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“Haiyan”: Strongest Landfalling Tropical Cyclone Ever Observed (risk of major nor’easter next week?)

Category 6? If the Saffir Simpson scale for measuring hurricane intensity permitted, “Haiyan” might qualify as a rare Category 6 storm. It came ashore Thursday evening (Friday morning local Manila time) with sustained winds of 195, gusts to 235, a central pressure below 26″ of mercury (880 mb). According to Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground Haiyan was the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone on record. Surreal. More details below. Satellite loop: CIMSS, University of Wisconsin.





Typhoon Haiyan Storm Surge Forecast. Details: “The above model is a 96-hr storm surge forecast generated using Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) numerical model. The model covers 12:00mn of 6 November 2013 to 06:00 am of 10 November 2013 (UTC). The legend indicates storm surge height in centimeters. A storm surge is a rise in the water level over and above the predicted astronomical tide due to the presence of the storm. For more details on specific coastal storm surge level details, please visit Project NOAH Website and look into the Weather Stations option, and click the YolandaPh Storm Tide Level.”


Alerts Broadcaster Update: Issued Thursday night, November 7, 2013.

* Super Typhoon Haiyan now thought to be the most powerful landfalling tropical cyclone ever observed. It came ashore early Friday morning (local time) with 195 mph sustained winds, gusts to 235. The area around Tacoloban City and Guiuan appears to have taken the brunt of this historic typhoon – no contact has been received from these towns for 3-4 hours.
* The brunt of Haiyan is still forecast to pass south of Manila, but the capital city will be brushed by outer bands of 50+ mph winds and torrential rains capable of 5″+ rains, which will spark minor to moderate urban flooding into Saturday morning, local Manila time.
* I’m expecting damage across the central Philippines to be severe to extreme to catastrophic, with a 100-125 mile-wide band of near total devastation. Survivors will have to grapple with access to food and clean water – the risk of disease and civil unrest is still high, long term.
* Update from the Alerts Broadcast Storm Center: Haiyan has made 4 landfalls so far, but that is to be expected with such a large island chain. Cebu City, the “second city” of the Philippines was brushed. Still no confirmation on that 858 reading. Storm surge in Tacloban City of 17 ft in 30 minutes. As of right now millions are in storm shelters. The area affected is one of the poorest parts of the Philippines. Winds have decreased very slightly to 185 MPH with gusts to 224 MPH.


Doppler Radar. Haiyan is still producing sustained winds close to 170-180 mph, still an extreme Category 5+ typhoon capable of widespread damage.


Provinces Most Impacted. The areas that we’re most concerned about, where damage will range from extensive to extreme, are from Samar and Biliran to Leyte, Biliran, Masbate, Romblon, and Mindoro (later Friday, local time).


Manila: Brushed By Heavy Rain. Some 3-5″ rainfall amounts are possible in Manila late Friday into Saturday morning, local time, as the center of a still powerful typhoon passes some 200 miles southwest of the Philippine capital. Some urban flooding is possible, but right now we expect the greatest risk of flash flooding, river flooding, mudslides and power outages to stay (just) south of Manila.

Philippine webcams:


Extended Track Projections. Typhoon Haiyan (called “Yolanda” in the Philippines – Haiyan is the international name) will still pack 160-190 mph winds as it passes Mindoro Friday night (local time). The typhoon is forecast to retain much of its power, reaching Vietnam south of Hue Sunday morning with sustained winds of 120-140 mph. Map: JTWC, Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Shifting gears…

Nor’easter Potential Next Week. The map above is from the European (ECMWF) model, valid next Thursday morning at 6 AM. A surge of Canadian air is forecast to spin up a significant coastal storm, capable of inland snows, heavy rains east of I-95, and sustained winds of 25-40 mph, capable of significant coastal flooding from The Outer Banks to New Jersey and Long Island the latter half of next week. Atlanta may see a cold rain changing to wet snow Wednesday PM hours, with a potential for some slushy accumulation over northern Georgia. We’ll have to watch this carefully. Map: WSI.

Summary: Super Typhoon Haiyan is an historic storm, possibly the most intense tropical cyclone to ever come ashore. Damage across the central Philippines will be extreme, but as we’ve been predicting for 4 days, Manila should be spared major impacts from this system.


