Tag Archives: Tropical Storm Matthew

The Peak of the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season

The month of September 2010 is not over yet and it is already one for the record books in terms of tropical cyclone activity. We have seen plenty of activity throughout the larger basin, in the tropical North Atlantic, in the Caribbean and in the Gulf. Tropical cyclone activity this September has offered a wide variety of storms, from major hurricanes, to a hurricane that made it all the way to Greenland, to a tropical storm that actually spawned its own “clone” (Matthew), to storms that decayed and almost dissipated only to be reactivated again (Julia, Lisa).

Color-enhanced infrared GOES satellite view of Tropical Depression #16 ("Matthew the Clone") identified by the solid yellow outline as it mover in the northwestern Caribbean toward Southeast Florida and point beyond. Dotted yellow outlines identify other areas of disturbed weather and tropical waves that are active in the neighborhood of TD #16 and the western end of 'Hurricane Alley" approaching the Lesser Antilles.
Projected track for Tropical Depression #16 on 28 September 2010 developed by the Navy Rsearch Laboratory based on data from NOAA's National Hurricane Center.

  As this post is being written “Matthew the Sequel” has become tropical depression #16 and it is moving north-by northeast toward South Florida and coastal regions beyond, in the Carolinas and up the eastern seaboard.

Mosaic of composite satellite views on 28 September 2010 showing tropical cyclone activity and potential seeds for additional tropical cyclpne generation over the eastern Atlantic, equatorial Africa and the Indian Ocean. It would appear there is plenty of 'fuel' in the tropics to keep tropical cyclone activity in the larger Atlantic basin active over the next few weeks.

Looking east we see that ‘Hurricane Alley’ is already populated by a few tropical waves, some of which are looking rather threatening, and farter east over equatorial Africa and beyond over the Indian Ocean, numerous tropical waves of all shape and sizes continue marching westward to ride the ‘Tropical Wave Assembly Line” in Africa, which eventually may emerge over the eastern Atlantic and head in the general direction of the Caribbean, Gulf and USA Atlantic coastal regions.

Full disk view of Earth's western hemisphere showing a portion of the tropical activity belt, which has been around the Earth for most of this 2010 Atlantic hurricane season.

  The question is: have we hit the peak of the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season or are we in for another burst of activity in October similar to what we have seen in September? Only time will tell what will have transpired in what remains of the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season, but for now we must concentrate in monitoring all these waves as they appear over the horizon, while being prepared. As we have said throughout this season, Pay Attention! Be prepared!! MITIGATE!!


Visible light satellite view of tropical depression MATTHEW in the morning hours on 26 September 2010, while the storm moved over the western region of the state of Chiapas in Mexico. Matthew is generating copious rain affecting areas near veracruz, Jalaoa and central Mexico, which just a few days ago were impated by hurricane KARL.

  Early this morning of Sunday 26 Seeptember 2010 tropical depression MATTHEW was over western Chiapas in Mexico, generating heavy rains over a large area of central and souther Mexico, and affecting areas  of central and eastern Mexico that were recently hit hard by hurricane KARL.

Ever since making landfall as a tropical storm to the south of Cape Gracias a Dios in northeastern Nicaragua, near the border with Honduras, tropical cyclone Matthew has been difficult to predict as its track kept shifting in response to atmospheric components and the influence of topographic factors in Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and southern Mexico; as a result Matthew’s projected track was modified several times in the past 24 – 36 hours. The question now is: Matthew, what’s next?

Projected track for tropical depression MATTHEW on 26 september 2010 developed by the Navy Research Laboratory, based on data from NOAA's National Hurricane Center.

From previous postings on this site, we’ve seen how Matthew was generated by a very large tropical wave that at one point covered more than one million square miles of the Caribbean and Atlantic as it straddled the Lesser Antilles. As Matthew emerged as a tropical depression, growing into a tropical storm, moving toward the central American land mass, large cells of disturbed weather that had been part of the original tropical wave move ahead or remained to the east over the Caribbean. During its progress over land Matthew was drawing mositure from far away over the eastern Pacific feeding itself as well as the disturbed weather to the east over the Caribbean.

Color enhanced infrared GOES satellite view on 26 September 2010 at 0745 EST showing tropical depression MATTHEW over southern Mexico, and the region of low pressure ('Matthew the Clone') in the northwestern Caribbean, which may move toward the Gulf and South Florida in the next 3 -4 days.

  Satellite imagery yesterday started to show how as Matthew kept moving westward the growing cell of disturbed weather that remained over the Caribbean has been drifting toward an area of low pressure between Cuba and the Yucatan peninsula. Analysis on future weather forecast shows this area of disturbed weather will congeal around the area of low pressure and move in the general direction of the eastern Gulf of Mexico and Florida.

It is as if Matthew has cloned itself, or gone through a process of mitosis, and now we have a weather system moving toward Florida that may at the very least create a threat of rain, high winds, thunderstorms, and choppy seas for the Florida keys and south Florida by mid-week next week. The attached image shows advanced weather forecasts through 2 October 2010 showing the projected movement of Matthew the Clone.

Advanced weather forecast for North America showing the progress of "Matthew the Clone" through 2 October 2010.

While this is happening ‘Hurricane Alley’ is populated by a conglomerate of rain and storm cells, not too dissimilar to the tropical wave that spawned Matthew, which will need to be monitored for any signs of potential development during the historical peak of the Atlantic hurricane season.

All interests in the larger Caribbean, Gulf and Atlantic basin must remain vigilant monitoring these weather disturbances from the eastern Atlantic to the Gulf; given what we are witnessing with this cloning of Matthew and conscious of the challenging uncertainties inherent in tropical cyclone forecasting science, it is clear all vulnerable communities must do their part to pay attention, to remain aware, and above all to keep practicing Mitigation!!