Category Archives: Tropical Cyclones

Information about tropical cyclones

Hurricane Aletta Rapidly Intensifies to Category 4

Hurricane Aletta rapidly intensified Friday morning to Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Aletta was located at latitude 15.8°N and longitude 111.2°W which put it about 505 miles (815 km) west-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico.  Aletta was moving toward the west at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 140 m.p.h. (220 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 165 m.p.h. (265 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 943 mb.

An environment with warm Sea Surface Temperatures and little vertical wind shear allowed Hurricane Aletta to intensify rapidly during Thursday night and Friday morning.  A small circular eye was evident at the center of circulation.  A tight ring of strong thunderstorms completely surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Several bands of strong storms were revolving around the eastern and northern sides of the core of Hurricane Aletta.  Storms around the core were generating very strong upper level divergence which was pumping away large quantities of mass from the hurricane.  The removal of mass allowed the pressure to decrease rapidly and a stronger pressure gradient force generated much stronger winds.

Hurricane Aletta has a relatively small circulation.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 30 miles (50 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 100 miles (160 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) was 28.3.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 10.8 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 39.1.  Hurricane Aletta is very similar in intensity and size to Hurricane Charley in 2004 when Charley hit southwest Florida.

Hurricane Aletta will remain in a favorable environment of warm water and little vertical wind shear for another 12 to 24 hours.  So, it could strengthen more in the short term.  Aletta will start to move over cooler water during the next day or so.  There will be less energy in the upper ocean to support the intense hurricane.  In addition, a upper level trough to the northwest of Aletta will produce southwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Increased vertical wind shear will speed up the rate of weakening.  Since the circulation of Hurricane Aletta is relatively small, it could weaken fairly quickly.

Hurricane Aletta is moving around the southwestern part of a ridge over Mexico.  The ridge has been steering Aletta toward the west.  A turn more toward the northwest is expected when Hurricane Aletta nears the western end of the ridge.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Aletta is forecast to move farther away from the west coast of Mexico.

Tropical Storm Maliksi Forms East of Luzon, Ewiniar Brings Rain to South China.

Tropical Storm Maliksi formed east of Luzon on Thursday while Tropical Storm Ewiniar brought rain to parts of South China.  At 8:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Maliksi was located at latitude 17.4°N and longitude 127.7°E which put it about 330 miles (535 km) east of Luzon.  Maliksi was moving toward the north at 4 m.p.h. (6 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 996 mb.

The Japan Meteorological Agency designated an area of low pressure east of Luzon as Tropical Storm Maliksi late on Thursday.  There was a large counterclockwise circulation east of Luzon, but there were few thunderstorms near the center of the circulation.  Most of the thunderstorms were occurring in three bands in the outer portions of the circulation.  One band was located well to the west of the center of circulation, a second band was located well to the north of the center and the third band was located well to the east of the center.  The winds to tropical storm force were occurring in those bands.

Tropical Storm Maliksi will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 to 48 hours.  Maliksi will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  Maliksi will move underneath an upper level ridge where the winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  The large circulation will be the primary factor inhibiting intensification in the short term.  Maliksi will intensify slowly until thunderstorms develop near the center of circulation and the strongest winds occur closer to the center.

Tropical Storm Maliksi will move around the western end of a subtropical ridge.  The ridge will steer Maliksi slowly toward the north.  When Tropical Storm Maliksi moves farther to the north westerly winds will begin to steer it toward the northeast.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Maliksi will remain east of Luzon.  The circulation of Maliksi is so large that rainbands on the western side of the circulation could affect the northern Philippines.

Elsewhere over the western North Pacific Ocean, Tropical Storm Ewiniar brought heavy rain to parts of South China.  Ewiniar made landfall on the coast of China near Yangjiang on Thursday.  At 8:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Ewiniar was located at latitude 22.6°N and longitude 112.1°E which put it about 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Yangjiang, China.  Ewiniar was moving toward the north at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 998 mb.

The center of Tropical Storm Ewiniar was moving farther inland over South China.  The winds to tropical storm force were occurring in rainbands that were still over the South China Sea.  Ewiniar was dropping heavy rain over parts of western Guangdong province and over southern Zizhiqu province.  The heavy rain could cause flooding in those areas.

Aletta Strengthens Into a Hurricane

Former Tropical Storm Aletta strengthened into a hurricane on Thursday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Hurricane Aletta was located at latitude 15.3°N and longitude 110.0°W which put it about 455 miles (730 km) west-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico.  Aletta was moving toward the west-northwest at 6 m.p.h. (10 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 987 mb.

