I'm a CMU Honors student and love meteorology and extreme weather. I've been fascinated by weather since I was 5, and plan on becoming a meteorologist
By: wxchaser97, 3:53 AM GMT on November 30, 2012
My first TCR(Tropical Cyclone Report) of the 2012 Hurricane season and just my first TCR ever wrote. They aren't official NHC TCR's but I try to make them the most accurate as possible. The next TCR will be on Beryl and hopefully released by the end of Sunday night. I will continue to try my best to provide accurate reports on the Atlantic tropical cyclones and I will write a TCR for every Atlantic storm this season.
Tropical Cyclone Report
Tropical Storm Alberto
May 19th-May 22nd
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Alberto was an early forming tropical storm that skirted the southeastern United States coastline.
a. Synoptic history
Alberto formed from a non-tropical low that was associated with a mid to upper level trough. A low was first noticed in the second week of May. A cold front and low pressure system moved into the gulf around the 12th of May. This low slowly started to break away from this front as it moved northeast. Associated precipitation and cloudiness came with it, but everything was disorganized. Part of the disturbance stalled off the Southeast coast of the United States while the other part continued northeast. By the 18th a new low, a surface low this time, was developing and building convection based off of satellite and Doppler radar. This low started to get tracked by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) on May 19th when it was 120 miles to the southeast of the South Carolina coast. This low would acquire tropical characteristics throughout the day as a closed surface circulation became present and convection became deep and sustained. An Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT) pass showed 40kt winds and a closed circulation, see figure 2. This low was tagged as an invest due to its potential for development. The structure of this system had become better defined at this point and a tropical cyclone was likely to form. The environment around invest 91L was marginally favorable for tropical cyclone development. While shear was low and instability was above normal, ocean temperatures (SST’s) weren’t what they would be in August/September. The water was warm though, enough for tropical cyclone genesis. On May 19th at 2100 UTC, the area of low pressure became Tropical Storm Alberto.
Alberto would then slowly drift to the southwest over the next day. The tropical storm was located in an area with little steering influence. As a trough began to move near Alberto he turned to the east and then northeast. Alberto hit peak intensity very early in his life, courtesy of a ship report nearby, see figure 1. At 2250 UTC on May 19th, Alberto reached a peak intensity of 50kts from the special advisory put out by the NHC. This is also when Alberto looked his best, which wasn’t that good, structure wise as he would be soon overcome by multiple environmental factors. After the 19th, dry air and southwesterly wind shear worked hand in hand to weaken Alberto. While he was right near the Gulf Stream, the shear was too strong and the dry air was too abundant for the Gulf Stream to have a big effect on Alberto. Over the next couple days Alberto continued to weaken mainly due to dry air and wind shear. Convection decreased and the circulation became less defined as he turned to the northeast. The circulation became exposed despite attempts from Alberto trying to re-fire convection. On May 21st at 2100 UTC, Alberto was downgraded to a tropical depression and he barely was even able to be classified as one. There was very little convection and the circulation was becoming elongated as the trough was picking him up. On May 22nd at 1500 UTC, Alberto lost all tropical characteristics, became a remnant low, and was expected to fully dissipate in a couple of days. As the remnants of Alberto continued to move northeast, they got absorbed into a trough.
b. Meteorological Statistics
Observations to determine Alberto’s strength include Advanced Dvorak Technique satellite estimates, University of Wisconsin's-Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies analysis maps, NWS radars, NOAA Hurricane Hunters, Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT) passes, microwave data, and ship/ buoy reports were all used in the forecasting and tracking of Alberto.
The 50kt peak for Alberto was recorded from a ship that clocked 50kt winds and had a pressure of 995mb. Other ships and buoys would report tropical storm force winds along with ASCAT data showing sustained tropical storm force winds. Before Alberto became a tropical storm, his precursor produced rain and gusty winds over North and South Carolina. While there were no 35kt+ winds recorded, gusty winds caused some nescience for the area along with some rain. Winds would increase once he got offshore and Alberto skipped the depression stage. It is also interesting to note that Alberto merged into the same trough that would go on to form Beryl a few days later. Alberto was the earliest forming tropical storm since Ana of 2003 and was the first named storm to form in May since Arthur of 2008.
c. Casualty and Damage Statistics
No deaths or damage occurred with Alberto since he stayed off the United States coastline.
d. Forecast Verification
The formation of Tropical Storm Alberto was generally not expected to happen. There wasn’t a mention in the Tropical Outlook until the day of formation. This was due to a fast transition from non-tropical to fully tropical, a matter of hours. The National Hurricane Center never really had the opportunity to give much mention well in advanced. There also wasn’t a great consensus on whether a storm would form and, if one did, where it would form. Model runs had a storm/low forming in all parts of the Atlantic and at different intensities. This made it difficult for the NHC to pinpoint where tropical cyclone genesis would occur. They did have some of a handle about 24-12hrs before formation occurred.
