The map above shows the forecast track of Hurricane Ian from the National Hurricane Center five days before the eye of the storm move on land. You can see the forecast was right on – showing a major hurricane moving onshore north of Fort Myers.
The circulation around the hurricane is counter-clockwise and the greatest storm surge would be south (or below) of the letter “M” where the very strong wind would be blowing from the Gulf to the land – a west or southwest wind. This is where we had the catastrophic storm surge. North of the “M” you would have an east or northeast wind blowing from the land – so, no catastrophic storm surge in those areas.
Meteorologists look at a variety of computer models when we do our forecasting. Forecasting the track of “Ian”, there were time periods when the European model did a better job forecasting the ultimate path of the storm than did the American model(s). That’s not always the case, but the “Euro” is an excellent model and WOOD TV8 pays hundreds of dollars each year to get the European model data.
Here’s the updated ACE Index – a measure of the number and strength of tropical storms. Look at the column on the right. The current ACE Index for the North Atlantic (inc. the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico) is 79.5. It got quite a boost from “Ian”, but is still well below the average-to-date of 101.7. That’s 78% of average.
The other 3 sectors in the Northern Hemisphere all have below average ACE Index to date. The Northwest Pacific is at 144.9, compared to an average-to-date ACE of 209.8. The Northeast Pacific is at 107.2, below the average ACE Index-to date of 118.5 and the North Indian Ocean is at 7.3, compared to an average ACE-to-date of 10.0. For the world as a whole, the Ace-to-date is 341.9, compared to an average ACE-to-date of 440.8. Globally, that’s 77.6% of average. Bottom line, despite “Ian” – this has been a relatively quiet year for hurricanes and tropical storms. Here’s a list of the estimated ACE Index by year going all the way back to 1851.
Here’s an interesting article by Dr. Chris Landsea (Christopher W. Landsea is the Chief of the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch at the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center in Miami, FL.) and Tom Knutson (Tom Knutson is a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, in Princeton, New Jersey, where he leads the Weather and Climate Dynamics Division. He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, and has served as the Chair of the World Meteorological Organization’s Expert Team on Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change.)
They write about a model that attempts to predict hurricane activity with an estimated rise in global temperature. The article says: “…global warming due to increasing greenhouse gases may lead to fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic, although their peak winds are expected to increase a few percent.
This graph shows the Global hurricane frequency (top) and Major hurricane frequency (bottom) since 1980. Hurricane activity had a relatively peak in the mid 1990s and has trended slightly downward since the 90s. (graph from Dr. Ryan Maui).
Minimal hurricane Julia will move onshore in Nicaragua this Sunday (10/9) and continue moving west through Central America. The storm is expected to produce some wind damage, along with heavy rain and local flooding.
Julia will likely weaken into a depression as it continues into El Salvador and Southern Mexico.
Active Storms | Marine Forecasts 2-Day Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook | 5-Day Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook
The Eastern Pacific Ocean is quiet – no storms.
There is one small, minimal tropical storm in the Indian Ocean, which is no threat to land. The western Pacific Ocean is remarkably quiet.
Both Florida and Puerto Rico have made considerable progress in restoring power to those areas affected by Hurricanes “Ian” and “Fiona”.
As of 12:40 am Saturday, there were still 50,792 customers without power in Florida. That’s down from 76,971 at this time yesterday. By far, the most of the outages are in Lee county (48,729 – or about 10% of the county). Lee County is Fort Myers. The islands off Fort Myers have really been devastated (Sanibel, Captiva, Pine, Estero, Cayo Costa, Gasparilla). There were 1,103 customers without power in Collier Co. The number without power is just 4/10ths of 1% of all of Florida. At one point over 2.6 million customers were without power in Florida.
Keep in mind that in some cases, some homes/buildings have been totaled and they can’t hook the power back up. In other areas, they had to wait for floodwaters to recede or they had to remove large quantities of debris before new poles could be sunk into the ground. The effort in Florida has included over 40,000 workers ready in place to restore power when the winds let up. Crews from 33 states and the District of Columbia have been there working long days. Crews also did an excellent job of restoring power in South Carolina.
This is the power outage map for Puerto Rico as of 1 am Sunday 10/9. There were still 37,736 customers without power, or 2.5% of the island. They have been making very slow, but steady progress over the past 3 1/2 weeks. I mentioned before that Puerto Rico is an island and you can’t drive crews in from the mainland to restore power. Many areas experienced severe flooding and crews have to wait until floodwaters recede in some areas.
The good news is that there should be no storms threatening the U.S. mainland or Puerto Rico this coming week.
The last figure I heard was a death toll from Ian in Florida of 92. More than half (50) of those were in Lee County (Fort Myers). More than half were drowning victims and many of the victims were elderly. Many of them chose not to evacuate.