#SuperTyphoon #Goni to hit #Philippines; another Caribbean storm?

The late northern hemisphere Typhoon season has seen bad storms, and a potential devastating event is shaping up in the Philippines. Supertyphoon Goni is on a path to hit the Philippines tomorrow – currently a massive Category 5, but forecast to weaken somewhat to a strong Category 4, but that is little comfort. On this track it will pass directly over Manila, causing epic damage. Models indicate the potential for over $20 Billion US Dollars of impacts, with over 30 Million people within the swath of hurricane force winds, and one and a half million at risk from storm surge flooding. Here is the forecast damage swath – it couldn’t be much worse, with the entire metropolitan Manila area within the severe to catastrophic wind zone:

Dangerous Super Typhoon Goni – click for the details

Hopefully the storm will wobble north (best) or south (less good but still better than this track) or, better yet, decrease in intensity more than forecast (but that’s probably not in the cards). The Philippines is still suffering the aftermath of Typhoon Molave, which hit south of the capital killing over twenty. Between the pandemic and a series of storms, the Philippines has little reserves for disaster relief.

For those watching the Atlantic, invest area 96L will likely become a tropical depression later today, with the US National Hurricane Center starting tracking as AL29. It will get the name “Eta” if it becomes a tropical storm, as seems likely. Either way it will bring rain to Jamaica and the so-called “ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacau) in the southern Caribbean, and is on track to perhaps hit Nicaragua as a tropical storm in about 4 days. Will post something on it if/when NHC starts formal advisories – for now, attention should be on Goni.

Magnitude 7 #Earthquake in eastern Aegean Sea

There has been a major earthquake in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Turkey, about 65km southwest of Smyrna (Izmir). There are reports of a tsunami impacting both the port there and the Greek Island of Samos, as well as structural collapse and fatalities across coastal Anatolia. The early median computer model estimated economic impacts are approximately $8.3 Billion USD, with upwards of 110,000 people living within the region where the ground motion is sufficient to cause buildings to collapse …

Earthquake in the Aegean

Zeta wrap-up, AL962020 (Invest in Caribbean)

Hurricane Zeta has excited the scene, blasting through the southeast leaving a trail of downed trees, power outages,roof damage, and at least six fatalities. The likely total economic impact is around $5 Billion – mostly not covered by insurance. Here’s the damage swath based on the final forecast track (NHC is no longer issuing advisories as it is extratropical, but the remnants will be joining up with some systems in the North Atlantic and hitting Ireland and that benighted land south of Alba on Sunday).

Final swath for Zeta – click to embiggen.

The National Hurricane Center has a dreaded X on their map this morning, a tropical low that is part of a wave located in the far southern Windward Islands. Here is this morning’s analysis from TAFB …

The X of doom is the”L” in the lower middle of the map,

It seems likely that this system (currently with the temporary/invest ID AL96) will become a tropical depression this weekend. Tracking is just getting started, and is a mixed bag with some models dissipating the storm before it reaches the western Caribbean, and other spinning it up to becoming a Tropical Storm (which would be named “Eta”, the seventh letter in the Greek Alphabet). The most likely scenario is a tropical storm hitting the coast of Nicaragua, stalling inland before the remnant low is ejected northeast across Jamaica/Hispaniola by the next cold front to sweep through the region. But that’s 7-10 days from now … at the moment, there are no warnings, watches, or even “monitor” cautions in the NHC outlook, so enjoy the weekend!

Zeta treks across the Southeast, stormy day in store; another one?

Zeta make landfall yesterday evening and passed right over New Orleans. Surprising just about everyone who wasn’t just guessing, it was almost a Category 3 storm as it make landfall in Timbalier Bay, with the peak winds across Grand Isle, Port Sulphur, and Gulfport. This was a bit lucky for New Orleans, as had it passed a bit further east it would have put more stress on the Levees, although in theory they should have been able to hold up to this class of storm. There is structure damage across the region, and a lot of power outages, with outages and trees/limbs/light damage now extending across southern Mississippi, Alabama, and now into central Georgia. Here’s the damage swath …

The situation today is really complex. Zeta is merging with a strong frontal system that has been pushing into the southeast, bringing some nice fall weather behind it – but it has to push Zeta out of the way first. The storm is riding up the front and will be offshore by tomorrow – a very fast mover. Here is the latest (6am) synoptic weather map with water vapor image:

Synoptic Weather Map: pretty complex mess today!

