MAweatherboy1's Blog

A Very Early Look at the 2012 Hurricane Season

By: MAweatherboy1, 11:50 PM GMT on February 26, 2012

The tropics are mainly quiet worldwide right now. There are a couple areas of interest in the South Indian Ocean, one of which is providing some heavy rain to Madagascar. While this is not a significant system it is still bad news for Madagascar, a country just beginning to recover after powerful Cyclone Giovanna. This system has the potential to intensify in the Mozambique Channel, but there are several variables involved in that. Meanwhile, several models, including the GFS and Euro, develop a stronger cyclone in the basin this week. While it appears it will stay out to sea, some recent model runs have trended closer to Madagascar, so the situation still bears watching.

An Early Look at the 2012 Hurricane Season
With all else quiet, my mind has wandered ahead to what lies ahead for the Atlantic in 2012. The main factor that will control the basin this year is the weakening La Nina and the developing El Nino. This El Nino means we will almost certainly not see levels of activity like we have the past two years. Instead, I'm thinking we will have a more 2009 like year, which is unfortunate for hurricane enthusiasts like myself. 2009 saw 9 named storms, including powerful storms Bill and Fred as well as "Nor'Ida." However, the season was, for the most part, a dud. One potential wild card this year will be unusually warm temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico. This means that any storm that gets in the Gulf, whether it actually forms there or comes in from the East Atlantic, has the potential to be dangerous even with a marginal environment. Another potential wild card is an East African drought which threatens to decrease the number and severity of tropical waves we see this year. And of course, activity will largely be controlled by relatively unpredictable factors like dry air and shear. With all that said, my early forecast:
10-12 named storms
4-6 hurricanes
2-3 major hurricanes
2 landfalling TS
1 landfalling, non major hurricane
Of course, this could all be completely wrong, but it is my best thinking as of now. We will also probably see a more active East Pacific year this year. 2009 was the year of very powerful Hurricane Rick in the East Pac.
And remember: It only takes one.
Lastly, there is definitely a good chance for our biggest severe weather outbreak of the year Tuesday afternoon and evening for the South Central states, especially Arkansas, Missouri, and Eastern Oklahoma.
Thanks for reading, and have a great week!!

2009's very powerful Hurricane Rick

Giovanna Gone, but Madagascar May Not be Done

By: MAweatherboy1, 9:25 PM GMT on February 21, 2012

Cyclone Giovanna was declared dissipated last night, ending the life of the long lived storm. It was hard not to laugh at Giovanna during the last couple days of its existence as it was nothing more than a Jose-like swirl. However, this certainly was a powerful storm. Giovanna formed on February 9, and very quickly intensified, reaching its first peak intensity of 120 knots early February 11, just 2 days after forming. Giovanna then weakened after an eyewall replacement cycle, with its intensity lowering to 100 knots. It then quickly intensified again and reached its peak intensity of 125 knots early February 13. The storm then weakened slightly before hitting Madagascar, probably at high end Cat 3 or low end Cat 4 intensity. It weakened significantly traveling over the rugged island. It reemerged in the Mozambique Channel on February 15, and slowly reintensified to a 3rd peak intensity of 85 knots on February 19, all while circumnavigating the island of Madagascar. It quickly wound itself down from this final peak and was finally declared dissipated yesterday, February 20. Some final statistics
Date of formation: February 9, 2012
Date of dissipation: February 20, 2012
Lifespan: 11 days
Peak intensity: 125 knots (145 mph)
Attributed Fatalities 16 (Subject to change)
Meanwhile, the only other currently active cyclone is Hilwa, with winds only at about 45 mph. It is forecast to dissipate soon and is not a threat to land. Hilwa was initially forecast to become a strong cyclone and affect Madagascar. This storm is a true testament to how little we know about forecasting the track and intensity of hurricanes.
The GFS has been persistent in having a strong cyclone in the Southern Indian Ocean in about a week. The 12z run today was basically a doom scenario for Madagascar and Mozambique, as the model showed a strong cyclone sitting off the Madagascar coast, then striking the island, then striking Mozambique after significant reintensification in the Mozambique Channel. This certainly would be bad for both of these countries as they have been hit hard already this year.
I must give special mention to the West Pacific's first "storm" of the year, TD1, for being the shortest lived cyclone I've ever seen. It lasted for 2 advisories.
Lastly, it appears a severe weather outbreak is on tap for late this week and this weekend. The SPC has a slight risk area in its 3 day outlook, and even one in a 4 day outlook, which is incredible for this time of year. The South and Southeast will be the worst affected area from this event. It definitely looks like we are on our way to a busy severe weather season.
Thank you for reading! Have a great rest of the week!

