Caribbean-On-Line's Caribbean Hurricane Blog



Tropical Weather Resources

Links to websites and blogs that focus on tropical weather, and to tropical weather forecasting sites and tools.

Atlantic Basin Tropical Cyclones

Published on September 5, 2017 11:48 PM | Comments

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NHC Atlantic Storm Wallet 1 Feed

Published on September 5, 2017 11:46 PM | Comments

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NHC Atlantic Storm Wallet 2 Feed

Published on September 5, 2017 11:43 PM | Comments

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Tropical Atlantic Basin Satellite Image

Published on August 18, 2015 9:41 PM | Comments



Experimental 5-Day Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook

Published on July 13, 2014 12:19 PM | Comments

The new 5 day graphic explained by the NHC:



Latest Public Advisory

Published on May 31, 2014 10:51 PM | Comments



Tropical Discussion

Published on May 31, 2014 10:22 PM | Comments



Infrared Caribbean Satellite

Published on May 31, 2014 6:30 PM | Comments



Tropical Weather Websites and Resources

Published on May 31, 2014 3:53 PM | Comments


From the Global Hydrology & Climate Center (NASA - these images can be animated):

From the NOAA: (the following links open in pop up windows)

  • Comprehensive page of Atlantic and Caribbean Tropical Satellite Imagery here


From The NHC:

From The U.S. Navy:

From Accuweather:


  • Hurricane Center Good map for tracking of the whole Atlantic including Africa, so you can see the tropical waves come all the way across the ocean.

From Intellicast:

From The Weather Channel:



GOES East Caribbean Visible Satellite

Published on July 25, 2013 10:28 AM | Comments



GOES EAST CONUS LONGWAVE IR

Published on June 12, 2013 11:57 AM | Comments

This image is from the University of Madison, Wisconsin. It shows the US and the western Caribbean:




National Weather Service San Juan and Virgin Islands Radar

Published on October 13, 2012 5:10 AM | Comments



Caribbean Sea Surface Temperature

Published on August 23, 2012 11:40 AM | Comments

Caribbean Sea Surface Temperature map from the NOAA.



Caribbean Water Vapor

Published on August 21, 2012 11:11 AM | Comments



Caribbean Surface Winds

Published on August 21, 2012 11:06 AM | Comments



GOES Floater 3 Infrared Satellite

Published on September 1, 2010 5:24 PM | Comments



GOES Satellite Floater 4

Published on August 31, 2010 10:19 AM | Comments



Relief Web

Published on September 5, 2008 6:09 AM | Comments

Relief Web is:

..the world's leading on-line gateway to information (documents and maps) on humanitarian emergencies and disasters. An independent vehicle of information, designed specifically to assist the international humanitarian community in effective delivery of emergency assistance, it provides timely, reliable and relevant information as events unfold, while emphasizing the coverage of "forgotten emergencies" at the same time.

They have a lot of good, up to date information on their site, and documents about what happens after these storms pass, and how you can help.



Eastern Atlantic Infrared Image

Published on September 2, 2008 12:19 PM | Comments



Goes Floater 4 Infrared

Published on September 1, 2008 6:58 PM | Comments

Goes Floater 4 Infrared



The Size of the Caribbean

Published on September 1, 2008 11:33 AM | Comments

We are getting a lot of questions about the proximity of Gustav to Caribbean destinations - even Central American ones. It is important to note that the "Caribbean" is a large region. A big, powerful hurricane may only affect a small portion or a couple of the many major islands. The Gulf of Mexico is not the Caribbean, and the Gulf Coast of the US is not even close. Once a storm passes the "Caribbean" you can be pretty sure that no Caribbean islands are then in harms way.

The Bahamas is actually not the Caribbean either, but just a region of the Atlantic Ocean. Most storms, once they are close enough to garner TV and newspaper coverage (i.e. once the general public has heard of them), are on a pretty decided path (not always the case of course!). All you need to do is become a little familiar with the region to know whether a potential storm is going to be on a track that could spoil your vacation.

We are hearing a lot about Gustav because of the recent history of New Orleans with Katrina no doubt, and the heightened awareness is welcome. We should all be just as interested in Hanna, which could also make landfall on Georgia as a hurricane. This storm is currently in the area of the Turks and Caicos (moving away from - sort of on top of at the moment) and the Bahama Islands (moving towards). It is not much of a threat to the "Caribbean" outside of Hispaniola and Cuba.



Travel Insurance during Hurricane Season

Published on September 1, 2008 6:26 AM | Comments

I know this is a commercial plug, but it just makes a lot of sense right now. The hurricane season is very hot at the moment - there are two actively named storms, and two serious looking tropical waves/lows making their way across the Atlantic. I know from the comments that many of you are traveling to the Caribbean during the next month or so. September is the height of hurricane season - and it just makes a lot of sense to insure your trip. The prices are reasonable, and the peace of mind (not to mention the financial protection) it affords is unmeasurable. But remember - you have to have your insurance purchased before a system becomes named. With these two large unnamed systems in the Atlantic, that means if you are traveling in the next couple of weeks, the time to buy your travel insurance is NOW! We are not just trying to shamelessly plug this insurance - we really think it is worth it. We do get a commission on sales through this site and we do appreciate your business - it helps to keep the site going. Thanks and good luck if you are traveling in September.

(PS - here is a real testimonial left on one of forums just last week.)



Stormpulse

Published on August 30, 2008 8:10 AM | Comments

Stormpulse is a pretty cool website - they have some nice representations of satellite images, like the one below:

2008243_1045wv.jpg




Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management

Published on August 28, 2008 6:02 PM | Comments

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management of Jamaica press release page can be found here.

They are issuing releases regarding storm status and evacuation plans, etc.

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) has been advised by the National Meteorological Service that rainfall associated with Tropical Storm Gustav is currently being experienced in the parishes of St. Thomas and Portland. As the system gradually moves closer to the island's south coast, conditions could worsen in the vicinity of high winds, flood rains and storm surges. Reports The Jamaican Urban Transit Company is advising the public that its buses will be pulled from their routes beginning at 11:00am today NROC, operators of the toll roads has advised that all Toll Booths will be opened at 12:00 noon Given the current situation, evacuation orders have been issued for the areas on the attached sheet. Hurricane Safety Tips The public is being urged to continue monitoring radios and televisions for further advisories and to avoid areas that are at risk from flooding and landslides. Also take the following precautions in the event of heavy rains: 1. Avoid flooded waterways, gullies, streams or rivers, either on foot or in vehicles. 2. Be ready to evacuate if you live in low-lying or flood-prone areas. 3. Decide on likely evacuation routes now. Plan to stay with family or friends in safer areas or in a public shelter and move to safety. 4. Wrap important personal items, family documents, and electrical appliances in plastic bags and store away from the reach of floodwaters. 5. All small craft operators, including fishers from the cays and banks, are advised to secure their vessels and remain in safe harbour until all warning messages have been lifted and wind and sea conditions have returned to normal. The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), headquartered at the ODPEM's offices at 12 Camp Road, Kingston 4, continues to be activated and closely monitoring the progress of T.S. Gustav.


North Atlantic Storm Floater

Published on August 15, 2008 5:55 PM | Comments

North Atlantic Storm Floater



GOES Atlantic Floater 2

Published on July 20, 2008 11:22 PM | Comments



Gulf of Mexico Infrared Satellite

Published on July 20, 2008 11:16 PM | Comments



Cayman webcams

Published on July 19, 2008 2:36 PM | Comments

The still un-named system in the Caribbean basin is nonetheless bringing lots of wind and rain to the area. We just found this excellent page of webcams that show what is happening on Grand Cayman.

The latest from the NHC on that system:

A STRONG TROPICAL WAVE LOCATED IN THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA IS PRODUCING THUNDERSTORMS AND STRONG WINDS WITH GUSTS ABOVE TROPICAL STORM FORCE. AN AIR FORCE RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT IS CURRENTLY INVESTIGATING THE SYSTEM TO DETERMINE IF IT HAS A CLOSED CIRCULATION. ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS APPEAR FAVORABLE FOR THIS SYSTEM TO BECOME A TROPICAL DEPRESSION WITHIN THE NEXT DAY OR TWO AS IT MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT 15 TO 20 MPH. REGARDLESS OF DEVELOPMENT...LOCALLY HEAVY RAINS WILL AFFECT JAMAICA...PORTIONS OF CUBA...AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS TODAY AND TOMORROW. INTERESTS IN THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE YUCATAN PENINSULA SHOULD CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM.


Hurricane timeline: Counting down the hours

Published on May 26, 2008 6:36 AM | Comments

Excellent summary of a hurricane's life cycle from the Herald Tribune:

Tropical cyclone is the meteorological term for a storm system characterized by a low-pressure center and thunderstorms, producing strong wind and flooding rain. Tropical cyclones form over warm waters from pre-existing disturbances. These disturbances typically emerge every three or four days from the coast of Africa as tropical waves that consist of areas of unsettled weather. Tropical cyclones can also form from the trailing ends of cold fronts and from upper-level lows.

In the Atlantic Basin, tropical cyclones are called hurricanes and must have at least three conditions to form: A pre-existing disturbance with thunderstorms; warm (at least 80 degree) ocean temperatures to a depth of about 150 feet; and light upper level winds that do not change much in direction and speed throughout the depth of the atmosphere.

If weather and ocean conditions continue to be favorable, the system can strengthen first to a tropical depression, tropical storm and then a hurricane.

Every hurricane is different and there are many factors that contribute to its development. However, the following is a general sequence of events that could occur during the development of a Category 2 hurricane (wind speed 96-110 mph) approaching a coastal area.

96 hours before landfall

At first there aren't any apparent signs of a storm. The barometer is steady, winds are light and variable, and fair-weather cumulus clouds appear.

72 hours

Little has changed, except that the swell on the ocean surface has increased to about six feet and the waves come in every nine seconds. This means that the storm, far over the horizon, is approaching.

48 hours

The sky is now clear of clouds, the barometer is steady, and the wind is almost calm.

The swell is now about nine feet and coming in every eight seconds.

36 hours

The first signs of the storm appear. The barometer is falling slightly, the wind is around 11 mph, and the ocean swell is about 13 feet and coming in seven seconds apart. On the horizon, a large mass of white cirrus clouds appear.

As the veil of clouds approaches, it covers more of the horizon.

A hurricane watch is issued, and areas with long evacuation times are given the order to begin.

30 hours

The sky is covered by a high overcast. The barometer is falling at .1 millibar per hour; winds pick up to about 23 mph.

The ocean swell, coming in five seconds apart, is beginning to be obscured by wind-driven waves, and small whitecaps begin to appear on the ocean surface.

24 hours

Small low clouds appear overhead. The barometer is falling by .2 millibars per hour, the wind picks up to 34 mph. The wind driven waves are covered in whitecaps, and streaks of foam begin to ride over the surface. Evacuations should be completed and final preparations made by this time. A hurricane warning is issued, and people living in low-lying areas and in mobile homes are ordered to evacuate.

18 hours

The low clouds are thicker and bring driving rain squalls with gusty winds. The barometer is steadily falling at half a millibar per hour and the winds are whistling by at 46 mph. It is hard to stand against the wind.

12 hours

The rain squalls are more frequent and the winds don't diminish after they depart. The cloud ceiling is getting lower, and the barometer is falling at 1 millibar per hour. The wind is howling at hurricane force at 74 mph. The sea advances with every storm wave that crashes ashore, and foam patches.

6 hours

The rain is constant and the 92 mph wind drives it horizontally. The barometer is falling 1.5 millibars per hour, and the storm surge has advanced above the high tide mark. The sea surface is a whitish mass of spray. It is impossible to stand upright outside without bracing yourself.

1 hour

The rain becomes heavier. Low areas inland become flooded. The winds are at 104 mph, and the barometer is falling at 2 millibars per hour. The sea is white with foam and streaks. The storm surge has covered coastal roads and 16 foot waves crash into buildings near the shore.

