Supertyphoon #Noru (#Karding) and the #Philippines

Super Typhoon Noru, named Karding by the Philippines weather service since they use different names, is making landfall today. It is expected to pass just north of Manila on the main island of Luzon, and is expected to cause catastrophic damage …

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After that the storm is expected to cross the South China Sea, regain intensity, and strike Vietnam with potentially severe impacts as well. So while folks in the US are watching Ian, there is of course a lot going on elsewhere, including the recover of our own in Puerto Rico from Fiona. Please don’t forget about them.

#Earthquake in #Mexico

There has been a 7.6 earthquake in coastal Mexico south of Manzanillo …

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It has likely caused some damage in the immediate area of the epicenter, and caused people all over the region to head for the streets in panic. A tsunami warning for the immediate coastline has been issued, but a wider alert wasn’t required. Hawaii was given the all clear about 30 minutes ago (3:10pm ET, 910am HDT).

The end of an era.

My last DEC VAX system has died. It was a living fossil, like the coelacanth a survivor of an earlier epoch. An era when masses of unwashed users roamed crowded halls excluded from the temples containing the sacred machines by curtains of glass, users cursed as subcreatures condemned to approaching these temples as supplicants, stacks of punched cards in hand to be offered to the Gods of Computing.

The few, the privileged might be allowed to enter outer sanctums containing rows of teletypes or CRT to commune, indirectly, with the Machines. Here Graduate TA’s and Tenured Professors of Lessor Fields alike were rendered as paupers begging for a few more CPU cycles, a few more bytes of disk space, some shreds of paper upon which the staccato bursts of wisdom might issue from massive line printers, imprinting that which the machines deigned to offer.

And above it all, the system administrators. Gods, or near enough to make no difference to a user or desperate grad student, as they held the power of access in their hands.

It was a golden age. And it is ended.

Requiescat in pace.

Click to embiggen this relic of a time when Vaxen ruled the Earth …

Ma-on weakens, threat to #China lessened

The US Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) forecast for Ma-On (WP102022) has decreased a lot since yesterday, and the potential for severe impacts to China are lower as the storm is not expected to become a Typhoon (hurricane force winds). Here’s the projected damage swath based on this morning’s JTWC forecast …

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Nothing to worry about in the Atlantic at the moment. Next week? Maybe. But maybe not, so if you have your hurricane plans ready for the season then don’t worry prematurely (unless you’re just bored worrying about inflation, war, political unrest, monkeypox, and oh yeah COVID rates are climbing rapidly again 😛 ).

Hurricane #Agatha making landfall in #Mexico today

The slowly moving Hurricane Agatha is making landfall on the west coast of Mexico this evening. Tropical storm force winds and heavy rain are already being felt on the Mexican coast, and conditions will worsen throughout the day. Here’s the latest impact forecast map using my TAOS/TC model, based on the official forecast:

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Agatha is a strong Category Two hurricane at 110mph (95 kt) winds. The forecast keeps it at that intensity, although it might barely make Cat 3 status before landfall. Either way that shouldn’t change the impact estimates much. Agatha is a small storm, but there are still around 1.5 million people in the potential damage swath. The economic impact estimate has decreased a little with the track and intensity forecast changes, now at about $200 Million USD.

It is not likely Agatha will survive long after landfall, and while some of the track models do take the remnants into the Gulf on the current track the dynamics of it being a recognizable storm just aren’t there. NHC is showing an area of potential development around the Yucatan Peninsula in a couple of days (the yellow blob on the five day outlook (link)). Some of the remnant moisture of Agatha might contribute to the development of that potential system. The GFS model has been persistent in forecasting a storm to spin up off the coast of Belize in three or four days, then track across Cuba and the Bahamas as it moves northeast, ending up between Bermuda and North Carolina in about 10 days. While of interest to modelers and long range forecasters, it’s WAY too early to speculate or get excited about it.

#Agatha rapid intensification

Wow, that changed quickly. This morning Hurricane Agatha (EP012022) has rapidly increased in organization and intensity …

Agatha – note the dark red (cold) cloud tops on the infrared image (left), and a swirl of an eye forming.
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Rather than landfall as a Category One hurricane, it is very possible it could be a Category Three storm as it hits between Puerto Escondido and Mazunte, in the Mexican State of Oaxaca. This has caused the forecast economic impacts to triple to almost $400 Million USD. Still seems unlikely for Agatha to survive to enter the Gulf of Mexico – it should stall out and rapidly decay over land. But with more energy/moisture available it’s more possible. Just goes to show that despite advances, these storms remain somewhat unpredictable, especially intensity forecasts.

Tropical Storm Agatha and #Mexico; Southwestern Gulf of Mexico

Agatha (EP012022) looks to make landfall near Puerto Escondido, Mexico tomorrow (Monday) evening as a minimal hurricane. There is some uncertainty in the intensity, the National Hurricane Center is being conservative and forecasting landfall as a 90mph storm but chances are it will be less than that. If the forecast holds it will affect around 1.5 Million people and have economic impacts of between $100 and $150 Million USD. Like many tropical storm hitting Central America, aside from the immediate coast the biggest risk is probably flooding and landslides from heavy rains. Here’s the latest (Sunday Morning) impact forecast:

Click to enlarge.

