Hurricane Irene 2011 - the eye right on course for central Abaco

Hurricane Irene 2011 – the eye right on course for central Abaco


STOP PRESS – UPDATE Following yesterday’s post (below), the hurricane’s tendency to track further away from the Bahamas is confirmed by later models, for examples this one from Wunderground. So I think we are officially ‘off-risk’. But Bermuda is definitely not… Anyway, read on a bit and you will find out how hurricanes get their names! 


Yesterday I posted on my FB page an NOAA hurricane tracking map update for Hurricane Gonzalo, currently rated Cat. 2 on the SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. It is making its way north through the Caribbean right now, and at one stage the storm cone looked on a possible course for the Bahamas. Abaco has been spared a major cyclone for a couple of years. However memories are very recent of Hurricane Irene (2011) which passed directly over Abaco as a Cat. 3 storm; and Hurricane Sandy (2012) that passed marginally to the east with (at that stage) an intensity of a Cat. 1 before going on to wreak havoc further north. During those ‘extreme weather events’ I posted regularly about them, with tracking maps and photos. At the time of Irene there was remarkable little information around online and I got a huge number of hits – 5000+ in a day, 15,000+ in a week. I also replied to lots of inquiries from the Bahamas, US and Canada, both general (“How are things at Cherokee?”) to very specific (“Do you happen to know if my boat ‘Blowdakidzinheritanz’ moored in Little Harbour is Okay?”).

Hurricane Sandy Earth from Space 2

Hurricane Sandy over Abaco from the International Space Station

I  have been surprised at the response the map generated by way of ‘Likes’ and comments expressing relief… So from my current safe distance of precisely 4250.00 miles from Marsh Harbour, I am posting an update with helpful maps and a bit of general hurricane info. The agencies all agree that Gonzalo will hook east as it progresses northwards. The Bahamas outlook is promising, though for example Bermuda looks to be at risk.  There’s more on hurricanes on the page ABACO WEATHER. I always think that Wunderground produce the clearest maps for general purposes, though there’s a great deal more information to be had from the NOAA site, to which there’s a direct link in the Sidebar (I’ve moved it to near the top for the time being).


WUNDERGROUND 3-DAY TRACKING & WIND MAP at201408at201408_satat201408_radar



ACCUWEATHER SATELLITE VIEW & TRACKERHurricane Gonzalo Tracking Map  - clip jpg


Here is a reminder of how tropical storms and hurricanes are measured for intensity, as decreed by the S-SS, followed by the National Hurricane Center’s explanation of the gradations of relative intensities.

Saffir-Simpson Scale (Wiki) jpgT

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed. This scale estimates potential property damage. Hurricanes reaching Category 3 and higher are considered major hurricanes because of their potential for significant loss of life and damage. Category 1 and 2 storms are still dangerous, however, and require preventative measures. In the western North Pacific, the term “super typhoon” is used for tropical cyclones with sustained winds exceeding 150 mph.

Category   Sustained Winds Types of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds
1 74-95 mph
64-82 kt
119-153 km/h
Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.
2 96-110 mph
83-95 kt
154-177 km/h
Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage:Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.
111-129 mph
96-112 kt
178-208 km/h
Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.
130-156 mph
113-136 kt
209-251 km/h
Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
157 mph or higher
137 kt or higher
252 km/h or higher
Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.


Check out the page ABACO WEATHER


Hurricane Irene 2011 Bahamas Map Accu jpg Hurricane Sandy Map Bahamas 2012 jpg



WEATHERBUG reports: “After a couple weeks full of tropical activity as the Atlantic season reaches its peak, a midweek quiet spell is underway. Tropical Storm Nadine, over the wide-open Atlantic far from land, is the only system being watched.

Tropical Storm Nadine, as of 11 a.m. AST (EDT) is located at 19.1 N and 47.6 W, or 940 miles east-northeast of the Lesser Antilles. It has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, and it is moving to the west-northwest at 15 mph. Nadine`s minimum central pressure has dropped to 997 mb, or 29.44 inches of mercury. Light upper-level winds will likely allow Tropical Storm Nadine to become a hurricane Thursday as it continues moving to the northwest. The latest forecasts show it taking a northeast turn by the end of the week, staying away from any land for at least a week or longer.”

It looks as though Nadine will thankfully stay over open ocean – and well to the east of the Bahamas



Hurricanes. Extreme weather events that can strike anywhere in the world’s vulnerable zones. But where are these to be found? And in those zones, is there any historical evidence demonstrating that particular areas of the world are more vulnerable than others? A recent post on the very informative ABACO SCIENTIST website includes a comprehensive map of all hurricanes recorded since 1851. This map gives a clear picture of the hot-spots and danger areas. 

Delphi Club Abaco 25 Aug 2011 / Hurricane Irene: Looking south from the balcony

The source is NASA and the article may be found HERE. I reproduce the map and explanation, with acknowledgement to John Nelson and IDV Solutions. Each blue link in the explanation below will take you to a new source of hurricane information, so the article is a valuable resource as a gateway to further hurricane knowledge.


“Should you be worried about hurricanes? To find out, it is useful to know where hurricanes have gone in the past. The Earth map shows the path of every hurricane reported since 1851, Although striking, a growing incompleteness exists in the data the further one looks back in time. The Earth map graphically indicates that hurricanes — sometimes called cyclones or typhoons depending on where they form — usually occur over water, which makes sense since evaporating warm water gives them energy. The map also shows that hurricanes never cross — or even occur very near — the Earth’s equator, since the Coriolis effect goes to zero there, and hurricanes need the Coriolis force to circulate. The Coriolis force also causes hurricane paths to arc away from the equator. Although incompleteness fogs long term trends and the prevalence of hurricanes remains a topic of research, evidence is accumulating that hurricanes are, on the average, more common and more powerful in the North Atlantic Ocean over the past 20 years.”

Image Credit & Copyright: John Nelson, IDV Solutions

The eye of Hurricane Irene passes directly over the Delphi Club, Abaco 26 August 2011

The image below was shared on Facebook, but I don’t have the inventor’s name. I’m sorry not to be able to identify the originator of this ingenious hurricane warning. Every home should have one…