Super Typhoon Haiyan: Strongest Landfalling Tropical Cyclone On Record. Here’s a clip from a remarkable post, courtesy of Dr. Jeff Masters at WunderBlog: “…According to PAGASA, Haiyan came ashore at 4:40 am local time (20:40 UTC) November 7, 2013 near Guiuan, on the Philippine island of Samar. Fourty minutes before landfall, Guiuan reported sustained 10-minute average winds of 96 mph, with a pressure of 977 mb. Contact has since been lost with the city. Three hours before landfall, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) assessed Haiyan’s sustained winds at 195 mph, gusting to 235 mph, making it the 4th strongest tropical cyclone in world history. Satellite loops show that Haiyan weakened only slightly, if at all, in the two hours after JTWC’s advisory, so the super typhoon likely made landfall with winds near 195 mph. The next JTWC intensity estimate, for 00Z UTC November 8, about three hours after landfall, put the top winds at 185 mph. Averaging together these estimates gives a strength of 190 mph an hour after landfall. Thus, Haiyan had winds of 190 – 195 mph at landfall, making it the strongest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in world history. The previous record was held by the Atlantic’s Hurricane Camille of 1969, which made landfall in Mississippi with 190 mph winds…”

Image credit above: DOST: Project Noah.


Tracking A Monster – And Growing Risk Of A Major East Coast Nor’Easter Next Week? The Philippines have been especially unlucky in recent years, Ground Zero for devastating Category 5 typhoons. More on “Haiyan”, and a look at what evolve into a major East Coast storm next week – as the coldest air of the winter season spins up a slow-moving cyclone capable of inland snow and moderate coastal flooding in today’s Climate Matters video update: “WeatherNationTV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas goes over the record shattering stats to come out of Super Typhoon Haiyan. Sustained winds at 195 MPH with gusts to 235 MPH! That’s as much as an EF5 tornado! Also, We showed you the GFS yesterday, now the EURO weighs in on what may happen next week in the Mid-Atlantic.”


Why Everyone Is Talking About The Super Typhoon. USA Today has some very interesting facts about “Haiyan” and typhoons impacting the Philippines; here’s an excerpt:
• No hurricane in the Atlantic has ever been this strong.
• It’s possible Haiyan could become the strongest storm ever recorded to make landfall, anywhere on Earth.
• The storm is over 300 miles wide: The width is about equal to the distance between Boston and Philadelphia.
• Haiyan is the fourth typhoon to hit the Philippines in 2013.
• The Philippines typically gets hit by more typhoons than any country on Earth.”


NOAA: There Is No Island Of Tsunami Debris Floating Toward The U.S. Nature World News (and NOAA) set us straight: “…The media reports, some of which stated there was a Texas-sized island of tsunami debris floating toward the US, developed from a NOAA report last week that updated the latest tsunami debris information. The confusion about the floating island of debris came from the NOAA map above, which predicts the position of the tsunami debris based on simulations of how ocean currents and wind likely dispersed it. The crosshatched area near Hawaii represents the region with the highest concentration of tsunami debris, not a cohesive “island” of debris. “At this point, nearly three years after the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, whatever debris remains floating is very spread out…”

Map credit above: “After publishing a map detailing the theoretical position in the Pacific Ocean of debris from the March 2011 tsunami that hit Japan, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had to issue a clarifying statement: “There is no solid mass of debris from Japan heading to the United States.” (Photo : NOAA / Marine Debris Program).


NOAA View Data Imagery Portal (beta). Here’s a new tool for visualizing data, worldwide. Thanks to Capital Weather Gang for bringing this to my attention: “NOAA View provides access to maps of NOAA data from a variety of satellite, model, and other analysis sources. NOAA View is intended as an education and outreach tool, and is not an official source of NOAA data for decision support or scientific purposes.”


An Ex-Cop’s Guide To Not Getting Arrested. I paid extra attention to this tale from The Atlantic Cities; here’s an excerpt: “…Which would make the question for you and me, how can we stay out of jail? Carson’s book does a pretty good job of explaining—in frank language—how to beat a system that’s increasingly predatory. Carson has four golden rules, the first of which is, “If police can’t see you, they can’t arrest you.” The simplest application of this concept is that if you plan on doing something illegal, you should do it in the privacy of your home. Yes, you can be arrested while at home, but you can’t be profiled sitting in your living room, and profiling is what you’re trying to avoid...”


More Former NFL Stars Have Head Troubles. Here’s an excerpt of a story at “Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett is among a growing group of former NFL players who have been diagnosed with diseases caused by years of head trauma and other injuries. The former Cowboys running back, now 59, said that when he took his Oct. 21 flight from Dallas to Los Angeles for testing, he repeatedly struggled to remember why he was aboard the plane and where he was going. Such episodes, he said, are commonplace when he travels. Dorsett said he also gets lost when he drives his two youngest daughters, ages 15 and 10, to their soccer and volleyball games…” (Image above: Google).



