Belize Tropical Weather Outlook: February 10, 2016

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Area wind information

Belize NMS Forecast

6:00 AM in Belize, February 10, 2016

Tropical cyclone formation is not expected during the next 48 hours in the North Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical Atlantic Wide Infrared Satellite Image:

USA National Weather Service Forecast

February 10, 2016

For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:

Tropical cyclone formation is not expected during the next 5 days.

Routine issuance of the tropical weather outlook will resume on June 1, 2016. During the off-season, special tropical weather outlooks will be issued as conditions warrant.

Tropical Weather Discussion

Special features...
Atlantic Gale Warning...a cold front extends across the W Atlantic from 31n65w to 22n76w. Gale-force winds are N of 27n W of 77w. Seas in this region range from 12 to 16 ft. Winds are forecast to diminish below gale-force by early Thu morning. Please see the latest NWS High Seas Forecast under AWIPS/WMO headers miahsfat2/fznt02 knhc for more details.

Caribbean Gale Warning...a cold front extending from the SW N Atlc to the NW Caribbean will merge with a stationary front ahead of it later today. The pres gradient will increase in the SW Caribbean leading to gale force winds along the N coast of Colombia by early Thursday morning...pulsing again early Friday. Please see the latest NWS High Seas Forecast under AWIPS/WMO headers miahsfat2/fznt02 knhc for more details.

...The Caribbean Sea...

A cold front extends across SW N Atlc waters and enters the Caribbean across eastern Cuba from 20n77w and continues SW along 18n82w to western Honduras coastal waters. Ahead of this front...a stationary front extends through the Windward Passage SW to eastern Jamaica to Costa Rica coastal waters. Shallow moisture between these fronts and divergence aloft support scattered to isolated showers between 78w and 84w. Fresh to strong northerly flow is also between the fronts S of 19n. Fresh to strong trades are ahead of the stationary front in the south central Caribbean and are expected to reach gale-force by early Thu morning. See special features. The cold front will continue to move se and will merge with the stationary front later today...then dissipate Thu night.

48 Hour Forecast – Favorable Environmental Conditions For Tropical Development

Infrared Satellite in Belize City

Atlantic remains quiet

1/24/2016 6:00:18 AM

Although we had an abnormally early start to the 2016 Hurricane Season with the formation of Hurricane Alex, the Atlantic is quiet once again. At this point, we expect the tropics to remain quiet until we get closer to the official start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season on June 1, 2016.

Looking back on the 2015 season that ended on Nov. 30, there were 11 named storms, 12 is normal. Four of the 11 named storms became hurricanes, normal is six. Two of the four hurricanes were major hurricanes, normal is two-three. Based on these numbers alone you can see the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane season was less active than normal, mostly due to the development of a strong El Nino.

The biggest impacting hurricane of the season was Joaquin which brought serious damage to some eastern and northeastern Bahama Islands. This strong Category 4 hurricane also brought some damage to Bermuda.

120 Hour Forecast – Favorable Environmental Conditions For Tropical Development

More Thoughts On What The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season May Be Like Based On Colorado State University’s First Outlook
Rob Lightbown of Crown Weather Services

January 17, 2016

Colorado State University released their first thoughts on what the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season may be like and their ideas are very similar to what I wrote about back in late November. The bottom line is that there is a large degree of uncertainty of how active or inactive the season may be like.

The outlook for the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season from Colorado State presented four potential scenarios. These scenarios hinge on two factors: The first is how quickly the current El Niño will diminish and the second is how the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation will evolve.

