Thursday, September 21, 2017

11:45am EDT Thursday Update on Maria

Here is the latest satellite image of Hurricane Maria.

Here is the forecast path of Maria. After the vicinity of the Turks and Caicos, Maria will move into the open ocean. It is no threat to the United States.
As the purpose of this blog is weather forecasting and storm warnings rather than news coverage, this will be the last update on Maria.

Why Don't Hurricane Hunters Fly Over Land?

The Hurricane Hunters are incredibly important to the accurate forecasts of hurricanes. The National Hurricane Center wrote this yesterday afternoon.

One of our readers asked me this question and while I thought I knew the answer, I wanted to be sure. So, I asked Dennis Felgen of the National Hurricane Center.  His answer:

There is a lot of up and down and side to side pushing by the hurricane onto the aircraft (like being on a roller coaster in a car wash).  If the aircraft were to fly over land during this turbulence it would have to deal with the structures on the land and the variable terrain itself.  And that is too dangerous. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

8pm EDT Wednesday, Update on Hurricane Maria

The mountains of Puerto Rico pretty well tore Maria apart but from satellite images, it appears to be regains organization and, likely, strength.
Maria has taken a bit of a westward jog and it looks like it will move over or very close to the coast of the Dominican Republic. With the likely intensification, people in the DR will need to prepare for a major storm. Haiti will feel the outer effects but is not going to suffer a direct hit.

Here is the 5-day hurricane forecast.
I was asked on the air this afternoon, and elsewhere, whether I knew Florida was safe from Maria. I am. I believe it is unlikely Maria will hit the United States but the effects of Tropical Storm Jose´ interacting with Maria make this forecast a bit tricker than usual. Besides, our ability to forecast hurricanes beyond about five days is marginal at best.

So, relax for now and if you live in the Northeast, I'll let you know if/when it is time to be concerned.

A Blog Housekeeping Note

As you know, the policy changed a couple of years ago and I now delete blog posts pertaining to "routine" weather and storm warnings.

However, I am going to keep the warnings for this year's hurricanes and related items in case some researcher might find them useful in the future.

Also, a reminder that if you would like my full storm coverage, please follow me on Twitter: @usweatherexpert .

Hello Ft. Wayne

I will be on The Pat Miller Show at 5:08pm on WOWO Radio in Ft. Wayne this evening. Please consider tuning in.

Catastrophe for Puerto Rico

The eye of Maria is just southwest of San Juan. As feared, the storm took the worst possible path.

As meteorologist Pam Knox said about this process a couple of weeks ago: Being a meteorologist during these hurricanes is like being a passenger on the Titanic and seeing the iceberg ahead."

The storm made landfall at 6:15am AST/EDT. The winds ahead of the eye caused both radars on the island to fail. Here is what the wind pattern looked like on the last image. San Juan circled at top.
The radar shows widespread winds above 120 mph. Highest sustained winds were estimated at 155 mph. Now that the storm has traveled over land, the winds are estimated near 140 mph near San Juan (no radar image available). The latest satellite image is below.
This is an utter catastrophe for St. Croix and Puerto Rico. They are going to require immediate and effect help that is going to cost a great deal of money. 

Here is the three-day track forecast.

Here is the Weirdest Story in a While

Perhaps politicians should do some due diligence on their sign language interpreters.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

10:55pm Tuesday Update on Maria

As of 11pm EDT/AST, winds in Maria are 175mph. In mountainous areas and on the higher stories of buildings (i.e., hotels) winds could gust to 190 mph or higher. Severe flash flooding will occur. 

Hurricane force winds are now occurring on St. Croix, US VI. 

Revised time of arrivals: The eye will reach the southeast coast of Puerto Rico between 6:30 and 8am AST ( = EDT). 5:30am and 7am. The eye will reach San Juan about 2 hours later. 

The damage will be catastrophic. Puerto Rico's government declared bankruptcy. I am hoping that will not retard relief efforts.

Here is the radar image as of 10:45pm AST/EDT.

Here is the satellite image at 10:15pm AST/EDT.

Houston NWS Meteorologists and What They Went Through During Hurricane Harvey

HGX = National Weather Service in Houston.
Yes, meteorologists -- surprisingly often -- are heroes in the full definition of the term.

