Thursday, August 25, 2016

The tropics are heating up

NOAA, National Hurricane Center image of Hurricane Gaston, and Invest 99-L (orange X) in the Atlantic basin. At this time, Invest 99-L has a better-than-even chance of becoming tropical storm Hermine. The storm could then impact south Florida as early as this weekend.
We are entering the most active period in the Atlantic hurricane season, which typically runs from June 1st to November 30th. Most of the storms occur within a six-week period from late August to early October, focused around Labor Day.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida are currently watching two systems in the Atlantic basin. Hurricane Gaston is a minimal storm with 75mph winds, located over 1000 miles east of the Leeward Islands, and not any threat to land. Gaston is expected to weaken over the next 24 hours as it moves into cooler waters. Of more interest this morning to forecasters and weather nerds alike, is an area of showers and thunderstorms dubbed Invest 99-L, just north of Puerto Rico. Depending on your weather model of choice, this low pressure area could become tropical storm Hermine this weekend and impact south Florida. Beyond that, different models are presenting very different scenarios. If the system develops, and that is still not certain, it could swing northeast out to sea, or impact the waterlogged central Gulf Coast as a strong storm next week.

In any event, I will be monitoring this storm closely, as I have been doing since 1979 when my interest in hurricanes started. Many of these storms impact eastern Canada with heavy rains and strong winds. Case in point: Hurricane Irene, whose 5th anniversary is coming up later this week. Irene generated over $1.5 million dollars in damage and one fatality in Quebec back in 2011. It was also the costliest natural disaster in Vermont state history. I will have much more on Irene later this week.

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