Terms

00zZ is a reference to Zulu Time, or UTC/GMT. A weather model runs at predicable intervals, and each run is designated by two numbers and then a Z. For example, the 18z run of the GFS means that it is the GFS run that happened at 18:00 UTC/GMT.
ConeThe NHC’s cone is answering a very specific question: Where does the eye/center of the storm have a 2/3 probability of being at any given time? This means the eye can (and often does) travel outside the cone, and dangerous weather conditions WILL happen outside the cone as well since Hurricanes are regional weather events and are not pinpoint-location events.
ECMWFEuropeon Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting
EUROThe ECMWF’s main forecasting model. This model has a proven track record of being the most accurate model among hurricane forecasting models. Its publicly available runs occur at 2am and 2pm every day.
GFSThe Global Forecasting System is an older weather model that runs every 6 hours. It is NOAA’s mainstay model for hurricane tracking. While not as accurate as the EURO, it has a reasonably good track record
NHCNational Hurricane Center
NOAANational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

2020 Hurricane Season is Upon Us

The 2020 Hurricane season has begun and from the looks of NOAA’s forecasts, it’s going to be a nasty one. NOAA writes:

“An above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, according to forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. The outlook predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.”

NOAA Source

As I write this, the Gulf Coast is currently experiencing the landfall of Tropical Storm Cristobal. Cristobal did not make Category 1 status before making landfall and its structure is quite disorganized. Still, the storm is bringing heavy rains and tornadoes across Florida, southern Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Prep work for the season is already ongoing with people beginning to purchase hurricane supplies. A few days ago, JEA-contracted tree surgeons were moving down my street trimming the tree branches back away from power lines in a preventative maintenance strategy to reduce the number and severity of power outages this season.

If you’re short on Hurricane supplies, now would be the time to purchase them. Gasoline is at historic low prices and with many COVID-19 restrictions lifted, getting what you need is more possible now than in the past few weeks.

As the season progresses, I’ll be posting more content here and, if there are any storms that specifically threaten Northeast Florida, these will be crossposted to the NE Florida Hurricane Updates Facebook page.

Here’s hoping we get a season that sits on the bottom end of NOAA’s predictions! But whatever the case, I’ll be posting updates with the newest information I can find.

9-27-2019 Midday Update

Two great pieces of news today

Karen:

The NHC guidance says the following:

Karen's associated convection is becoming increasingly
disorganized, and as has been stated in previous advisories, the
circulation is elongated and attached to a surface trough that
extends northward toward Post-Tropical Cyclone Jerry.  A partial
ASCAT pass only showed winds around 25 kt in the southern part of
the circulation, and the initial intensity is therefore lowered,
probably still generously, to 30 kt.

Karen has moved out from beneath an upper-level anticyclone and is
now feeling the effects of 15-20 kt of northwesterly shear.  The
shear is expected to increase further during the next few days and
also become more southwesterly, which is likely to lead to
weakening and further loss of organization.  Based on the latest
global model guidance, Karen is now forecast to lose organized deep
convection and degenerate into a remnant low in 12 hours and then
open up into a trough by day 3.  Given the cyclone's current
structure, however, it's entirely possible that either of these
options could occur as soon as later today.

Lorenzo:

Lorenzo is exactly what we want out of Category 4 Hurricanes. It’s becoming extremely strong and well organized but it’s not expected to go near any major landmasses. Always nice to see a storm this powerful go and bugger off in the North Atlantic without hurting anyone.

Forecast Update – Tropical Depression #11

11am NHC advisory is out on Depression #11. Good news for pretty much everyone. Even further offshore and not expected to become a hurricane anywhere near land. ECMWF called this a about 36 hours ago and now UKMET and GFS are coming into agreement with it. The Bahamas are going to get a day or so of very bad weather, but absolutely NOTHING like Dorian.

Forecast Update – Invest 95L

Invest95L is a tropical system that is moving through central Caribbean. Conditions are becoming favorable for a tropical depression or a tropical storm to form within the next day or so as the system moves toward the northwest through the northwestern Bahamas and toward the Florida Peninsula at 5 to 10 mph. The NHC says 70% of formation in the next 48 hours and 80% in the next 5 days. The ECMWF (EURO) Model suggests that formation is likely and that this storm will remain off the Florida coast while following a similar track to Dorian.

Welcome to Tropics Watch

An introduction about what you can expect from this website

Hello and welcome to Tropics Watch! As the site’s tagline says, this is a website dedicated to “Maps, Figures, and Opinions on Atlantic Hurricanes” from the perspective of a Northeast Florida resident who’s seen a hurricane or ten. I should clarify upfront that I am not a professional meteorologist nor have I studied to be one in a formal capacity, but I am fascinated by tropical weather and the awesome (and terrible) power of tropical cyclones.

This site will include reflections on all sorts of severe weather-related topics including

  • Storm prep
  • Supplies, relief, and logistics for affected areas
  • Some hurricane mythbusting
  • The economic impacts of these sorts of storms
  • Track and Forecast updates
  • Output and discussion of forecasting models
  • The worldview implications of hurricanes
  • …and many others!

Since I live in Northeast Florida, I will also include forecasts and information that specifically pertains to the area where I live. Any content of this nature will be crossposted to the Northeast Florida Hurricane Updates Facebook page. Not everything on Tropics Watch will be sent to that Facebook group; only things that specifically pertain to Northeast Florida.

So thanks for stopping by! I hope that you will find the content of this site to be useful or at least interesting.