Hat tip: NWS Houston and National Weather Assn.

8pm EDT, Maria Update

Hurricane Maria's sustained winds are now 175 mph with a minimum pressure of 909mb. It is one of the 10 strongest hurricanes in the history of the Atlantic Basin. Its path forecast is unchanged.

Addition at 9pm: At the current rate, the eye would be near San Juan around 9a-Noon Eastern Daylight Time which is the same as Atlantic Standard Time (the local time in Puerto Rico).

Update on Hurricane Maria, 5:10pm EDT, Tuesday

Here is Category 5 Maria's forecast path for the next three days:
Keep in mind that orange is sustained winds of 40-75 mph and brown is winds of 75 mph or higher. This storm has sustained winds of 165 mph! It is going to moved across the US Virgin Islands tonight and Puerto Rico tomorrow with severe to catastrophic damage. It would not surprise me if some parts of PR are without power for a month or more. Your own food and water will be essential.

A hurricane warning is out for the northeast Dominican Republic. A hurricane watch is out for the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Here is the radar at 5pm EDT.

For a wider view, here is the satellite image at 4:45pm EDT.

Genuinely Hate to Say, "I Told You So"

No one likes to read someone else's boast but this one is scientifically important: A new, peer-reviewed, study shows the earth is warming slower than expected and that the climate models have been running too warm

Of course, that has been the theme of our global warming coverage all along. The science simply didn't, and doesn't, indicate that global warming is an immediate catastrophe as Al Gore and others would have us believe.

That said, global warming is a problem. I just posted an interesting, and worrisome, study pertaining to plant nutrition and greater concentrations of CO2.

With a tornado risk and hurricanes today, I do not have time to recap my global warming recommendations.   I'll try to restate those when the weather is less active.

Serious Tornado Risk in the Northern Plains

It has been a while since I have to post about a tornado risk. There is one today in the northern Great Plains.
Keep in mind the brown (5%) is the significant tornado threshold. Yellow (10%) is an enhanced risk. Please keep an eye on the weather in this area today.

More are Getting on Board With a National Disaster Review Board

There is an article boosting the concept of a National Disaster Review Board in the new issue of WiredIt is an important concept and I hope you will support it. How about emails to your congressional delegation?

[I had a bad link, now fixed.]

Monday, September 18, 2017

Maria Now a Category 5 Headed Toward Puerto Rico

Please make sure your friends and relatives are aware of this catastrophic hurricane closing in on the island. Wind speeds are now 160 mph!

My Professional Speaking Engagements

As many of you know, I do professional speaking on a number of topics.

If you are interested, I am presented by Baron Ridge Speakers Agency.  Please contact: or (316) 409-6498.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Major Hurricane Headed for Puerto Rico

Maria is strengthening rapidly in the Atlantic. The M = major hurricane. It may be Cat 3 or 4 intensity by the time it arrives.
It is far too soon to speculate on what effect, if any, Maria may have in the United States.

Sunday Fun II: The Amazing Technology (And Its Cost) of Smartphones

When we complain about the cost of smartphones, I recommend this article to put things in perspective.

The Lightning Delay in Denver

There is a lightning delay in the Denver - Dallas game at Mile High Stadium. Below is the radar at the time the delay was declared.
If you click the image, it will enlarge and you can see the "zot" symbols. The announcers and former ref in the booth discussed the 8-mile rule which says they have to suspend the game when lightning gets within eight miles.

At AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, we have a superior system called Minutes, Not Miles. For example in the early spring, it is not uncommon for storms to have a forward speed of 60 mph. That means that eight miles only give you eight minutes warning -- not enough time to evacuate a stadium.
Or, in summer, it is not uncommon for storms to move at ten miles an hour or less. Which means that there is too much time during which the storm may dissipate.

AccuWeather also has a patented system which allows us to forecast lightning before the dangerous "first bolt" occurs.

If you want the state-of-the-art in lightning protection, give us a call.

Sunday Fun: Visitor's Guide to Wichita

Yesterday evening's Wichita sky. KSNW TV.
From the Alaska Air inflight magazine.