30 May 2012

Beryl heading back out to sea and strengthening

After making landfall on Sunday night as an intensifying tropical storm, Beryl weakened to a tropical depression, but remained a coherent and obvious presence.  It tracked west from Jacksonville across the GA/FL border, then turned northeast to its current location near Wilmington NC.

It is still quite well-organized and is about to head back over the open ocean.  Based on surface obs and buoys, the central pressure is around 1000mb and the maximum sustained winds are 30kts.

Upon reaching the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, Beryl will likely reintensify to a tropical storm, but continue its northeast motion and make its way out to the north central Atlantic graveyard over the next several days.

The estimated rainfall over the past week (since pre-Beryl skirted just east of Miami) shows a clear maximum over northern FL and southern GA where the system stalled prior to turning northeast.

Remember that the Atlantic hurricane season officially begins this Friday... just don't mention that to Alberto or Beryl!

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27 May 2012

Beryl to make US landfall tonight

Since my previous update, Beryl has gotten much better organized, and not only is it now a fully tropical storm, it intensified to 55kts as it passed over the warm Gulf Stream ocean current.  It is just 85 miles offshore and heading west toward Jacksonville at 9kts.  The satellite image here shows the storm prior to sunset.  And again, this is truly rare to have two tropical storms form prior to June 1... it has happened just 2 other times since records began in 1851 (those years were 1887 and 1908).

I have a couple long radar loops available at here, and the image as of this post shows a formidable storm heading for the coast with major bands already impacting the coast...

Tropical Storm warnings are shown below, and many coastal towns in the storm's path are already experiencing TS conditions.  Although not quite a hurricane, this storm should be taken seriously if you're anywhere near its path... storms that make landfall while intensifying are notably more severe than storms of the same intensity but on a weakening trend.  Northern FL and eastern GA and SC can expect about 6" of rain, with some locations perhaps receiving a foot.  Areas immediately on the coast north of the landfall location could experience up to a 4' storm surge.

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26 May 2012

Beryl forms and heads for southeast US coast

The area of disturbed weather that passed just east of Miami on Thursday continued to move northeast as expected, then at 03Z today (11pm EDT on Friday), it acquired enough organization to be upgraded to Subtropical Storm Beryl, the second named storm of the season (which officially begins NEXT Friday).  It is exceptionally rare to have two storms form prior to June 1... this is only the 3rd time in known history (back to 1851).  The other two occurrences were 1887 and 1908, so you probably don't remember them!

Beryl is a 40kt storm that still lacks some of the key features to be designated a fully tropical system, but the environment has markedly improved since my last update on Thursday.  It's located about 260 miles east of Charleston SC and crawling WSW at 4kts.  Over the next couple of days, it is not forecast to dramatically change intensity, but to continue its trek toward the coast, making landfall near the GA/FL state line late Sunday into early Monday.  As always, there is uncertainty in the track forecast, and the storm is larger than a single line anyway, so areas around the exact location will also experience tropical storm conditions.  The tropical storm watches and warnings as of this post are as follows:
but you can always find the latest at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

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24 May 2012

Disturbance intensifies over southern Florida

A disorganized area of low pressure has gradually become better organized today, and is now centered about 50 miles east of Miami FL (designated AL94).  The strongest winds and thunderstorms are displaced to the east, but 30-50kt winds and flooding rains have been observed in and around Miami.  The weather station on Virginia Key recorded a gust of 50kts and a surface pressure of 1005.5mb.  The radar and satellite images below shows some banding around a very asymmetric circulation.

The system is currently in very strong vertical shear, so any tropical development will need to wait for the shear to subside, which is forecast to happen in the next couple of days.  In the meantime, the disturbance (or perhaps subtropical storm) will continue to bring strong and gusty winds to southeastern Florida and the westernmost Bahamas.  What track guidance there is suggests a continued motion toward the northeast, taking it further offshore.  Should this get upgraded to a subtropical or tropical storm, the next name on the list is Beryl.

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21 May 2012

Alberto weakens and moves away from land

Since yesterday, the convective activity in Alberto has dwindled, and much of the low-level circulation is exposed.  It has also begun the anticipated eastward turn, now drifting away from the US coast rather than toward it.
The satellite image below shows the storm located about 175 miles east of Jacksonville FL.  It is a disorganized 35kt tropical storm, and the motion is east at 6kts.

In the coming couple of days, the vertical shear will increase dramatically and the SST will decrease dramatically, resulting in a messy extratropical cyclone.  The track forecast is shown here, and indicates a landfall-free exit off the US east coast.

Though nothing else is brewing across the basin now, but the next name on the 2012 list is Beryl.

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20 May 2012

Pre-season tropical storm forms off southeast US coast

On the afternoon of May 19, a persistent circulation located off the North Carolina coast was upgraded to Tropical Storm Alberto based on abundant observations (radar, surface, ship, buoy, satellite).  The Atlantic hurricane season doesn't officially begin until June 1, but pre-season activity is certainly not unprecedented.  However, it is the earliest TS formation since 2003 (Ana formed on APRIL 18 of that year).

Currently, at 15Z on May 20, Alberto is located just 95 miles southeast of Savannah GA and heading WSW at 5kts (toward the Georgia coast).  The intensity is 40kts with a 1000mb central pressure.  As I write this, an aircraft is en route to the system to more accurately probe its intensity.  There is a tropical storm watch in effect for much of the SC coast... you can view the latest watches (and potential warnings) at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/storm_graphics/AT01/refresh/AL0112W5+gif/173428W_sm.gif

In the very near future, Alberto will get nudged further offshore by a trough, then accelerate toward the northeast and begin extratropical transition in the Tuesday-Wednesday timeframe.  It is not expected to significantly impact the US coast, though increased surf will be noticeable along GA, SC, and NC.

The intensity, track, and environment forecasts from several models are shown below:

You will be able to follow it on radar via Jacksonville and then Charleston:

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