It’s Official: Video Games Make Your Brain Bigger. Well that’s a relief. Here’s a clip from a story at Quartz: “Those addictive videogames that keep players glued to the screen may actually do the brain some good—or one of them does, anyway. A new study from the journal Molecular Psychiatry digs into the effect of videogame play on the volume of the brain’s gray matter—the tissue responsible for muscle control, memory, language and sensory perception. Researchers from Berlin’s Max Planck Institute for Human Development and St. Hedwig-Hospital recruited adult subjects to play Mario 64 on Nintendo’s portable DS system for thirty minutes per day for two months. At the end of that time, the gaming subjects showed “significant gray matter increase” in both the bilateral hippocampus and portions of the right prefrontal cortex…”



Playing Loud Pop Music Boosts Output Of Solar Panels By 40% How can possibly this be true? It turns out there may be something to this, after all. Here’s an excerpt from Click Green: “Playing loud pop and rock music improves the performance of solar cells, according to new research from scientists at Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College London. The high frequencies and pitch found in pop and rock music cause vibrations that enhanced energy generation in solar cells containing a cluster of ‘nanorods’, leading to a 40 per cent increase in efficiency of the solar cells. The study has implications for improving energy generation from sunlight, particularly for the development of new, lower cost, printed solar cells...”



Climate Stories…

Global Warming: How To Kick The Fossil Fuel Habit, Part 1. The San Diego Free Press has the article; here’s an excerpt: “This article is based on an excellent book by Tom Rand: “Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit – 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World.” It contains great information at a reading level that even an elementary school child can comprehend. And there are many superb pictures too. It is a wonderful resource in the numerous technologies that are in the process of ridding the world of fossil fuels – some of them hardly known to the literate public. At least I wasn’t aware of them, and I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable about global warming and what we can do about it. He identifies ten different technologies. We will devote an article to each of them. Part 1 will deal with solar...”
Photo credit above: Brightsource.


Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reached New High In 2012, World Meteorological Organization Says. CO2 emissions actually came down in the USA, but increased significantly in China and India. Here’s an excerpt from Reuters and Huffington Post: “Atmospheric volumes of greenhouse gases blamed for climate change hit a new record in 2012, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said on Wednesday. “For all these major greenhouse gases the concentrations are reaching once again record levels,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud told a news conference in Geneva at which he presented the U.N. climate agency’s annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. Jarraud said the accelerating trend was driving climate change, making it harder to keep global warming to within 2 degrees Celsius, a target agreed at a Copenhagen summit in 2009…”


New York, London and Mumbai: Major Cities Face Risk From Sea Level Rises. Too alarmist? We’ll see, but here’s the thing: this isn’t about climate models projecting out 50 years into the future. Sea level rise is a documented reality. Since 1750 the water in New York Harbor has risen about 15″. The only question is how much higher, and how quickly. Here’s a clip from The Guardian: “…Strauss’ analysis only looks at the likelihood coastal cities will be under water. Strauss forecasts the impact of rising seas without storms. He doesn’t forecast the likelihood that calamitous weather events like Hurricane Sandy will cause far greater damage when the oceans have risen closer to the level of the cities, overwhelming roads, sewers, underground trains, and water systems. We can now imagine a day when storms do not merely damage coastal cities but destroy them. He contends that by 2100, more than 25% of Boston, Miami, New Orleans, and Atlantic City could be under water. The same forecast (23 ft or 7m by 2100) can be plugged into a global map of elevations and sea levels here. Such a calculation is even more alarming. Most of the globe’s economic activity is funneled through cities that will be fighting to stay above water. Imagine a world without Shanghai, Mumbai and Boston, a world in which London and New York are risky settings for markets…”

Photo credit above: “Ben Strauss, Climate Central predicts that by 2100, more than 25% of Boston, Miami, New Orleans, and Atlantic City could be under water.” Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP.


If All The Ice Melted. Not likely to happen anytime soon, but you will see increasing pressure along the world’s coastlines in the years to come. Here’s an excerpt from an eye-opening interactive map from National Geographic: “The maps here show the world as it is now, with only one difference: All the ice on land has melted and drained into the sea, raising it 216 feet and creating new shorelines for our continents and inland seas. There are more than five million cubic miles of ice on Earth, and some scientists say it would take more than 5,000 years to melt it all. If we continue adding carbon to the atmosphere, we’ll very likely create an ice-free planet, with an average temperature of perhaps 80 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the current 58.”

Interactive map credit above: Jason Treat, Matthew Twombly, Web Barr, Maggie Smith, NGM staff. Art: Kees Veenenbos. Sources: Pilippe Huybrechts, Vrije Unversiteit Brussel, Richard S. Williams, Jr. Woods Hole Research Center, James C. Zachos, Universoty of California, Santa Cruz, USGS, NOAA, ETOP01 Bedrock, 1 arc-minute global relief model copyright September 2013 National Geographic Society.



