Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dead Danny, New Erika Doing The Atlantic Tropical Storm Shuffle

Here's the National Hurricane Center's thinking on
the track of Tropical Storm Erika over the next
several days. This is obviously subject to change.  
If you haven't been paying attention to what's going on with tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean, you'd think they're just randomly changing the names of the storms out there.

Where once was Hurricane Danny, there's now Tropical Storm Ericka. At least they sort of traded places.

You might remember that small sized Danny Boy blossomed into a strong hurricane last Friday way out in the central Atlantic, with sustained winds reaching 115 mph at one point.

As expected, Danny encountered dry air and strong upper level winds as it headed toward and past the northern Antilles and quickly withered away into a harmless patch of disorganized clouds by yesterday.

Hot on Danny's heels was a much bigger patch of clouds heading west across the Atlantic. These clouds got organized, started rotating, and by last night, became Tropical Storm Erika, which is essentially picking up where Danny left off.

Like would-be Danny's intended path before he got blown apart, Erika looks like she wants to head to near or just north of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and eventually toward the Bahamas by Sunday.

Unlike Danny, Erika has a shot of surviving the strong upper level winds that are in the Caribbean and Atlantic this year. Erika is bigger in size than Danny, so its not so easily torn apart, and the upper level winds, or shear as it's called, aren't as strong as with Danny.

That said, the future of Erika is far from certain. Computer forecasting models sharply disagree on what Erika will look like once it approaches the Bahamas. It could fall apart. It could turn into a pretty strong hurricane. It could be a middling tropical storm.

And, there's a chance Erika could pose a threat to the southeastern United States coast, although some computer models curve Erika to the north away from the United States. Other models have a strong hurricane just off the southeastern coast menacing us.

This monster scenario is the one that I see most on social media, naturally. It's GREAT click bait.

Don't believe any hype with this just yet. Just keep an eye on it if you're in its very iffy path. Look here, and elsewhere, including the National Hurricane Center, for updates.

Meanwhile, remember how last week I was squawking about a potential Hurricane Kilo hitting parts of Hawaii?

In the immortal words of Emily Litella, Never Mind.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center had thought a hurricane named Kilo would develop and threaten the islands of western Hawaii this week. But Kilo has underperformed and is not much of a storm. It's also now not headed anywhere near Hawaii.

Of course, Hawaii is still not off the hook. Heavy moisture associated with El Nino, that periodic Pacific warming that's underway now, set off a tremendous rain storm in parts of Hawaii, including the Honolulu area yesterday.

The air became incredibly humid, leading to the heavy rain. The dew point in Honolulu at one point was 81 degrees. If the dew point is 70, it's considered awfully humid so imagine what 81 felt like, and imagine the supply of water available for the downpours.

There was quite a bit of flash flooding, road closures and damage. Not exactly paradise weather there.

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