A circular eye developed at the center of Hurricane Aletta on Thursday afternoon.  The inner ends of several rainbands wrapped part of the way around the eye and a broken ring of thunderstorms surrounded the eye.  The strongest winds were occurring in the broken ring of storms.  Several other bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Hurricane Aletta.  Storm near the core were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the hurricane.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 25 miles (40 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 90 miles (150 km) from the center.

Hurricane Aletta will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 to 36 hours.  Aletta will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move through an area where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Aletta is likely to strengthen during the next day or two and it could intensify rapidly if the ring of storms completely encircles the eye.

Hurricane Aletta is moving southwest of a ridge over Mexico which is steering the hurricane toward the west-northwest.  Aletta could move a little more toward the northwest when it reaches the western end of the ridge.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Aletta will move farther away from the west coast of Mexico.

Tropical Storm Aletta Forms West of Mexico

Tropical Storm Aletta formed west of Mexico on Wednesday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Storm Aletta was located at latitude 14.3°N and longitude 108.4°W which put it about 425 miles (680 km) southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico.  Aletta was moving toward the west at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 999 mb.

A distinct low level center of circulation developed within a large area of showers and thunderstorms over the eastern North Pacific Ocean west of Mexico on Wednesday and the National Hurricane Center designated the system as Tropical Storm Aletta.  The circulation of Aletta was still organizing.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms developed east of the center of circulation.  The bands in the western half of the circulation consisted primarily of showers and low clouds.  Storms near the center of circulation were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from Tropical Storm Aletta.

Tropical Storm Aletta will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 48 hours.  Aletta will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper level trough located northwest of Tropical Storm Aletta will produce southwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear, but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent intensification.  Aletta will likely strengthen into a hurricane during the next several days.

Tropical Storm Aletta is moving south of a ridge over Mexico.  The ridge is steering Aletta toward the west.  A general motion toward the west-northwest is forecast for the next several days.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Aletta will move farther away from the west coast of Mexico.

Tropical Storm Ewiniar Forms Near Coast of South China

Tropical Storm Ewiniar formed near the coast of South China late on Tuesday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Ewiniar was located at latitude 20.9°N and longitude 110.5°E which put it about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Zhanjiang, China.  Ewiniar was moving toward the northwest at 6 m.p.h. (10 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1000 mb.

A distinct low level center of circulation consolidated in a cluster of showers and thunderstorms moving over the South China Sea near Hainan Island on Monday and the Japan Meteorological Agency designated the system as Tropical Storm Ewiniar.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms developed west of the center of circulation.  Bands east of the center consisted primarily of showers and low clouds.  Winds to tropical storm force were occurring within 60 miles (95 km) of the center o circulation.

Tropical Storm Ewiniar has 12 to 24 hours during which it could intensify if the center remains over water.  The Sea Surface Temperature of the water near the coast of South China is about 30°C.  Ewiniar is under the southwestern portion of a narrow upper level ridge.  The ridge is producing weak southerly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent intensification.  Even though the atmospheric and oceanic environments are favorable for intensification, a portion of the circulation of Tropical Storm Ewiniar is already over land.  The friction caused by the flow of air over the land will inhibit intensification.  Tropical Storm Ewiniar could intensify a little more if the center remains over water.

The upper level ridge was steering Tropical Storm Ewiniar toward the northwest.  A general motion toward the north is expected for the next 24 to 48 hours.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Storm Ewiniar will move near the east coast of the Leizhou Peninsula.  Ewiniar could move inland near Wuchuan and Dianbai.  Tropical Storm Ewiniar will bring some gust winds to South China, but the greater risks are the potential for heavy rain and floods.

Unusual Tropical Depression Alberto Reaches Michigan

Unusual Tropical Depression Alberto reached southern Michigan on Wednesday as it continued its northward journey from the Gulf of Mexico.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Depression Alberto was located at latitude 42.4°N and longitude 85.3°W which put it about 45 miles southwest of Lansing, Michigan.  Alberto was moving toward the north-northeast at 26 m.p.h. (43 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 996 mb.

The circulation of Tropical Depression Alberto remained intact even though it had been over land for more than two days.  There was a distinct low level center of circulation.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the center of circulation.  Storms in the core of the circulation were generating upper level divergence.  Tropical Depression Alberto looked like a tropical cyclone on both satellite and radar imagery.

Gusty winds in some of the bands of showers and thunderstorms caused damage to trees and power lines in Indiana and Ohio.  Most of the damage was minor.  The peripheral parts of the circulation of Tropical Depression Alberto interacted with other weather system to produce bands of heavier rain over parts of the southeastern U.S.  The heavy rain contributed to flooding in several states.