The eye

Just as the storm reaches its peak, the winds begin to slacken, and the sky starts to brighten. The rain ends abruptly, and the clouds break and blue sky is seen. The barometer continues falling at 3 millibars per hour and the storm surge reaches the furthest inland.

The winds fall to near calm, but the air is uncomfortably warm and humid. Huge walls of cloud appear on every side, brilliant white in the sunlight.

At this point, the barometer stops falling and in a moment begins to rise, soon as fast as it fell. The winds begin to pick up slightly and the clouds on the far side of the eye wall loom overhead.

AFTER THE STORM

1 hour after landfall

The sky darkens and the winds and rain return just as heavy as they were before the eye. The storm surge begins a slow retreat, but waves continue to crash ashore. The barometer is rising at 2 millibars per hour, and the winds top out at 104 mph.

6 hours

The flooding rains continue, but the winds have diminished to 92 mph. The storm surge is retreating and pulling inland debris out to sea.

12 hours

The rain now comes in squalls, and the winds begin to diminish after each squall passes. The cloud ceiling is rising, as is the barometer at 1 millibar per hour. The wind is still howling at near hurricane force at 69 mph, and the ocean is covered with streaks and foam patches. The sea level returns to the high tide mark.

24 hours

The clouds break into smaller fragments and the high overcast is seen again. The barometer is rising by .2 millibars per hour, the wind falls to 34 mph. The surge has fully retreated from land, but the ocean surface is still covered by small whitecaps and large waves.

36 hours

The overcast has broken and the large mass of white cirrus clouds disappears over the horizon. The barometer is rising slightly, the winds are a steady 11 mph.



GOES Floater 2

Published on September 13, 2007 5:26 PM | Comments

This is the GOES Atlantic Floater 2 Infrared satellite - this image updates every 30 minutes. Refresh your browser for the latest image.



SXMCYCLONE

Published on August 17, 2007 9:50 AM | Comments

Here is something cool - it's in French but the graphics are universal: http://sxmcyclone.com/

dean.jpg



GOES East Caribbean Visible Satellite

Published on August 16, 2007 7:16 AM | Comments

GOES East Caribbean Visible Satellite (click the image for a larger view)



Caribbean Islands Webcams

Published on August 16, 2007 5:42 AM | Comments

We have a page of Caribbean webcams here - you may be able to get a look at local conditions on some of these cams. If anyone knows of other cams we don't have listed please send me an email.



Plymouth State Weather Center Dean Tracking Map

Published on August 14, 2007 12:36 PM | Comments

Here is a good simple tracking map for Dean from the Plymouth State Weather Center:

hur_plot_nt4.gif

Click the map for the latest info.



Tropics remain quiet

Published on June 26, 2007 8:24 AM | Comments

Not much is happening in the tropics, so now after all the hype we are starting to see some news reports wondering if the forecasters are wrong (again - like they were last year). It is a very peculiar thing - everyone should be happy about the lack of potentially life threatening weather... not trying to cheer it on. The Palm Beach Post has a pretty good section for hurricanes, satellite images, links, etc. - here is a recent article:

Since then: zip, zero, nada. A three-week drought of storms.

So, what's it all mean? Put up the shutters now or start drinking those gallon jugs of water? And what does El Niņo have to do with it?

"Early-season storms have little or nothing to do with peak-of-season activity," said Richard Knapp, a senior forecaster at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

"Often we've had one June storm and we've had a strong peak season. And we've had Junes without a storm when the peak of the season hasn't been as strong," he said.



Crucial hurricane satellite could fail at any time

Published on June 13, 2007 7:22 AM | Comments

This doesn't sound good:

MIAMI (AP) June 12, 2007 -- An aging weather satellite crucial to accurate predictions on the intensity and path of hurricanes could fail at any moment and plans to launch a replacement have been pushed back seven years to 2016.

