Arthur becomes first Atlantic hurricane of the season

3 07 2014

Hurricane Arthur has become the first hurricane of this year’s Atlantic season, which started at the beginning of June.

Arthur is currently located close to the coast of south-eastern USA and is expected to move north-east, parallel to the coast, in the next few days.

Although the centre of the hurricane may only graze the coast it is likely to produce a storm surge several feet above normal tide levels and cause strong surf and rip currents along stretches of the US east coast.

Hurricane warnings have been issued by the National Hurricane Center for the North Carolina coast.

Hurricane Arthur - Image from NASA’s Aqua satellite courtesy of Colorado State University

Hurricane Arthur – Image from NASA’s Aqua satellite courtesy of Colorado State University

Seasonal forecasts for the Atlantic mostly indicate that there is likely to be a slightly below normal level of activity this season.

The Met Office forecast is for the most likely number of tropical storms in the season to be 10 with six of these likely to become hurricanes.

Further details can be found in our North Atlantic tropical storm seasonal forecast web page.

Meanwhile in the west Pacific a tropical depression has formed just south of the island of Guam.

This is expected to strengthen into a powerful typhoon over the weekend and could potentially threaten parts of Japan or Korea by the middle of next week.

Official forecasts of Atlantic and east Pacific tropical storms are provided by the National Hurricane Center.

Official warnings of west Pacific tropical storms are produced by the Japanese Meteological Agency (JMA).

The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of cyclone tracks from its global forecast model to regional meteorological centres worldwide, which are used along with guidance from other models in the production of forecasts and guidance.

Met Office StormTracker provides a mapped picture of tropical cyclones around the globe with access to track history and six-day forecast tracks for current tropical cyclones from the Met Office global forecast model and latest observed cloud cover and sea surface temperature. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.





Humberto is the first hurricane in a quiet season so far

11 09 2013

The Atlantic hurricane season is usually reaching its peak during the first half of September, but so far the season has been very quiet.

Humberto has just become the first hurricane of the Atlantic season. In the last 70 years only one season has seen the first hurricane form later.

humberto_20130911_1000z

There are various ways of measuring tropical storm activity including the number of storms, the number of hurricanes and something called the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Index. The latter measure takes into account both the strength and duration of storms and so gives a good indication of how active a season it has been. Whilst there have been eight tropical storms in the Atlantic so far, many have been weak and short-lived and thus the ACE Index is only running at 27% of where it would be in an average season at this time in the year.

It is not only the Atlantic which is seeing low levels of tropical storm activity. ACE Index across the whole northern hemisphere is running at 42% of average for this point in the season. There have only been two major typhoons in the west Pacific, which is an unusually low number.

It is worth noting that a quiet start to the Atlantic season does not necessarily mean the season will remain quiet. For example, in 2001 there had only been five tropical storms to this point in the season with just one becoming a hurricane. However, the remainder of the season saw another 10 tropical storms of which eight became hurricanes.

Official forecasts of current Atlantic tropical storms are provided by the National Hurricane Center. Visit our tropical cyclone pages for more information or follow @metofficestorms on Twitter.





Hurricane Sandy heads for the northeast USA

29 10 2012

As many as 60 million people across 12 US states are thought to be in the path of Hurricane Sandy, which has been given the nickname “Frankenstorm”.

Hurricane Sandy is currently moving northward, parallel to the US East Coast, and is expected to make a turn towards the northeast US coast later on today. However, strong winds and stormy conditions are already being felt from North Carolina to New York.

Hurricane Sandy heads towards the northeast coast of the USA 29 October 2012

Sandy looks set to impact parts of the mid-Atlantic and north-eastern USA like last year’s ‘Halloween Nor’easter’ storm of 2011 and the ‘Perfect Storm’ of 1991. As Sandy approaches land the warm moist air circulating within the hurricane will meet cold air spreading south into the north-eastern USA from Canada. This provides the potential for the storm to develop further and produce severe winds, heavy rain, flooding and even snow on its north and west flanks as it hits land.

Uncertainties remain as to the precise location and timing of landfall. The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center takes Sandy over the Mid-Atlantic states, very close to Delaware and New Jersey, later on tonight or Tuesday morning. However, due to the large size of the storm (around 600 miles across), the impacts from Sandy will be widespread and not just limited to where the centre of the storm makes landfall.

Storm surge, combined with high tide, could cause extensive flooding to low lying areas, between 4 and 8 inches of rain could fall over portions of the northeast coast and 2 to 3 ft of snow is expected in the mountains of West Virginia.

Official National Hurricane Center forecast for Sandy on Monday 29 October 2012

This is the second time in two years that New York will have been impacted by a tropical system. Only last year Hurricane Irene travelled up the east coast of the US and made landfall with winds of 65 mph in Brooklyn, New York. However, Sandy could have a larger impact than Irene due to it’s larger size, stronger winds and greater storm surge.

Hurricane Sandy has already cut a swathe through the Caribbean, bringing strong winds, heavy rain and storm surge to Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti and the Bahamas. At least 60 people have been killed, properties damaged and flooded, and large parts of Jamaica were left without power.

The National Hurricane Center and the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are providing warnings and advice to those who are potentially at risk from the storm. The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of hurricane tracks from its global forecast model to NHC which it uses along with guidance from other models in the production of its forecasts and guidance.

You can keep up to date with tropical cyclones around the world on our website or follow us on Twitter.

You can find out how tropical cyclones, including hurricanes, form in this video





Hurricane Sandy threatens severe weather for US East Coast

26 10 2012

Over the last two days Hurricane Sandy has cut a swathe through the Caribbean bringing strong winds, heavy rain and storm surge to Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti and the Bahamas. At least 20 people have been killed, properties damaged and flooded and at one point large parts of Jamaica were without power.

Hurricane Sandy is now moving away from the Bahamas, but is still very close to the south-east coast of the USA. The east coast of Florida is experiencing stormy conditions as Sandy moves northwards over the Atlantic Ocean.

Hurricane Sandy 26 October 2012

Sandy looks likely to turn north-west early next week and impact parts of the mid-Atlantic and north-eastern USA as did last year’s ‘Halloween Nor’easter’ storm of 2011 and the ‘Perfect Storm’ of 1991. As Sandy approaches land the warm moist air circulating within the hurricane looks sets to meet cold air spreading south into the north-eastern USA from Canada. This provides the potential for the storm to develop further and produce severe winds, heavy rain, flooding and even snow on its north and west flanks as it hits land.

Uncertainties remain as to the precise location and timing of landfall. However, the area most likely to be affected stretches from the states of Maryland to Massachusetts, including the populous cities of Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston.

Official National Hurricane Center Forecast for Sandy on Friday 26 October

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are providing warnings and advice to those who are potentially at risk from the storm. The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of hurricane tracks from its global forecast model to NHC which it uses along with guidance from other models in the production of its forecasts and guidance.

You can keep up to date with tropical cyclones around the world on our website or follow us on Twitter.





Further hurricanes expected in west Atlantic

9 09 2012

The Met Office has been closely monitoring Tropical Storm Leslie during the past week, especially because of the possibility of the impact on Bermuda. It now looks like Leslie will strengthen to Hurricane Force as it tracks 100-150 miles east of Bermuda late on Sunday. Therefore, although around 100 mm of rain and gale force winds are expected, no significant impact is expected across Bermuda, although dangerous rip currents are predicted by the US National Hurricane Centre.

This graphic shows the position and forecats track tropical storm Leslie. The orange circle indicates the current position of the center of the tropical cyclone. The black line and dots show the National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast track of the center at the times indicated. The dot indicating the forecast center location will be black if the cyclone is forecast to be tropical and will be white with a black outline if the cyclone is forecast to be extratropical. If only an L is displayed, then the system is forecast to be a remnant low.

This graphic shows the position and forecast track tropical storm Leslie. The orange circle indicates the current position of the center of the tropical cyclone. The black line and dots show the National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast track of the center at the times indicated. The dot indicating the forecast center location will be black if the cyclone is forecast to be tropical and will be white with a black outline if the cyclone is forecast to be extratropical.

All available forecasts track Hurricane Leslie, and Hurricane Michael, which is situated to the east, quickly north through Monday and Tuesday.

Meanwhile, an active cold front which was responsible for the rare New York tornadoes and the high profile disruption to the US Tennis Open Championships will continue to move east from the eastern seaboard of North America.

Hurricanes Leslie and Michael and this cold front are expected to converge east of Nova Scotia and south of Newfoundland bringing the risk of 100-200 mm of rainfall to the area through Monday and Tuesday.

Probabilities of surface wind speeds exceeding 58 mph

Probabilities of surface wind speeds exceeding 58 mph from US National Hurricane Centre

However the main risk remains to the marine community with wind speeds in excess of 65 knots from late Monday to early Wednesday. Combined with eight metre waves and potentially a maximum wave height of up to 16 metres there will be hazardous sea conditions across the Grand Banks fishing grounds which is the same area as was impacted by the ‘Perfect Storm’ in the Autumn of 1991.

Beyond this, the remnants of this combined storm may swing east and push across the Atlantic, influencing the weather over the north east Atlantic toward the end of the week. Currently the area of low pressure is expected to push well to the north of the UK, but will potentially push a frontal south across the UK bringing rain and gale force winds to the north on Thursday and Friday. However there is still a good deal to play for in the forecast for the end of the week and you should keep up to date with the latest weather forecasts and warnings on the Met Office website.

Pakistan Monsoon brings exceptionally heavy rain.

Elsewhere, the Pakistan Monsoon has brought some exceptionally heavy rain to the region. Khanpur, on or close to the Indus River in Pakistan reported 147mm of rainfall in just 12 hours up to midnight last night UK time. Such heavy and intense rainfall associated with the Indian Monsoon is likely to bring significant and rapid localised flooding issues to this area in the coming days. 

Across Sindh and Punjab provinces over the last 72 hours stations have been reporting varying 12-hourly totals with anything between 10 and 60 mm at times.  

Forecasts indicate that rain is expected to continue for another 48-72 hours, with peak intensity over next one to two days. So the situation could worsen initially before events begin to ease off slowly during the early part of next week.





Tropical Storm Isaac heads toward New Orleans

28 08 2012

At 1500 UK time on Tuesday 28 August, Tropical Storm Isaac was located about 150 km southeast of the Louisiana coast and heading northwest at about 15 km per hour.  Mean wind speeds of 70 mph at the surface  have been observed by the United States National Hurricane Center aircraft. These mean wind speeds maintain Isaac as a tropical storm, just below hurricane strength which requires mean wind speeds of over 74 mph.

Satellite image showing Tropical Storm Isaac

Satellite image showing Tropical Storm Isaac (Source: NOAA)

Although Isaac is expected to make landfall within the next 12 to 18 hours, there is still time for Isaac to intensify and become a hurricane. The official United States National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast track predicts an intensification of this system into a category 1 hurricane as it continues its track northwestwards over the very warm Gulf of Mexico with winds increasing to around 80 mph when Isaac makes landfall at around 0600 UK time on Wednesday morning. 

Official National Hurricane Centre Forecast for Isaac on Tuesday 28th August

Official National Hurricane Centre Forecast for Isaac on Tuesday 28th August

The latest forecast from the NHC suggests that Isaac will pass just to the west of New Orleans, though there is still some uncertainty over the exact track and intensity of the storm and the impact of Isaac will be felt quite widely along the Gulf coast region.

Although hurricane Isaac is not expected to be as intense as hurricane Katrina which caused massive damage to New Orleans 7 years ago, there is still a risk of extreme rainfall with up to 500 mm in 48 hours resulting in flash flooding and storm surge along the coast, in addition to the damaging winds.  As Isaac moves inland it will weaken, but is still likely to result in torrential rain, perhaps with tornados or very squally winds.  There is a risk of flooding over the lower Mississippi valley region for the next few days.

You can find out more about Tropical Cyclones on our website or read our case study on Hurricane Katrina on the Met Office Education website. 





Tropical Strom Isaac likely to make landfall as Cat 2 Hurricane

27 08 2012

Tropical Strom Isaac was located about 120km WSW of Key West at 4am (UK time) on Monday 27 August, and continues to move west north west. Mean wind speeds of 65 mph have been observed by the United States National Hurricane Center aircraft. These mean wind speeds maintain Isaac as a tropical storm, just below hurricane strength which requires mean wind speeds of over 74 mph.

Satellite image and forecast track of Tropical Storm Isaac from Met Office StormTracker

Satellite image and forecast track of Tropical Storm Isaac from Met Office StormTracker

The official United States National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast track predicts an intensification of this system into a hurricane as it passes across the very warm Gulf of Mexico by midnight tonight with a high risk that the Hurricane will be a Category 2 storm, with winds of around 100 mph when it makes landfall along the US Gulf coastline during the early hours on Wednesday morning.

Official National Hurricane Center forecast for Tropical Storm Isaac

Official National Hurricane Center forecast for Tropical Storm Isaac

The NHC notes that there is still a great deal of forecast uncertainty in exactly where Isaac will make landfall, with locations ranging from the Texas/Louisiana border eastward to the Alabama/Florida border. The most likely forecast track has the eye of the storm making landfall close to New Orleans, but the NHC state that it is important not to focus on the exact forecast track due to forecast uncertainties and the fact that significant hazards extend well away from the centre.

