Time moves on and global change is becoming gradually and inexorably more complex and aggressive. It seems that each new hazard event, from wildfires to tropical cyclones, is one for the record books.

Today, Saturday 31 October 2020, we are witnessing two new record-setting tropical cyclone events on opposite sides of the planet. Typhoon GONI, a category 5 (Saffir-Simpson scale) tropical cyclone approaching landfall in the Philippines with maximum sustained 312 kph (~195 mph) winds, gusting to near 380 kph (~236 mph), certainly qualifies as the strongest tropical cyclone on record in the world. It should be noted another disturbed weather system is following on GONI’s footsteps, which is already showing some cyclonic tendencies.

This Satellite image shows typhoon GONI approaching the island of Luzon, in the Philippines, at 0200 local time this Sunday 1 November 2020.

Typhoon GONI projected track takes it just south of Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

The other tropical cyclonic event we are following is in the Caribbean Sea, on the opposite side of the Earth from the Philippines, in the form of a strengthening Tropical Depression TWENTY-NINE already bordering on tropical storm strength. This system is moving generally westward at 21 kph (~13 mph) over rather warm surface waters (near 29 – 30 Celsius) in the central Caribbean and a favorable ocean-atmosphere environment conducive to further strengthening and cyclone development in the next 24 – 48 hours. Although uncertainty remains regarding the track 48 hours and beyond, this storm appears generally headed toward Nicaragua and Honduras.

Satellite image (GOES-East) showing Tropical depression TWENTY-NINE at 2040 EDST (Miami local time) south of Hispaniola mowing west toward Nicaragua/Honduras.

While uncertainty remains regarding its future track, there is consensus in terms of its continued strengthening into a tropical storm and even a hurricane in the next 24-48 hours. When this storms becomes the next named-tropical cyclone of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season it will also become the 28th storm of the season setting a new record, and breaking the previous record set in 2005 when there were 27 named storms during the season.

Projected track for Tropical depression TWENTY-NINE (courtesy of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory – Based on NOAA) as of 31 October 2020. The track points toward Puerto Cabezas in northeastern Nicaragua and eventually southwestern Honduras.

Regardless of TD TWENTY-NINE eventual development and probable place in the record books, what is significant is that there is still one month left in the “official” 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season which ends on 30 November 2020. Not that Mother Nature obeys human-set timelines, but there are plenty of seeds for potential future cyclogenesis along ‘hurricane alley’ and over Equatorial Africa. Possible entries in the record books!

Looking farther into the future, to the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane season, the latest news is of a medium to strong La Nina event already developing off the pacific coast of Peru, which is typically one of the precursors of an active Atlantic hurricane season. So, while 1 June 2021 (the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season) may appear far away, the best conduct is to remain alert. be prepared and above all MITIGATE!

Let us keep in mind Global Warming is very much at work and in progress as a component of Global Climate Change!

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