Why Even California Can’t Stop Catastrophic Climate Change. Quartz has the story – here’s the introduction: “For climate change optimists, California is indeed the golden state when it comes to aggressive policies designed to avoid catastrophic climate change. But as a new report makes depressingly clear, even Ecotopia will fall far short of hitting a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 without the invention of new technologies and imposition of more draconian green mandates.  That’s the number scientists believe must be met to keep climate change in check. And if California can’t meet such a mandate, what nation can, given the inability of governments to even to agree to take the most tentative steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?…”



Photo credit above: “If even the Golden State can’t pull off needed carbon cutting, expect more scenes like this.” AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein.



Can Attacking Scientists Be A Political Liability? Michael Halpern has the article (and possible implications of the Virginia governor’s race) at The Union of Concerned Scientists; here’s the intro: “Politicians attack scientists to score points with voters and their backers, whether it’s members of Congress attacking individual government grantees or belittling scientists whose research undermines their legislative priorities.  It got so bad that UCS put out a guide for scientists who find their work under an unusual amount of scrutiny (still a good idea to take a look before you’re in that situation).  But yesterday’s election in Virginia may showcase how these sorts of attacks can backfire, making a candidate look extreme and out of touch. For those who haven’t followed the case, a recap: former University of Virginia scientist Michael Mann is responsible for pioneering climate change research that has since been reaffirmed by scores of researchers and scientific bodies. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli thought he knew better. He made headlines around the world by issuing subpoenas to UVa under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act for Mann’s personal emails and other documents (The scientist subsequently wrote a book about being raked over the coals by Cuccinelli and other politicians)…”


Virginia Governor’s Race Shows Global Warming Science Denial Is A Losing Political Stance. Here’s an excerpt from a Guardian article posted by St. Thomas professor and climate scientist John Abraham: “…Ken Cuccinelli has a history of not only discounting scientists but spending taxpayers’ money to actively attack them. In 2010, he began a witch hunt and accused climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann of fraud. In the end, Cuccinelli’s crusade wasted hundreds of thousands of hard-earned taxpayer dollars – waste that Virginia voters did not forget. As Dr. Mann himself, who campaigned for Terry McAuliffe, says, “As discussed in some detail in my recent book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, Ken Cuccinelli, as a newly minted Attorney General of Virginia, back in early 2010, engaged in what The Washington Post called a “witch hunt” against me and the University of Virginia. He sought to abuse his authority as attorney general by demanding all of my personal emails from the six years I was a faculty member at the University of Virginia…”

Photo credit above: “Terry McAuliffe made climate realism a big part of his campaign, and won yesterday’s election to become Virginia’s new governor.” Photograph: Reuters.


Climate Change Puts 5 Million Israelis At Risk Of Severe Flooding Events. Here’s a clip from a story at The Jerusalem Post: “Rising temperatures and climbing sea levels due to climate change could be putting more than five million Israelis at severe risk, a special Environmental Protection Ministry report has indicated. The rise of the Mediterranean Sea’s levels as well as the flooding of rivers could gravely impact five million Israelis as water barrels into their communities, the study warned. In addition to the flooding dangers, the conditions could also result in outbreaks of transmissible diseases from pests such as mosquitoes, the report explained. Escalating temperatures combined with population growth will also undoubtedly lead to an increased demand for water from decreasing aquifer supplies, it said…”

Photo credit above: “A storm touches down on water off Atlit coast.” Photo: Baz Ratner / Reuters


No, We Are NOT In A Climate “Pause”. Slate has the video and article; here’s an excerpt: “…One argument Hank brings up (at the 1:44 mark), and one I’ve hammered on a few times as well, is this idea that we’re in some sort of global warming pause. This is a claim that gets some traction, because when you look at land surface temperatures over the past few years, they haven’t gone up as quickly as they have in the past. However, using this measurement to claim that global warming has stopped, or even just paused, is wrong. The good folks at NASA Goddard recently posted a video interview with climate scientist Josh Willis to put this claim to rest…”


Is It Too Late To Prepare For Climate Change? Here’s an excerpt from an Elizabeth Kolbert article at The New Yorker: “…Promoting “preparedness” is doubtless a good idea. As the executive order notes, climate impacts—which include, but are not limited to, heat waves, heavier downpours, and an increase in the number and intensity of wildfires—are “already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies, and public health across the Nation.” However, one of the dangers of this enterprise is that it tends to presuppose, in a Boy Scout-ish sort of way, that “preparedness” is possible. As we merrily roll along, radically altering the planet, we are, as the leaked I.P.C.C. report makes clear, increasingly in danger of committing ourselves to outcomes that will simply overwhelm societies’ ability to adapt…”



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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. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather.

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