Note: This edition of the Hurricane Watch comes to you courtesy of the public affairs division of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (G.E.M.A.). Special thanks to Lisa Janek-Newman, Ken Davis, Buzz Weiss & Kathy Huggins
Preparedness Bulletin #2
May 27, 2010
Five Days and Counting. . . . .
The 2010 hurricane season begins Tuesday. And we may not have to wait long before Mother Nature roils the Atlantic Basin waters. Sultry sea surface temps are well above normal and have already broken records. Some forecasters are calling for a season that will start early and stay late.
AccuWeather’s Chief Long-Range Meteorologist Joe Bastardi warns that “. . . 2010 may be remembered as the hurricane season from Hades.” Hmmmm. . . gosh, darn it, that’s pretty strong language, Joe.
Over the past week, forecasters had their eyes on a low pressure system that stalked the area between Bermuda and the Bahamas. It generated heavy rain, thunderstorms and gale force winds, but remained disorganized and never presented any real threat.
Another Official Prediction
The NWS Climate Prediction Center issued its official prognostication for the ’10 season this morning. And it doesn’t look good. They’re forecasting between 14-23 named storms, including 8-14 hurricanes, 3-7 of which could be major.
As always, we note that preparedness is important no matter how many storms are forecast, but the sheer numbers this year are causing us some indigestion.
“If this outlook holds true, this season could be one of the more active on record,” says Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA administrator. “The greater likelihood of storms brings an increased risk of a landfall. In short, we urge everyone to be prepared.”
Our advice – don’t book any cruises this summer.
Oil and Water. . .
This hurricane season – dire predictions notwithstanding – could have an arguably different twist as the BP oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico continues to unfold. Many are wondering what impact, if any, the oil spill will have.
Well, The Hurricane Watchspared no expense and sent forth its intrepid research team (Ken & Buzz) on a mission to ferret out answers to that question, while dutifully avoiding overtime. Here’s what we found.
Some forecasters say it all depends on the track of a possible hurricane or tropical storm. If a storm were to veer toward the western Gulf it would push the spill further north creating a more ominous threat to Louisiana and Texas. So says NWS meteorologist Phil Hysell. And according to USA Today, NOAA cautions that one or more hurricanes could force oil up from below the surface and push it ashore in a storm surge.
There is also a school of thought that says the surface slick will reduce evaporation and limit a storm’s source of energy. But The Weather Channel’s Dr. Rick Knabb debunks that argument, saying that the Gulf of Mexico is large and that tropical cyclones won’t necessarily form over the area covered by the oil. And he says the oil slick, though large, is relatively small when compared to most tropical storms or hurricanes.
The Weather Underground’s Dr. Jeff Masters concurs that oil slicks could affect the formation of a tropical depression or tropical storm. But he says a full-blown hurricane would mix the oil and water to the extent it would have no impact on evaporation. “The oil slick is currently Delaware-sized, while a hurricane tends to be Texas-sized, and I doubt that the oil slick at its current size is large enough to have a significant impact on a hurricane’s intensity,” says Masters.
So, the answer is – well, there is no clear answer. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.
And keeping with the honored tradition we began last year, we’ll leave you with a question to ponder. What major change is being made in the newly-revised Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale?