Category Archives: Weather

August 2018: the Pacific Ocean is Agitated!

The Pacific Ocean is by far the most active in terms of cyclogenesis,  of all oceans on Earth. Because of its vast size and depth, its immense capacity for storing solar heat and influencing our climate, the Pacific brings together all the factors that trigger cyclonic activity in the tropical regions.

This Tuesday, 14 August 2018, we are reminded of the northern tropical Pacific capability for generating tropical cyclones when studying satellite imagery showing an ocean in an agitated state.

Three tropical storms, Hector, Leepi, and Bebinca are active this 14 August over the northwest Pacific,

There are currently three active tropical storms, Hector, Leepi, and Bebinca, in the Northwest Pacific, as well as numerous and strong tropical waves and storms cells ranging from the central Pacific dateline throughout the Philippines Sea, all the way to the South China Sea. We are talking of a very large territory under the influence of tropical cyclones and other systems showing cyclonic potential.

Two tropical waves showing cyclonic potential off the coast of Mexico and Central America this 14 August 2018

At the opposite end of this vast ocean, some 13,000 kilometers from those far reaches, over the East Pacific off the coast of Mexico and Central America two strong tropical waves are being monitored for potential cyclonic development, while other cells of disturbed weather are on the move closer to land. So, there certainly is plenty of ‘fuel’ for additional cyclogenesis in days to come beyond those named-cyclones currently active in the Pacific.

Satellite image (NOAA) of 14 August showing a potentially cyclonic cell near the Azores, and an otherwise calm Atlantic basin

In contrast with this agitated Pacific, the Atlantic Ocean remains rather quiet this 2018 season. Satellite imagery (NOAA) today only show one potentially cyclonic system over the central north Atlantic to the west of the Azores Islands, and some rather light rain cells along Hurricane Alley and not much else. So we continue to wait and see as the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season in entering the beginning of its historically peak phase that runs through October.

Regardless of whether you border on an agitated or a calm ocean, it is critically important to remain aware of the tremendous potential for damage in tropical cyclones, and that it only takes one hit  to cause devastation and human suffering. Consequently, we must remain alert, be prepared, and above all MITIGATE!

26 July 2018: What’s happening in the Atlantic hurricane-wise?

The initial round of predictions for the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season called for “above average” activity in the basin.  That forecast was downgraded  during subsequent rounds of ‘revised’ predictions,  mainly because of an incipient ENSO signal off the pacific coast of Peru, which may generate a somewhat adverse environment for cyclogenesis over the Atlantic. Of course Mother Nature will do as she pleases, so we’ll have to wait and see what actually happens during the remaining 127 days of the ‘official’ Atlantic season.

A mostly calm Atlantic basin, free of tropical cyclone activity, is seen in this satellite image of 26 July 2018 (NOAA)

Although the season got an early start with Alberto in May, and two other named-storms, Beryl and Chris have activated and lived in the Atlantic since, but things have been somewhat quiet lately. On this Thursday 26 July 2018 satellite imagery shows a largely calm ocean-atmospheric environment over most of the Atlantic basin, except for a train of minor tropical waves and disturbed weather cells riding along Hurricane Alley between the Atlantic coast of Africa and the Windward Islands, the gate to the Caribbean.

Looking farther east through Equatorial Africa there are a few tropical waves moving westward along the assembly lane, but nothing that causes concerns for possible tropical cyclone activity over the next few day, at least. So all we can do is watch and wait as we start to approach what historically has been the most active part of the Atlantic season from around mid-August through early October.

Satellite image (NOAA) showing tropical waves moving westward along Hurricane Alley and Equatorial Africa this 26 July 2018

Elsewhere tropical cyclone activity has been quite active at both extremes of the northern hemisphere Pacific Ocean, with numerous storms and tropical waves hitting over the East Pacific off the coast of Central America and Mexico and near Hawaii, as well as over the Northwest Pacific and sub-basins of the Philippines Sea, and South China Sea. The Philippines, Taiwan, Viet Nam, China, South Korea, and Japan have all suffered hits, some of them more than once, from tropical storms and typhoons in 2018.

Tropical storms JONGDARI and WUKONG approaching Japan on this satellite image of 26 July 2018 (NOAA)

On this 26 July satellite imagery shows two tropical storms,  Jongdari and Wukong, moving toward potential landfalls in south-central as well as northern Japan, while some 11000 kilometers to  the east over the East Pacific we are tracking two strong tropical waves between Mexico and Hawaii, which are showing some tendency toward possible cyclonic activity.

Potential tropical cyclone activity over the Eastern Pacific is shown by two tropical wavestracked by satellite this 26 July 2018 (NOAA)