Category Archives: Oceans

Atlantic Tropical Storm Season-end Report for 2017 Issued December 1 by the National Hurricane Center; Composite Video of Satellite Images Available in 11/30/17 News Release

On December 1, 2017, the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, published its final monthly summary and its season-end report for the 2017 tropical storm season in the Atlantic Basin (North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico).  The Atlantic season runs June 1-November 30.  The report is available online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/MIATWSAT.shtml.

A November 30, 2017, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) news release on the 2017 Atlantic tropical storm season is available online at http://www.noaa.gov/media-release/extremely-active-2017-atlantic-hurricane-season-finally-ends.  The news release includes a composite video (4 minutes/31 seconds) showing satellite views of the entire 2017 tropical storm season; labels of named storms appear as the storms take shape, and the passing months are indicated.  It’s worth watching!

In November 2017, one named storm, Tropical Storm Rina, formed in the Atlantic basin.  The Hurricane Center’s report noted that during the period 1981-2010, a named tropical storm has formed in November in about 7 out of every 10 years, and a hurricane has formed about every other year.

Overall during 2017, 17 named storms occurred, 10 of which became hurricanes; six of those became “major” hurricanes (Category 3 or above); one unnamed tropical depression also formed in 2017.  The annual average seen during the 30-year period 1981-2010 is 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.  The report also noted that based on “accumulated cyclone energy” for 2017—combining strength and duration of storms—2017 was the most active season since 2005 and the seventh most active on record, following 1933, 2005, 1893, 1926, 1995, and 2004.

Below is the Hurricane Center’s list of all tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes in the Atlantic basin in 2017, with their dates of occurrence and maximum wind speeds (H = hurricane; MH = major hurricane; TD = tropical depression; TS = tropical storm):
TS Arlene – Apr. 19-21 Apr – 50 mph
TS Bret – Jun. 19-20 – 45 mph
TS Cindy – Jun. 20-23 – 60 mph
TD Four – Jul. 5-7 – 30 mph
TS Don – Jul. 17-18 – 50 mph
TS Emily – Jul. 31-Aug. 1 – 45 mph
H Franklin – Aug. 6-10 – 85 mph
H Gert – Aug. 13-17 – 105 mph
MH Harvey – Aug. 17-Sep. 1 – 130 mph
MH Irma – Aug. 30-Sep. 12 – 185 mph
MH Jose – Sep. 5-22 – 155 mph
H  Katia – Sep. 5-9 – 105 mph
MH Lee – Sep. 15-30 – 115 mph
MH Maria – Sep. 16-30 – 175 mph
H  Nate – Oct. 4-9 – 90 mph
MH Ophelia – Oct. 9-15 – 115 mph
TS Philippe – Oct. 28-29 – 60 mph
TS Rina – Nov. 6-9 – 60 mph

When completed, reports on individual 2017 storms (including tracks) will be available online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/index.php?season=2017&basin=atl.  The archive of advisories on these storms is available online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2017/.

Below is the Hurricane Center’s graph of preliminary (subject to verification) tracks of Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes in 2017, as of 12-1-17.
Tropical Storms 2017
Other Water Central News Grouper tropical storm reports for 2017 and several previous years are available online at https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=tropical+storm and https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=hurricane.

Harvey photo

August 25, 2017 (9:15 a.m. EDT) satellite photo of Hurricane Harvey, approaching landfall in Texas. Photo taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Web site at http://www.goes.noaa.gov on on 8/25/17, 10:30 a.m. NOTE: Z, or Greenwich Mean Time, shown on the photo is 4 hours ahead of EDT and 5 hours ahead of EST.

The Challenges of Wave Energy – An Overview on the Nov. 12, 2017, PBS NewsHour

On November 12, 2017, the PBS NewsHour broadcast “Scientists work to harness power from Hawaii’s waves,” available online at https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/scientists-work-to-harness-power-from-hawaiis-waves#audio.  Focusing on work being done in Hawaii, the 8 min./6 sec. segment examines efforts by scientists and entrepreneurs to develop technology that can generate electricity from ocean waves at an economically viable, commercial scale.  The report includes comments on the challenges of capturing wave energy from George Hagerman, a senior research associate with Virginia Tech’s Center for Energy and the Global Environment.

Hurricane Maria Information Sources as of Sep. 25, 2017

National Hurricane Center (NHC) information on Maria is available online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2017/MARIA.shtml?.  The NHC Web site for advisories, tracks, etc., of all current tropical storms is http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/index.shtml.

Following are links to some news media sources that covered Maria:
Miami Herald, online at http://www.miamiherald.com/news/weather/hurricane/;
Puerto Rico Monitor (English), online at http://puertoricomonitor.blogspot.com.au/;
USA Today, online at https://www.usatoday.com/topic/Hurricane-Maria/local;
Virgin Islands Consortium, online at http://viconsortium.com/;
Virgin Islands Daily News, online at http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/.
List of seven Puerto Rico news media, online at http://www.allyoucanread.com/puerto-rico-newspapers/.

Following are links to other sources of information on Irma:
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-maria#;
Governor of Puerto Rico: http://prfaa.pr.gov/;
Governor of Virgin Islands: http://governormapp.com/.

Below is a graph of Maria’s wind history, as of 2 p.m. EDT on September 25, taken from the NHC Web site at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/graphics_at5.shtml?cone#contents; followed by a satellite photo of Maria on September 25 as the storm was off the coast of the Carolinas, taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Web site at http://www.goes.noaa.gov/browsh.html, on 9/25/17, 11 a.m. EDT.
Maria windsMaria photo

Virginia State and Locality Responses to Hurricane-affected Areas in August-September 2017, According to Governor’s News Release on September 22, 2017

On September 22, 2017, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe authorized the Virginia National Guard to send 120 soldiers to the U.S. Virgin Islands as part of the response efforts among several states and agencies to Hurricane Maria and earlier to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  Following is an excerpt from the Governor’s Office news release on the Virgin Islands deployment; the excerpt also includes information on deployment by state agencies and local response teams to other areas for previous storms in 2017.

Except Begins

Governor McAuliffe today has authorized the Virginia National Guard to send 120 soldiers to the U.S. Virgin Islands to join a multi-state, multi-agency response effort to recent hurricanes.  The Commonwealth of Virginia continues to send needed supplies, personnel and expertise into the storm-ravaged areas to assist with recovery and give emergency managers on the ground a rest from the relentless demands of their jobs helping others deal with these catastrophic events.

An advance team arrived in the region on September 18, 2017, just before Hurricane Maria made landfall.  The 120 soldiers authorized today are assigned to the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and will deploy in the next week as the mission command headquarters to synchronize the response and coordinate logistical support.  Up to 400 additional soldiers are scheduled to follow soon after to conduct humanitarian assistance, clear roads, and distribute essential supplies to citizens.  Virginia National Guard soldiers will be deployed on the ground by the U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp to get assistance where it is most needed. …

Virginia has coordinated 10 missions of aid to these regions [listed below], not including countless assistance efforts coordinated by religious and non-profit organizations based in Virginia.  The largest single mission is readying to deploy this week, including the hundreds of Virginia National Guard personnel deploying to the Virgin Islands to assist with the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. …Since Hurricane Harvey struck Texas last month, Virginia has been providing emergency management and response assistance across the southeastern portions of the nation.  Missions can be coordinated through federal partners such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), or through a cooperative agreement between states called the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), through which impacted states can input their needs for assistance and other states can quickly mobilize resources to meet those needs.  Logistics and financial reimbursement are then coordinated through the EMAC system. …

*In late August, the Virginia National Guard sent approximately 40 soldiers and six helicopters to Texas to assist with Hurricane Harvey recovery operations, and after transporting medical personnel and supplies, they safely returned to Virginia in early September.

*On September 18, a joint incident management team comprised of 15 individuals from across the Commonwealth deployed to assist with emergency operations center management in Monroe County, Florida (Florida Keys).  The team will provide command and control support in the region through early October.

*A Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) volunteer coordinator is currently working in Texas to assist with coordination of thousands of volunteers arriving in the area through non-profit and religious organizations.  This mission is slated to continue through the end of September.

*Roanoke’s 17-person Strike Team 6 deployed to Texas on August 30and spent more than a week conducting water rescues of civilians trapped in the rising flood waters from Hurricane Harvey.

*The 14-person Fairfax Task Force 1 deployed to Texas on a mission organized by the federal government to assist in swift water rescues of civilians from August 27 to September 6.

*Virginia Beach Virginia Task Force 2 deployed to Texas to assist in federal government organized assistance, providing swift water rescue support through September 5.

*A blended incident management team comprised of emergency managers from across the Commonwealth deployed to Texas from September 1 to September 9 to provide emergency management command and control support.

*Virginia’s Task Force 2 from Virginia Beach deployed to Puerto Rico under a federal response effort to provide on-the-ground emergency response support for both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.  Personnel originally deployed September 4 in anticipation of Irma, and 16 additional personnel were deployed on September 7 to address the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria.

*Virginia’s Task Force 1 from Fairfax deployed to Alabama September 6 to provide immediate on the ground support following the impacts of Hurricane Irma.

*The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Restoration and Cleanup Strike Team deployed to Florida in late August to assist with on-the-ground cleanup efforts from Hurricane Irma.

To learn how to help those who have been affected by the recent natural disasters please visit http://www.vaemergency.gov/want-help-hurricane-victims-heres-right/.

Excerpt Ends

Source: Governor McAuliffe Authorizes National Guard to Deploy Significant Force to U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 9/22/17.

Adapt Virginia Web Portal on Climate Change Adaptation Released in Summer 2017

In Summer 2017, the Adapt Virginia Web portal on climate adaptation was announced by the Virginia Institute or Marine Science’s Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM).  The Web site is http://adaptva.com/.  According to that site, Adapt Virginia (AdaptVA) “is a gateway to information for individuals, local programs, and agencies engaged in climate adaptation.  AdaptVA focuses on the physical and social vulnerabilities by integrating the best available science, legal guidance, and planning strategies.  Visitors will find legal and policy resources, stories that explain adaption through maps and pictures, a searchable web catalogue, and mapping tools that address short and long-term predictions for rising water levels.”  The site’s content currently covers forecasts, adaptations, tools, maps and data, and planning and policy.

Hurricane Irma Information Sources as of Sep. 13, 2017

Hurricane Irma’s observed rain totals and wind reports, through 11 p.m. EDT on September 11, 2017, are available from the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center at College Park, Md., online at http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/winter_storm_summaries/storm20/stormsum_7.html.

National Hurricane Center (NHC) information on Irma is available online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2017/IRMA.shtml?.

The NHC Web site for current advisories, tracks, etc., of tropical storms is http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/index.shtml.

Following are links to some southeastern U.S. news media sources that covered Irma:
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, online at http://www.ajc.com/;
Key West Citizen, online at https://keysnews.com/;
[Jacksonville] Florida Times-Union, online at http://jacksonville.com/;
Miami Herald, online at http://www.miamiherald.com/;
Puerto Rico Monitor (English), online at http://puertoricomonitor.blogspot.com.au/;
Tampa Tribune, online at http://www.tbo.com/;
Virgin Islands Daily News, online at http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/.

Following are links to other sources of information on Irma:
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-irma.
Governor of Alabama: http://governor.alabama.gov/irma;
Governor of Florida news releases: http://www.flgov.com/?s=Irma;
Governor of Georgia news releases: https://gov.georgia.gov/press-releases/2017.

Below is a graph of Irma’s wind history, taken from the NHC Web site at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2017/IRMA_graphics.php; followed by a satellite photo of Irma on September 7, as the storm was moving across the northern Caribbean Sea islands and heading towards Florida (landfall there on September 12).

Irma windsIrma

Three Hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin on Sept. 7, 2017, Including Powerful Irma

As of 10 a.m. EDT on September 7, 2017, three hurricanes were in the South Altantic Basin and were heading for predicted landfalls in the Caribbean Sea area, in Mexico, or on the U.S. southeastern coast.  Hurricanes Irma (Category 5 at this time), Jose (Category 1 at this time), and Katia (Category 1 at this time) are shown in the photo below, accessed from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/gtwo.php?basin=atlc&fdays=2, at 10:15 a.m. EDT on 9/7/17.

Hurricanes Sep7

Hurricane Irma is a powerful storm threatening “catastrophic” damage, according to the NHC.  Following are the “key messages” on Irma from the NHC’s “Hurricane Irma Forecast Discussion” as of 9/7/17 at 5 a.m. EDT (online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCDAT1+shtml/071054.shtml?).

“1. Irma is a potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane and will bring life-threatening wind, storm surge, and rainfall hazards to the northern coast of Hispaniola today, the Turks and Caicos tonight, and the Bahamas tonight through Saturday.

“2. A hurricane watch is in effect much of Cuba.  Irma is likely to bring dangerous wind, storm surge, and rainfall to portions of these areas on Friday and Saturday.

“3. The threat of direct hurricane impacts in Florida over the weekend and early next week continues to increase.  Hurricane watches will likely be issued for portions of the Florida Keys and the Florida peninsula later this morning.”

Information about the current status, predicted tracks, and actual and potential impacts for the current storms (and other tropical cyclones) is available from the NHC online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

Another photo of Irma, plus a graph of the storm’s predicted track as of 8 a.m. EDT, are shown below.

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma centered over the island of Hispanola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), 9/7/17, 9:45 a.m. EDT (1345Z of UTC).  Photo taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Web site at http://www.goes.noaa.gov/browsh.html, on 9/7/17, 10:30 a.m. EDT.
Irma cone Sept 7

Predicted range of the track of the center of Hurricane Irma, as of 8 a.m. EDT (same as AST), September 7, 2017.  Image accessed from National Hurricane Center, online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/graphics_at1.shtml?cone#contents, 9/7/17, 10:45 a.m. EDT.