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2008 Atlantic Hurricane News, Satellite Photos and Resources

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2008 Hurricane News

Note: The 2008 Atlantic hurricane season officially began June 1 and ended November 30.

Hurricane & storm tracking for the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans

April 2008 extended Atlantic hurricane forecast pdf: Colorado State University 

2008 Hurricane Names: Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Ike, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paloma, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, Wilfred


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Paloma weakens to a tropical depression after battering Cuba

Tropical Storm Paloma, downgraded from a hurricane over Cuba, weakened further to a tropical depression, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The storm should be near the north coast of Cuba tomorrow and is expected to dissipate into a weak low pressure area tonight or early tomorrow, the Miami-based center said in an advisory. Almost 1 million people along Cuba's low-lying southern coast were evacuated in advance of the storm, MSNBC said, citing NBC News. Bloomberg_ 11/9/08

Hurricane Paloma hits Cuba with 125 mph winds; Fifth hurricane to hit the island this season

Hurricane Paloma has made landfall in Cuba and is battering the southern coast with maximum sustained winds close to 200km/h (125mph). Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from low-lying areas and the country has been lashed by heavy rain. The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) has predicted that the storm will now decrease in strength. Paloma has already caused torrential rains and storm surges in some areas of the Cayman Islands. Paloma is the 16th storm of the Atlantic storm season and the eighth hurricane. It earlier brought heavy rain to parts of Honduras and Nicaragua. BBC News_ 11/9/08

Paloma now a hurricane, heads toward Cuba

Paloma strengthened to a hurricane with winds near 75 mph on Thursday as it churned toward the Cayman Islands and Cuba. Forecasters say the storm is expected to continue strengthening as it moves north over the next day. The National Hurricane Center in Miami warned Paloma may make landfall in Cuba over the weekend, and Jamaica was warned to also monitor its progress. Paloma is the 16th named storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. AP/International Herald Tribune_ 11/6/08

Hurricane Omar strengthens in the Caribbean, aims at Virgin Islands

Hurricane Omar strengthened in the Caribbean south of Puerto Rico, causing the closure of a refinery in St. Croix, as forecasters said the storm will hit the Virgin Islands by early tomorrow. Omar's winds increased to 105 mph shortly before 8 p.m. Miami time, from 90 mph a few hours ago, making it a category 2 hurricane, the center said in an advisory. A Category 2 hurricane, the second-weakest on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, has winds of 96 mph to 110 mph. The system, swirling 80 miles south- southwest of St. Croix, was moving east-northeast at 17 mph. ``Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours,'' the center said. ``Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion." Bloomberg_ 10/15/08

Hurricane Kyle speeds toward Canada

Kyle, the 11th named storm of this year's busy Atlantic hurricane season, had sustained winds of 80 miles per hour with higher gusts, making it a category one storm. The centre of the storm, which triggered Maine's first hurricane watch in 17 years, was forecast to pass to the east of the state late on Sunday before making landfall in the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia or New Brunswick overnight or early Monday. Maine was not due to take a direct hit and no evacuations were planned but the state was pounded by heavy rain on Sunday and fishermen moved boats out of harm's way. The deadliest storm to hit the region was in 1938, when a hurricane made landfall on Long Island, killing nearly 700 people and destroying 63,000 homes across New England and New York. Other hurricanes to hit Maine were Carol and Edna in 1954, Donna in 1960 and Gloria in 1985. Telegraph_ 9/28/08

Tropical Storm Kyle becomes a hurricane off eastern U.S. coast

Tropical storm Kyle strengthened off the east coast of the U.S. to become the sixth U.S. hurricane of the season. Tropical storm warnings were issued for parts of Maine and Nova Scotia as the hurricane, packing winds of 75 miles (120 kilometers) per hour is forecast to move north at about 23 mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The storm may grow stronger through tomorrow, and is expected to make landfall on the border between Maine and Canada late tomorrow or early on Sept. 29. The storm is rated a Category 1 system, the lowest on the five-tiered Saffir-Simpson scale measuring hurricanes strength. Bloomberg_ 9/27/08

New FEMA policy: No ice for hurricane survivors

Hurricane survivors are being put at risk in Texas and other hot weather states because the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is no longer providing ice in relief situations, say watchdogs, relief workers and local leaders in Hurricane Alley. In fact, while the federal government can deliver ice to disaster areas, it's chosen not to, under newly-revised FEMA rules. Instead, individual states and local governments are now tasked with purchasing, delivering and storing ice, even though they face tough logistical challenges in doing so, according to critics of the new policy. The first time support workers, watchdogs and local officials say they heard about the policy change was in April, just as hurricane season was beginning. Since then, many say, they've had no direction or guidance as to what the new procedures entail. ABC News_ 9/18/08

Water pours over Rio Grande levee, plane carrying water officials is found
The swelling Rio Grande flowed over a levee Wednesday in Presidio, Texas, sending water cascading onto the golf course and some ranch land in this dusty-turned-muddy West Texas border town. The levee had not failed, said Presidio County Attorney Rod Ponton, but an area on the eastern end of Presidio was turned into a chocolate-brown reservoir marked by partially submerged trees, bushes and power lines. By Wednesday afternoon, the water had crept into the backyards of several homes on a small bluff between the golf course and the city of Presidio, but no homes appeared under threat.

Flooding in Mexico
A levee broke across the Rio Grande in neighboring Ojinaga, Mexico, where Presidio Mayor Lorenzo Hernandez said homes and other buildings received up to 10 feet of water.  Muddy water covered roads and structures within eyesight of the shuttered border crossing in Ojinaga. Two large chunks of earth were ripped from the narrow levee that once held back the river. Mexican officials in boats were seen Wednesday patrolling the flooded area that extended at least a half mile from the border crossing. The recent rains and flooding aren't related to Hurricane Ike, which hit hundreds of miles to the east.

Plane wreckage found
The U.S. Border Patrol said Wednesday that it had located a plane that had been carrying the U.S. and Mexican heads of the International Boundary and Water Commission sent to survey the situation. It had disappeared Monday with four people on board. The agency, which maintains the border levees on the Rio Grande that separates the two countries, confirmed the deaths of U.S. commissioner Carlos Marin and his Mexican counterpart, Arturo Herrera. Jake Brisbin Jr., executive director of the Rio Grande Council of Governments, and pilot Matthew Peter Juneau were also killed.
The Border Patrol said it found the plane's wreckage in a rugged section of the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico, about 20 miles northwest of Presidio.  AP_9/18/08

Galveston, Houston struggle in wake of Ike; Lines form for water and ice but drinking water returns to Houston

With no electricity, running water or sewage, local officials are concerned about disease. In Houston, distribution centers open for food and water. Galveston was a jumble of crushed homes, flattened businesses and towering mounds of debris today as local officials struggled to cope with a daunting catastrophe and residents lined up for food and water. There was no electricity, running water, sewage or telephone service. Local officials worried about the possible spread of disease as thousands of residents who survived the storm tried to live in damaged homes without proper sanitary facilities. In Houston, local and federal emergency authorities began opening distribution centers for food, water and ice. They said they hoped to open about 17 points of distribution by day's end. Each resident was to be given two packages of ready-to-eat meals, two boxes of bottled water and a bag of ice. Houston Mayor Bill White announced that the city's water pressure had been restored to normal, and he said the city expected later today to rescind an advisory for residents to boil water. Mark Bahamonde, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said 80 truckloads of emergency supplies arrived in Houston on Sunday night for distribution today. He said another 100 truckloads were expected to arrive later today. Houston, the nation's fourth-largest city and the first to be paralyzed by a major hurricane since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, remained under a nighttime curfew in effect until at least Saturday. Los Angeles Times_ 9/15/08 (logon required)

Ike robs Houston of drinkig water, prompts curfew

Hurricane Ike left Houston without drinking water today and severed power to millions after ripping through America's fourth-largest city yesterday, flooding homes, shattering office windows and shutting oil refineries. Power crews worked to restore electricity to the region, a task that could take a month, said utility CenterPoint Energy Inc. Ike, the first hurricane to hit a major U.S. metropolitan area since Katrina in 2005, scattered 2.3 million people in two states before making landfall yesterday. The storm weakened to a tropical depression as it moved inland today over Missouri and Illinois, prompting flood warnings. Eight deaths were attributed to Ike, including five in Texas, two in Louisiana and one in Arkansas, the Associated Press reported. About 2.2 million Texas homes -- mostly in the Galveston- Houston area -- were without power, said the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. Many pumping stations were also down, leaving residents with no running water. At a Whole Foods market in west Houston, almost 200 people waited in line to enter the store, where bottled water was in demand and ice was being rationed. Ike left more than 70 people dead in Haiti and killed four in Cuba as it swept through the Caribbean earlier this week. Bloomberg_ 9/14/08

FEMA struggles to deliver much-needed supplies

The Federal Emergency Management Agency struggled today to move supplies to distribution centers throughout Houston as nearly 5 million people across the region continued to live without power and access to clean drinking water. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said 40 trucks of water and 40 trucks of meals would be delivered to Reliant Stadium by the end of the day. He blamed delays in on state officials who handed his department the "unexpected challenge" of having to prepare distribution points in addition to delivering supplies. Houston Chronicle_ 9/14/08

Hurricane Ike roars ashore, batters southeast Texas

Hurricane Ike ripped across the Texas coast early Saturday, pushing a storm surge of as much as 13 feet of water ashore and blasting winds of more than 100 mph through Houston's high rise canyons. Houston, the nation's fourth-largest city was hunkered down, waiting for the worst of the storm to pass by. Although damage reports were spotty in the early morning, it appeared from news reports and television images that flooding had damaged many homes and structures along the coastline and concerns grew about casualties. Officials in Galveston, which took a frontal attack from Hurricane Ike, received emergency calls through the night from residents seeking help, but it was too dangerous to send out rescuers. An official from CenterPoint Energy said that about 90 percent of its roughly 2 million customers were without power, the Houston Chronicle reported on its Web site. Full restoration could take several weeks, said CenterPoint spokesman Floyd LeBlanc. Washington Post_ 9/13/08

More than 4.5 million people were without power, according to the Houston Chronicle web site, and officials urge residents to boil water. Houston Chronicle_ 9/13/08

Weather service warns of 'certain death' in face of Ike

Residents living in single-family homes in some parts of coastal Texas face "certain death" if they do not heed orders to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Ike's arrival, the National Weather Service said Thursday night. The unusually strong wording came in a weather advisory regarding storm surge along the shoreline of Galveston Bay, which could see maximum water levels of 15 to 22 feet, the agency said.  The maximum water level forecasts in nearby areas, including the shoreline of Matagorda Bay and the Gulf-facing coastline from Sargent to High Island, ranged from 5 to 8 feet. But authorities warned that tide levels could begin rising Friday morning along the upper Texas coast and along the shorelines of the bays.  CNN_9/12/08

