Nothing in the way, no damage forecast. It’s a bit unusual for this time of year, but our good records of the Pacific only go back to the 1940’s, so it’s a bit hard to draw any conclusions from this. This is the second North West Pacific storm (the WP022015 designation is the Joint Typhoon Warning Center tracking number – WP is West Pacific, 02 is the second storm, 2015 the year).
Not a lot of major disasters lately (although the small ones obviously hurt the folks in the way), and I’ve been busy doing a climate analysis project for the UK DFID. The real time site always has the latest earthquakes, volcanoes, and hurricanes/tropical cyclones situation.
The recent snowstorms across the US have triggered the usual snarky comments from those who don’t accept the *fact* of anthropogenic climate change. But anyone who has lived in the far north or arctic knows that it has to be “warm” to get snow.
You read that right, but “warm” is a relative term. Take a look at this graph, from Danial Cobb, science officer of the NWS/WFO in Caribou, Maine (click to embiggen):
Not the biggest/fluffiest/deepest snow rates will be between -14 and -18 C. OK, -16C (3.2F for you folks stuck in the 17th Century) isn’t warm if you are from the south, but it’s actually pretty “warm” for places that routinely see temperatures below zero F. The other big issue is that the colder it gets, the less moisture the air can hold. So colder air is naturally drier, and can’t hold as much snow. So the “optimum” for both quantity and depth is somewhere between freezing and zero F. Ironically, in the arctic, to get a blizzard, it has to warm up! The other big issue is transporting moist air into the colder areas. The models have predicted (and we seem to be seeing) more “latitudinal” (eg north-south) flow, which would cause more stormy and snowy weather – even though the overall temperatures are actually “higher” in relative terms.
Climate change is a very complex phenomena, intermixing human and natural changes and activities. Far too many people on both sides of the debate do the discussion a disservice by simplistic, apocalyptic explanations.
Typhoon Mekkhala (WP012015) is making landfall on the Philippines as a minimal Typhoon. The current forecast track/intensity, using the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) forecast and my Taru model, is below. JTWC continues the trend last year of not doing a great job on intensity forecasts – Thursday the landfall intensity was only forecast as 50 knots, but the storm is significantly stronger today, at 70 knots.
Estimated impacts are around $150 Million USD, although the misery will be out of proportion to that due to the ongoing recovery from last year’s storms.
Mekkhala has forced the Holy Father to cut short his papal visit, barely making it out ahead of the storm. Unfortunately, there was a fatality when some scaffolding near the stage collapsed, and an airplane carrying government officials overshot the runway and ended up in a ditch just after he left. I’ll not comment on the theological implications of that.
Using the Joint Typhoon Center track, damage is forecast to be in the $40 Million range, with the storm peaking as a 50 knot tropical storm, and passing south of Manila as a minimal tropical storm. All in all shouldn’t be too bad, but there are still a lot of people reeling from last year so this is not exactly a welcome system.
OK, let’s try this again . . . been out sick, as well as the holidays. Will try to be better about updates, given the whole 2 or three people who read this thing
Slight wobbles will matter a lot – and because wind damage is relative to the cube of the wind speed, even 10mph difference can mean a lot. On this track we would expect 110 to 120mph winds over the islands. That is almost identical to Hurricane Fabian in 2003. Fabian caused over $300 Million USD in damage in 2003; we should expect at least as much from this storm unless we get a lucky wobble.
From about 5pm EDT Thursday . . .
admin note: For some reason both FB and Twitter got the name “Gonzalo” wrong in the title. I fixed it before publishing but for some reason it went out “Gonzalolo”. Weird.
Hurricane Gonzalo continues to intensify in the Atlantic, and is still forecast to track very close to Bermuda as a category three hurricane:
If this forecast holds up, it could cause as much damage as Fabian in 2003.
In the Pacific, Hawai’i is in the forecast track for Tropical Storm Ana. Ana should become a hurricane today, and on the current forecast from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (run through my Taru model) it looks like this:
This track could easily cause several hundred million in damage.
Vongfong is moving offshore from Japan, continuing to decay. It caused some damage, a few fatalities. India continues to assess the damage and start the recovery process from Hudhud. My Istanu damage estimated impacts of over $5 Billion USD from the storm.
Meanwhile, in the Atlantic, Hurricane Gonzalo passed over the leeward islands as a tropical storm, causing some damage to Antigua, knocking out power and damaging roofs. The current forecast is scary for Bermuda, with a direct hit in about three days as a Category 3 hurricane: