Today is Wednesday 30 July 2014. For the past couple of weeks, and more so over the past four or five days we have noticed ‘hurricane alley’, out there between the western coast of Equatorial Africa and the Lesser Antilles, getting more and more populated by tropical waves, and larger cells of disturbed weather.
NOAA Satellite imagery from earlier today shows several such tropical waves, including one about mid-way between Africa and the Caribbean, that we have been monitoring over the past three to four days, which is showing some signs of getting better organized and potential for cyclonic development.
Could this be the genesis of Bertha, the second-named storm of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season? Mother Nature will decide on the basis of the various contributing factors ahead of the current track for this system; in the mean time all interests in the Caribbean, Gulf, the Bahamas and Florida need to pay attention, remain alert, be prepared and keep MITIGATING!
Early Summer 2014 on Earth’s northern hemisphere. Wherever you look there are flashes of storms, extreme rain, flash floods and other disturbed weather events everywhere. It seems Mother Nature is experimenting with everything there is in the atmosphere, including gigantic twin tornadoes striking simultaneously in the Heartland USA!
Let us take a look at what our satellites are seeing from above. The three images that follow are mosaics of satellite observations made earlier this Tuesday, 24 June 2014, with water-vapor filters, which help highlight areas of storms and disturbed weather.
The view above shows large storms over Texas and the Great Plains USA, a large area of storms extending from Northern South America over Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. There is also a large cell off the coast of Central America and Mexico over the eastern east Pacific Ocean. And ‘Hurricane Alley’ shows a slim train of storm cells riding along on their westward journey. However, Equatorial Africa, which is the feeder for Hurricane Alley appears quiet and devoid of any major systems, but farther to the east over the Indian Ocean there are some major cells of tropical activity that may eventually find their way over Equatorial Africa to activate the ‘tropical wave assembly line’ in coming days.
The ‘belt of tropical activity’ appears much more active than over the Atlantic and Equatorial Africa on this view. A train of large storm systems extends all the way from the Gulf of Panama in the east to the Philippines and beyond or more than 20,000 km. with only one significant gap to the southeast of Hawaii.
A rather different array of weather systems is visible over the high latitudes in the southern hemisphere, where winter 2014 has just set in. A major weather system is clearly visible over New Zealand. However the other big islands south of the equator, Australia, Madagascar, are enjoying mostly clear weather during the earlier hours of this Tuesday 24 June 2014.
We all know however that it is just a question of time. Some of these cells in the northern hemisphere may start to show signs of cyclonic development, and in no time we may see a tropical cyclone over any of the basins that are cradles of cyclogenesis. So we keep on watching, looking for those early signs that allows us to investigate, and follow, and forecast. It is a never ending process between humans and Nature.
The most amazing aspect of this, one at which I always marvel, is that a rather insignificant weather cell over the central Indian Ocean just starting its westward journey. and a similarly anonymous storm cell over the Northwestern Pacific moving eastward along the fringes of a jet-strean may, not only survive their long journeys, but actually grow picking-up strength and size along the way, and get to interact with one another three weeks from today generating the next cyclonic event over the Atlantic, our neck-of-the-woods here in Florida.
Consequently, amazing as this view from above, and marvelous as the never-ending workings of the atmosphere and oceans are, the fact remains that we humans must always be alert, prepared and engaged in the practice of mitigation to reduce the potential for damage from that next one, which might be under gestation starting from opposite extreme of our planet Earth.