Hurricane Ike may hit Texas with 15-foot surge

Shallow waters on the Gulf of Mexico's continental shelf could worsen Hurricane Ike's impact as it heads for the coast of Texas later this week.  Ike's storm surge will increase as it passes from deeper water onto an underwater plateau near Texas, said Jeff Masters, director of the commercial forecasting service Weather Underground.  As of Wednesday afternoon, forecasters predicts that Ike's center will come ashore as a powerful Category 3—with winds of 111 to 130 miles (179 to 209 kilometers) an hour—on late Friday or early Saturday.  It's expected to hit near Rockport, a small fishing town about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi. National Geographic_ 9/10/08

Ike lashing Cuba, misses Florida Keys, heads toward Gulf of Mexico and U.S. Gulf Coast

Hurricane Ike, recently downgraded to a Category 1 storm, was expected to slip well south of the Keys and slide along the southern coast of Cuba as it made its way toward the Gulf of Mexico. According to current projections, Ike could hit the Gulf Coast anywhere from New Orleans to Mexico perhaps as late as the weekend. If the storm makes landfall in the United States, it will be a record sixth consecutive named Atlantic storm to do so. In Cuba, the Associated Press reported that 770,000 have already fled their homes. Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, has been hit by four hurricanes in a month and has had no time to recover between assaults. Ike took another 58 lives, the AP reported. Flooding has killed 500 people, leaving thousands with no access to food or drinking water, creating chaos for the few U.N. troops able to reach the stricken areas. This morning, the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge arrived off the coast of Haiti from Colombia to assist with relief efforts. Its fleet of helicopters will transport supplies to the rain-ravaged island. ABC News_ 9/9/08

Last month it was drought, now South Florida Water Management District prepares for Hurricane ike

Already awash in rainfall from tropical storms Fay and Hanna, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is bracing for potential impacts from Hurricane Ike. The threat of high winds and, more significantly, heavy rainfall is of serious concern for the entire 16-county district already saturated with the deluge from back-to-back tropical storms. Tropical Storm Fay alone dropped about a month’s worth of rain in just six days. In response, canals in strategic areas have been lowered. Several pump stations are operating or on standby. Water control structures on the east coast are releasing water to tide to make room for more storm water. Just a month ago, the District was emerging from a record drought, which saw the driest back-to-back calendar years on record in 2006 and 2007, based on records dating back to 1932. A combined rainfall deficit of more than 20 inches was seen. Fort Myers News Press_ 9/6/08

Floods cut off aid in Haiti

Devastation wreaked by tropical storms overwhelmed rescue efforts in Haiti yesterday and left thousands of people stranded with no food or drinking water as another hurricane approached. Aid agencies and United Nations peacekeepers mobilised to help, but submerged roads and bridges cut off an estimated 250,000 people who were becoming increasingly desperate. Flood waters receded as tropical storm Hanna moved north, but the respite will be brief if Hurricane Ike, a category 3 storm, slams into the Caribbean country tomorrow, as some forecasts predict. Hanna was the third storm to hit the impoverished country in three weeks, leaving more than 200 people dead and unleashing what President René Préval called "catastrophe". The UN estimates that 650,000 Haitians have been affected, of which a third are in urgent need of aid. The Guardian_ 9/6/08

Strongest hurricanes may be getting stronger

A new study finds that the strongest of hurricanes and typhoons have become even stronger over the last two and a half decades, adding grist to the contentious debate over global warming and its ability to unleash more destructive storms. At the same time, the study, published in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature, finds that more typical, run-of-the-mill tropical storms have not become stronger over that same period. About 90 tropical cyclone storms form each year. In the Atlantic, the stronger ones, with winds of at least 74 miles, are hurricanes; in the Pacific and Indian oceans, the exact equivalent are typhoons. New York Times_ 9/3/08 (logon required)

Tropics ripe with Hanna, Ike and Josephine: Season tropical storms total 10

Hurricane Hanna and Tropical Storm Ike formed Monday, and a new system, Tropical Storm Josephine, popped up Tuesday morning. Crawling over the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas, Hanna was downgraded to a tropical storm Tuesday morning with 70 mph winds. Forecasters expect it to pick up strength and become a hurricane again later Tuesday or Wednesday. As Hanna moves northwest this week and gains strength, landfall is projected near the Carolinas on Friday as a Category 1 or Category 2 hurricane. If forecasters' estimates are correct, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands will be dealing with Hurricane Ike soon after Hanna is out of their hair. Josephine is a quickly organizing storm that could grow into a hurricane by Wednesday, but as of Tuesday its maximum winds were 40 mph. Miami Herald_ 9/2/08

After Gustav, New Orleans officials assess sewer damage

The city's sewer system is damaged, and hospitals were working with skeleton crews on backup power. Drinking water continued to flow in the city and the pumps that keep it dry never shut down -- two critical service failings that contributed to Katrina's toll. Minneapolis Star-Tribune/New York Times_ 9/2/08

