Posts Tagged ‘weather’

Accuweather Explains: What is Bombogenesis?

January 4, 2018
accuweather-010318 bombogenesis

This image shows a storm over the Bering Sea in March 2015 that underwent bombogenesis. (NOAA/University of Wisconsin-Madison/Satellite)

By Alex Sosnowski, Senior Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com

AccuWeather Global Headquarters – January 3, 2017 – You may have heard or read about a storm undergoing “bombogenesis.” What exactly does that weather term mean?

In simple terms, bombogenesis is a storm that undergoes rapid strengthening. The vast majority of such storms occur over the ocean. The storm can be tropical or non-tropical in nature.

Other common phrases for bombogenesis include weather bomb, or simply bomb.

The term bombogenesis comes from the merging of two words: bomb and cyclogenesis. All storms are cyclones, and genesis means the creation or beginning. In this case, bomb refers to explosive development. Altogether the term means explosive storm strengthening.

A cyclone (non-tropical storm or hurricane) is essentially a giant rising column of air that spins counterclockwise over the Northern Hemisphere.

When air rises, it produces a vacuum effect that results in lower atmospheric pressure.

When a storm strengthens, the column of air rises at a faster and faster rate and the pressure within the storm lowers.

Meteorologists use a barometer to measure the atmospheric pressure. Atmospheric pressure is often called barometric pressure.

Average storms in the winter have a low barometric pressure reading of 29.53 inches of mercury.

Some of the most intense storms may have the barometric pressure below 29.00 inches.

However, it is not the lowest pressure that defines bombogenisis but rather how quickly the pressure within the storm plummets.

When the barometric pressure falls at least 0.71 of an inch (24 millibars) in 24 hours, a storm has undergone bombogenesis.

For example, a weak storm that began with a barometric pressure of 29.98 inches and ended up with a barometric pressure of 29.27 inches in 24 hours underwent bombogenesis.

The Superstorm of 1993 (Storm of the Century) from March 12-13 is a prime example of a storm that underwent bombogenesis. The storm strengthened from 29.41 inches (996 mb) to 28.45 inches (963 mb), or nearly 1.00 inch (33 mb), in 24 hours. Much of this strengthening occurred over land.

Other examples of storms that underwent bombogenesis are Hurricane Charley in 2004 and Hurricane Wilma in 2005. The Blizzard of 2015 (Jan. 26-27), the Bering Sea storm of December 2015 and the northeastern United States storm of late-October 2017 experienced bombogenesis.

Storms that undergo bombogenesis are among the most violent weather systems that affect a broad area. This is because the rapidly ascending air near the center of the storm must be replaced by air surrounding the storm. As these winds move toward the center of the storm at high speed, property damage can occur, trees may fall and the power may go out.

The western North Atlantic is one favored area for storms to undergo bombogenesis. This is a region where cold air from North America collides with warm air over the Atlantic Ocean. Warm waters of the Gulf Stream may also provide a boost in a festering storm.

As a result, some, but not all nor’easters may undergo bombogenesis.

The intense winds often create massive seas and may cause significant beach erosion.

In terms of precipitation, very heavy rain and/or snow may fall in the path of the storm undergoing bombogenesis.

Precipitation rate is produced from the rising column of air. When air rises, it cools and moisture condenses to form clouds and rain or snow. The faster the air rises and cools, the heavier the precipitation.

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Accuweather: Snowstorm to Pound mid-Atlantic, Rage as Blizzard in New England

January 4, 2018

accuweather 010318

By Alex Sosnowski, Senior Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com

AccuWeather Global Headquarters – January 3, 2017 – AccuWeather reports a major storm will track close enough to the East Coast of the United States to bring everything from snow and ice to blizzard conditions and frigid winds on Thursday.

The storm is projected to undergo rapid strengthening, referred to as bombogenesis.

The storm will affect areas from Florida to Maine and Atlantic Canada.

Snow and a wintry mix are set to continue along the southeastern coast of the U.S. through Wednesday night.

Storm impact to be significant in mid-Atlantic, severe in New England

In the Northeast, impact from snow and wind will increase dramatically from Wednesday night through Thursday night.

AccuWeather meteorologists believe the heaviest snow and strongest winds from the storm will occur in eastern New England and part of Atlantic Canada.

Road conditions will range from slippery and snow-covered along the mid-Atlantic coast to completely blocked with snow and massive drifts in eastern New England, New Brunswick and part of eastern Quebec.

All flight operations may cease for a time at Boston Logan International Airport during the height of the storm.

