Tag Archives: Windward islands

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!

6 0ctober 2016: IN THE CROSS-HAIRS OF MATTHEW!

It appeared as a large storm cell over Equatorial Africa nineteen days ago, when tropical cyclones KARL and LISA were moving in the Atlantic, moving westward to emerge as one more tropical wave over the eastern Atlantic. As this tropical wave rode along ‘hurricane alley’ toward the Windward Islands our attention focused mainly on KARL and LISA.

And then, THERE IT WAS! Tropical Storm MATTHEW was active over the southeastern Caribbean near the Venezuelan coast moving rather slowly westward.

Infrared satellite image of major Hurricane MATTHEW over the Bahamas at 6:30 A.M. this morning of Thursday 6 October
Infrared satellite image of major Hurricane MATTHEW over the Bahamas at 6:30 A.M. this morning of Thursday 6 October

And now, this morning of Thursday 6 October at 6:30 A.M. MAJOR HURRICANE MATTHEW was located 350 kilometers (228 miles) from Miami over The Bahamas, strengthening yet again and getting better organized as it moved in the general direction of Southeast Florida at 18 kph (~11.5 mph).

Map showing probability of tropical storm force winds, from MATTHEW and NICOLE, affecting various areas over the next five days
Map showing probability of tropical storm force winds, from MATTHEW and NICOLE, affecting various areas over the next five days

This is truly a dangerous hurricane, which has already caused death and destruction and plenty of damage in several countries in its path including, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cuba, and the Bahamas. Florida is now in MATTHEW’s sights, as well as other Atlantic states beyond.

Is MATTHEW THE BIG ONE we have speculated about for quite some time now? After eleven years here in Florida without being hit by a hurricane, perhaps suffering from ‘hurricane amnesia’, let’s trust that thanks to the great work of the National Hurricane Center, the on-camera TV meteorologist, and emergency management officials, the message has been heeded and we are prepared for the impending punch from MATTHEW!

Projected track for a strengthening Tropical Storm NICOLE as of 6 October 2016 at 0200. Notice the storm will become almost stationary as it interacts with MATTHEW and other atmospheric features in coming days
Projected track for a strengthening Tropical Storm NICOLE as of 6 October 2016 at 0200. Notice the storm will become almost stationary as it interacts with MATTHEW and other atmospheric features in coming days

While we focus on MATTHEW and brace for impact here in paradise, we must remain aware of Tropical Storm NICOLE looming in the Atlantic east by northeast of Matthew, and also tropical wave 99L approaching the Windward Islands chased by a large glub of disturbed weather riding ‘hurricane alley’ to the east.

Infrared GOES EAST satellite image of 6 October 2016 at 0500 showing major hurricane MATTHEW, Tropical Storm NICOLE, and other potential cyclonic threats in the north Atlantic basin.
Infrared GOES EAST satellite image of 6 October 2016 at 0500 showing major hurricane MATTHEW, Tropical Storm NICOLE, and other potential cyclonic threats in the north Atlantic basin.

So, in addition to MATTHEW’s impending threat, there are other hazards nearby and plenty of fuel for potential tropical cyclone generation in the not so distant horizon over the eastern Atlantic.

Let us keep in mind that there is still plenty of ‘official’ hurricane season left in the Atlantic in 2016. We must pay attention continuing to monitor all of these potential threats. Remain alert. Be prepared. MITIGATE!