Category 2 Gustav lashes Louisiana coast

A weakened, but still powerful, Hurricane Gustav muscled ashore west of New Orleans Monday, bringing heavy rain and strong winds that drove waves over the top of some of the city's levees. The Category 2 storm made landfall at 10:30 a.m. ET near Cocodrie, La., about 72 miles southwest of New Orleans. The storm, which once was a Category 4 monster in the Gulf of Mexico, came ashore with less power than once feared. But New Orleans still is taking a heavy punch from the storm. Water from waves pounding against concrete walls poured across levees along the Industrial Canal, which buffers the Lower 9th Ward neighborhood. USAToday_ 9/1/08

Hurricane Hanna forms in the Atlantic

Hurricane Hanna formed near the Bahamas in the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday, as powerful Hurricane Gustav battered New Orleans and the U.S. Gulf Coast and a new tropical depression formed between Africa and the Leeward Islands. At 1:30 p.m. EDT, Hanna was packing 75 miles per hour winds and centered near Mayaguana Island in the southeastern Bahamas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Hanna is the fourth hurricane of an already busy Atlantic hurricane season and it was expected to move over the southeastern and central Bahamas during the next couple of days, the Miami-based hurricane center said. According to the hurricane center, Hanna is on track to skirt the Florida coast before making landfall on Friday in South Carolina, near its border with Georgia. In addition to Hanna, a new tropical depression formed between Africa and the Leeward Islands on Monday. The depression was expected to become the ninth tropical storm of the hurricane season late on Monday. Reuters_ 9/1/08

Gustav photos and video from the New Orleans Times-Picayune

Gustav upgraded to Category 4 hurricane; New Orleans evacuates; GOP convention may be delayed

Gustav strengthened to an ``extremely dangerous'' Category 4 hurricane as residents of New Orleans fled a storm that threatens to strike the U.S. Gulf Coast harder than Katrina did three years ago. The National Hurricane Center in Miami upgraded the storm after sustained winds exceeded 145 miles (233 kilometers) an hour as it approached Cuba's western tip. The hurricane could be upgraded to Category 5 by tomorrow and reach Louisiana as early as Sept. 1, according to the center. Senator John McCain said the convention might be delayed if Gustav caused a disaster on the Gulf Coast, according to an interview he gave to ``Fox News Sunday'' set to air tomorrow. In an excerpt on Fox's Web site, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said ``it just wouldn't be appropriate." President George W. Bush may skip the convention because of the storm, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said in a conference call with reporters today. The Bush administration was criticized three years ago for its handling of the relief effort after Hurricane Katrina. Bloomberg_ 8/30/08

Hanna becomes Atlantic Ocean's eighth tropical storm of the season Staff Report

Aug.29, 2008

Tropical Storm Hanna, the eighth of the 2008 Atlantic season, moved well north of the Virgin Islands Friday on a track that also should see it stay clear of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The storm, which formed Thursday, is expected to move west, northwest and gradually increase in strength over the next few days, possibly reaching near hurricane force by Sunday. On its present path, forecasters said it likely would move north of the Bahamas.

A fearful New Orleans prepares for a potental Hurricane Gustav

Fear and foreboding gripped this still-mending city Thursday as a potential Category 3 hurricane whirled toward the Gulf Coast on the eve of Hurricane Katrina's three-year anniversary. Tropical Storm Gustav, which was lashing Jamaica after Haitian officials said it had killed 51 people there, was still almost five days away from the Crescent City, according to the National Hurricane Center. Projections varied greatly, putting its path anywhere from the Florida panhandle to southeastern Texas by Tuesday. But Louisiana seemed the most likely place for Gustav to make landfall, and politicians here were acting decisively to prepare for the worst -- a sharp contrast from the response to Katrina, which was widely criticized as disorganized and sluggish. New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin left the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday and announced that he would order a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans if a Category 3 storm got within 60 hours of his city. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency, activated the National Guard and triggered a government contract that allowed him to bring up to 700 buses to the hurricane zone to help with evacuations. The rising GOP star also said he was prepared to skip next week's Republican National Convention, where he is scheduled to speak. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator R. David Paulison also traveled to Louisiana on Thursday to coordinate disaster response. "Although we have made strong strides in rebuilding our infrastructure, the levees have not been fully repaired and we have an $800-million budget gap to complete our sewage and water systems," Nagin said earlier in a statement. Los Angeles Times_ 8/29/08

FEMA officials prepare for Gustav

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are ramping up preparations in case Tropical Storm Gustav builds as predicted into a major hurricane and hits the U.S. Gulf Coast. Gustav developed into a Category 1 hurricane early Tuesday but was later downgraded after making landfall in Haiti. The projected landfall area of the storm is similar to that of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and the adjacent Gulf Coast around Labor Day weekend in 2005. Weather organizations tracking the tropical storm predict Gustav will likely revert to hurricane status and enter the Gulf Coast by this weekend. In the event that Gustav becomes a hurricane, FEMA has 478 emergency generators, 141 truckloads of tarp and 267 truckloads of blankets and cots that are already stationed in Gulf Coast states, according to a statement. The agency will also have more than 2.4 million liters of water and more than four million meals. FEMA has been plagued with criticisms since Katrina, with government leaders deeming the agency's emergency response plan ineffective and broken. The agency was also slammed for putting hurricane victims in trailers with high levels of formaldehyde and for staging a fake news conference. After a reorganization, FEMA made improvements that include a better ability to deploy critical supplies, such as water, to disaster regions. Wall Street Journal_ 8/27/08

