For more frequent updates on "Beryl" -- click ** here ** - "Talking the Tropics With Mike".
All eyes on the Western Atlantic as a tropical disturbance churns off the coast of the Carolina's & northeast of Jax. Subtropical storm "Beryl" formed late Fri. evening some 400+ miles northeast of Jax. The storm will slowly drift west & southwest then pick up speed by Sat. night/Sun. as an upper level high strengthens over the Southeast U.S. The intensity & positioning of the upper high will dictate the exact path of "Beryl".
Subtropical means the storm is not purely warm core -- it has characteristics of both a warm core & cold core low pressure system. It's pretty likely that the low will become purely tropical with time over the weekend. None-the-less
the semantics won't mean a lot in our actual weather. Rain & t'storms will increase as "Beryl" approaches late Sunday & especially Sun. night into Memorial Day. The rip current risk at area beaches will increase as well & winds will pick up to 15-30 mph with higher gusts over land....20-35 mph with gusts 40+ mph offshore. There will also be at least an isolated tornado risk near & north & east of the center.
It doesn't appear conditions will be particularly favorable for "Beryl" to significantly strengthen. There will be mid & upper level shear over the storm most of the weekend & water temps. are marginal -- mid 70s to around 80 degrees -- except for the period that the storm crosses the Gulf Stream.
Sat: Sunny & hot
Sun: Morning sun giving way to increasing clouds with a few showers & storms developing in the afternoon....breezy north winds by afternoon.
Sun. night-Monday: Showers & t'storms becoming widespread with heavy rain at times. Isolated tornado threat near & north & east of the center. Breezy to windy with rough seas & surf & a high rip current risk.
From what I've been able to research, it looks like this year will be the first year since 1887 that 2 tropical storms have formed in the month of May in the same year in the Atlantic Basin.
Interesting sidenote -- 2 hurricanes formed in 1908 -- May 24th & also in March(!). According to "Weather Underground"....26 tropical cyclones formed in the Atlantic Basin before the official start of the season since 1851. Only 5 of those storms managed to become hurricanes - 1 "major" -- "Able" & only 1 of the hurricanes affected the U.S. -- May 24th, 1908 on the Outer Banks of N. Carolina (click here for a definition of subtropical cyclones).
May 31, 2008: Tropical Storm Arthur (formed very near midnight June 1st)
May 6, 2007: Subtropical Storm Andrea
April 18, 2003: Tropical Storm Ana
April 21, 1992: Subtropical Storm 1
May 6, 1981: Tropical Storm Arlene
January 18, 1978: Subtropical Storm 1
May 21, 1976: Subtropical Storm 1
May 23, 1972: Subtropical Storm Alpha
May 17, 1970: Hurricane Alma (Category 1)
May 28, 1959: Tropical Storm Arlene
February 2, 1953: Tropical Storm Alice
May 25, 1952: Tropical Storm 1
May 15, 1951: Hurricane Able (Category 3)
May 22, 1948: Tropical Storm 1
May 19, 1940: Tropical Storm 1
May 27, 1934: Tropical Storm 1
May 14, 1933: Tropical Storm 1
May 5, 1932: Tropical Storm 1
May 13, 1916: Tropical Storm 1
May 24, 1908: Hurricane 2 (Category 1)
March 6, 1908: Hurricane 1 (Category 2)
May 27, 1890: Tropical Storm 1
May 16, 1889: Hurricane 1 (Category 1)
May 17, 1887: Tropical Storm 2
May 15, 1887: Tropical Storm 1
May 30, 1865: Tropical Storm 1
Earth Gauge: American Wetlands Month
May is American Wetlands Month! No matter where you live, chances are there’s a wetland nearby that provides important environmental benefits to your community. Wetlands support diverse fish and wildlife species, filter pollutants from rain water runoff, help recharge groundwater supplies, prevent flooding and enhance property values.
Despite their many benefits, the United States loses about 60,000 acres of wetlands each year. Compared to other coastal states, Florida, Texas, California and Louisiana have lost the most coastal marshland – California alone has lost more than 91 percent of its coastal wetlands. The Chesapeake Bay has lost 50 percent of its coastal marshes. Since the arrival of settlers, 70 percent of tidally influenced wetlands in Puget Sound have been lost. And, only about 40 to 50 percent of the prairie region’s original prairie pothole wetlands remain undrained today.