Elsewhere, NHC has flagged the southern Gulf of Mexico and the area just to the east of Belize as an area for the possible formation of a storm next week with the odds at 30%. This morning’s GFS run did show something developing off the coast of Belize in about 5 days, becoming a tropical system as it crosses Cuba, the Bahamas, and then exiting northeastwards towards Bermuda. It’s WAY too early to speculate about that – and notice that the NHC Five Day outlook does not have the magic words in it, so nothing to worry about at this point. It is important to keep in mind that while the longer range models are getting better, they still spin up imaginary storms far too often to get excited about them. Unless you are testing your new blood pressure medicine for hurricane season, then feel free 😛

First East Pacific storm headed to #Oaxaca #Mexico

The first tropical storm of the year has formed off the coast of Mexico, and is likely to hit the coast of Oaxaca Mexico as Category 1 Hurricane late Monday or early Tuesday morning:

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Here is a link to NHC’s “Key Messages” for the storm. As a reminder, the Key Messages graphic is a great first stop when trying to figure out if a storm is a problem or not and what the current watch/warning situation is.

Agatha is likely to dump a lot of rain over the state of Oaxaca over the next couple of days. My models are showing there are nearly 3 million people in the region at risk, and economic impacts are likely to be on the order of $100 million US Dollars if this forecast holds up. It’s not likely that the storm will enter the Gulf of Mexico and regenerate.

How high do birds fly?

Normally when flying pilots worry about birds during takeoff and landing, for the obvious reason: who can forget US Airways Flight 1549 going for a swim in the Hudson River after a run-in with Canada Geese at 2800 feet during takeoff? In a typical year the US Air Force has upwards of 5000 bird strikes, and civil aircraft hit on the order of 9,000. Most are minor and don’t result in an incident (the vast majority are found by maintenance personnel after landing), although it is almost always fatal to the bird. A dozen or so a year result in the pilot having to abort the flight and make an emergency landing. Here’s a Boeing article on bird strikes for those wanting to find out more details.

I tend to relax a bit about birds once I’m above 5000 feet or so, but birds fly much higher during migration. Recent research in Europe has shown even small birds can fly at over 20,000 feet at times. I got a bit of a reminder while in the Mississippi flyway last week. I was cruising along at 16,000 feet when I saw a bright triangular shape rapidly cross in front of and slightly below me. Contrary to what this guy might think, as it passed I realized it was a flock of birds a few hundred feet below (the human brain tends to “connect the dots” when seeing moving point sources and it looks solid when it isn’t).

No birds or airplanes were harmed taking this picture, by which time said birds were too far to see.

Despite the occasional dramatic events, aviation and flying is remarkably safe. Because accidents are so rare we tend to focus on them, and since flying is something most people don’t do that often it feels more dangerous than it is (unlike driving, which is more risky than you think, especially on Abercorn). Perception of risk is one of those things I study, and it amuses me a bit that now I’ll probably worry more about birds than I should for a while until something else pops up to change my focus. It’s human nature. But hopefully resulted in an interesting blog post 😛

#Hurricane Season 2022: and so it begins … some #climate notes, and a Lunar Eclipse!

Today (15 May) the US National Hurricane Center beings their Tropical Weather Outlook (TWO, link goes to NHC), issued every 6 hours at 2am, 8am,2pm, and 8pm Eastern Daylight Time. For those of you who watch the Atlantic, East or Central Pacific hurricane situation that should be your go-to link. And as a reminder, there are certain “magic words” to watch out for that are your indication as to if you need to worry or not. As I constantly rant, NHC is pretty good in how they phrase these advisories. If you see the words “interests in some place should do something” and you are some place then do something. If you aren’t some place, you can probably not worry about it too much and give your refresh key a break.

Certain Television Weather Channels will hype every cloud and thunderstorm in the Atlantic between now and November, and some web sites will be showing you model tracks for storms that don’t even exist yet (and in many cases won’t every spin up). Ignore them – check the TWO, if it something is mentioned there, then maybe explore some more (especially if you are some place).

Right now, there isn’t any tropical cyclone activity anywhere in the world. Although technically it is not one of the official WMO specialized forecast agencies, for the world outside the National Hurricane Center’s area of responsibility is most easily monitored using the Joint Typhoon Warning Center’s site (link). The maps are boring right now … the only areas of any formation potential are in the Pacific and Indian Ocean and barely register as “very low” potential:

Click to embiggen the most boring map you’re likely to see this year.

There was an interesting article by Chris Landsea on NOAA’s “Beyond the Data” blog last week that those interested in the debate over hurricane activity and climate change should read. “Can we detect a change in Atlantic hurricanes today due to human-caused climate change?” is a pretty good overview of the situation, and hopefully those who want to rant one way or the other will read it and digest. Like most scientific discussions one can quibble with some of the assertions but I completely agree with the conclusion:

Therefore, in summary, we cannot yet say with confidence whether there is any detectable human influence on past Atlantic hurricane activity, and this is particularly the case for any greenhouse gas-induced changes (click to go to full article).

Unfortunately, our historical data and observation systems (and, while not mentioned in the article, shifting criteria) just aren’t good enough to say one way or the other. In theory we should start to see impacts – but we need longer term data. And therein lies the major dilemma with problems like climate change: by the time you can definitively say “yes, this is a problem” it’s too late to do much about it.

Finally, there is a total Lunar Eclipse tonight visible from Canada, the US, and South America. Lunar Eclipses are slow-motion events (link to EarthSky). You’ll first notice something odd about the full moon after 10pm, with the moon entering the dark inner shadow of the Earth (the Umbra) at 10:30pm. Totality (the period when the moon will be covered completely by the Earth’s shadow) will start at 11:29pm. Peak eclipse will be at 12:12pm (just after Midnight Eastern Daylight Time). The process then reverses itself. So if you check on the moon about every 15-30 minutes starting at 10pm (or just want to wake up a Midnight and look). Many of our ancestors saw these things and were afraid, but others watched in awe and figured out they were seeing the Earth’s shadow, and that is one proof that the Earth is round (the shadow is round).