30 November 2016

Most active Atlantic hurricane season in six years comes to an end

Today is the last official day of the Atlantic hurricane season. Since I started writing and posting updates on tropical Atlantic activity in 1996, I've written approximately 1,100 updates spanning 328 tropical cyclones, including 153 hurricanes, 69 major hurricanes, and 38 retired storm names. I was honored to have been asked to write blog posts for the New York Times for four years and for the Washington Post for five years and counting.  Thank you for your continued interest!

My 21st annual season summary is available on the Capital Weather Gang blog:

Most active Atlantic hurricane season in six years comes to an end


22 November 2016

Otto very close to becoming season's 7th hurricane

Just to keep everyone on their toes during the final homestretch of hurricane season, Tropical Storm Otto is lurking in the southwest Caribbean Sea.  Yesterday morning, it was just a tropical depression, and then was upgraded to a tropical storm later in the day as expected.  As of Tuesday morning, it is nearly a hurricane with peak sustained winds of 70 mph.


Otto is still on track to make landfall near the Nicaragua/Costa Rica border on Thanksgiving, then cross over into the eastern Pacific where it is expected to dissipate.  Hurricane watches have been issued for the area, while tropical storm watches and warnings cover much of Panama's northern coast.  If the center hits Costa Rica, it would be that country's first hurricane landfall on record.


The water temperature east of Nicaragua and Costa Rica is quite warm, around 28°C, which is plenty to sustain a hurricane.  The vertical wind shear has also decreased noticeably in the past couple of days.

The area where Otto is forecast to make landfall is sparsely populated, but as with all landfalling tropical cyclones, the risk of heavy rain and resulting flooding extends far from the center, and the mountainous areas of Nicaragua and Costa Rica could see 10-15 inches of rain in the coming days.


This is the 7th time that the name Otto has been on a name list since 1980, and it only got used in the past 3 of those 7 times (2004, 2010, 2016).  The next name on the list is Paula, though it's very unlikely that another named storm will form this year.


21 November 2016

Rare late-season tropical depression spins up in the Caribbean

My Monday update on newly-formed Tropical Depression 16, which could become Tropical Storm Otto today or tomorrow, is available on the Capital Weather Gang blog:

Rare late-season tropical depression spins up in the Caribbean