Intensity forecasts were pretty good for Alberto from the get go. Besides the early spike in intensity, the NHC was pretty well spot on.
The track forecasts were less accurate during the earlier part of Alberto’s life. The NHC had forecast Alberto to move inland or very close to it. Alberto stayed farter offshore than originally thought but forecasts improved as he got closer to his death. Tropical Storm Watches were issued for the South Carolina coast but they were dropped not too long after as it became likely Alberto would remain out to sea. Since he stayed farther offshore, not much more than higher waves were felt along the coast.
Figure 1. Alberto at peak intensity of 50kts.
Figure 2. ASCAT image of Alberto on May 19th showing a well defined circulation and tropical storm force winds.
Figure 3. My past track image of Alberto.
Updated: 4:14 AM GMT on December 06, 2012
By: wxchaser97, 3:34 PM GMT on November 21, 2012
2012-2013 Winter Forecast
Review of 2011-2012 winter:
The 2011-2012 winter started off at a fast pace. A big snowstorm slammed the Northeast around the Halloween time period. This area was already hit hard from Hurricane Irene and Tropical storm Lee from earlier in the year. The trees, utility poles, and homes that weren't damaged by the tropical cyclones got hit from the snow. Heavy wet snow fell on parts of the NE which caused lots of damage and even a few deaths. This system was nicknamed "snowtober" due to its proximity with Halloween. This snowstorm was the biggest and most memorable storm of the winter season. Besides some other smaller early season storms that occurred in the north not much major would happen. A positve NAO would take over as the winter progressed on. Even though we were in a La Nina pattern it felt more like El Nino. The Greenland Blocking High/ridge wasn't in place for a long time during last winter as well. This lead to drier and warmer conditions in the northern half of the country. Record minimum snowfall fell in some areas that had record maximum snow the year before. This would set the stage for a drought of record proportions across parts of the country.
Factors for 2012-2013:
This winter will feature some changes from the last. The ENSO should be in a more neutral state. This has been backed up by the discontinuation of El Nino watch and the SST's not warming too high. The trade winds are in an average flow and speed and there isn't any strong Kelvin cycles in the area that could trigger an El Nino episode. The NAO, AO, and Greenland ridge are harder to predict past a couple weeks. If the ridge can set up and NAO goes more negative and AO more positive there would be more snow and cold. Less blocking and a more positive NAO would result in less snow and warmer temps. Also the snow pack in the far north can impact winter. Depending on if there is normal or above/below average snow pack can show how much cold air is in the arctic. More snow would show more cold air and there would be more to flow down to the CONUS. Right now far northern snow pack is near average. The Great Lakes will affect winter in that area. Warmer and less frozen waters would allow more lake-effect snow if the cold air is there. If the lakes freeze earlier then less lake-effect can happen. This is another factor that is too far out in the future to predict well.
Winter Forecast and graphic:
The 2012-2013 winter should be snowier and colder than last winter. I am thinking there will be a good amount of cold shots in the Great Lakes and Mid West this year. The cold air will be accompanied by an active clipper system pattern. I think near to slightly above normal snowfall can be expected and normal to below normal temperatures can be expected here. The Northeast should continue to see the occasional coastal storm. These would bring some rain, wind, and snow depending on where you are and how close the low is to the coast. They won't be as cold near the coast but I expect near normal to maybe slightly above normal if a bigger Nor'easter rolls in. The Mid Atlantic and Ohio Valley will be the battle zone of cold air and mild air. If the NAO stays mostly negative then there should be more snow and cold air. If the NAO is more positive then expect more mild spells and less snow. I think there could be average, maybe below, temps and near, maybe slightly above, average snowfall. The south should have rain and cooler temps. The Tenn, NC, and surrounding areas should see mixed precip at times. Could be some ice storms if there is the right ingredients. Severe weather will become a threat in the latter part of winter. The southern plains and mountain west should have above average temperatures. Precipitation chances are around average for the winter months. The California coast should have below normal precip and average temps. The NW should have normal temps and above normal precip. All in all, a near normal winter should be expected.