Tropical Storm Gustav, number seven for the Atlantic season, forms in Caribbean near Haiti

Gustav's center may be over Haiti tomorrow and may develop into a hurricane before making landfall, said an advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Gustav follows Tropical Storm Fay, which left a trail of death and flooding through the Caribbean and Florida, where it made an unprecedented four landfalls before weakening over Mississippi. Fay was blamed for 23 deaths in the Caribbean and 13 in the U.S., according to the Associated Press. Bloomberg_ 8/25/08

'Absurd amounts of rain' as Fay soaks Florida for a 5th day

For the fifth straight day, Tropical Storm Fay threatened to soak Florida as if determined to end the state's two-year drought in one swoop. President Bush declared a federal state of emergency, opening the door for government help in dealing with the storm's costs. Fay was dumping "absurd amounts of rain," said state climatologist David F. Zierden at the Florida Climate Center at Florida State University. Lake Okeechobee rose to 12.22 feet above sea level, and storm-water runoff was expected to push the lake closer to 13 feet, according to the South Florida Water Management District. At this time last year, the lake was 9.56 feet, and two years ago it was 11.99 feet. Normal is about 14 feet. Why so much rain? "It is a slow-moving system" that has drawn moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, Zierden said. Sun-Sentinel/Los Angeles Times_ 8/22/08

Tropical Storm Fay heads toward Florida Keys, kills 4 in Caribbean

Tropical Storm Fay began to make its way toward Florida, after rain and winds lashed Haiti and the Dominican Republic yesterday, leaving at least four dead. The system, with maximum sustained winds of about 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour, was about 270 miles southeast of Key West, Florida, and 205 miles southeast of Havana as of 5 p.m. New York time, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center's Web site. The storm is moving to the west-northwest at about 15 mph, and may cross western Cuba tonight before reaching Florida. A hurricane watch has been issued by the center for the Florida Keys, a 150-mile chain of islands stretching from the state's southern tip, as well as up the west coast of the mainland to Tarpon Springs, about 30 miles north of Tampa. Bloomberg_ 8/17/08

Colorado State team forecasts 17 named Atlantic storms in a very active season staff report

August 5, 2008

Colorado State University hurricane forecasters Philip Klotzbach and William Gray said Tuesday they expect 17 storms to form in the Atlantic Ocean this year, making the season unusually active. The forcast increases by two the number of named storms the researchers expect to form before Nov. 30.

In a news release, they said they based their predictions on warm sea surface temperatures and low sea level pressures observed over the tropical Atlantic in June and July, combined with an active early season in the deep tropics. They said the season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, will be "much more" active than has been typical in the years between 1950 and 2000.

Of the 17 expected storms, nine will develop into hurricanes and five of those will be "intense" with sustained winds of 111 miles an hour or more. In June, the researchers estimated this season would see 15 named storms, eight of them hurricanes and four of those classified as intense. So far this season there have been five named storms , including two hurricanes, Bertha and Dolly.

"We have increased our forecast because there has already been a very active early tropical cyclone season in the deep tropics and more favorable hurricane-enhancing sea surface temperature and sea level pressure patterns in the tropical Atlantic have developed," said Klotzbach, lead author of the forecasts. "The primary concern with our current very active seasonal forecast numbers is the continued ocean surface warming in the eastern and central tropical Pacific. Although it seems unlikely at this point, there is a possibility that a weak El Nino could develop by the latter part of the hurricane season. If this happened, it would likely reduce the number of late season tropical cyclones."

This is Colorado State's 25th year of issuing early August forecasts. The news release said the team has correctly predicted an above- or below-average season in 21 of 24 years for named storms and 17 of 24 years for hurricanes in their early August forecasts.

For the month of August, the team expects four named storms, three hurricanes and one intense hurricane for the Atlantic basin. This activity is approximately 180 percent of the average activity expected during the month of August.

Tropical Storm Edouard spurs hurricane watch for Texas staff report

August3, 2008

The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane water for the next 36 hours for upper Texas coast or possibly the coast of southwestern Louisiana. Edouard is the fifth tropical storm of the 2008 Atlantic season. Two to four inches of rain is expected to accompany the storm. Edouard is likely to stregthen to hurricane force within the next 36 hours, center forcasters predicted. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has forecast 12 to 16 named storms this season, with six to nine developing into hurricanes.

July, 2008

Nestle Waters North America contributes bottled water to Hurricane Dolly relief effort

Nestle Waters North America has donated 222,234 half-liter bottles of Ozarka® Brand Natural Spring Water to citizens and disaster relief workers affected by last week's Category 2 Hurricane Dolly. AmeriCares and the American Red Cross, along with local, on-the-ground agencies, are distributing the donations throughout the region. The first hurricane to strike the U.S. since September 2007, Hurricane Dolly hit Southeastern Texas on Wednesday, July 23, bringing severe rain and wind. Hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed, forcing residents to evacuate. Governor Rick Perry declared 14 south Texas counties disaster areas as a result of the storm. "One of the most important needs right now is clean water for the citizens affected by the hurricane, and the volunteers that are helping to get life back to normal," said Meghan O'Hara, manager of in-kind donations for the American Red Cross. "Nestle Waters' donation allowed us to distribute clean drinking water to the affected areas, and we are grateful for the support." "Nestle Waters is a partner we can always count on in times of disaster," said John Connell, AmeriCares director of emergency response. "Their ongoing support enabled AmeriCares to respond quickly to Hurricane Dolly, so that drinking water was available in the communities hit hard by the storm within 24 hours." News Release_ 7/31/08