1. AMO/THC becomes above average in 2016 and no El Niño impacts remain (resulting in an ACE of ~ 170) – 25% chance
2. AMO/THC is above average in 2016 but some El Niño impacts remain (ACE ~ 120) – 35% chance
3. AMO/THC is below average and no El Niño impacts remain (ACE ~ 80) – 20% chance
4. AMO/THC is below average and some El Niño impacts remain (ACE ~ 50) – 20% chance

CSU relates the ACE values shown above to these general ranges of activity:

170 ACE – 14-17 named storms, 9-11 hurricanes, 4-5 major hurricanes
120 ACE – 12-15 named storms, 6-8 hurricanes, 2-3 major hurricanes
80 ACE – 8-11 named storms, 3-5 hurricanes, 1-2 major hurricanes
50 ACE – 5-7 named storms, 2-3 hurricanes, 0-1 major hurricane

These scenarios should look familiar because these scenarios are similar to the ones I outlined in my outlook to you back in late November. In fact, I continue to think that there are three possible scenarios for the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

The first possible scenario is that it could be an extremely active season due to favorable wind shear conditions and warmer than average ocean waters across the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. This would be very different than this season where we saw unfavorable environmental conditions across the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico throughout much of the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season. This possible extremely active season would likely be very similar to the 1998 and 2010 Hurricane Seasons with upwards of 15 to 20 named storms, up to 12 of those storms becoming hurricanes and 3 to 5 of those hurricanes becoming major hurricanes. Another cause for this first possible scenario is the idea that the current El Nino state quickly transforms into a La Nina by summer of 2016 leading to a global change in atmospheric conditions which would lead to a favorable to very favorable environment for tropical cyclone development across the Atlantic Basin.

The second possible scenario is that we could end up seeing a very inactive season in terms of the number of named storms much like what we saw in 1983. This would be caused by a much slower transformation from El Nino conditions with these unfavorable conditions lasting into much of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Should this happen, we would see unfavorable conditions across the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, more so than what we saw during this season. A season like this would yield 5 named storms with 2 of those storms becoming hurricanes and 1 of those hurricanes becoming a major hurricane. It should be pointed out that if this ends up being a very inactive season, we could still see landfalling tropical storms/hurricanes on the US Coast. The 1983 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which was a very inactive one, still saw 2 Gulf of Mexico hurricanes and a tropical storm landfall on the US East Coast.

The third possible scenario is for a “normal” season in terms of the number of named storms with most of the activity occurring from September 15th to November 1st. The reason for this third possible scenario is that there is the possibility for a slower transition from El Nino conditions which would potentially lead to a globally unfavorable environment state in terms of Atlantic tropical development chances early in the season. This would then potentially turn around later in the season as we transition into a La Nina state.

At This Point, My Thinking Is That the first possible scenario of an extremely active season seems to be the most likely right now with a season very much like the 1998 Atlantic Hurricane Season. This means that potentially the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico could be quite active, which is a huge change from what we have seen over the last couple of seasons. In fact, much like the 1998 Atlantic Hurricane Season, it would not surprise me, at this point, to see a hyperactive period of tropical storm/hurricane development between August 15th and October 1st during the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

The third possible scenario of a “normal”, but late starting Hurricane Season is the second most likely scenario with most of the activity occurring between mid-September and early November thanks to a lingering El Nino that doesn’t fade into La Nina conditions until late 2016.

It should be pointed out that should the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season end up inactive with a low number of storms, barometric pressures are forecast by many of the long range models to be below average acoss the Gulf of Mexico which could potentially mean the development of 2 to 4 storms in the Gulf of Mexico with a couple of those becoming hurricanes. So, even though the numbers could be low, the 2016 Hurricane Season could end up producing an above average number of landfalls

What this means right now for all of you is that it may not be a bad idea to make some preparations now in the off season, including:

- If you are thinking of putting your house up on stilts to avoid flood damage, do it now. If you wait until spring or summer of 2016, it may be too late to hire construction crews to raise your home.

- Review your flood and wind insurance protection and make sure you are adequately covered.

- As always, restock your hurricane preparedness kit with items that may need to be replaced. Also, those kits can be used for any type of severe weather, so it’s good to always have it on hand in case of a weather emergency.

Finally, I want to emphasize that these are preliminary thoughts and that this forecast will likely change in the coming months. I will be monitoring all of the factors leading up to whether the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season will be active or in active and will keep you updated between now and June 1st, 2016.