The main thing to get from the above is that Zeta and the front are interacting, with the front accelerating Zeta and pushing it offshore, and the tropical moisture giving the front an energy boost (contrasting air masses – hot/cold, wet/dry – produce stormy weather). Here’s the current radar – you can clearly see that “tail” streaming south of Zeta that is headed towards the coast …

Radar this morning – hard to find Zeta in all this mess!

For the coastal GA/SC area, most of the severe weather potential (in the form of isolated tornadoes) is inland of I-95. We’ll have blustery winds and rain showers as that “tail blows through today. So keep your weather radios handy just in case.

In other tropical news, NHC is watching the same area where Zeta formed, and currently has it as a 40% chance of something forming early next week, but the models have been trying to spin stuff there for some time. For now, nothing to worry about.

Zeta a bit stronger, clear eye, near landfall

Zeta is a bit stronger, and is now within range of the New Orleans radar …

Left is reflectivity (rain intensity), right is the doppler winds …

The eye has cleared some as well. Winds were around 105mph at 2pm. The aircraft in the storm reported 119 knot winds at flight level around 3:30pm, and the radar right now is showing 123 knots well above the surface, so it’s likely winds are over 110mph … landfall is coming up in the next hour or so.

Approaching Land …

Zeta approaching Louisiana

Here’s the latest (11am) Satellite image … an eye is starting to form, but intensification seems to be leveling off:

Embiggenable visual band image at 11:16am.

The 11am NHC Forecast (Key Messages regarding Hurricane Zeta) holds the wind at 90mph, 10mph lower than the 5am forecast. If you recall this morning’s post, that drops the wind force by 19%, and the predicted impacts dropped by about 25% to just over $2 Billion. Otherwise, that discussion is still on track …

Zeta and New Orleans

This morning the National Hurricane Center revised upwards the estimated peak winds for Zeta and shifted the track a bit towards the west, making New Orleans at more risk. Here are NHC’s Key Messages regarding Hurricane Zeta (not available in Spanish this morning for some reason). Here is the TAOS/TC impact model damage swath based on the new forecast, which presents a greater threat to the coast :

Impact swath as of 5am Wed – click to embiggen.

At 11pm, NHC was forecasting the peak winds at landfall at 85mph. The new forecast has peak winds at 100mph. The force of the wind on a surface like a building is proportional to the square of the wind speed. The actual equation is …

Fw = 1/2 ρ v2 A  

… where p is the density of the air, A is the surface area exposed, and v is the velocity. So if you crunch the numbers, a 100mph wind is 38% stronger than an 85mph wind. What all that means is the damage will be greater, and the storm surge higher. So instead under $1 Billion in economic impacts we’re now looking at upwards of $3 Billion, given both the higher damage potential, and the track shift closer to the target-rich areas of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

On this track, there would be three areas of concern for storm surge. First, the area of the Delta, around Grand Isle. Second, the area between Biloxi and Dauphin Island, centered on Pascagoula. Third, the north shore of New Orleans that faces Lake Pontchartrain. Being on the back side of the storm, the winds will be trying to blow the lake into the city. Another area of concern is the western shore of Mobile Bay.

The potential impacts inland haven’t really changed much. The storm will be rapidly become extratropical as it is swept up in an approaching front. We can expect gusty winds and rain (but due to the fast motion, not epic rains, just flash-flooding in areas that usually get flooding). I’d expect power outages across the southern half of Mississippi and across a broad swath of central/south Alabama, as well in to Georgia from Columbus through the Atlanta area, perhaps into western South Carolina. One potential risk that has increased is that of a tornado – it seems conditions will be conducive for them to form, so keep your NOAA weather radio on (make sure you’ve got extra batteries!).

