Hurricane Season 2014: Don't Believe the Hype of the Latest Tropical Disturbance

Categories: Hurricanes

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Weather Underground
Invest 97L, currently dropping rain on Florida.
You are likely going to hear quite a bit about a tropical disturbance designated 92L by the National Hurricane Center that is currently dropping a bunch of rain on the Florida peninsula. The reason there will be news about this rainmaker is because forecast models have 92L making its way into the Gulf of Mexico and heading towards Texas sometime middle of next week. Don't believe the hype.

I'm not saying those models are inaccurate. They may very well be. But, there are not any really good reasons at the moment to be overly concerned about 92L. That doesn't mean local weather won't try to scare you into thinking you should be, however.

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New York Times Publishes Chilling Archive of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane

Categories: Hurricanes

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Photo by Jeff Balke
Storm of 1900 statue on the Galveston Seawall after Hurricane Ike hit in 2008.
Very few, if any, buildings escaped injury. There is hardly a habitable, dry house in the city. When the people who had escaped death went out at daylight to view the work of the tempest and the floods they saw the most horrible sights imaginable. In the three blocks from Avenue N to Avenue P, in Tremont Street, I saw eight bodies. Four corpses were in one yard.

The whole of the business front for three blocks in from the Gulf was stripped of every vestige of habitation, the dwellings, the great bathing establishments, the Olympia, and every other structure having been either carried out to sea or its ruins piled in a pyramid far into the town, according to the vagaries of the tempest.

That is an excerpt from "The Wrecking of Galveston," a story that appeared in the New York Times right after the great 1900 hurricane that killed between 6,000 and 12,000 people on the island. The quotes above are from newsman Richard Spillane, who was sent to Houston immediately following the storm to report on it and ask for assistance from the outside world.

The story is part of a series of archived texts taken from the pages of the Times that year, and they tell the tale of one of the most devastating natural disasters in the history of the United States.

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Hurricane Season 2014: Is Hurricane Season for Texas Over? Maybe.

Categories: Hurricanes

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Save it for next year, Scorpions.
This week, Tropical Storm Dolly, the Atlantic's fourth named storm of the year, collided with Mexico in the southern Gulf. It was the first storm of any significance to form in the Gulf of Mexico this year, not surprising considering only four storms have managed to reach name status in 2014. By contrast, there had already been 14 named storms in 2005 by September 6, including Hurricane Katrina. In 2011, there had been 13 named storms by September 6. Those were obviously busy seasons -- in fact, some of the busiest on record. But this year is quite different.

While the first three storms of the year reached hurricane status, a relative rarity in the hurricane world, none have had significant impact on the U.S. And as we get deeper into the month of September, it is becoming less and less likely our part of the country will get anything other than mild tropical moisture before the season officially closes at the end of November.

In fact, when it comes to Texas, our hurricane season ends much earlier. Even in a busy year, it's rare to see a named storm hit the coast of Texas after the third week of September, and we are already through week one.

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Hurricane Season 2014: Cristobal No Threat, but Disturbances Lining Up in the Atlantic

Categories: Hurricanes

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Weather Underground
Another tropical disturbance lines up in the Atlantic.
Tropical Storm Cristobal continued to strengthen over the weekend as it headed north through the Bahamas. While it is expected to grow gradually into a hurricane, it will not be a threat to the U.S. Nevertheless, it killed three in the Caribbean with torrential rains and the flooding that accompanied them. As those of us who lived through Tropical Storm Allison remember, it doesn't have to reach hurricane strength to cause devastation.

While Cristobal may not pose a threat to our area of the Gulf, or the U.S. in general, there continue to be reasons to remain concerned about tropical weather throughout the Atlantic Basin. A new disturbance designated Invest 97L has moved west of the Cape Verde Islands out into the Atlantic. It is not expected to develop for several days but could once it gets closer to the Caribbean, much like Cristobal.

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Hurricane Season 2014: New Disturbance in the Atlantic Heading for Caribbean

Categories: Hurricanes

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Weather Underground
Invest 96L might not make it out of the Caribbean alive.
As I've noted previously, we are now in the peak of hurricane season as we move through August and September, and the Atlantic Basin is certainly beginning to demonstrate that fact. A disturbance that the National Hurricane Center has classified as "96L" is moving westward towards the Lesser Antilles and is expected to be in the Caribbean by the end of the week. The NHC is giving the disturbance a 50 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression in the next few days and a hurricane hunter plane is scheduled to fly into the storm Thursday afternoon if it continues its development.

All the reliable forecast models are calling for a gradual west-northwest turn once it reaches the Caribbean. Forecasters are also predicting the storm will reach tropical depression strength just south of Puerto Rico. After that, things get dicey.

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Hurricane Season 2014: Time is Now to Watch the Tropics

Categories: Hurricanes

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National Hurricane Center
Almost entirely quiet...for now.
With the exception of a tropical wave off the coast of Africa, all is relatively quiet in the Atlantic Basin, but what is it they always say about when it is calm? The fact is we have now entered the height of hurricane season for those of us who live with that sort of thing every year along the Gulf Coast. For the next six weeks, we are faced with the most precarious time of the year to be a coastal dweller.

Our current tropical wave is well out into the Atlantic and doesn't appear likely to be a threat even if it manages to survive its trip to the Caribbean, which is questionable. There is another disturbance moving off of Africa that has some promise, however, and no doubt there will be more behind that.

As storms begin to line up like that, we know we have reached the heart of the season because it means ocean temperatures are warm enough to support developing storms, but more than that is required.

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Hurricane Season 2014: Atlantic Quiet, but Hawaii About to Get Back-to-Back Hurricanes

Categories: Hurricanes

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Weather Underground
Lining them up in the Pacific.
Living along the coast, and living in the continental U.S., for that matter, we sometimes forget that there is one part of our country vulnerable to Pacific hurricanes. California almost never sees a hit from a storm since the movement of tropical weather in the Pacific, as in the Atlantic, is east to west. But Hawaii is right smack in the middle of the Pacific, currently in the path of not one but two hurricanes, the first storms of that size that, if they were to hit, would be the first to reach Hawaii in 22 years.

In fact, there are four named storms in the Pacific at the moment and another promising area of weather just off the coast of Mexico. The increase in storms this year is likely the result of the El NiƱo event occurring in the southeastern Pacific. While the winds it generates tend to inhibit growth of storms across the Atlantic, it can destabilize the weather in the Pacific, causing active hurricane seasons.

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Hurricane Season 2014: Hurricane Bertha Has Arrived

Categories: Hurricanes

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National Hurricane Center
Bertha isn't (and won't likely be) all that big.
Before digging too deeply into what is going on with hurricane number two of this Atlantic Hurricane Season, can we talk for just a moment about why someone thought Bertha was a good name for a hurricane? I guess if it grew very large, there could be quips about "Big Bertha" from the media. I could imagine Weather Channel bodybuilder and hurricane daredevil Jim Cantore standing on some wind blown street yelling into the mic, "Big Bertha is beating me like a red headed step child." Sure, it's cinematic, but Bertha?

Anyway, Hurricane Bertha is the second in this 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season, but it doesn't appear that it will cause much trouble for the U.S. or any land mass for that matter.

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Hurricane Season 2014: Atlantic System No Serious Threat

Categories: Hurricanes

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Weather Underground
No real threat to us.
Invest 93L, as designated by the National Hurricane Center, is not terribly impressive. Despite predictions it would be nearing tropical storm strength by now, it has floundered, fighting with dry air in the area north of the storm and high wind shear. Would be Tropical Storm Bertha is simply not all that impressive at the moment.

In fact, the NHC has lowered its previous forecast for 93L to only a 40 percent chance of development. As the disturbance moves west northwest over the next two days, it should encounter more favorable conditions, which increases the likelihood of development. Even if that happens, there is a good chance it will interact with land in the northern Caribbean, slowing its progress.

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Hurricane Season 2014: Tropics Finally Heating Up as August Approaches

Categories: Hurricanes

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Weather Underground
Forecast prediction models for Invest 93L.
The National Hurricane Center has designated and area of low pressure in the eastern Atlantic as Invest 93L. It gives these designations throughout hurricane season to make note of systems that have the potential to develop. It is currently giving 93L a 40 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression in the next few days as it moves westward towards the Lesser Antilles.

Of the primary reliable forecast models, only one is predicting 93L will not develop leaving the NHC to conclude there is greater likelihood 93L could be a depression or possibly Tropical Storm Bertha by this weekend.

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