May 8, 2015

May Day...May Day!

From wikipedia: Mayday is an emergency procedure word used internationally as a distress signal in voice procedure radio communications.

Some wild May Day weather across the country today through the weekend.

The National forecast map from WPC shows it all: A nasty spring storm out west with a variety of hazardous weather and Subtropical Storm ANA off the SEUS coast acquiring tropical features.


The storm over the Panhandle region is expected to cause a significant severe weather out break across the Central and Southern Plains this evening through Saturday perhaps even into Sunday.
A MODERATE severe weather threat is expected through tonight across Oklahoma. This threat includes possible damaging long track tornadoes.



There are already Tornado Watches posted for parts of the Plains States


To the northwest of the low winter weather including a very heavy wet snow fall is expected; perhaps even near-blizzard conditions for parts of Wyoming and western South Dakota. Some of the potentially "wildest" weather will be across Colorado where tornadoes are possible around Denver and point east by south of there, to heavy snow across the Foothills to the west of Denver!

Meanwhile off the coast of North and South Carolina Subtropical Storm ANA is slowly acquiring tropical features. Here is the 5PM EDT 8 May 2015 advisory:

Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* South Santee River South Carolina to Cape Lookout

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...
* Edisto Beach South Carolina to South of South Santee River

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are
expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are
possible within the watch area, in this case within 24-36 hours.

Interests elsewhere in eastern North Carolina should monitor the
progress of Ana.

Indeed some distressing May Day weather for parts of the Nation.

May 7, 2015

Subtropical Storm Ana

The NHC has issued its first advisory on the season's first subtropical storm - ANA.

BULLETIN SUBTROPICAL STORM ANA ADVISORY NUMBER 1
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL       AL012015

1100 PM EDT THU MAY 07 2015
...SUBTROPICAL STORM ANA FORMS OFF THE SOUTHEAST U.S. COAST...

SUMMARY OF 1100 PM EDT...0300 UTC...INFORMATION
ABOUT 170 MI...275 KM SSE OF MYRTLE BEACH SOUTH CAROLINA
LOCATION...31.5N 77.6W

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1004 MB...29.65 INCHES
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...45 MPH...75 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 350 DEGREES AT 2 MPH...4 KM/H

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FROM EDISTO BEACH SOUTH CAROLINA 
TO CAPE LOOKOUT NORTH CAROLINA. A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA, GENERALLY WITHIN 48 HOURS..
ANA is expected to intensify a bit before making landfall  over the coast of the  over the weekend and it could acquire tropical features as it moves slowly over the warm waters of the Gulfstream current.  
Radius of maximum winds and Tropical Storm Watch area
Strongest winds are displaced well away from the center but in time are expected to draw closer to the center of circulation.

Radar and track of Ana thus far
 Some of the heavier showers are flirting with the coast of North and South Carolina.
TC guidance tracks




Cyclone track guidance is in very good agreement for Ana to turn NW and make landfall on the South Carolina coast and then turn northeastward  late in the weekend through early next week. The system could prove to be a beneficial rain producer for parts  of the Easter U.S. including NY States
Below is the forecast track from the NHC. Once Ana makes landfll it is expected to weaken considerably. 
Official NHC forecast track for Ana

Hurricane Reconnaissance Ongoing

An Air Force hurricane recon aircraft is currently flying in and around the area of low pressure off the Southeast U.S. coast. So far based on the observations the strongest winds are almost 30 mph and the lowest observed pressure is around 1007 millibars, at best its intensity is that of a weak (sub)tropical depression. (NOTE: As of around 245 PM EDT to the north and northeast of the low (over the Atlantic) winds of 40-45 mph have been recorded by the aircraft)



Above is a bar chart of the wind (red bars) and pressure data (blue bars) plotted versus  the time along the bottom horizontal (x -axis).

The satellite presentation is also a bit better this afternoon as evidenced by a more circular appearance to the cloud features with respect to the surface low's location approximately 200 miles to the SSE of the SC/NC border.





Some of the rain associated with the low is already affecting parts of the Southeast coast and more rain is expected to fall over the next few days.

The low is expected to continue to slowly develop with  The NHC now giving a HIGH 80% probability for the low to become a subtropical depression or storm.

It is forecast to move toward the N-NW through the weekend and will likely cause moderately strong winds and spread heavy rain, rough surf and higher than normal tides to the coasts of North and South Carolina south to Georgia and the Florida east coast, too.




If the system attains winds of 40 mph or more, whether its subtropical or tropical it will be named  Ana.

May 6, 2015

A Quick Update on the Low developing off the SE U.S. Coast

The system hasn't really developed much. Strong wind  shear aloft is causing the showers and storms to be displaced from the actually surface low center. This asymmetric structure to the clouds and showers being "removed"  from the actual is typical for subtropical systems.

This asymmetric structure to the clouds and showers being "removed"from the actual is typical for subtropical systems. (Where as a tropical system exhibits  more symmetry - clouds/showers are  concentric with respect to the low pressure center as is the wind field, too.) The guidance data is varying from one forecast cycle to another.

The latest tropical cyclone guidance is now leaning more toward a motion initially toward the north followed by a gradual turn northwest toward the SC/NC coastline. (map below)
TC Guidance
The ensemble data for the tropical models as well as from the GFS ensemble suite are also leaning toward a north track then bending back towards the SEUS coast.
TC Guidance Ensembles

GFS Ensembles (GEFS) for low off the SEUS Coast

Even more different is the actual GFS operational (OP) run that takes the low north then nearly due west to a landfall on the Georgia coast over the weekend. The movie loop below is the GFS "OP" run :

video

In general folks along the SEUS coast should continue to keep tabs on this system through the weekend. The system will bring gusty winds, heavy ran and rough surf with rip currents to the Carolina coasts south the Georgia and Florida, too over the next 3-4 days. And the system could strengthen into a weak subtropical or tropical storm with winds of perhaps 40-50 mph. 

May 5, 2015

Forecast Quiet Hurricane Season Could Start Early

Satellite imagery is showing a sprawling area of clouds off the East Coast of Florida. At the surface a trough of low pressure extends from north of Cuba through the Bahamas.  This area is expected to gradually organize into a low pressure area over the next few days.



The National Center in Miami is issuing a medium (40%-60% ) chance for this system to organize into a potential subtropical cyclone over the next 48 to 96 hours.
The system is expected to bring some beneficial rains to South Florida and also produce some rough surf along its east coast northward to the Georgia and Carolina's shoreline as well as dangerous rip currents.
I mentioned in the title of this post it is expected to be a rather quiet hurricane season in the Atlantic this year.  Colorado State University has come out with its first outlook for the season.

The reason for an inactive season a moderate to strong El Nino is expected and Atlantic Ocean water temperatures are averaging colder than normal. Just a note of caution - this outlook doesn't mean that storms won't affect the U.S. Mainland. So due diligence is still needed for residents along the U.S. coast from Texas to Maine.