Have a great couple days and I will be back with either a breaking weather update or my first tropical cyclone summary.
Updated: 6:22 PM GMT on November 21, 2012
By: wxchaser97, 4:17 AM GMT on November 21, 2012
Monday: Dense fog in the morning will slowly burn off throughout the day. Chance of rain 10% and chance of snow 0%. The high will be near 58F. Winds should be calm.
Monday night: Skies should be partly cloudy with fog developing late. Winds will be steady at 5-10mph. The temperature will be around 37F. Chance of rain 20% and chance of snow 5%.
Tuesday: Dense fog in the morning. High should be around 58F with winds near 5-15mph. Chance of rain 20% and chance of snow 0%.
Tuesday night: Skies mostly clear with fog developing late. The low should be around 40F and winds are 5-10mph. Chance of rain 0% and chance of snow 10%.
Wednesday: Patchy fog in the morning with mostly sunny skies in the afternoon. High will be around 58F with 5mph winds. Chance of rain 5% and chance of snow 0%.
Wednesday night: A mostly clear night and mild. A low of 43F can be expected. Winds near 5-10mph . Chance of rain 5% and chance of snow 0%.
Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving and great weather for your parties. Mostly sunny conditions will continue throughout the day. A high near 60F is likely. Winds 5-15mph are possible with higher gusts. Chance of rain 10% and chance of snow 0%.
Thursday night: Showers develop later in the night. A low near 43F. Chance of rain 50% and chance of snow 0%.
Friday: Rain showers in the morning switching to snow showers in the afternoon. A high near 46F but dropping throughout the day. Chance of Rain 40% and chance of snow 40%
Friday night: Skies clearing overnight. Low should be 30F. Chance of rain 10% and chance of snow 10%
Saturday: Flurries possible. High of 34F. Chance of rain 5% and chance of snow 30%.
Saturday night: Flurries ending early, mostly cloudy skies. Low near 27F. Chance of rain 0% and chance of snow 20%.
Sunday: Another average sunny day. High near 39F. Chance of rain 5% and chance of snow 5%.
Have a great Thanksgiving and rest of the week everyone. I will have my winter forecast out in a couple days. My tropical cyclone summaries for the Atlantic are being worked on right now and will be posted whenever finished.
Updated: 4:21 AM GMT on November 21, 2012
By: wxchaser97, 1:31 PM GMT on November 13, 2012
Monday: Rain in the morning will change to some light snow showers in the afternoon. Chance of rain 70% and chance of snow 20%. The high will be near 55F. Winds should be 5-10mph with gusts up to 25mph.
Monday night: Off and on snow flurries are possible with up to a dusting in some locations. Winds will be steady at 5-15mph. The temperature will be around 33F. Chance of rain 10% and chance of snow 30%.
Tuesday: Snow flurries are likely. High should be around 38F with winds near 5-10mph. Chance of rain 0% and chance of snow 30%.
Tuesday night: Flurries winding down with skies clearing overnight. The low should be around 27F and winds are calm. Chance of rain 0% and chance of snow 10%.
Wednesday: Partly cloudy skies with temperatures rising. High will be around 42F with 5-10mph winds. Chance of rain 5% and chance of snow 5%.
Wednesday night: A mostly clear night and cool. A low of 30F can be expected. Winds near 5-15mph with higher gusts possible. Chance of rain 5% and chance of snow 5%.
Thursday: Mostly sunny conditions will continue throughout the day. A high near 46F is likely. Winds 5-10mph are possible with higher gusts. Chance of rain 5% and chance of snow 0%.
Thursday night: Mostly clear skies. A low near 33F. Chance of rain 0% and chance of snow 0%.
Friday: Mostly sunny skies again and calm. A high near 46F. Chance of Rain 0% and chance of snow 0%
Friday night: Skies clear overnight. Low should be 32F. Chance of rain 0% and chance of snow 0%
Saturday: Sunny skies and great football weather. High of 48F. Chance of rain 0% and chance of snow 0%.
Saturday night: Skies clear. Low near 34F. Chance of rain 0% and chance of snow 0%.
