June 24, 2024

Balkan Travellers

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Tammy hits the Lesser Antilles while Norma approaches Cabo San Lucas

Hurricane season doesn’t end until November 30, and the oceans are still unleashing storms. A pair of hurricanes in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans – Tammy and Norma – are expected to impact land this weekend.

Tammy became a hurricane on Friday morning, and warnings were lifted for most of the northern Leeward Islands, which connect the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The storm is expected to strengthen somewhat, and may sweep the British Virgin Islands. By Sunday, eastern Puerto Rico could feel the effects of outer rain bands, which could produce isolated flash flooding or an isolated mudslide or two.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Norma is set to hit the southern Baja Peninsula on Saturday, and will likely hit Cabo San Lucas directly at midday with what the National Hurricane Center described as “life-threatening hurricane conditions and dangerous storm surge.”

Norma previously reached Category 4 intensity after a bout of rapid intensification between Wednesday and Thursday, but weakened to Category 2 on Saturday.

There are also additional areas to watch in both ocean basins, including an area in the Pacific Ocean that appears poised to become another named storm.

Hurricane Tammy is bringing hurricane and tropical storm conditions to the Leeward Islands and Northern Windward Islands, which will continue through Sunday. Winds in excess of 70 mph are likely to reach islands near the center of the storm – especially Guadeloupe, Antigua and Barbuda.

Parts of the Lesser Antilles could see up to a foot of rain as well; The overall average will likely be 2 or 3 inches across most of Puerto Rico, with a little more in the U.S. Virgin Islands and the United States. Isolated flooding is possible, especially in higher areas.

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In areas where onshore winds accumulate on the coast, a 1 to 3 foot storm surge, or a sudden sea level rise, cannot be ruled out.

Latest position and density

On Saturday, Hurricane Tammy was making its way across the Lesser Antilles. Its center is located about 50 miles east-southeast of Guadeloupe. Maximum sustained winds were about 85 mph, making Tammy a powerful Category 1 hurricane. Some modest boosting is possible.

Early Saturday, Tammy’s heart was passing east of Dominica. This was clearly visible on weather radars in Martinique, Guadeloupe and Barbados. In addition to strengthening her inner core, Tammy was also able to create a clearer eye wall. However, no clean eye has formed in the satellite images. The hurricane was moving northwest at 9 mph.

Tammy is expected to maintain near-constant strength largely in the coming days. While water temperatures between 83 and 86 degrees will support strengthening, this is offset by a disturbing change in wind speed and/or direction with height known as wind shear.

In terms of Tammy’s path, it is directed between a high-pressure area rotating clockwise to the northeast, and a jet stream rotating counterclockwise descending to the northwest. This will direct the storm to the north-northwest, especially when Tammy begins to feel the “scooping” effects of the lower jet stream.

The National Hurricane Center expects Hurricane Norma to directly hit Cabo San Lucas as a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 100 mph on Saturday.

In fact, the path predicted by the National Hurricane Center takes the storm slightly to the northwest of the city. This is even worse news, because it could put Cabo in the storm’s right eyewall, where onshore winds not only reach the strongest speeds anywhere within the storm, but also where storm surge can be the highest, reaching 3 to 6 feet above Usually dry land.

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Norma could drop 10 to 15 inches of rain, which will lead to freshwater flooding as well.

On Saturday morning, Norma’s center was 20 miles offshore of Cabo San Lucas, where conditions were deteriorating. The city’s airport had already recorded wind gusts of up to 72 miles per hour.

After strengthening to Category 4 on Thursday, the storm gradually began to weaken. However, it will likely be a massive storm when it hits Cabo San Lucas.

After hitting Cabo, Norma will make landfall over Sinaloa, Mexico, bringing heavy rain and locally damaging strong winds as the system slowly weakens early next week.

Some moisture will be pulled into Texas and the Mississippi River Valley next week, providing beneficial rain.

In the Atlantic, there is a small chance of a weak disturbance over the Bay of Campeche (20%), but it could still bring unsettled weather in the form of heavy rain over Veracruz and Tabasco, Mexico.

Meanwhile, in the eastern Pacific Ocean, strong winds flowing through the Tehuantepec Gap in Oaxaca, Mexico, allowed a small curl of vortex to form. This is likely to lead to the formation of a new named storm early next week in the Pacific Ocean west of Central America.