*Correction: Due to an editorial error, and incomplete version of this newsletter was sent earlier today. Below is the full report.*
Catastrophic. Disastrous. Again.
There have always been hurricanes-at least as far back as human history. And Puerto Rico has always been an occasional target. And the mountainous terrain of the island nation has always led to an increased potential of catastrophic flooding.
But this is too much. Maria was a Category 5 monster that tracked directly over the island, and its name will never be forgotten. It has taken many years to even partially recover. Now, a slow-moving Category 1 hurricane named Fiona has put an exclamation point on the disaster.
As I write this, the tragedy is still unfolding. As with the most destructive hurricanes, the full picture of the disaster takes days to fully evaluate. It is painful to even think about that. I have tracked hurricanes since being scared to death as a 3-year-old in 1954, when Hazel brought 90+ mph winds to Philadelphia.
Hazel was moving fast. Real fast (40+ mph), which kept the wind gusts so strong, even with an inland track. The bigger problem in today's world is that many are moving too slowly. Like Harvey. And Florence. And now Fiona. There are surely more to come.
Lots of people are aware that a given hurricane will produce more rain, even if everything else is the same. Warmer ocean + warmer air= more rain. Simple. But it is the increased scientific acceptance that hurricanes will likely move more slowly as the earth warms. Many experts have evidence that this is already occurring.
If a hurricane is moving at 5 mph instead of 10, the total rainfall DOUBLES. Add that to the above warming factors and we're not just talking about a 5-10% increase in rain. Puerto Rico has learned about this-again. (Below is an article on the hurricane "slowdown"). https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/news/tropical-cyclone-slowdown
Now for the future of Fiona. It's going to get stronger and finally start moving faster. Here are the latest tracks:
Fiona does not represent the last storm of the season. Far from it. The next disturbance is weak and in the middle of nowhere now, but it is a favorable overall pattern for it to eventually develop into a problem. Not for the rest of the week, though. I'm talking about the X near the bottom of the map, showing only a 20% chance of development in the next 5 days.
Just to give you a general idea of the next system, here is a forecast map for Sunday the 25th.
The map is the "EPS anomaly" and sea level pressure. While I wouldn't show a "deterministic" (a single model solution) map six days out, this is known as an "ensemble" map. It averages the 51 separate solutions that the European model does regularly. And it is (and has been for at least two decades) the most accurate in the world.
When an average of 51 maps still shows an identifiable LOW in the Caribbean, that gets my attention. It also has a lot of the blue color, which suggests lower than average pressures over much of the map.
We have plenty of time to watch for that one. In the meantime, Fiona has more targets to come....
What you need to know, currently.
“Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sunday, knocking out power for more than 90 percent of households on the island and bringing some of the most devastating flooding Puerto Rico has ever seen. Early on Monday, the storm’s path veered towards the Dominican Republic, causing major flooding there too.
The storm is expected to move west towards Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday and continue to strengthen to a category 3 hurricane by Wednesday.
More than 1.3 million people across the island are without power, as of Monday around 9 AM, according to Power Outage US. The rain is expected to continue through Tuesday, after that, temperatures in the upper 80°F (31°C) will pose an additional hazard for those still without power.
Fiona’s effects are comparable to or worse than those of Hurricane Maria — which struck Puerto Rico almost exactly five years ago. The island was still recovering from the effects of Maria and is now once again under water.”
Here is a thread of trusted local organizations, if you are looking for places to donate to.
What you can do, currently.
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