Tropical Depression Alberto will move northeast across the Great Lakes and into Canada on Thursday.  The broader circulation around Alberto will again interact with other weather systems to produce bands of heavier rain.  The potential flooding will exist in several states in the southeastern U.S. and Great Lakes region.

Tropical Depression Alberto Drops Heavy Rain Over Southeast U.S.

Tropical Depression Alberto dropped heavy rain over portions of the southeastern U.S. on Tuesday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Depression Alberto was located at latitude 36.3°N and longitude 87.5°W which put it about 45 miles (75 km) west-northwest of Nashville, Tennessee.  Alberto was moving toward the north at 16 m.p.h. (26 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 999 mb.

The core of Tropical Depression Alberto moved northward across Alabama and into Tennessee on Tuesday.  The circulation remained well developed and there was a band of showers and thunderstorms that surrounded most of the center.  Upper air data from Nashville, Tennessee indicated that the system might have a warm core and the Weather Prediction Center called it a Tropical Depression in the 11:00 p.m. EDT advisory.  A large counterclockwise circulation extended all the way to eastern North Carolina.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were rotating northward in the eastern half of the circulation.

Those bands of showers and thunderstorms were dropping heavy rain as they passed over some locations.  A weather station in Asheville , North Carolina received nearly two inches of rain on Tuesday.  Heavier rain likely fell over parts of the Appalachians where the wind forced the air to rise up the mountains.  There were reports of flooding in several locations and Flash Flood Warnings were in effect for a number of counties in western North Carolina.  The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina issued a Flash Flood Emergency for areas downstream of the Lake Tahoma Dam in central McDowell County, North Carolina due to imminent failure of the dam.  Flash Flood Watches remained in effect from Georgia to Virginia and westward to the Lower Ohio River Valley.

The core of Tropical Depression Alberto will move northward across Indiana on Wednesday.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms will continue to drop heavy rain in the eastern half of the circulation.  The greatest risk for flooding will be in locations where bands of heavier rain remain over those areas for several hours.  The ground is already very wet in parts of the eastern U.S.  Water levels in streams and rivers could rise quickly.  Saturated ground could also contribute to potential mudslides in steeper terrain.

Subtropical Storm Alberto Makes Landfall in Northwest Florida

Subtropical Storm Alberto made landfall in northwest Florida late on Monday afternoon.  According to the National Hurricane Center the center of Subtropical Storm Alberto officially made landfall near Laguna Beach, Florida.  At 5:00 p.m. the center of Subtropical Storm Alberto was located at latitude 30.3°N and longitude 85.9°W which put it about 15 miles (25 km) west-northwest of Panama City, Florida.  Alberto was moving toward the north at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 994 mb.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Aucilla, River, Florida to the border between Florida and Alabama.

Subtropical Storm Alberto weakened slowly as it approached the coast of northwest Florida.  Several factors contributed to the weakening of Alberto.  Drier air spiraled into the core of the circulation.  The drier air inhibited the development of taller thunderstorms in the eastern and southern quadrants of the circulation.  Most of the stronger storms developed north and west of the center of circulation.  Daytime heating of the land made the atmosphere more unstable and the instability contributed to the development of thunderstorms in rainbands in those parts of Alberto.  Subtropical Storm Alberto also mixed cooler water to the surface as it moved slowly toward the coast of Florida.  The Sea Surface Temperature near the coast was about 26°C before Subtropical Storm Alberto arrived.  However, the layer of warmer water was very thin.  The winds caused by Alberto mixed the water in the upper levels of the Gulf of Mexico.  The mixing brought cooler water to the surface and the Sea Surface Temperature cooled to near 24°C.  The cooler water meant there was less energy to support the circulation around Subtropical Storm Alberto.

The circulation of Subtropical Storm Alberto will weaken slowly as it moves inland.  Winds blowing water toward the coast will continue to produce a storm surge of 3 to 4 feet (1 to 1.3 meters) east of the center of circulation for another 12 to 24 hours.  A large surface high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean will steer Subtropical Storm Alberto slowly toward the north during the next several days.  Locally heavy rain could produce flooding as Alberto moves northward.  Flood Watches have been issued for areas between the Gulf Coast and the Lower Ohio River Valley.  Flood Watches have also been issued for places as far east as the Carolinas and Virginia.  The risk of flooding is even greater for locations that already received heavy rain from previous weather systems.

