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Tropical Storm Alberto Threatens Carolinas, Tonight’s Solar Eclipse May 20, 2012


Saturday Storm Reports. Click here for an interactive map from Ham Weather, data from NOAA.

Today’s Annular Solar Eclipse. Here is a good overview of today’s solar eclipse from NASA: “The first solar eclipse of 2012 occurs at the Moon’s descending node in central Taurus. An annular eclipse will be visible from a 240 to 300 kilometre-wide track that traverses eastern Asia, the northern Pacific Ocean and the western United States. A partial eclipse is seen within the much broader path of the Moon’s penumbral shadow, that includes much of Asia, the Pacific and the western 2/3 of North America (Figure 1). The annular path begins in southern China at 22:06 UT. Because the Moon passed through apogee one day earlier (May 19 at 16:14 UT), its large distance from Earth produces a wide path of annularity. Traveling eastward, the shadow quickly sweeps along the southern coast of Japan as the central line duration of annularity grows from 4.4 to 5.0 minutes.”


Timing The Eclipse. Times above are Universal Time, data courtesy of NASA.


More Eclipse Facts. From timeanddate.com:The dark strip in the center indicates the best locations for viewing the eclipse. Here, the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun. The eclipse is also visible in the areas that are shaded red, but less of the Sun’s disk is obscured. The fainter the red shading the less of the Sun’s disk is covered during the eclipse.”

* Google has some good tips and tools for viewing the solar eclipse here.

Tropical Storm Alberto Forms The 1 pm Saturday (WeatherTap) visible satellite loop showed rapid intensification of Tropical Storm Alberto off the South Carolina coast –  packing 50 mph. sustained winds. A Tropical Storm Watch is posted for the South Carolina coast – Alberto is forecast to do a u-turn, meandering northeast, brushing the Outer Banks of North Carolina before pushing out into the Atlantic.


Alberto’s Projected Path. The first tropical storm of 2012 is forecast to do a few loops off the South Carolina coast, before turning northeast, brushing Wilmington, the aptly named North Carolina town of Cape Fear and Cape Hatteras by 8 pm Tuesday, then veering out to sea. Source: NHC.

* According to @senorpepr only 76 storms since 1851 have formed earlier than Alberto and is the earliest storm to form since Andrea in 2007.

Hurricane Frequency By Month. May tropical storms and hurricanes are quite rare; here’s a summary of tropical systems, by month, courtesy of Chris Landsea and NOAA: “This table shows the total and average number of tropical storms, and those which became hurricanes, by month, for the period 1851-2010. It also shows the monthly total and average number of hurricanes to strike the U. S. since 1851.”
Is Your Name On The List? Here are the hurricane names for 2012 to 2017, courtesy of NOAA’s NHC. There will never be another Hurricane Andrew, Hugo, Katrina or Irene – those names have been retired, out of respect for the victims.

Quiet Spell Broken. While a marginal and unnamed disturbance formed over Indonesia’s Banda Sea during the previous week, Aletta’s formation broke a 41-day streak in which there were no named tropical cyclones anywhere on Earth. The U.K. Met Office said that was the longest stretch without such a storm for the planet in at least 70 years. The last time there were as many as 38 consecutive storm-less days was in 1944, when global weather monitoring was still in its infancy.

More Tropical Storm/Hurricane Factoids:
During the month of May, there has been 18 TS, 4 Hurricanes, and 0 landfalling Hurricanes (thru 2010): http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/E17.html
Previous formation charts including the month of May: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/climo/
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Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. Twitter @pdouglasweather

One response to “Tropical Storm Alberto Threatens Carolinas, Tonight’s Solar Eclipse

  1. Thanks for this great inormation! I would be a meteorologist in my seond career after being a nurse for the past 35 years! I love the weather channel as all of you do a great job! Thanks!

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