Some interesting cyclonic events are taking place in the northern tropics on this Friday 28 July 2017.
A set of twin tropical cyclones, HILARY and IRWIN (See our posting of 25 July), appear to be in a collision course midway between Mexico and Hawaii in the Pacific. Now downgraded to tropical storm strength Hilary is moving WNW while nearby to its southwest Irwin is tracking NNW putting these tropical cyclones on a course for potential interaction over the next day or so. Both Hilary and Irwin are packing maximum sustained winds of 110-115 kph posing no threat to land.
Farther to the west, over the Philippines sea a strengthening Typhoon NESAT is starting to brush past the Northern Philippines as it aims for Taiwan. At the same time, Typhoon NORU is over the northwestern Pacific making a turn toward the NNW to the east of Japan. So, this makes for four active named-tropical cyclones over the northern Pacific basin, in addition to several areas of disturbed weather and tropical waves throughout the basin that may be seeds for further cyclonic activity in coming days.
Of interest to us here in South Florida, and to others throughout the Caribbean, Central America, the Gulf and the Atlantic seaboard of the U.S.A., is a tropical wave located approximately 1000 kilometers southwest of the Cape Verde Islands that has been designated as INVEST 97L by NOAA’s National Hurricane Center while monitoring it for possible cyclonic development over coming days.
Farther to the east over waters of the Eastern Atlantic and Equatorial Africa there is a train of tropical waves, including one rather large and strong storm, moving westward toward Hurricane Alley. There is plenty of seeds that may fuel cyclogenesis in that region over the next few days. All interests in our neck-of-the-woods will do well to pay attention, remain alert, and be prepared! MITIGATE!
Florida got hit by a land-falling hurricane, after eleven years of dodging impacts from tropical cyclones, when HERMINE came on shore in Apalachee Bay the early morning of 2 September.
This was quite a feat indeed, when you consider there were 145 tropical cyclones generated in the north Atlantic basin during the 2006 – 2010 period, and that HERMINE was the 8th named storm of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season.
So what is happening today, Monday 5 September LABOR DAY 2016? For starters, extra-tropical cyclone HERMINE, which only yesterday had traveled some 800 kilometers away from the U.S.A. coast, has now drifted back toward the northwest and it is affecting a large region from the northern Jersey Shore and Long Island to Cape Cod, Boston and points beyond, with rain, wind and surge.
Looking south and then east from HERMINE’s current location we have a tropical wave in the eastern Caribbean that is generating widespread rain over the region, but other than this it is not showing any cyclonic tendencies, for now at least. Looking east we see ‘Hurricane Alley’ populated by a chain of disturbed/stormy weather cell, and several large tropical waves over the eastern Atlantic waters and the entire length of Equatorial Africa. There is certainly plenty of fuel for potential cyclonic development form anyone of these ‘seeds’ in coming days.
The prudent attitude for all interests throughout the Atlantic basin is to remain alert, be prepared and closely monitor the progress and/or development of these disturbances for any signs of potential cyclogenesis!
Over on the northern east-Pacific side, there is Tropical Storm NEWTON just off (150 kilometers) the Pacific coast of Mexico to the west of Puerto Vallarta, moving NNW toward the Baja California peninsula. Farther to the northwest of NEWTON’s current position there is a decaying tropical storm LESTER, which veered away from Hawaii literally at the last minute, a couple of days ago. To the south and southeast the eastern-east Pacific sub-basin between southern Mexico and Panama is populated by several tropical waves and disturbed weather cells, which may contribute to cyclonic development in coming days.
NEWTON is the 14th named tropical cyclone of the 2016 East Pacific hurricane season so far. The basin has generated 194 tropical cyclones since 2006, and may generate a few more before this annual season is over.
In assessing recent cyclogenesis (i.e.: GASTON and HERMINE in the Atlantic, and LESTER, MADELINE, and now NEWTON in the eastern Pacific) the footprint of global warming and sea level rise are unmistakably clear in the wetness and strong surge/wave impacts of these tropical cyclones, which generated unprecedented amounts of rain, coastal erosion and flooding along their paths.
While we anticipate future impacts from the Atlantic and the Pacific for the duration of the 2016 season, we will do well to examine what we have done OR NOT regarding hazard mitigation measures, and adaptation measures, to reduce the potential for damage to our built environment and the life, property and full range of human activity sheltered within? What specific defenses have been implemented along coastal regions? How have design professionals and policy-makers enhanced/strengthened building codes and design criteria to make our communities resilient, in the face of expected impacts?
The time for ACTION on all these fronts has been here for quite a while, the time for TALK and BUSINESS-AS-USUAL in long past!