Astounding Alex Hits the Azores: January’s First Atlantic Landfall in 61 Years
Jeff Masters

9:29 PM GMT on January 15, 2016

The unseasonable wintertime hurricane that developed over the Northeast Atlantic on Thursday has been downgraded to Post-Tropical Cyclone Alex, but its place in the annals of hurricane history is secure. Alex became a hurricane at 15Z (10 am EST) Thursday and maintained Category 1 strength for almost 24 hours. Alex’s western eyewall made landfall on the island of Terceira in the central Azores, roughly 1000 miles west of Portugal, at around 8:15 am EST with tropical-storm force winds of 60 knots (70 mph). No major damage was reported. While approaching Terceira at 7 am EST, Alex was still classified as a minimal hurricane (75 mph winds). Most of Terceira was on the west (weaker) side of Alex, so hurricane-force winds might have been observed if Alex had tracked just a bit further west. The eyewall passed over Lajes Air Force Base, producing a minimum pressure of at least 29.18” (988 mb) (no wind observations from within an hour of landfall were available). Wind gusts to 58 mph were observed at Ponta Delgada, more than 100 miles southeast of Terceira, and gusts to 55 mph were reported at Santa Maria, roughly 200 miles southeast of Terceira. At 4 pm EST Friday, Alex was located about 300 miles north of Terceira, racing northward at 40 mph with sustained winds of 60 knots (70 mph).

Figure 1. MODIS visible satellite image of Tropical Storm Alex at 9:20 am EST Friday, January 15, 2016. About an hour earlier, Alex’s western eywall passed over the Azores island of Terceira (black outline below the center of Alex). Image credit: NASA.

Not unprecedented, but very unusual
In records going back to 1851, only one other tropical cyclone in the Atlantic has made landfall in January: Hurricane Alice, which moved from northeast to southwest over the islands of Saint Martin and Saba on January 2. Alice’s heavy rain and rough seas caused damage totaling more than $4 million in current US dollars. Alice’s winds peaked at 90 mph, just above Alex’s peak sustained winds of 85 mph. The only other January hurricane in the Atlantic was Hurricane One on January 4, 1938. Three weaker cyclones have been observed in January: Tropical Storm Zeta (2005-06), Tropical Storm One (1951), and Subtropical Storm One (1978).

At any time of year, it’s quite uncommon for a hurricane to develop where Alex did. In a tweet on Thursday (see bottom), Alex Lamers noted that only one other tropical cyclone in Atlantic records is known to have become a hurricane north of 30°N and east of 40°W. That would be Hurricane Vince, one of the many oddities of the blockbuster 2005 Atlantic season. Vince went on to become the first tropical storm known to strike the Iberian Peninsula in more than 150 years.

The Northeast Atlantic is a challenging location for hurricane development thanks in large part to its relatively cool water. Alex took on its tropical characteristics while over waters that were 20-22°C (68-72°F). Although these are up to 1°C above average for this time of year, they are far cooler than usually required for tropical cyclone development. However, upper-level temperatures near Alex were unusually cold for the latitude, which meant that instability--driven by the contrast between warm, moist lower levels and cold, drier upper levels--was higher than it would otherwise be. That instability allowed showers and thunderstorms to blossom and consolidate, strengthening the warm core that made Alex a hurricane as opposed to an extratropical or subtropical storm. One could make a case that Alex was the last hurricane of 2015 rather than the first of 2016, as I discussed in a post on Thursday.

What about El Niño and climate change?
Sea-surface temperatures across the entire North Atlantic south of 35°N are warmer than average, part of a huge swath of above-average readings covering much of the globe. Some of these unusually warm waters are the result of El Niño, but the extent of the warmth--at record levels in many places--strongly suggests a link to longer-term climate change. It’s impossible to say without further research whether the extra oceanic warmth associated with Alex tipped the scales toward development, but it certainly didn’t hurt.

Alex doesn’t appear to be a classic manifestation of El Niño, based on previous January tropical cyclones since reliable El Niño records began in 1950:

Tropical Storm One (1951): La Niña
Hurricane Alice (1955): La Niña
Subtropical Storm One (1978): El Niño
Tropical Storm Zeta (2006): neutral, but leaning toward La Niña

Elsewhere in the tropics

CLICK HERE for the website for Belize National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO)

Tropical Atlantic Wide Visible Satellite Image

Edited by Marty (Today at 04:27 AM)