2015 occurred in a suburb of Guatemala City, Guatemala on Thursday night, October 1, when a massive landslide of waterlogged earth and debris tore through the village of El Cambray II, in the municipality of Santa Catarina Pinula, destroying or damaging 125 homes. At least 86 were killed, and over 500 people were feared missing as of Sunday morning.

Jeff Masters • 1:25 PM GMT on October 04, 2015

Joaquin Close to Category 5 Strength; Rains Inundate Carolinas

Hurricane Joaquin intensified sharply on Saturday morning to a top-end Category 4 storm, vaulting to top sustained winds of 155 mph. Joaquin continues moving out to sea, although it will pass close to Bermuda on Monday. Moisture streaming into the Carolinas, partially from Joaquin, is causing a major flooding risk this weekend. Meanwhile, newborn Tropical Storm Oho may approach Hawaii as a strengthening hurricane early next week.

Bob Henson • 6:01 PM GMT on October 03, 2015

Joaquin Still Gripping Bahamas; #NotJoaquin Dousing Carolinas, Virginia

As Hurricane Joaquin continues to bring Category 3 conditions to parts of the Central Bahamas, models now agree it will remain offshore. Moisture circulating around Joaquin will help fuel a dangerous, potentially record-setting multiday period of heavy rain across South and North Carolina.

Bob Henson and Jeff Masters • 11:16 PM GMT on October 02, 2015

Thousand-Year Rains Possible in Carolinas; Joaquin Headed North

Hurricane Joaquin continued to lash the Bahamas on Friday morning as it turned north on a course expected to keep it well away from the U.S. East Coast. However, several days of coastal flooding and beach erosion will occur from New Jersey to North Carolina, and extremely heavy rain could produce dangerous impacts in South Carolina.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 4:39 PM GMT on October 02, 2015

Category 4 Joaquin Pounds the Bahamas; a U.S. Landfall Unlikely

Dangerous Hurricane Joaquin has intensified to a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds and a 936 mb pressure, making it the strongest Atlantic hurricane in five years. Confidence is growing that Joaquin will move out to sea this weekend, although a U.S. landfall still cannot be ruled out.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 9:22 PM GMT on October 01, 2015

Joaquin Hammers Bahamas; Future Track Still Uncertain

Category 3 Hurricane Joaquin is blasting the Central Bahama Islands with sustained winds of up to 125 mph. Joaquin's future track remains uncertain, but regardless of its motion, a potentially destructive round of heavy rain, strong onshore wind, beach erosion, and coastal flooding is in store for the eastern U.S.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 4:06 PM GMT on October 01, 2015

Joaquin Hammers Bahamas; Future Track Still Uncertain

Category 3 Hurricane Joaquin is blasting the Central Bahama Islands with sustained winds of up to 125 mph. Joaquin's future track remains uncertain, but regardless of its motion, a potentially destructive round of heavy rain, strong onshore wind, beach erosion, and coastal flooding is in store for the eastern U.S.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson • 4:05 PM GMT on October 01, 2015

Category 3 Joaquin Bears Down on Bahamas

Hurricane Joaquin is rapidly intensifying as it approaches the Bahamas, with top sustained winds now 115 mph. Joaquin may approach the U.S. coastline this weekend, although there remains a considerable amount of uncertainty on its track.

Bob Henson • 4:47 AM GMT on October 01, 2015