Airline delays and cancellations will mount. Ripple-effect delays may occur across the nation. Some aircraft and crews are likely to be displaced by the severe storm in New England. Deicing activity, slippery runways, poor visibility and gusty winds will lead to flight delays in New York City and Philadelphia.

From eastern New England to Atlantic Canada, there is a risk of widespread power outages. Tremendous blowing and drifting snow is likely, and some communities may be isolated for several days in the wake of the storm in the bitter cold.

Increasing winds along the New England and upper mid-Atlantic coast will cause overwash, which will freeze, in addition to causing shoreline flooding.

New England to be hit with formidable blizzard

Blizzard conditions are likely from portions of Long Island, New York, through eastern Connecticut and Massachusetts to northeastern Maine, New Brunswick and western Nova Scotia.

A blizzard is a storm that produces snow or blowing snow with winds in excess of 35 mph and a visibility of less than one-quarter of a mile for at least three consecutive hours, according to the American Meteorological Society.

There is the potential for 12-24 inches (30-60 cm) or more of snow to fall in Maine and New Brunswick. At the same time, the risk of hurricane-force gusts and frigid air will pound these areas.

Heavy snow, blowing and drifting in store for mid-Atlantic coast

The storm is expected to track close enough to the coast to throw snow on the area from eastern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula to New Jersey, eastern New York and western New England. Blustery conditions will develop during the snowfall or shortly thereafter.

Whether a few flakes of snow or a debilitating snowstorm occurs in this western fringe will depend on the exact track of the storm and how quickly moisture is thrown westward as the storm strengthens.

In the coastal states from Virginia to New York, areas farthest east are likely to have the greatest amount of snow from the storm.

Little to no snow may fall in Albany, New York, Washington, D.C., and communities west of Philadelphia. However, the amount of snow will increase substantially a few miles farther east.

Coastal communities that usually receive wet snow or a rain/snow mix from storms can expect dry, powdery snow from this storm that will be subject to blowing and drifting.

Cold blast, gusty winds to follow the storm

Snow showers may occur from the mountains of central New York to the southern Appalachians and parts of the Midwest. However, these will be more of a product of a fresh injection of cold air, rather than from the storm at the coast.

Minor airline delays from snow showers may occur in the Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati airports.

Lake-effect snow is forecast to ramp up once again near the Great Lakes.

As the storm strengthens, winds will increase hundreds of miles away from the center of the circulation beginning Wednesday night.

Winds alone are likely to become strong enough to trigger airline delays in the major hubs of the Northeast, from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston from Thursday to Friday.

Strong offshore winds may lead to blowout tides along the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts.

Blustery and cold conditions are in store as far south as Florida, the Bahamas and Cuba.

The strong winds and arctic air will add to the frigid weather pattern.

Seas will build to dangerous levels for small craft off the mid-Atlantic, New England and southeastern Canada coasts.

 

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Accuweather: Jose to track close enough to bring rough surf, wind, rain to northeastern US

September 16, 2017

accuweather-jose 091617

AccuWeather Global Headquarters – September 15, 2017 – AccuWeather reports  Jose will track close enough to the northeastern United States to raise seas and winds as well as to deliver rain to coastal areas next week.

People in coastal areas of the Northeast will need to monitor the progress of Jose, which will begin to track northward but remain offshore of the Southeastern states this weekend.

“It appears that Jose will miss the quick ride away from the U.S. coast and into the cold waters of the North Atlantic next week,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno.

Instead, Jose is now expected to pass within 200 miles of the Northeast coast.

“We cannot rule out landfall in New England during the middle of next week,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski.

The exact track and strength of Jose will determine the severity of the wind and surf as well as the northwestern extent of the rain.

Jose to bring significant impact, even if storm stays offshore

A hurricane does not need to make landfall to cause significant adverse effects in the northeastern U.S., since the shape of the coast tends to enhance storm effects and trap ocean water.

Rough surf and strong rip currents will be a problem along the southern Atlantic coast through the weekend.

At this point, impact in the northeastern U.S. is based on a strong tropical storm, minimal hurricane or hybrid storm that comes close to the Northeast coast but remains slightly offshore. Such a storm and track will tend to keep the most significant effects to communities along and east of Interstate 95.

At the very least, Jose will cause dangerous surf and seas, which will lead to beach erosion and minor flooding at times of high tide from eastern North Carolina to Maine.

The number and frequency of rip currents will increase along the mid-Atlantic and southern New England coasts this weekend. Breakers powerful enough to cause serious injury may reach much of the Northeast coast by early next week.

With the new moon phase early next week, tide levels are higher than most of the rest of the month. A strong storm tracking near the coast may push tides to 1-3 feet above published levels.