IIf the satellite faltered, experts estimate that the accuracy of two-day forecasts could suffer by 10 percent and three-day forecasts by 16 percent, which could translate into miles of coastline and the difference between a city being evacuated or not

"We would go blind. It would be significantly hazardous," said Wayne Sallade, emergency manager in Charlotte County, which was hit hard by Hurricane Charley in 2004.



Tropical weather terms

Published on June 12, 2007 8:31 AM | Comments

From the National Hurricane Center - definitions of specific tropical weather terms:

Tropical Disturbance: A discrete tropical weather system of apparently organized convection -- generally 100 to 300 nmi in diameter -- originating in the tropics or subtropics, having a nonfrontal migratory character, and maintaining its identity for 24 hours or more. It may or may not be associated with a detectable perturbation of the wind field.

Tropical Wave: A trough or cyclonic curvature maximum in the trade-wind easterlies. The wave may reach maximum amplitude in the lower middle troposphere.

Tropical Depression: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed (using the U.S. 1-minute average) is 33 kt (38 mph or 62 km/hr) or less.

Tropical Storm: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed (using the U.S. 1-minute average) ranges from 34 kt (39 mph or 63 km/hr) to 63 kt (73 mph or 118 km/hr).

Tropical Storm Watch: An announcement for specific coastal areas that tropical storm conditions are possible within 36 hours.

Tropical Storm Warning: A warning that sustained winds within the range of 34 to 63 kt (39 to 73 mph or 63 to 118 km/hr) associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in a specified coastal area within 24 hours or less.



Hurricanes in the Dominican Republic

Published on June 6, 2007 5:48 AM | Comments

dr1-logo.gifDR1 has a new page up for "Hurricanes in the Dominican Republic" with a lot of good information, advice, and links to other hurricane resources. If you are planning a trip to the DR during hurricane season, their site is a good place to visit.



stormCARIB

Published on June 4, 2007 10:18 AM | Comments

Gert van Dijken's stormCARIB is a great resource for tropical weather - specifically for first hand accounts and condition reports from a large network of Caribbean islands residents.

Gert has been doing this for years - he is someone who was "blogging" before people had named it or knew what it was. He also keeps the site almost commercial free - it is a labor of love and it shows. This is a site you need to bookmark if you are interested in tropical weather.



The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

Published on May 24, 2006 4:43 AM | Comments

The AP has released a very handy explanation of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale:

The Saffir-Simpson scale of a hurricane's intensity is used to estimate the potential property damage and coastal flooding. The scale is determined by wind speed, since storm surge sizes depend on the slope of the continental shelf.

  • Category 1: Winds 74-95 mph. Storm surge 4 to 5 feet above normal. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery and trees. Some damage to poorly constructed signs and piers.

  • Category 2: Winds 96-110 mph. Storm surge 6 to 8 feet above normal. Some roof, door and window damage of buildings. Considerable damage to mobile homes, small watercraft, trees, poorly constructed signs and piers. Flooding of coastal and low-lying areas.

  • Category 3: Winds 111-130 mph. Storm surge 9 to 12 feet above normal. Some structural damage to small homes. Mobile homes destroyed and large trees blown down. Coastal flooding destroys smaller structures and floating debris damages larger structures. Terrain lower than 5 feet above sea level may flood as far as 8 miles inland. Hurricane Rita, which struck last September along the Texas-Louisiana line, was a Category 3 storm.

  • Category 4: Winds 131-155 mph. Storm surge 13 to 18 feet above normal. Wall failures and roof collapses on small homes, and extensive damage to doors and windows. Complete destruction of some homes, especially mobile homes. Major coastal flooding damage. Hurricane Katrina was a Category 4 storm as was Hurricane Ivan, which made landfall near Gulf Shores, Ala., last September and Hurricane Charley, which hit the Florida Gulf Coast near Fort Myers last August.

  • Category 5: Winds greater than 155 mph. Storm surge greater than 18 feet above normal. Complete roof failure on many homes and industrial buildings. Smaller buildings and mobile homes blown over or completely blown away. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 feet above sea level and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5 to 10 miles inland may be required. Last Category 5 storm to hit the United States was Hurricane Andrew in 1992.