Dolly dwindles but threatens more flooding in Texas, Mexico
One person was killed as tropical depression Dolly dumped rain over Texas and Mexico on Friday after pummeling the coast as a hurricane and stirring up floods.  The Gulf of Mexico's first hurricane of 2008 ripped off rooftops, shattered windows, toppled trees and power lines and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in estimated damage.  It is estimated that 236,000 people on the US side are still without power, and that 3,000 people were in temporary shelters.  But Dolly failed to cause any breach in south Texas levees, as some authorities had feared.  In Mexico, Dolly caused extensive flooding in the border city of Matamoros, where tens of thousands of people lacked electricity and drinking water. One person was fatally electrocuted, officials said.  Also near the US border, Dolly's winds damaged Nuevo Laredo's main water treatment plant, leaving half of its 500,000 inhabitants without drinking water. AFP_7/25/08

South Texas-Mexico border hit by Hurricane Dolly, flooding feared

Hurricane Dolly moved inland after tearing into the South Texas coast on Wednesday with 95 mph (150 kph) winds, pouring torrential rain on the U.S.-Mexico border area and threatening floods. Dolly, the second hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, dropped up to 12 inches of rain in the first few hours after coming ashore at the barrier island of South Padre Island, where it ripped off roofs, bent palm trees in half and left thousands of residents without power. The storm's leading edge hit South Padre Island as a Category 2 hurricane, the second level on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph (160 kmh) but quickly fell back to Category 1, the National Hurricane Center said. It was expected to weaken to a tropical storm later Wednesday evening, the Miami-based center said. Flooding was expected to be widespread across South Texas and northeastern Mexico, it said. Reuters_ 7/23/08

Dolly now a hurricane staff report

July 22, 2008

Dolly was officially classified as a Category 1 hurricane Tuesday afternoon as it headed toward the Mexico-Texas border packing winds of 75 miles an hour and predictions of heavy rain along the coast. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said a hurricane warning remains in effect along the Gulf coast from Brownsville, Texas to Rio San Fernando, Mexico.A hurricane warning, according to forecasters, means "preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion." Dolly is expected to reach land Wednesday and a few tornados are possible overnight across the lower and middle Texas coast. On Tuesday afternoon, the center of the storm was about 165 miles east-southeast of Brownsville, Texas. Tropical Storm Cristobal, meanwhile, continued to move north and away from land. On Tuesday afternoon, the storm was about 170 miles south-southeast of Halifax Nova Scotia and moving toward the northeast with winds of about 50 miles an hour.

Tropical Storm Dolly heads toward the Texas coast staff report

July 21, 2008

Tropical Storm Dolly was expected to strengthen over the Gulf of Mexico as it heads toward the coast of Texas, according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center. Although Dolly's maximum sustained winds were about 50 miles an hour, still below the 74 mile per hour threshold for a hurricane, forecasters issued a hurricane watch from Rio San Fernando, Mexico north to Port O'Connor, Texas. By Monday afternoon, Dolly was about 420 miles east-southeast of Texas' Lower Rio Grande Valley coast. On the Atlantic coast, Tropical Storm Cristobal continued to move generally away from land as it traveled north past Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. It's maximum sustained winds were 65 miles an hour but it is expected to weaken late Tuesday.

Season's fourth tropical storm forms off Mexico's Yucatan Penninsula; Bertha spins slowly toward Iceland Staff Report

July 20, 2008

Tropical Storm Dolly, the fourth of the Atlantic season, formed off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Sunday with maximum sustained winds of about 45 miles an hour. A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the Yucatan Peninsula as forecasters with the U.S. National Hurricane Center predicted it would move across the Peninsula tonight and emerge in the southern Gulf of Mexico on Monday. Rainfall was expected to be four to six inches. Tropical Storm Cristobal continued to move parallel to the North Carolina coast, about 40 miles south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, bringing rain to the immediate coastal areas. Forecasters said Cristobal should start moving away from the North Carolina coast on Monday. In the north Atlantic, former Tropical Storm Bertha was about 1,000 miles southwest of Iceland and the National Hurricane Center said it wouldn't issue any further reports on its progress.

Tropical Storm Cristobal moves along Carolina coast; Hurricane Bertha keeps on going Staff Report

July 19, 2008

A tropical storm warning was issued Saturday for the southeastern U.S. coast from South Santee River, South Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border. Cristobal, the third named Atlantic storm of 2008, was about 125 miles east of Charleston, South Carolina Saturday afternoon and 205 miles southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center. The tropical storm had sustained winds of about 45 miles an hour, well below the 74 miles per hour that defines a hurricane. An advisory from the Hurricane Center said Cristobal is expected to stay near the U.S. coast for the next day or so and winds could slowly strengthen. Tropical storm winds extended up to 85 miles from the center of the storm. In the north Atlantic, Bertha regained hurricane status Friday and continued to head northeast about 640 miles from the coast of Newfoundland. Forecasters with the U.S. National Hurricane Center predicted Bertha will continue to travel northeast with winds of 75 miles an hour for the next few days and gradually weaken as it is absorbed into colder Canadian weather systems. Bertha is the longest-lived July tropical storm in history.