Winds may get strong enough to damage trees and cause sporadic power outages. Gusts to 50 mph are possible from eastern Maryland to Maine and are likely on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Some rain will reach the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts. The combination of rain and wind near the coast will lead to airline delays and slow travel on area highways.

Much worse effects are likely if landfall occurs

Should Jose be stronger than a Category 1 hurricane and/or make landfall, more significant effects are likely.

A Category 1 hurricane or the equivalent thereof can cause property damage, widespread power outages, flooding rainfall and moderate coastal flooding.

Just offshore, seas could range upwards of 20 feet, should a Category 1 hurricane or greater approach the coast.

A landfall in southeastern New England could cause heavy rain and gusty wind to spread well inland across the Northeast.

What will influence Jose’s strength?

“Jose is likely to gain back some strength into this weekend as the storm encounters less disruptive winds aloft,” Pydynowski said.

Waters are sufficiently warm to maintain a hurricane through early next week.

“The storm will move over even warmer waters of the Gulf Stream by early next week, which may lead to additional strengthening,” Pydynowski said.

Jose may reach Category 2 or 3 status at some point between Sunday and Tuesday.

“As Jose moves off the coast of the upper mid-Atlantic and New England, water temperatures drop significantly, which may lead to weakening or transformation to a sub-tropical system,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

Even if Jose weakens or loses some tropical characteristics, the storm may spread out in size and the same adverse effects of wind, seas and rain can occur.

There is still a great deal of uncertainty of Jose’s track and strength. However, people may want to take some precautions, should the storm wander onshore. Preparation for the equivalent of a moderate to strong nor’easter may be warranted, especially in southeastern New England.

Lee and Maria may join Jose in Atlantic this weekend

Two additional tropical storms or hurricanes are likely to join Jose over the next few days. One has already become a tropical depression. These systems are likely to gather the names Lee and Maria.

Both of these systems are brewing in the same general area that gave birth to Irma.

The system farthest west has the greatest chance at bringing adverse conditions to Irma-slammed areas in the Leeward Islands, British and U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Turks and Caicos during the middle days of next week.

– By Alex Sosnowski, Senior Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com

Accuweather: Hurricane Irma tracking toward US; Residents of East and Gulf coasts urged to prepare now

September 4, 2017

accuweather-Irma

By Jordan Root and Renee Duff, Meteorologists for AccuWeather.com

AccuWeather Global Headquarters – September 4, 2017 – As major Hurricane Irma churns across the northern Caribbean and towards the United States, residents along the Gulf and East coasts of the U.S. need to be on alert, AccuWeather reports

Irma will blast the northern Caribbean with flooding rain, damaging winds and rough surf this week, bringing life-threatening conditions to the islands.

A similar scenario could play out somewhere along the Gulf or East coasts this weekend or next week, depending on where Irma tracks. Residents are urged to prepare now.

“This hurricane has the potential to be a major event for the East Coast. It also has the potential to significantly strain FEMA and other governmental resources occurring so quickly on the heels of Harvey,” Evan Myers, expert senior meteorologist and chief operating officer, said.

A landfall in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas is all in the realm of possibilities. Irma could also head into the Gulf of Mexico.

Another scenario still on the table is that Irma curve northward and miss the East Coast entirely. This would still generate large surf and rip currents along the East Coast. However, this scenario is the least likely to occur at this point.

The exact path of Irma beyond the end of the week remains uncertain and will depend on a variety of moving parts in the atmosphere.

“A large area of high pressure across the central North Atlantic is helping to steer Irma,” AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.

This feature will be the main driving force of Irma over the next few days. As the weekend approaches, other factors will come into play.

“The eastward or northeast progression of a non-tropical system pushing across the central and eastern U.S. this week will highly impact the long-range movement of Irma,” Kottlowski said.

How fast or slow this non-tropical system moves will be an important factor on where Irma is steered this weekend into next week. The speed of this feature will determine when and how much Irma gets pulled northward or whether Irma continues on more of a westward track.

This amount of uncertainty means that the entire southern and eastern U.S. should monitor Irma this week. Residents along the coast are urged to start preparing and making sure plans are in place to deal with the worst case scenario. This includes plans on how to evacuate and what is important to bring with you and your family.

“As we saw just 10 days ago with Harvey, it is important to be ready to evacuate,” Myers said. Be prepared with a list of items you would need to take if you had 30 minutes’ notice or one hour’s notice or six hours or a day to evacuate.

Due to Irma following so closely on Harvey’s heels and since FEMA and other government resources will be strained, more preparation and storm aftermath may rest on individuals, Myers said. It may be crucial to evacuate ahead of the storm, so preparation is key.

If Irma were to make landfall as a Category 4 or 5 storm somewhere in the U.S., it would be in historical territory.

“The U.S. has not sustained a direct hit from two Category 4 or above hurricanes in more than 100 years,” Myers said.

Keep checking back to AccuWeather.com for updates on the status of Irma and where it may track in the days ahead.

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AccuWeather Warns of Life-Threatening Flooding, Mudslides for Northern California

February 6, 2015
(Accuweather.com)

(Accuweather.com)

AccuWeather is warning of heavy rain that will inundate coastal Oregon and northern California into early next week, threatening serious flash flooding, mudslides and travel delays and cancellations.

A Pineapple Express will help to fuel the heavy rain as the first of two major storms plows into the Pacific coast through Saturday, Meghan Mussoline, Meteorologist, reported.

The heaviest rain from the first storm will soak Northern California through Friday night.

“A Pineapple Express is a continuous surge of tropical moisture extending from near Hawaii all the way into a West Coast storm,” AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said.

This pattern can significantly enhance rainfall and threats such as flooding. Recent burn scar areas in California will be especially vulnerable to flooding and debris flows, since rain water cannot penetrate scorched ground.

Widespread rainfall amounts of 2-3 inches are expected in western Oregon and northern California, including in the Bay Area. In far northern California, amounts will exceed 6 inches in some communities through Saturday.

Lengthy flight delays and cancellations are possible at San Francisco International Airport on Friday due to low clouds and excessive rainfall associated with the storm.

Motorists may face travel problems on the ground as rain mixes with oil buildup on roadways to create slick conditions.

During Saturday into Saturday night, the rain will taper to showers. However, runoff will continue to cause small streams to run high.

A second storm will arrive along the West Coast Sunday into Monday, unleashing another round of heavy rain and most likely another dose of flash flooding, mudslides and travel disruptions.

The rounds of rain follow after an extremely dry January for many locations.

“This is the first significant rain [for Northern California] since the middle of December,” Clark said.

January 2015 went down in the record books as the driest January on record for San Francisco with no rain recorded.

Meanwhile, mountain snowpack is an important resource for filling reservoirs and water supply for drought-stricken California. It is crucial to look at snowpack when analyzing the potential impact of storms on the ongoing drought. However, mountain snow is not likely with the upcoming storms, Clark said.

“Snow levels, because of the warm subtropical flow, will be very high, above 8,000 feet most of the time,” Clark said. “Therefore, while the rains are welcomed, though too much in some places is not good either, these storms will be no help in putting down a snowpack.”

Keep checking back with AccuWeather.com for updates on the Pineapple Express

Barrow, Alaska Sees First Sunset Since May

August 3, 2013

weather-barrow

The residents of Barrow, Alaska, on August 2 finally saw something they have not seen since May 10: a sunset.

Ever since 2:54 a.m. on May 11, the sun has been in the sky, keeping the town in continual light. Early Saturday at 1:58 a.m. Alaska Standard Time (AKST), the sun will fall below the horizon, making it the first official sunset on summer for the town, AccuWeather.com Meteorologists Brian Lada and Jeff Rafach report.

The reason that Barrow experiences the periods of continual light is due to their close location to the North Pole. As the Earth revolves on its axis, Barrow is turned toward the sun and remains light until the revolution of the Earth turns Barrow away from the sun.

This summer has been unusually warm across the Last Frontier. So far this summer, temperatures in Barrow and Anchorage have averaged approximately 2.7 degrees above average, while temperatures in Fairbanks have averaged nearly 4 degrees above average.

Although Anchorage has averaged above normal, the city has yet to break any daily temperature records this summer. The persistent warmth has managed to break a different type of record for the city, however.

Over the past 16 days, Anchorage has either reached or climbed above 70 degrees F. This breaks the old record of set in 2004 when the city had a stretch of 13 consecutive days of at or above 70.

In Fairbanks, the high soared to 84 degrees on Thursday. The high has reached 80 degrees F or higher for 31 days this summer. That is the most such days in Fairbanks, since record-keeping began in 1904. The average number of days Fairbanks reaches 80 degrees or warmer is 11. Currently, this summer is ranked as the second warmest for the city, falling behind the warm summer of 2004.

This warmer weather has also contributed to development of lightning-producing thunderstorms that ignited of dozens of wildfires burning across Alaska over the past few weeks. According to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, there are currently 76 active wildfires across the state.

This trend in warmer weather was expected to end with a dip in the jet stream will bring the return of more seasonable temperatures across the state, AccuWeather forecast.

For more information, visit accuweather.com.

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