Subtropical Storm Alberto Strengthens on Its Way to Northwest Florida

Subtropical Storm Alberto strengthened on Sunday as it moved closer to northwest Florida.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Subtropical Storm Alberto was located at latitude 28.5°N and longitude 85.8°W which put it about 95 miles (155 km) south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida.  Alberto was moving toward the northwest at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h) and the were wind gusts to 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 991 mb.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Suwannee River, Florida to the border between Alabama and Mississippi.

The circulation of Subtropical Storm Alberto became more organized on Sunday.  A band of showers and thunderstorms wrapped around the center of circulation.  A band of drier air wrapped around the circulation just outside the rainband.  The band of drier air kept the circulation from developing a completely tropical structure and the National Hurricane Center continued to classify Alberto as a subtropical storm.  Alberto moved closer to the center of an upper level low over the Gulf of Mexico.  The upper level winds were weaker near the center of the low and the vertical wind shear decreased.  An upper level ridge over the Florida peninsula enhanced upper level divergence to the east of Alberto and the surface pressure decreases on Sunday.

Subtropical Storm Alberto will move through an environment somewhat favorable for intensification on Monday.  Alberto will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  The upper level low will continue to produce some vertical wind shear.  The band of drier air will limit the development of thunderstorms outside the primary rainband.  Some intensification is possible during the next 12 hours, but the wind shear and drier air should limit any strengthening.

The upper low and the ridge over Florida will steer Subtropical Storm Alberto slowly toward the northwest.  On its anticipated track the center of Subtropical Storm Alberto is expected to make landfall over northwest Florida on Monday.  Alberto will be capable of causing minor wind damage.  Wind blowing water toward the coast will produce a storm surge of up to 4 to 7 feet (1.3 to 2.3 meters).  Alberto will drop heavy rain over parts of the southeastern U.S. and flooding could occur in some locations.

Subtropical Storm Alberto Moves Into the Gulf of Mexico

Subtropical Storm Alberto moved over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Saturday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Subtropical Storm Alberto was located at latitude 23.9°N and longitude 84.6°W which put it about 120 miles (195 km) west-southwest of the Dry Tortugas.  Alberto was moving toward the north-northeast at 13 m.p.h. (20 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1001 mb.

Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the Dry Tortugas and the portions of the coast from Bonita Beach to Anclote River and from the Aucilla River to the border between Alabama and Mississippi.  A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect from the border between Alabama and Mississippi to the Mouth of the Pearl River.

The circulation of Subtropical Storm Alberto remained poorly organized on Saturday.  Several low level centers dissipated and new low level centers of circulation developed on the southwestern edge of an area of thunderstorms northeast of the center.  Even though the center of circulation reorganized several times, the pressure did decrease slowly during the day.  The strongest wind speeds were occurring in the area of thunderstorms northeast of the center of circulation.  The winds were weaker south and west of the center.

Subtropical Storm Alberto will move through an environment that will become more favorable for intensification during the next 48 hours.  Alberto will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  An upper level trough over the western Gulf of Mexico was producing southwesterly winds which were blowing across the top of the circulation.  Those winds were causing significant vertical wind shear which was inhibiting the intensification of Subtropical Storm Alberto.  The shear was also preventing thunderstorms from persisting near the center of circulation, which was keeping Alberto from making a transition to a tropical storm.  An upper level ridge was forming over Florida.  The ridge was starting to enhance upper level divergence to the east of Subtropical Storm Alberto.

The upper level trough will gradually evolve into a closed upper level low.  The vertical wind shear will slowly decrease during the next several days.  When the shear decreases, it will allow Subtropical Storm Alberto to strengthen.  Less vertical wind shear will also let thunderstorms persist closer to the center of circulation.  If thunderstorms persist near the center, then Alberto could exhibit the structure of a tropical cyclone and it could be designated as a tropical storm.  Subtropical Storm Alberto could intensify into a hurricane over the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The reformations of the low level center of circulation increase the uncertainty of track forecasts.  The upper level trough is likely to steer Subtropical Storm Alberto toward the north on Sunday.  Alberto could turn more toward the north-northwest when the trough changes into an upper level low.  On its anticipated track Subtropical Storm Alberto could approach the coast of the northern Gulf of Mexico within 48 hours.  Alberto could be a strong tropical storm or a hurricane at that time.

Subtropical Storm Alberto will be capable of causing minor wind damage when it makes landfall.  Alberto will drop locally heavy rain north and east of the center of circulation.  Flood Watches have been issued for several states in the southeastern U.S.  The Gulf Coast is very susceptible to storm surge.  There will be increases in the water level along the eastern and northern Gulf Coast where the winds blow water toward the shore.