Tag Archives: Atlantic Ocean

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!

IRMA: An Atlantic hurricane for the record books!

With each new advisory issued by the National Hurricane Center about the course and intensity of Hurricane IRMA, we all become exponentially more awe striken at the powerful display of Mother Nature, and wonder how much more intense can this storm grow?

Visible light satellite image (NASA) showing Hurricane IRMA as it had reached maximum sustained winds of 294 kph (184 mph) and a low central pressure of 926 mb, this Tuesday 5 September 2017

The latest data I have seen shows that as of 1515 EST IRMA was packing sustained winds of 294 kph (184 mph) with even higher gusts, and its then current central pressure had already dropped to 926 mb. This is by far the stronger hurricane active in the open Atlantic since records have been kept. New record may still be set in coming days as the hurricane encounters even warmer surface waters.We can only wait and see what happens.

Visible light satellite image (NOAA) taken this afternoon of 5 September 2017 at 1515 EST showing Hurricane IRMA nearing the northern Lesser Antilles. Notice the strengthening tropical wave to the east-southeast

Visible light and infrared imagery focusing on water vapor in the atmosphere show an impressive image of IRMA as it approached the northern Winward Islands, and the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico beyond. In these images we can also see the ‘chase’ tropical wave following behind IRMA , which is already displaying some cyclonic characteristics.

Infrared satellite image (NOAA) showing water vapor in the atmosphere to highlight the environment surrounding Hurricane IRMA and its ‘chase’ tropical wave this 5 September at 1415 EST

Awesome as this display of power is, it is even more worrying because of the vast potential for causing  damage that  this hurricane has as it gets closer to various land masses along its path including our Florida peninsula, which remains within the ‘cone of uncertainty’ of the predicted track of IRMA in coming days.

Projected track for Hurricane IRMA as of this Tuesday 5 September at 1400 EST. Based on an advisory from the National Hurricane Center

IRMA may be the ‘big one’ we have speculated about for the past 25 years, or it may not. Only time will tell and we will find out soon enough. Now is the time to take the potential impact from IRMA’s wind and water extremely seriously and take all precautions necessary to protect life and property. May God protect us all.

Get ready. Remain alert. Be prepared. MITIGATE!