Tip: Development that occurs on or nearby wetlands can lead to loss of habitat, changes in water flow, polluted runoff and other impacts. Try these tips to protect your local wetlands:
· Keep lawns and driveways free of pet waste, fertilizers and motor oil. These pollutants can wash into storm drains and eventually reach a wetland.
· Choose native species when planting trees, shrubs and flowers to preserve the ecological balance of local wetlands.
· Use non-toxic products for household cleaning and lawn and garden care. Never spray lawn and garden chemicals outside on a windy day or on a day when it might rain and wash the chemicals into local waterways.
· Many exotic animals are introduced into wetlands by homeowners and hobbyists, where they can harm native wildlife. If you have a home aquarium with exotic saltwater or freshwater fish or raise non-native amphibians or reptiles, do not release them into the wild.
· Volunteer to help monitor or restore wetlands near you. Get in touch with local environmental organizations, your state agency or community groups to see how you can participate in programs that protect wetlands.
(Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Wetlands”; “Volunteer Monitoring”; “American Wetlands Month,”; Izaak Walton League of America, “Wetlands Sight and Sounds Series”)
Climate Fact: Factors Influencing Local Sea Level Changes
In Brief: Landmass changes, changes in prevailing winds and ocean current variability can all affect a particular location’s sea level relative to average global trends.
The world’s sea level is rising around 1.2 inches each decade, due to a combination of more glacial melt water running into the ocean and the ocean water itself expanding as it absorbs heat. This value, however, is an average, with different coastlines experiencing different sea level changes. Variations in local sea level are due to three main factors:
· Landmass changes: Sea levels along the Alaskan shoreline are actually falling because the landmass itself is rising or “rebounding” as much of the ice that used to weigh it down has melted. On the other hand, the shoreline along the Mississippi Delta is sinking, leading to high rates of local sea level rise. Landmass changes like these can affect any particular location’s sea level relative to the global trend.
· Changes it Prevailing Winds: Sea level rise in the western tropical Pacific Ocean over the last 20 years happened three times faster than the global average rate. This is attributed to strengthening of the easterly trade winds over the last 50 years, which push the ocean’s water westward into these locales like a snowplow pushes snow into piles. The water has essentially “piled up” along the shores of places like Indonesia, Papa New Guinea and exotic islands like Palau. Similar strengthening of winds and temporary sea level rise is seen during La Niña phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation.
· Changes in Ocean Currents: Sea levels off America’s East Coast fluctuate by around two inches over a period of 20-30 years. This follows a cycle of strengthening and weakening of currents that move warm water from the tropical Atlantic north towards Europe. North Atlantic temperatures are at their warmest point in the cycle after sustained periods of strong currents, sea levels off Europe’s coast peak. This crest in sea level then propagates westward and about eight to ten years after sea levels off Europe’s coast reach their peak, sea levels off America’s East Coast peak. This cycle is currently causing a relative decline in East Coast sea levels.
Need an easy way to explain the concept of sea level rise to your viewers? Visit ** here ** for examples. This page is part of “Climate Concepts: Analogies and Useful Descriptions,” a tool for weathercasters, scientists, educators and others who communicate about climate with the public.
(Sources: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, Thomas R. Karl, Jerry M. Melillo, and Thomas C. Peterson,(eds.). Cambridge University Press, 2009 and Yua, Shi-Yong, Törnqvista, Torbjörn E. and Ping Hu, 2012. “Quantifying Holocene lithospheric subsidence rates underneath the Mississippi Delta.” Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 331-332:21-30 and Merrifield, Mark A. and Mathew E. Maltrud, 2011. “Regional sea level trends due to a Pacific trade wind intensification.” Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L21605, doi:10.1029/2011GL049576 and Frankcombe, LM and Dijkstra, HA. “Coherent multidecadal variability in North Atlantic sea level.” Geophysical Research Letters 36 (2009): L15604.)
Climate in the News: Mascarelli, Amanda. “Source found for missing water in sea-level rise.” – Nature, May 20, 2012 – Groundwater withdrawals for human use are having a larger impact on the global sea level budget than was previously believed.