Java Earthquake; Hurricane Hector and Hawai’i

A major earthquake hit the tourist areas of Java and Bali yesterday, leaving dozens if not hundreds dead, thousands homeless, and chaos in many areas.

Economic impacts are likely to be between $2 and $3 Billion dollars – major damage and a big hit for the local economy.  This is likely to be an ongoing disaster, and as usual one the US media will lose interest in once the tourists are evacuated.

Meanwhile in the central pacific, Hurricane Hector is on track to pass south of the big island of Hawai’i.  If it stays on track, while rain and gusty winds are possible not likely to cause much damage aside from the occasional tree down.  A rightward wobble could made things worse – and given the ongoing eruptions, folks there might be consulting the sages as to which gods they have offended …

Saharan Dust over the Atlantic

OK, I guess I need to jump on the bandwagon and post a pic of the Saharan dust blowing over the Atlantic 😛 , so here is an image received by ground station this afternoon.  I labeled the main stuff you can see – dust, more dust, and the tropical cyclone parts.

So why do we care about this?  Well, for one thing, dust off of Africa can help suppress hurricane activity.  There is a lot of research underway to try to better understand this

Updates on Maria, Chris, Japan, Beryl, all kinds of stuff

Supertyphoon Maria passed north of Taiwan yesterday, and has now made landfall in China.  Here’s an image from this morning US time …

Taiwan seems to have escaped major damage by a northward wobble and weakening intensity.  Damage on Mainland China could be more extensive, on the order of billions of dollars, but there isn’t any reliable information as of yet.

Japan is still reeling from flooding over the last week.  BBC is reporting 179 killed, 70 still missing, 8.6 million people displaced. The landslides and other disruption from this event will continue to be felt for some time.

Elsewhere of interest, Hurricane Chris continues to speed up and will likely brush Newfoundland before it heads towards Iceland.  No major damage is expected – stuff up there is built to handle winter storms.  The remnants of Beryl are in the Bahamas, and NHC is watching them for possible regeneration into an organized storm this weekend coming up.  If it does it will most likely wander out into the Atlantic, nothing to get excited about yet.

Lots of neat science stuff going on here, hope to post about that soon!

Chris, Maria updates

Was out for a minor medical thingee so didn’t get to post on Beryl degenerating to an open wave yesterday.  Tropical Storm Chris may look like a hurricane …

… but it’s just a tropical storm.  Because it sat in one place for so long, it cooled off the water and cut of it’s own energy supply.  Now that it’s moving it should become a minimal hurricane before swiping Newfoundland on it’s way to the “hurricane graveyard” in the North Atlantic, although NHC is holding it together as a system almost to Ireland.

Supertyphoon Maria is still on track to brush the northern (and heavily developed) tip of Taiwan tonight before making landfall in China.  More on that later …

Tropical Update; Beryl/Puerto Rico, Chris, Maria, Japan Flooding

Three tropical cyclones to talk about today.  In the Atlantic, Beryl continues to weaken as it passes over Dominica and Guadeloupe.  The major concern at the moment is that it will dump a lot of rain across the Greater Antilles (Puerto Rico and Hispaniola) Monday; Puerto Rico’s infrastructure is still rather fragile.  Off the North Carolina coast, Tropical Storm Chris has formed from TD#3.  It will meander and strengthen off the US coast for a couple days before heading north, probably becoming a minimal hurricane and paralleling the shoreline before hitting Newfoundland as a strong transitioning extratropical system.  While a further westward wobble isn’t likely, worth keeping an eye on if you live on the outer banks and Northeast.  The strongest winds should stay well offshore, but waves and some rain are possible.  Here’s the current forecast impact map for the Atlantic:

In the West Pacific, Tropical Cyclone Maria is still headed for Northern Taiwan and the Chinese Mainland, currently forecast to make landfall as a strong category 2 storm on Wednesday.  Upwards of $5 Billion in impacts are possible on this track, but a slight wobble to the south could bring Taipei in the damage swath and easily quadruple that number …

The major flood event in Japan continues – millions evacuated, over 70 presumed or confirmed dead as heavy rain continued yesterday.  Things should clear up a bit over the next few days, but the threat of landslides continues, and with the ground supersaturated it may not dry out before the next round of precipitation.

Beryl, TD3 in the Atlantic; Pacific region disasters (current and future)

So much for vacation: suddenly got awfully busy around here … starting in the Atlantic, we have two storms this morning.  Here’s the big picture …

The first, “Hurricane” Beryl, is a very compact and (most likely) weakening storm headed towards Martinique (as a tropical storm) and points west.  Naturally people in Puerto Rico are concerned about this system, but it looks like it will pass to the south as a disorganized low. That said, any system dumping rain across the island can cause lots of misery, especially given the extensive damage left over from last year.  Impacts for forecast to be less than 1/10th of that forecast yesterday, but it’s a small weird storm, hard to model, and NHC has more disclaimers in their forecast discussion than usual …

The other Atlantic storm is TD#3.  Tropical Depression #3 is off the coast of North Carolina, and is expected to meander for a bit then strengthen into a minimal hurricane and head north, staying just offshore.  No watches or warnings up for this one at the moment.

The Pacific is active as well, with a storm in the East Pacific (Fabio, well off of Mexico) that is weakening over colder waters.  There is a new typhoon near the Mariana Islands that is forecast to pass just north of Taiwan and hit the Chinese coast – it could be fairly strong at that time, more as it develops.  But the big story in the east is the massive flooding in Japan.  Here is the CFS2 model total precip across the region yesterday.

This BBC report has more detail – 38 reported killed so far, and unfortunately the rains are expected to continue.

Hurricane Beryl; potential for Puerto Rico

Hurricane Beryl has formed in the Atlantic, and is currently on track for the leeward islands.  Given the extensive damage caused by Irma and Maria last year, this is a major concern as some areas are not anywhere near recovered yet (such as, much to the embarrassment of the US, Puerto Rico).  Here is the current (5pm ET Friday Afternoon) forecast impact map.  For reference the tracks of Irma and Maria are also shown.

Beryl is a small storm, and is forecast to weaken considerably as it zooms past the windward islands.  The main danger is wind damage on Martinique, and rain/flash  flooding there and in other areas, although again many areas are still not in good shape from last year.  If this forecast holds up economic impacts should be in the range mid hundreds of millions of dollars, mostly on Martinique.  Haiti is also in the damage swath, but because of the poor infrastructure there, while economic impacts are generally small in value the humanitarian impacts could be disproportionate.  Sadly this may also be true in PR and the southern Virgin Islands, which should see impacts starting late Sunday night in to Monday. If the storm follows the current NHC forecast track, the main danger will be rain/flash flooding as opposed to high winds. The forecast track and intensity of this storm are a lot less certain that would ordinarily be the case, so those in the region (and those who care about it) should pay attention this weekend.

 

Pacific storms; light posting

Couple of storms in the Pacific, Maliksi will be zipping by Japan as a tropical storm over the next couple of days, shouldn’t be much of a problem for anyone aside from rain bands away from the core.  On the other side of the Pacific, Hurricane Aletta is away from land off the coast of Mexico.  The Atlantic should be quiet next week.

Posting will be light for a while as we regroup for the Atlantic and West Pacific seasons and do some software upgrades to better enable public access to the Earthquake and Volcano hazards data, as well as improved Tropical Cyclone graphics. Yes.  That is what we are doing.

OK, we admit it, we’re taking time off for the World Cup …