Storms Surge in Atlantic ... and Pacific Home > Storms Surge in Atlantic ... and Pacific
Our "storm meister" is Cruise Critic senior contributor Steve Faber, who, like many of our members, also happens to live in the "zone." Steve came to the study of meteorology out of necessity, learning the skills out of an aversion to death and dismemberment -- his own! For years he was a private pilot with ratings in single engine, instruments and gliders, and for those endeavors understanding weather is a basic survival skill.... More
First it was the storm that wouldn't die, which turned into the storm that wouldn't grow. All in all, Ernesto was one of the stranger tropical cyclones I've ever seen. But given the fact that the center of Tropical Storm Ernesto passed literally right over my roof (less than a mile away, at any rate), I'm not complaining that it was pretty much a nonevent -- at least at the Florida end of the path.
Having a full-scale computerized weather monitoring system on the roof, it was easy to trace the passage of the storm. The barometer began to drop at 9:59 a.m. on Tuesday, August 29, plunging from 29.884 InHg (1012 Mb) to 29.613 (1003 Mb), which comports with the NHC measurements, and signaled the arrival of Ernesto's center. Winds (generally from the north and east) began to decline and for nine minutes from 11:17 p.m. to 11:26 p.m. it was dead calm. When the winds resumed they came from the west to southwest. Maximum sustained winds were 30 miles per hour gusting to 37. This occurred on Wednesday morning at 1:47 a.m., indicating that the backside of Ernesto was stronger than the front (an unusual characteristic), and those conditions continued unabated for a good four hours, and gusty winds and cloudiness didn't really diminish fully for two more days.
All told, this indicates to me that the storm was stretched and elongated, likely because once the center moved off the Cuban coast into the Atlantic, it began to move faster than the backside, which was still snarled up in the mountains of southeastern Cuba.
That would cause the storm to stretch like a rubber band. My own take is that the outward stretching pressure counterbalanced the inward pressure created by moving into an environment conducive to tightening up and reorganizing -- resulting in a storm that refused to intensify.
Ernesto only dropped 2.59 inches of rain here before moving on. Since South Florida has a low, swampy, friction-free landscape Ernesto was able to reorganize fairly quickly, and moved overland into the Carolinas at nearly twice the intensity and rainfall amounts. When it passes into the Atlantic again it is likely generate a maximum of 25-knot winds.
Elsewhere on this side of the continent, there are only a couple of tropical waves; none are expected to develop into a cyclone.
As for August's statistics, so far this year we have experienced five named storms, of which one ultimately became a hurricane (and not a major). Last year at this point we had had 12 named storms and 5 hurricanes, of which three were majors. The average for the past 10 years for June through August is 6 named storms, 3.1 hurricanes of which 1.4 were majors. Based on the 40 years through 1996, five named storms wouldn't have occurred until September 7. The first hurricane normally would have occurred on August 14; Ernesto briefly became a hurricane on August 27, so we're early on named storms ... and late on hurricanes.
Wind and wave forecasts show a rapidly calming South Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, with maximum wave heights down to six to eight feet by Monday morning. However, Ernesto will still be kicking things up in Atlantic waters from the Carolinas through New England.
In the Eastern Pacific, Hurricane John, currently a Category Three storm, continues to threaten Baja California and the west coast of mainland Mexico. This is a very large hurricane, and damaging winds, rains and storm surge will cover a broad area for the next 72 hours. During this period, John is expected to take a turn to the west, and that will take it into an environment not conducive to sustaining it as a cyclone (vertical shear and cooler water), and by September 6 it is expected to have dropped to tropical depression strength. It will in the process, likely absorb the smaller Tropical Storm Kristy.
The cruising areas most affected will be Mexican Riviera, or the Mexican Riviera segment of trans-canal cruises; three- and four-night Baja cruises out of Los Angeles; and the sea lanes between Ensenada and Hawaii, though both cyclones are expected to have dissipated long before reaching the Hawaiian Islands. The roughest seas predicted are for Saturday, with waves to 25 ft. kicked up by John near the southern tip of Baja, and to 15 ft. farther out to sea from Kristy.