27 March 2004


The unprecedented South Atlantic hurricane (now called 01L) has strengthened
since yesterday and continues to drift toward the southern Brazil coast. The
position as of 17Z today is 29.5S 47.0W and intensity is estimated to be 80kts,
or nearly a CAT2 storm.  Outflow continues to be excellent, and shear over the
system is minimal.  There are no warnings, advisories, or official forecasts for
the hurricane because there is no organization in charge of the South Atlantic.

Now for the scary part.  The Brazilian Weather Service is denying that this is
a) a hurricane and b) that it's a threat to their people.  "A meteorologist from
the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami had suspected the unnamed storm was
a full-fledged Category 1 hurricane, a phenomenon that has never been spotted in
the South Atlantic, but Brazilian scientists disagreed. 'Winds and rains will
not be significant, so we don't need to alarm the population', Brazilian
meteorologist Gustavo Escobar said by telephone.  Meteorologists in Brazil
expected the storm to wear off during the day 
and dissipate on Sunday."  If this makes landfall where expected, it will affect
at least 2 million people, who would be expecting a bit of rain and wind at
best, not a strong CAT1 hurricane.  Landfall could occur on Sunday or Monday. 
Forecasters from NHC have been contacting Brazilian meteorologists to help them
handle the storm (they are not trained in tropical cyclones), but it seems the
help has largely been rejected.  

Again, you can view the latest imagery on this storm at
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/trop-atl.html (GOES storm floater 1).

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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