Tuesday, July 5, 2005

AS FOR DENNIS, BEARS WATCHING

Bears Watching 1
Tropical Storm Cindy will be nearly onshore by the time you read this, but not before pumping up the volume to near hurricane force. Since official records have been kept about Atlantic Basin, this is the earliest known occurance of 4 NAMED tropical cyclones this early in the season. Excluding the storms of colonial times, this is the first time in recorded history we have had so many storms so early. It could mean nothing, or it could mean everything. If this season follows the pattern of last season, then the next 40 days will keep forecasters and bloggers very busy.

I came up with the graphic idea above this weekend while vacationing with family on the Chesapeake Bay. We own waterfront property that was severely damaged in Hurricane Isabel, and though rebuilding will take place this fall, we are always a-tune to the slightest hiccups of the tropical Atlantic, even in July. The phrase "bears watching" is often used by Weather Channel meteorologists when they are indicating there is going to be more to the story than they have time or need to explain on the air. Where to get the final word on that story? Here of course. Dennis indeed does bear watching over the next 10 days, as warm Caribbean waters, a low shear environment and the effects Cindy will have on the Atlantic ridge all will dictate where Dennis heads next.

The season is so far following what I expected... a THREE ACT pattern. I outlined this in a post back in May, but here is a recap with an update. I have added "ACT IV" to the list.

ACT I: I originally predicted that the first round of tropical systems would first make landfall in the central Gulf and southern Caribbean. I believe we are currently in ACT I which should last another 1-2 weeks. The outcome of Dennis will be the end point for this phase of the season, followed by a quiet period of perhaps 2 weeks.

ACT 2: By late July/early August, landfall focus would shift away from the central Gulf to Florida and the Southeast US Coast for a 3 week period, followed by another lull in activity lasting until the end of August. I expect 2 major hurricanes to occur during this time frame.


ACT 3: Starting in mid September, landfalls would shift to the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and New England. This phase will last until mid October, with at least one Cat 2 or 3 hurricane making landfall.


ACT 4: (NEW) Following climatological norms, landfalls will shift back to the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, where the season ends the way it started...with low-latitude storms starting west then turning sharply north.


SO WHAT WILL CINDY DO, AND WHERE IS DENNIS HEADED?

CINDY: Will continue to drench the parishes of SE Louisiana for another 12-18 hours, and put the pumps in New Orleans to test. Remnant rainfall will streak up the Eastern seaboard and energize an already juiced up atmosphere, resulting in widespread and frequent downpours of rain. As we saw with Arlene, Cindy could hold together longer than anticipated once making landfall, and still be an extratropical little swirl of rain that will race up the east coast, grabbing Atlantic moisture as it goes merrily along. This will no doubt enhance local rainfall totals, and make for a rainy end of the week for places from Virginia north to New York.


DENNIS: Okay, fine, call it The Menace. You know the press will anyway. This little chip off the block has a lot of warm water yet to soak up, and if you've see the SST map recently, you know that water water everywhere is 2 deg C or warmer throughout the central/western Atlantic, Gulf and Caribbean. TPC has said their windspeed esimates for late in the forecast period are conservative. At Day 5 they predict a Category 1 storm with winds at 75 knots. I think we will be surprised at how quickly this storm will develop, reaching Category 3 by the time TPC says it will be a 1. I also wonder out loud if the influence of Cindy on the Atlantic ridge will cause a piece of it to cut under the coastal surface Low and reemerge west of Bermuda. This could put weak easterlies in place to guide Dennis along a more west by north track, missing Cuba as Ivan did. This was also part of the prediction I made in May about the scope and behavior of Caribbean systems this season.


WHAT THIS MEANS FOR THE GULF COAST

1. COASTAL AND INLAND INTERESTS FROM GALVESTON TO TAMPA need to closely monitor the path of Dennis. (Like I needed to remind them of something they already know?) A weakening Atlantic ridge would put higher odds for a landfall between New Orleans and Tampa than Texas. A re-strengthening ridge would put areas from New Orleans west to Galveston at higher risk.


2. DENNIS WILL BE THE FIRST MAJOR HURRICANE OF THE SEASON. Remember that Camille (1969) and Opal (1995) exploded in wind speed in the final 12 hours before landfall. The trend from last summer is that monster storms either maintained or weakened right before landfall, but had made their intentions clear early on they were not to be ignored. With painful memories of the 2004 storms fresh, residents are not likely to disregard Dennis once it reaches Category 3 even if still in the Caribbean.

3. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT AFTER CINDY, DENNIS WILL BE THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN for a while. Dennis will dominate low and mid-levels of the atmosphere throughout the Caribbean and the Gulf will be quiet prior to and following his arrival. The next area for caution will be to start watching the west African coast for tropical waves. This is why I think Dennis will be followed by a 10 day to 2 week lull before anything can develop again.

6 comments:

Julee said...

WELCOME BACK!!!!!!!!! We missed you!

Bears watching . . . ha ha ha ha ha -- you should send that graphic to The Weather Channel!

When is it going to snow? November?

E. H. Boston said...

Great post. I have just a few quick questions...

1. Could we be talking about a landfall here in Southern New England, as predicted by Farmers Almanac, in your 1 month window of oppurtunity?

2. Does any of abundance of action in the tropics have a carry over effect and affect the winter season? (As you already know I am a crazy powderhound) Boston Harbor sea surface temperature has jumped about 3-5 degrees to 65 deg. in the past 1-2 weeks...and waters are only getting warmer. What are the probabilities of seeing a hurricane/or a strong tropical storm (ie- 60+mph) make it all the way to Boston.

3. FINALLY, should we (Bostonians and southern New Englanders) be getting prepared ahead of time before anything comes our way, for it has been 14+ years since we have had to deal with anything substantial. (Bob-1991, I believe)

Thanks and 4-5 more months before Boston's first flakes arrive. Good luck with your forecasting and with the rebuilding of your summer home. Hope you had a good 4th of July.

Terpboy said...

W-H-O-O-A!!!
Comments again!!

Hot darn!!

You snowdogs have to back off! It's JULY for Pete's sake.....!!

We have a few tropical storms to weather. (weather ...get it??? arrrrghh!)

Besides, if it is snowing it means WE'RE BACK AT SCHOOL!!!

Gee.. enjoy the summer.

Mr F...it's early, but so far so good with the summer prognostications!

terpboy

E. H. Boston said...

Now we know who the three most loyal readers are...

Don't we...

NICE TO BE BACK!

Mr. Foot said...

Welcome back loyal friends. You three are the hard of the hard core I must say.

I have a reason for the return of comments but will post that in the AM.

EH I shall answer your questions Wed AM. Worried about the current bout of storms leaking water into my basement again. This downpour is a preview of what the Cindy and Dennis tag team shall bring. Notice TPC has Cindy still as TD crossing Delmarva by Friday? Could there be redevel off Mid Atl coast? We shall see.

Terpboy said...

julee & e.h. (and anyone else)-

You probably know these sites already, but in case you don't...

http://weather.cod.edu/forecast/loop.avnpcp.html

http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/qpf2.shtml

GFS/AVN has heavy rains hitting the Maryland area as early as 12Z Friday...with the Boston area to follow.

Nice to be back, all...I've missed reading everyone's posts.

terpboy