Three storms creating discomfort at sea

Sunday 9th September 2018

From west to east,

Disturbance Thirty Five is parked midway between the current position of FLORENCE and Cape Hatteras doing little more than waiting for inevitable absorption by the approaching cyclone.

Hurricane FLORENCE, although technically still a tropical storm, is regenerating quickly and certain to be back to hurricane intensity very soon. Currently 630 miles south-east of Bermuda and headed west-nor'west at a leisurely 5 knots, this is producing winds gusting 80 knots and a hurricane severity rating of 8 out of 50 (3 for size and 5 for intensity. At peak, FLORENCE is expected to reach a worrying 29 (12 for size and 17 for intensity) with a slight reduction in a predicted tropical storm force windfield radius of 140 miles. The pressing questions of course are where and when. There are no plausible dissenters at the moment from a landfall as a powerful hurricane somewhere around the Carolinas or Virginia, despite at least five more days of development and motion. There is even a possibility of an eleventh hour turn to the north-east and a track along the coast. For now, the general consensus seems to be a landfall in North Carolina. This slow ground spBeed and, from one commentator, a possible stationary period, is very unsettling as it adds a significant development factor and potential for a surprise change of track. It's going to be a long week for the waiting eastern seaboard.

Tropical storm ISAAC is 1400 miles east of the Lesser Antilles westbound at 13 knots. This has a current hurricane severity index rating of 3 (1 for size and 2 for intensity with a fairly small tropical storm force windfield radius of just 50 miles. This is expected to intensify to hurricane force over the next 2 days and reach the islands on Wednesday. Having said that, the UK met office has just realised a track which curves away early into the western Atlantic, so there is some uncertainty. Peak strength is expected to have a hurricane severity index rating of 9 ( 3 for size and and 6 for intensity with a tropical storm force windfield radius of 80 miles. Should this defy the UK met office and reach the islands, wind shear looks set to weaken the cyclone as it enters the Caribbean.

Finally, Tropical Storm HELENE is now just 100 miles south of the Cape Verde Islands headed west at 8 knots. This is slowly intensifying but unlikely to have an impact on the islands. By Tuesday, HELENE is expected to reach hurricane strength and track north of west and eventually north then accelerate, gradually weakening with no threat to land.

Hurricane plans should be in place for the eastern seaboard and stand by for more unpleasantness at sea.