Bertha becomes history's longest tropical storm--for July staff report

July 15, 2008

Bertha's 12.5 days as a tropical storm overturns the record 12.25 days set in July, 1916 by "storm #2," according to the National Hurricane Center. On Tuesday Bertha was 315 miles north-northeast of Bermuda and moving at nine miles an hour to the north-northeast. The storm's sustained winds were about 70 miles an hour. Bertha became the season's first hurricane July 7 when winds hit 74 miles an hour and briefly strengthened to a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, before slowly dropping back Sunday to a tropical storm. Forecasters said Bertha still could regain hurricane strength in the next few days but ultimately will run into weather conditions that will cut its power.

Bertha barely a hurricane

WaterWebster staff report

July 12, 2008

Hurricane Bertha plodded through the Atlantic about 210 miles southeast of Bermuda Saturday as forecasters said diminishing winds kept the storm barely within the hurricane category. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Bermuda, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, where large swells and high surf are expected to continue for a day or two. Bertha barely moved during the day Saturday but is expected to head northward Saturday night and Sunday, eventually passing southeast and east of Bermuda. Once a major Category 3 storm, Bertha's current winds of 75 miles an hour barely qualify it as a hurricane. The Saffir-Simpson Scale rates a tropical storm as a hurricane when winds hit 74 miles per hour.

Bertha weakens in 'hostile' Atlantic hurricane environment

WaterWebster staff report

July 8, 2008

Hurricane Bertha, which briefly reached a major Category 3 level, dropped back to a Category 1 hurricane Tuesday as cooler Atlantic Ocean water and stiff shear forces combined to curb the cyclone's intensity. The National Hurricane Center in Miami reported Bermuda could begin experiencing higher swells Wednesday as the storm continues to work its way slowly west. On Monday Bertha expanded to a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, meaning winds ranged from 111 to 130 miles an hour. But by Tuesday the maximum sustained winds had dropped to 85 miles an hour as the hurricane encountered the more "hostile" water temperature and shear environment, according to a Hurricane Center update. At 5 p.m. AST Bertha was reported 900 miles southeast of Bermuda and moving toward the northwest at about 12 miles an hour. Major Atlantic hurricanes are unusual in July, but not unknown. In the record 2005 season, two hurricanes, Dennis and Emily, formed in July.

Bertha first hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic season

Bertha may reach Category 2 status today as it intensifies east of the Leeward Islands. Bertha strengthened from tropical-storm levels during the night, with maximum sustained winds of almost 90 mph (120 kph) as of 11 a.m. Miami time, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in the latest advisory on its Web site. Hurricanes have maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph. The storm was likely to reach Category 2, with winds of over 96 mph, today or tonight, the agency said. If the storm moves as predicted, it could threaten Bermuda, about 670 miles (1,078 kilometers) east of the North Carolina coast, by July 12. Bloomberg_ 7/7/08

Bertha likely to be first hurricane of 2008

Tropical Storm Bertha strengthened Sunday as it moved to the west, with forecasters saying it may likely become the first Atlantic hurricane of the season, an early indication that this year's season could be as busy as usual, if not busier. As of 11 a.m. Eastern, the National Hurricane Center said the storm was about 1,200 miles east of the Northern Leeward Islands in the Caribbean. Bertha's sustained winds were at 50 miles per hour. The forecast put the chances of Bertha's winds reaching hurricane velocity of 74 miles per hour or more by Tuesday at 52%. The odds of it reaching those speeds by Wednesday was estimated at 60%. The tentative forecast had Bertha slowly moving west with the most likely track missing the Bahamas to the south and Bermuda to the north. Currently, the storm is not projected to reach the Gulf of Mexico. Market Watch_ 7/6/08

Bertha, season's second tropical storm, forms in the eastern Atlantic

The second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season formed off the coast of Africa and is moving toward the west-northwest at about 14 mph, but forecasters said it's too early to say if or where Bertha will hit land. The first named storm this year, Arthur, formed in the Atlantic the day before the season officially started June 1 and soaked the Yucatan Peninsula. AP/CNN_ 7/3/08

A new spin on hurricane forecasting

As coastal residents from the Caribbean to Canada brace for as many as 16 named storms, including two to five major hurricanes, predicted for the 2008 Atlantic season, the science of hurricane tracking is expected to improve this year. The human factor, however, has some ground to make up. Unmanned aircraft will provide new insight into how storms form and gain force by flying into the eye of a storm and gathering data on winds, temperatures, humidity and pressure. A global network of trackers and analysts will receive data from the drones on the energy exchange that occurs on the sea surface and determines a storm's intensity. Meteorologists have "over-forecast" the last two tropical storm seasons, and emergency response planners concede that the message that "it only takes one" is more difficult to get across when citizens steeled themselves in 2006 and 2007, only to be left with closets full of canned food, batteries and bottled water. This hurricane season comes after a rough period for the National Hurricane Center, where a fourth director in less than 18 months is trying to unify a staff described as divided and squabbling in a report commissioned by its parent agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Bill Read has been director since January. Los Angeles Times_ 6/1/08 (logon required)

May 2008

Arthur, the Atlantic season's 1st tropical storm, forms near Belize

Tropical Storm Arthur, the first named storm of the 2008 Atlantic season, formed Saturday near the coast of Belize but was already over land and was expected to weaken later in the day, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Arthur is expected to weaken to a tropical depression Saturday night but could regain tropical strength if it moves back over the warm Gulf waters, the hurricane center said. The 2008 Atlantic hurricane season begins Sunday. CNN_ 5/31/08