Giovanna near peak intensity

Giovanna at landfall

Giovanna at its 3rd peak intensity

Hilwa now

Cyclone Jasmine: In Memoriam

By: MAweatherboy1, 9:21 PM GMT on February 16, 2012

Sadly, cyclone Jasmine left us yesterday. Jasmine formed on February 4th off the northeast coast of Australia. It slowly organized for most of the 4th and 5th, but its most exciting period was by far a classic example of rapid intensification, with the storm's wind speeds changing from roughly 50 mph late February 5, to reaching 115 mph early February 7. Jasmine peaked about a day later with winds estimated to be about 135 mph, making Jasmine a Category 4 storm. It did not hold this intensity for long, however. By early February 10, Jasmine had winds estimated at only 85 mph. Its intensity stabilized at this level for over a day, but then had another period of quick weakening, falling from 85 to 50mph in just a few hours. Between February 11 and yesterday, the 15th, Jasmine slowly drifted around at minimal tropical storm strength. It was impressive how Jasmine managed to hang on despite tough odds due to increasingly unfavorable conditions. Jasmine did not cause a lot of damage, but there was flooding on the island of Tonga, and reports indicate as many as 80% of the islands banana trees were damaged Unfortunately, Jasmine's inevitable demise came yesterday. Some final statistics:
Date of Formation: February 4, 2012
Date of Dissipation: February 15, 2011
Lifespan: 11 days
Peak Intensity: Estimated 135 mph (Cat 4)
Attributed fatalities: None reported, but this could be subject to change
Giovanna is currently a high end tropical storm churning in the Mozambique Channel... It could make a second lanfall on Madagascar in a couple days. It never really got its act back together after crossing Madagascar, a testament to how much that island can disrupt a tropical system, especially one as powerful as Giovanna was.
Cyclone 13S does not appear to be nearly as big of a threat as I and others previously suspected... 13S is just a minimal tropical storm and is forecast to strengthen little if at all. This is a sharp change from just a couple days ago when the storm was forecast to nearly reach major hurricane status. This also is definitely good news for Madagascar, as recovery from Giovanna will be a lot easier without another cyclone to deal with.
Lastly, it appears a severe weather outbreak could be on tap for the southeast Saturday Supercells and tornadoes will be possible. Thanks for reading! One more day...

Jasmine near peak intensity. Note how it has fairly warm cloud tops and appears to be annular

Jasmine shortly before dissipating. Note how it doen't look as good as in the previous picture

Giovanna Slams Madagascar, Jasmine Lives On, 13S Next Threat

By: MAweatherboy1, 11:49 PM GMT on February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day! The Southern Hemisphere remains the place to be for tropical activity tonight. Cyclone Giovanna made landfall yesterday on the island nation of Madagascar with winds of around 130 mph. The storm has left 3 people confirmed dead, though the total will almost certainly rise as the island cleans up what will likely be massive destruction. As expected, Giovanna fell apart crossing the rugged, mountainous island, but it has reemerged over the very warm waters of the Mozambique Channel. With thise warm waters and a fairly favorable envirnoment, Giovanna is likely to strengthen. The JTWC brings the storm to 80 knots in 72 hours, though I think that may be a little high. Regardless, Giovanna will strengthen as it meanders in the channel. This worries me since it will be able to send torrential rains into the cyclone ravaged countries of Madagascar and Mozambique, hampering recovery efforts in both countries. Giovanna will not be in any hurry to make a second landfall, and it may end up taking a track like Cyclone Funso recently did. Madagascar certainly should stay in our thoughts as it will be a long road to recovery

Image of beaten down Giovanna as it reemerges over water

Meanwhile, Jasmine the everliving continues its lonely journey through the South Pacific, continuing to barely hold tropical storm strength after a brief attempt at reorganization yesterday. Today, it is once again looking quite bad, with very little convection. It is forecast to dissipate in 2-3 days by the JTWC, but if it doesn't redevelop some convection soon it will likely be declared dissipated. It remains no threat to land.