Therefore, there is a high risk of very rough, chaotic seas and hurricane force winds across the Gulf of Mexico impacting marine traffic and oil and gas production during the next few days. This will be followed by torrential rain, potentially as much as 500mm in 48 hours, causing flash flooding. There is also the risk of embedded tornados and more general hurricane force winds, with a storm surge and over topping waves along the Gulf coast from Alabama to central Louisiana, with New Orleans at an increased risk of being impacted than previously expected.

The Met Office’s StormTracker allows you to monitor all named storms around  the globe to evaluate risk and enables the comparison of past and present storms. It can be used with the official warnings and guidance from the National Hurricane Center and other Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres (RSMCs) who have responsibility for the issue of tropical cyclone warnings.





Hurricane Irene expected to make landfall in the US this weekend

26 08 2011

Latest forecasts show Hurricane Irene is expected to make landfall on the eastern coast of the United States on Saturday.

It is due to pass over North Carolina before continuing up the coast, passing over New York City about a day later.

Irene, the first hurricane of this year’s North Atlantic tropical storm season, has already caused much destruction in the Bahamas with winds of up to 115 mph.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC), is warning that Irene could bring 6-10 inches (150-250mm) of rain, with up to 15 inches (380mm) possible in places. It will also bring a powerful storm surge which could cause flooding in low lying areas.

Julian Heming, Tropical Prediction Scientist for the Met Office, said: “While Irene’s strong winds have the potential to cause damage, it is the amount of rainfall combined with the storm surge which are most likely to cause disruption.

“Although there will be slow weakening, we are expecting Irene to remain a powerful storm as it travels north along the US east coast.”

The Met Office is one of the key providers of hurricane forecast modelling to the NHC.

The latest location and forecast track of Irene can be viewed on the Met Office’s StormTracker, a tool specifically designed to monitor tropical storms. It provides an interactive global picture of current storm activity to help quantify risk and aid decision making.

Travel advice relating to Hurricane Irene.

 





Hurricane Tomas hits Haiti

5 11 2010

This year’s Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclone season remains active with storms continuing to affect the Caribbean and the Bay of Bengal.

In the Caribbean Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba are experiencing heavy rains and strong winds as Hurricane Tomas crosses the area, while Cyclone Jal has developed over the Bay of Bengal and is likely to hit India on Sunday.

Tomas strengthened as it moved north during the last 24 hours, bringing torrential rain and the risk of life threatening floods and mud slides to Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Colour enhanced satellite image showing Hurricane Tomas as it heads across Haiti and Cuba taken at 1345 GMT on 5 Nov (Source: NOAA)

The Met Office has been supporting Shelterbox in Haiti throughout this year, providing regularly updated forecasts to them, along with other charities working in the region following the devastating earthquake at the start of the year.

Alf Evans, Operations Manager at Shelterbox said: “The Met Office notified us of the possible risk to Haiti over a week ago, and we were able to start planning contingencies with our team in Haiti ahead of the game, so we are in the best position we can be.”

The Met Office is providing forecasts to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, charities and other National Meteorological Services around in the world, to provide the best advice on the expected movement of both Hurricane Tomas and Cyclone Jal.

You can keep up to date with the latest tropical storm news on our dedicated twitter channel @metofficestorms.





Haiti braces itself for Tropical Storm

4 11 2010

The Met Office has been providing forecasts to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, charities and other National Meteorological Services to provide advice on Tropical Depression Tomas which is expected to head towards Haiti.

As early as last Thursday, the Met Office has been providing advice that showed that the storm was likely to affect Haiti, bringing the potential of strong winds and prolonged rainfall.

Alf Evans, Operations Manager at ShelterBox said: “The Met Office notified us of the possible risk to Haiti early, and we were able to start planning contingencies with our team in Haiti ahead of the game, so we are in the best position we can be.”

Tropical Storm Tomas formed in the Caribbean Sea last Friday, to become the 19th storm of the Atlantic season. It is expected to re-strengthen over the next 48 hours to become a Hurricane before crossing Haiti at the end of this week. Even as a minimal tropical storm, Tomas could still cause life-threatening floods over Haiti.

Using the Met Office Global Ensemble Prediction System (MOGREPS), the Met Office provides 15-day tropical cyclone forecasts of the most likely track of the storm and an understanding of the range of possible storm tracks. The system can also identify areas where a new storm is most likely to develop and then monitor the likely track of such storms.

Satellite image of Tropical Storm Thomas to the southwest of Haiti at 15:45 GMT on 04 Nov 2010 (Source: NOAA)

The Met Office has been supporting ShelterBox in Haiti throughout this year, providing regularly updated forecasts to them, along with other charities working in the region following the devastating earthquake at the start of the year.








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