For the GA/SC coast, we may get some gusty winds mid-day tomorrow (Thursday). Here is an excerpt from the current forecast discussion from the Charleston WSFO, which is responsible for the stretch of the coast from Brunswick to the other side of McClellanville SC

One notable change is the tornado threat. Models now have stronger
shear occurring earlier in the day. 0-6 km bulk shear approaches 50
kt in the afternoon. This shear appears to be associated more with
the front than the remnants of TC Zeta, but it`s still very strong.
However, the limiting factor is the instability. MLCAPEs struggle to
reach 500 J/kg, especially in what`s expected to be a mostly cloudy
regime. Showalter values are barely negative as well. But the
concern remains, so SPC now has most of our area in a Marginal Risk.
The greatest threat of a short-lived weak tornado appears to be late
in the afternoon and early evening, mainly west of I-95.

In summary, yes, a little tornado risk for Coastal GA/SC, but not that great. Most likely just breezy with scattered rain on Thursday, clearing out and about 10 degrees cooler on Friday.

Zeta update; another storm?

Zeta hasn’t bounced back from it’s passage over Yucatan as quickly as expected. Winds are only 60mph (tropical storm) at the moment … here’s the afternoon satellite image, notice on IR the cloud tops are a lot warmer, as sign of weakness:

IR cloud temps on the left, visual on the right …

NHC still expects it to bounce back before landfall with hazardous conditions reaching the Gulf Coast tomorrow afternoon/evening given the large wind field and expected northward sprint. Track was nudged a bit left (west) with the highest wind swath closer to New Orleans and the Mississippi coast. Full post with landfall damage estimates in the morning, when we get a better picture of how much (if any) it recovers.

PS – some of the models have, off and on, been indicating another storm forming this weekend/early next week in almost the same spot Zeta did, so naturally folks with nothing better to do are hyping it. Yesterday GFS had a significant storm spinning up. The latest GFS had nothing – it vanished. So, again, unless it’s just for amusement, don’t worry about the long range models until NHC has dropped a dreaded X on the spot (and even then don’t worry unless you are mentioned in the “Interests in <wherever> should monitor this system” verbiage).

Hurricane Zeta hit Cancun; LA/MS/LA up next

Zeta made landfall this morning on the Yucatan Peninsula, smacking the same areas that were hit by Delta. Here’s a comparison zoom; you can use your mouse to grab the slider and see either Zeta or Delta:

Comparison between Delta and Zeta tracks and impacts

Once the storm is back in the Gulf of Mexico it should regain whatever was lost over Yucatan. Here are the current Key Messages regarding Tropical Storm Zeta (en Español: Mensajes Claves) from the hurricane center, and the impact swath from my TAOS/TC model:

The current track will likely bring Category One hurricane conditions to the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts on Wednesday. Right now the worst should be on the Delta itsself and the Pascagoula/Mobile area. Little wobbles will make a big difference as to which communities will see the brunt of Zeta – New Orleans, Gulfport, Mobile, or Pensacola. After that the highest winds (which will be on the right hand side of the storm track, as seen in the map above) will track across south/central Alabama (Montgomery), then Columbus, Atlanta before fading out near the SC border.

For coastal GA/SC (Savannah/HHI/Beaufort and nearby areas), Thursday afternoon may be breezy (gusts to 30mph or so) with some rain, but on the present forecast nothing dangerous. Further inland, north of Macon is more likely to see scattered power outages, limbs down, that sort of thing, as might the Greer (Greenville/Spartanburg) areas of SC. After that the storm rapidly runs up the Appalachian Mountains, across the mid-Atlantic states, then out to sea by the weekend, where it may regain strength as a extratropical system. All told it may run up $2 Billion in impacts.

Zeta now a Hurricane; watches up for northern Gulf Coast

Here are the latest Key Messages regarding Hurricane Zeta (en Español: Mensajes Claves). After Yucatan (which is experiencing landfall this evening), the next target is the Louisiana/Mississippi/Alabama coasts. Hurricane watches are now up for the New Orleans area. It is likely Zeta will still be a hurricane at US Landfall – more complete analysis in the morning. Here is how the storm looks this afternoon – note the gray area inside the angry red/black shield, those are very cold thunderstorm cloud tops, indicating intensification:

Hurricane Zeta at 4:40pm Monday. Visual on the right, IR on the left.