Cyclone Jasmine, clearly not looking so hot right now

Cyclone 13S is the latest in the Southern Hemisphere cyclone train. It is currently just a minimal tropical storm, but the JTWC has it nearing major hurricane status in 4-5 days, and I would not be surprised to see it attain this sooner given warm waters and a favorable environment. Even worse, the storm is expected to take a path very similar to Giovanna and could impact Madagascar sometime this weekend or early next week. This will certainly be a storm to watch because another strong cyclone is the last thing Madagascar needs right now.

Thanks for reading! I think I'm getting better at this: I found out how to put pictures in this time :)

Active Southern Hemisphere

By: MAweatherboy1, 11:43 PM GMT on February 13, 2012

The Southern Hemisphere is certainly active tonight. The biggest concern right now is Cyclone Giovanna. Giovanna has made landfall on the island nation of Madagascar. Thanks to an eyewall replacement cycle and a little bit of dry air and shear, Giovanna weakened some before landfall, but still was extremely dangerous, probably with winds of at leat 130mph. This storm certainly has potential to cause significant damage and loss of life on Magagascar. Luckily, the storm is moving so it will not take too long to get out of Madagascar. The trip over this mountainous country will take a toll on Giovanna, and it will weaken significantly. It will reemerge over the Mozambique Channel and have a brief period to restrengthen slightly over those warm waters before hitting Mozambique, a country fresh off serious impact from powerful Cyclone Funso. Giovanna now ranks as the strongest cyclone in 2012 so far.

Meanwhile, Cyclone Jasmine is still clinging to life in the South Pacific. While it has been very overlooked thanks to the more threating Giovanna, Jasmine has been impressive in its ability to stay alive for quite a long time. Jasmine is still at minimal tropical storm strenth,but it is actually looking better now than it has in a while, with the convection back over the center, and I would not be surprised to see it strengthen some in the next day or so. It will probably be 4 or 5 days before Jasmine finally meets her demise. As I noted in my previous blog, Jasmine remains no threat to any land area.

Lastly, the Southern Hemisphere also has an invest on its hands right now. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center has issued a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert for the system. It recently has had a huge blowup of convection with some very cold cloud tops, so I would not be surprised to see it classified if it can maintain this. Regardless, it, like Jasmine, is not a threat to land areas right now.
Thanks for reading and have a nice rest of the week. We already made it through Monday :D

My First Blog!

By: MAweatherboy1, 12:40 PM GMT on February 12, 2012

I am very excited to be writing my first blog. Over the past few days I've been tracking cyclones Jasmine and Giovanna in the Southern Hemisphere. Jasmine is currently meandering in the waters of the South Pacific, barely hanging on to tropical storm strength. It is actually forecast to strengthen slightly by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, though I am skeptical of that as it has been really beaten down for the past couple days. Even if it does strengthen, Jasmine does not pose a threat to land areas.

Meanwhile, cyclone Giovanna has been traversing the waters of the Southern Indian Ocean. Giovanna's intensity has been very challenging to forecast. Shortly after developing, it underwent a very impressive case of rapid intensification, and peaked with sustained winds estimated at 140 mph. During this time the storm developed a classic pinhole eye, and even drew comparisons to Hurricane Wilma. I personally found there to be a striking similarity in the structure of the storms. After going through rapid intensification, Giovanna then underwent an eyewall replacement cycle, during which its pinhole eye collapsed and was replaced by a larger one. Its intensity has sinced decreased considerably as it has struggled to get its act back together, evidenced by a slightly irregular cloud pattern and a fairly ragged eye that has not been able to clear out. It is now just hanging on to minimal major hurricane strength, but it is still forecast to strengthen some before landfall. It has very favorable environmental conditions, so if it can get its internal structure in order I see no reason why it can't be near or a Cat 4 intensity by landfall. Regardless, this is a powerful storm and should be treated as such by residents of Madagascar. Thank you for reading my first entry! It's not great, I know, but I will get better! Have a great week!

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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About MAweatherboy1

Average 20 year old weather nerd. Plymouth State University Meteorology, Class of 2018. NOAA Hollings scholar. Summer 2016 intern at NWS Boston.