Sunday: Another average sunny day. High near 46F. Chance of rain 5% and chance of snow 5%.
By: wxchaser97, 6:30 PM GMT on November 10, 2012
The Atlantic hurricane season does not want to end early. A surface low and disturbance is ongoing 950 miles to the west of the Cape Verde Islands. There is a small chance this low becomes TS/STS Valerie. The AOI is in the left-top left portion of the satellite image. If a storm formed it would stay out to sea and relatively weak.
The latest surface maps show a surface low associated with a tropical wave near 16N 40W. This is backed up by satellite images showing this low. This low, however, is not well-defined and it is void of thunderstorms. The most recent ASCAT pass shows the strongest winds are removed from the center and, once again, not a well-defined center. Tropical storm force winds are being shown on that ASCAT pass and, if it even gets named, would become a TS right way. The chances of this AOI being named are pretty low. Wind shear over this system is really high right now, 40-60kts per CIMSS wind shear map. That is not allowing the circulation to become better defined and convection to develop over the center. The shear is expected to decrease in intensity over the next day or two. It could drop into some marginally favorable levels allowing for an attempt to develop. The GFS has shown this trying to form over the past few days but it never makes it past a weak TS. Other factors would allow for a storm to form, for example SST and moister available. So if shear can decrease some development is possible before shear ramps up again. There has been a little model support for this system besides a little from the GFS. No model makes it more than a TD to weak TS and the Euro doesn't even develop it. I give this AOI a 10% chance of developing in the next 48hrs. The NHC center gives it a 0% chance in 48hrs. I am just a little higher because there is a chance the environment becomes marginally conducive. This system would stay weak and not affect any landmasses. The cold front off to the west should turn this system to the north and increase shear over it ending any development that occurred.
There is a more likely candidate to become Valerie in the Atlantic at this moment. An area of showers and thunderstorms, NE of the Caribbean islands, is associated with the front mentioned earlier. While conditions aren't favorable right now they're expected to improve over the next couple days. The GFS and ECMWF show this system is expected to break off of the front and then slowly move WNW. It should then turn to the north and begin to develop S of Bermuda. At 96hrs they show a tropical storm moving away from Bermuda. There is a chance this system could be subtropical but right now it looks to be fully tropical. It intensifies into a moderate TS on its way north-northeast. After 120hrs it is transitioning into an extra-tropical storm and completes the transition in about a day. This system will have better conditions than the current AOI. This disturbance also has way more model support than the current AOI. This storm has been shown for several days now by models. It would be close enough to Bermuda and Canada where they could get some impacts. I think there is a good chance of this system becoming Valerie over the next week.
Winter Storm Brutus
Winter Storm Brutus, named by TWC, continues to affect the NW. TWC has created a naming system to name intense winter storms that affect a lot of people. This winter storm is producing a lot of snow and it is affecting enough people to be named by TWC. "Brutus" is a large extra-tropical storm producing high amounts of snow and blizzard conditions. Snow amounts of 18 inches or more are expected in some areas and winds could gust over 45mph. Winter storm warnings are in effect in Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, and other mountainous areas. Some areas could get some near record snowfall. Travel is disrupted and people need to take caution if they are being affected by Brutus. He should move into Canada over the next couple days but snow should continue to fall over the northern US over the next couple days. Some of his energy/low is expected to move across the middle of the country. Some rain/thunderstorms, a few severe, and even some snow is expected from this. The great Lakes could receive snow on the back side of the system and from lake effect snow. There could be some accumulation in a few areas. The Mid West and Ohio Valley could get some severe thunderstorms with hail and winds being the threat. This should be monitored over the next couple days.
Have a great day everyone and I will have a new update in one to two days.
Updated: 6:46 PM GMT on November 10, 2012
By: wxchaser97, 7:01 AM GMT on November 04, 2012
Rosa has been slowly weakening over the past couple days. Upper level winds have been unfavorable for strengthening over Rosa. She is on her last leg and won't be alive long. Currently Rosa has 35mph winds, a 1007mb pressure, and she is moving west at 6mph.
