Hurricane HARVEY one lump or two?
Friday 25th August 2017
There is precious little good news to report on hurricane HARVEY. Airborne, storm-chasing maniacs have been buzzing the almost stationary cyclone and found uninterrupted convection and rapid eye-wall replacement. HARVEY is intensifying. Surface observers report consistent winds in excess of 90 and gusting 105 knots. Currently centred 95 miles south-east of Corpus Christi, this has started creeping north-west again at 5 knots. Faffing about at sea is only going to aid intensification and we really need to see an increase in ground speed to avoid HARVEY exceeding the current forecast of a category 3 at landfall early tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, I feel this will be exceeded and suspect HARVEY will beach around Corpus Christi as a category 4 or more, but do hope I am wrong. The current hurricane severity rating is 16 out of a possible 50 points (6 for size and 10 for intensity) and a predicted peak at landfall of 22 (9 for size and 13 intensity) albeit with a relatively small tropical storm windfield radius of 150 miles. Small consolation, really. Too add to the gloomy outlook, digging in at sea has lifted considerable quantities of water and this will be a significant rainmaker with widespread flooding. Even conservative commentators are describing ‘catastrophic flooding', ‘severe structural damage' and ‘expected destruction of coastal structures' with a storm surge of ‘considerable height'. To add further bad news, it is also becoming clearer that HARVEY has no intention of remaining ashore but will loop back after landfall and make a run along the coast before taking second chunk out of Texas. Inevitably, the hurricane will lose energy once it is ashore and may ‘only' be a tropical storm when it relaunches. Unfortunately, it is expected to develop again once seaborne again over lush warm water. Even ignoring the usual catastrophists, some respected modellers are predicting that HARVEY will reach hurricane intensity again before a second landfall. There is a way to go before we can realistically predict where this will be or how far it is likely to venture offshore, but most observers are putting pins in the map between Houston and the Louisiana border with a loop out towards the offshore leases. The Canadian guy had this forecast spectacularly wrong, but maybe today is not the day to make too much light of this.
Elsewhere, Disturbance Thirty One is now located over south-western of Florida drenching British holiday makers who believe everything travel agents tell them about Florida in summer. The disturbance is expected to slowly move to the northeast towards the eastern seaboard where there are opportunities for development as it moves northeast into the Atlantic. Thereafter, fish and sailors only.
Disturbance Thirty Four is around 650 miles north-nor'east of the Amazon, slightly north of westbound at 12 knots. Aerial imagery shows disorganised rain belts and sporadic showers. If this continues (with a further slide north of west), cyclone development will not take place.
Disturbance Thirty Five is two days west of the Cape Verde Islands moving west at 15 knots. This is also showing disorganised squalls and may also track a little north of the convergence zone which would suit us all.
Stand by Corpus Christi