Talking the Tropics With Mike: Michael crossing the Carolina's after blasting the Fl. Panhandle

Oct. 11, 2018 — The "Buresh Bottom Line": Always be prepared!.....First Alert Hurricane Survival Guide... City of Jacksonville Preparedness Guide... Georgia Hurricane Guide.  

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The next 2 images provided by Dr. Phil Klotzbach, CSU:

Hurricane Michael went through a rapid intensification cycle Tue. - Wed. - a "once in a generation" type landfalling hurricane for the Florida Panhandle & will go down as the strongest Oct. hurricane to make landfall on U.S. soil.  This will surpass hurricane Ivan in 2004 as the most severe Panhandle hurricane as well as hurricane Opal in Oct., 1995 & - arguably - since historic Camille in Aug., 1969 which was a much more compact hurricane.

Michael hit the Fl. Panhandle as a "major" near Cat. 5 hurricane a little before 2pm EDT 20 miles southeast of Panama City near Mexico Beach.

Michael is steadily marching east/northeast & will move off the coast of the Carolina's Thu. evening then over the Western Atlantic where there will be a transition to a strong extra-tropical low pressure while moving quickly north/northeast.

Dry air pushing east underneath Michael will allow for clearing & hot temps. Thu. for Jacksonville as well as the areas hard hit by Michael.  But cooler temps. will follow for Thu. night - Fri. with no tropical systems threatening the U.S. despite a still active Atlantic Basin.

While business is back to normal for NE Fl./SE Ga., it's a much different story for parts of the Carolina's, Georgia & the Fl. Panhandle & Big Bend where travel will be severely hampered & power may be out for days if not weeks.

History - going back to about the mid 1990s - shows we should have been wary of Oct. hurricanes given certain conditions (warm water, decreasing shear, increasing upper level ventilation thanks to an approaching upper level trough of low pressure) which were in place for Michael - see "Buresh Blog" - Matthew (Fl.) 2 years ago (Sun., 10/07!)... Joaquin (Bahamas & El Faro) in 2015... Sandy (NY, NJ) in 2012.... Wilma (Yucatan &Fl.) in 2005... Mitch (Central America & Fl.) in 1998... Opal (Fl.) in 1995.

Microwave energy time lapse has been most impressive.... courtesy CIMSS:

Rainfall will be heavy but not necessarily excessive as Michael speeds northeast:


The overall pattern through the first 2+ weeks of Oct. has favored tropical development over the Atlantic Basin.  The velocity potential anomaly map below indicates expansive green lines - upward motion - spreading from the E. Pacific into the Atlantic Basin, part of a MJO (Madden-Julian Oscillation) pulse.


Note the secondary peak of the hurricane season in mid Oct.:

Meanwhile... Long-lived Leslie will finally pick up steam & move eastward over the Eastern Atlantic before turning south again once the storm begins to weaken off the NW coast of Africa(!).  Leslie will stay far away from any land areas as the tropical cyclone turns sharply eastward moving into the Eastern Atlantic where the storm could have some impact on the Canary Islands.

AND(!)....  tropical storm "Nadine" is slowly moving west over the Eastern/Central Atlantic but shear is expected to dissipate the tropical cyclone over the weekend.  Dr. Phil Klotzbach says this is the farthest east that a tropical storm has formed so late in the season.

Atlantic Basin "tri-fecta": Michael, Leslie & Nadine.  In addition... a tropical wave is forecast to develop into an area of low pressure over the W. Caribbean late this weekend with some tropical development possible before moving into Central America.  Looks like this system would stay far south of the U.S.

E. Atlantic:

Mid & upper level wind shear (enemy of tropical cyclones) analysis (CIMMS). The red lines indicate strong shear:

The Atlantic Basin.....

Water vapor imagery (dark blue indicates dry air):

Deep oceanic heat content is seasonably high over the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico & SW Atlantic as one would expect in the fall....

Sea surface temp. anomalies:

SE U.S. surface map:

Surface analysis centered on the tropical Atlantic:

Surface analysis of the Gulf:


The E. Pacific remains active....

After becoming annular, hurricane Sergio - still with a broad eye - is gradually giving in to increasing shear & cooler sea surface temps.  Having put on the brakes, Sergio has turned sharply northeast & will accelerate.  Eventually the tropical cyclone - or its remnants - may affect parts of Mexico, the Baja & Southwest U.S. late in the week/weekend when a deep upper level trough sets up shop over the Western U.S. & shoots Sergio to the northeast.