There is not much to say about Rosa. She is just slowly fading away into the night. She has had no big impact on people or land, unlike Rosa Parks. Rosa once had decent convection over her vigorous center. That has changed due to an unfavorable environment. Upper level winds have only been becoming more unfavorable. CIMSS wind shear map shows high wind shear flowing over Rosa. This is pushing and weakening any convection that forms over Rosa. Rosa is maintaining a closed vigorous circulation. That won't last long as shear is taking Rosa apart. Rosa does not have much time left as a tropical cyclone. The NHC will likely declare it post tropical in the next advisory. Rosa should continue to slowly travel to the west before turning NW. She will only continue to weaken as she goes farther north. Rosa is not a threat to land and this is entry about her.
A new invest has formed in the Eastern Pacific today. The invest is an area of thunderstorms associated with a low pressure system. The invest is about 380 miles to the west-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico. The latest ATCF update had 90E with 30kt winds and a 1006mb pressure. Southern to southwesterly wind shear is impacting the invest. This is causing the showers and thunderstorms to not cover the center. With the center revealed, we do see it is closed and vigorous. If there wasn't shear then thunderstorms would be over the center and this would be a TS. The wind shear impacting 90E is expected to remain high over the next several days. There does not look to be much of a window for tropical development. 90E should continue to drift to the N before turning more to the west over the next few days. This invest is not a threat to make landfall and should be gone after it moves into higher shear. I give 90E a 30% chance to develop in the next 48hrs. I do so since it does have a good closed low, but this is probably generous. The NHC gives 90E a 20% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone in the next 48hrs. No matter what, 90E will continue to drop some rain and wind over parts of Mexico.
The northeast will be under the gun again as a nor'easter looks to be taking shape. It is expected to form near South Carolina and move to the NE. It should then deepen as it parallels the coast. Winds should get up to 50mph, a few inches of rain, some surge/coastal flooding, and inland snow. The low should make landfall along Long Island before moving NE back over the Atlantic. It should then hit Canada and give them some snow, rain, and wind. Models have a good agreement on this happening, track, and pressure. Timing differences and snow/rain totals are not totally worked out yet by the models. Usually a storm like this would not cause much trouble. There isn't enough cold air to cause 40" of snow and there won't be 60mph winds and flooding rains. However, due to Hurricane Sandy, a lot of damage has already been done in areas predicted to get impacted by the nor'easter. The news outlets have picked up on this and most people are aware of what could happen. This nor'easter should only hinder the recovery effort and cause beach problems. I don't expect too much damage to be done as this is nowhere near as strong as Sandy was. We need to watch the situation closely though as it will still have impacts. I have the nor'easter riding up the coast bringing in moderate impacts to most areas. I do not think this nor'easter will try to become subtropical or tropical in nature. On my threat level graphic you notice I have high and very high threat levels indicated. This is only due to areas getting impacted again, not a historic or very strong storm. People need to be aware of the nor'easter and be ready for some impacts.
Have a good day everyone and I will have a new update today or tomorrow. Don't forget to set your clocks back an hour if you haven't already.
By: wxchaser97, 12:30 PM GMT on November 01, 2012
The Eastern Pacific is active once again with the formation of tropical storm Rosa. Rosa formed a few days ago and she has reached a peak intensity of 60mph. Conditions are becoming less favorable for strengthening now. Currently Rosa has 60mph winds, a 1000mb pressure, and she is moving W at 2mph.
Rosa was once more organized than she is now. She used to have a well established CDO over her center. She also had a vigorous circulation which lead to an intensifying tropical storm. This isn't the case anymore has the center is on the far western side of the convection and the circulation isn't as strong as earlier. Wind shear of up to 20kts is impacting Rosa and it is confirmed by UW-CIMSS analysis. There is some areas that lighter shear is impacting the storm, thus allowing some convection to stay over Rosa. Also the waters are pretty warm so we won't see Rosa disappear too quickly. While this is happening right now, a trough is coming closer and closer to Rosa. This trough will continues to increase wind shear as Rosa slowly moves around in the Pacific. Wind shear should weaken Rosa into a depression in a few days and post-tropical in 4. Rosa is one of only a couple EPAC storms not to reach hurricane status. The track for Rosa is not very easy to forecast due to the pattern and not a lot of model consensus. This is a timing situation with where and what type of trough forms. Where it is a negative tilt or positive tilt will determine whether Rosa goes west or east. Models are split on when/where this would happen. Right now I am going to the west and mostly along the lines of the NHC. No matter what Rosa is not a threat to land and will be gone in several days.
Have a great day everyone and I will have an update on Rosa in a day or two.