U.S. government sees active Atlantic hurricane season

The 2008 Atlantic hurricane season will be active with as many as nine hurricanes expected to form, U.S. government forecasters predicted on Thursday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast 12 to 16 named storms this season, with six to nine developing into hurricanes. Two to five could be major ones of Category 3 or higher with winds above 110 miles per hour (177 km per hour), the agency said in its annual forecast. NOAA said there was a 60 to 70 percent probability of its prediction being accurate, the first time the agency has issued a probability with its forecast. It follows the last two years when NOAA called for active hurricane seasons only to see little or no impact on the United States. The U.S. Gulf Coast, Mexico, Caribbean and Central American countries were battered during 2005. A record four major hurricanes hit the United States, including Katrina, which devastated New Orleans, killing around 1,500 people on the U.S. Gulf Coast and causing $80 billion in damage. The 2004 season saw Florida struck by four powerful hurricanes. An average Atlantic hurricane season brings 11 tropical storms with six hurricanes, including two major hurricanes, NOAA said. Reuters_ 5/22/08

NOAA scientist's study says global warming not causing more hurricanes

Global warming isn't to blame for the recent jump in hurricanes in the Atlantic, concludes a study by a prominent federal scientist whose position has shifted on the subject. Not only that, warmer temperatures will actually reduce the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic and those making landfall, research meteorologist Tom Knutson reported in a study released Sunday. In the past, Knutson, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fluid dynamics lab in Princeton, N.J., has raised concerns about the effects of climate change on storms. His new paper has the potential to heat up a simmering debate among meteorologists about current and future effects of global warming in the Atlantic. Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., said it is not just the number of hurricanes "that matter, it is also the intensity, duration and size, and this study falls short on these issues." AP_ 5/18/08

Experts predict 'very active' 2008 Atlantic hurricane season

Wednesday, the forecasting team from Colorado State University's Tropical Meteorology Project, led by William Gray and Phil Klotzbach, released its updated 2008 predictions — and the numbers are rising. The latest forecast calls for:

• 15 named storms.

• Eight hurricanes, of which four will be major hurricanes, clocking in at Category 3 or stronger on the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity.

"To put it in perspective, a typical season has 10 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes," said Phil Klotzbach. "So we're calling for about 160% of an average hurricane season this year." Klotzbach devised a new computer statistical model after his team overestimated the last two hurricane seasons — he said he lost sleep over the matter. USA Today_ 4/9/08

National Hurricane Center names Bill Read as new chief

Veteran forecaster Bill Read took over the center's top job Friday in the wake of a staff mutiny and other friction that sparked the ouster of his predecessor, who lasted only six months. Read, 58, had been serving as deputy director since August, when the turmoil at the center in West Miami-Dade County triggered the departure of then-director Bill Proenza. The dispute led to a congressional hearing and distracted forecasters during the hurricane season, something no one wants to see repeated. Read said he believed the center now can concentrate solely on delivering its forecasts, operating in close concert with emergency managers, the media and the public. Miami Herald/Houston Chronicle_ 1/25/08

Warmer ocean could reduce number of Atlantic hurricane landfalls: NOAA study

A warming global ocean — influencing the winds that shear off the tops of developing storms — could mean fewer Atlantic hurricanes striking the United States according to new findings by NOAA climate scientists. Furthermore, the relative warming role of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans is important for determining Atlantic hurricane activity. The article, to be published on January 23 in Geophysical Research Letters, uses observations to show that warming of global sea surface temperatures is associated with a secular, or sustained long-term increase, of vertical wind shear in the main development region for Atlantic hurricanes. The increased vertical wind shear coincides with a downward trend in U.S. landfalling hurricanes. This study also suggests that where the global ocean warming occurs is important for determining the vertical wind shear in the Atlantic hurricane main development region — within the 10°-20° North latitude belt that stretches from west Africa to Central America. Whether future global warming increases Atlantic hurricane activity will probably depend on the relative role induced by sustained long-term warming over the tropical oceans. Science Daily_ 1/20/08

December, 2007

2008 seen as a rough Atlantic hurricane season

The 2008 hurricane season is likely to be less kind to the United States than the one that ended officially last week, according to forecasters at Colorado State University. For next season, which begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30, they foresee 13 named storms - those with winds of 39 m.p.h. or better - one fewer than this year. But the forecasters, Philip Klotzbach and William M. Gray, warn of a high likelihood that at least one major hurricane, with winds of 111 m.p.h. or more, will make U.S. landfall, which did not happen this year. The 2007 season left an early holiday present for U.S. taxpayers. Not a single major disaster was declared for a hurricane this year, according to Ashley Small, spokeswoman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. By contrast, FEMA has committed $37.8 billion to cleaning up hurricane damage from the 2005 season - about $350 for every U.S. household. The total for 2006 was $2.6 billion. Not that the 2007 season was without drama. For the first time on record, two deadly Category 5 hurricanes, with winds over 160 m.p.h. - Dean and Felix - made landfall in the same season. Yet only one full-fledged hurricane, Humberto, reached the U.S. mainland, and it was a Category 1, with a peak wind of 90 m.p.h. Philadelphia Inquirer_ 12/8/07



2008 Hurricane News
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