An active tropical Atlantic

The big worry of course is Tropical Storm Isaac, which may collide with Florida this coming week, just in time for the Republican National Convention in Tampa Monday.

This from NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

The Atlantic Ocean is kicking into high gear with low pressure areas that have a chance at becoming tropical depressions, storms and hurricanes. Satellite imagery from NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites have provided visible, infrared and microwave data on four low pressure areas. In addition, NASA’s GOES Project has been producing imagery of all systems using NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite to see post-Tropical Storm Gordon, Tropical Depression 9 (Now Isaac, and Systems 95L and 96L.

This NOAA GOES-13 satellite image taken on Aug. 21 at 7:45 a.m. EDT shows three of the four tropical systems being watched in the Atlantic Ocean basin. From left to right are: System 95L, Tropical Depression 9 and System 96L. Post-tropical Storm Gordon is just beyond the horizon. Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project

Tropical Storm Gordon is no longer a tropical storm and is fizzling out east of the Azores. Tropical Depression 9 was born on Aug. 20 and continues to get organized. Behind Tropical Depression 9 in the eastern Atlantic is another low pressure area called System 96L. In the Gulf of Mexico lies another low, called System 95L. In an image taken from NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite on Aug. 21 at 7:45 a.m. EDT, all of the systems were visible except for post-tropical Storm Gordon. The storms are seen lined up along the Atlantic basin from left to right with System 95L in the Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Depression 9 just east of the Caribbean Sea and System 96L in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.

NOAA manages the GOES-13 satellite, and NASA’s GOES Project uses the data to create images and animations out of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Tropical Depression 9 (now Issac)

On Aug. 20 at 0435 UTC (12:35 a.m. EDT) before System 94L organized into Tropical Storm 9, NASA’s Aqua satellite passed overhead, and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument captured an infrared image of the storm. It showed that the strongest convection (rising air that forms the thunderstorms that make up the tropical cyclone) were located south of the center of circulation. Those thunderstorms had cold cloud top temperatures of -63 Fahrenheit (-52 Celsius) that indicated there was strong uplift in the low pressure area, and were an indication that the system could strengthen, which it did later into a depression.

On Aug. 20 at 12:35 a.m. EDT before System 94L organized into Tropical Storm 9, NASA’s Aqua satellite passed overhead, and the AIRS instrument captured an infrared image of the storm. It showed that the strongest convection (purple) were located south of the center of circulation. Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen


Tropical Depression 9 has been the cause for tropical storm warning posts in a number of islands. On Aug. 21, a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Dominica, Guadeloupe, Desirade, Les Saintes, Marie Galante, and St. Martin.

TD9 appears as a rounded storm on the GOES-13 satellite image from Aug. 21. In the image, low pressure area “System 96L” trails to the southwest of TD9.

On Aug. 21 at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC) Tropical Depression 9 (TD9) had maximum sustained winds near 35 mph (55 kmh) and is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm later today. It was located about 645 miles (1,035 km) east of Guadeloupe near latitude 15.1 north and longitude 51.8 west. TD90 is moving toward the west near 20 mph (32 kmh) and is expected to continue moving in that direction for the next couple of days, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

NHC said that the cyclone should move through the central Lesser Antilles on Wed., Aug. 22 and move into the Caribbean Sea the next day. NHC expects rainfall between 4 and 8 inches to affect the northern Windward and the Leeward Islands, accompanied by heavy surf and rip tides.

System 96L in Eastern Atlantic

System 96L appears well-defined on the GOES-13 satellite imagery. It is associated with a tropical wave, and is spinning about 425 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. The NHC said that System 96L could very well become the tenth tropical depression of the Atlantic Hurricane Season in the next day or two. It is moving to the west at 15 mph.

System 95L Struggles in the Gulf of Mexico

The eastern-most low pressure area in the Atlantic Ocean basin is System 95L, located in the western Gulf of Mexico. It is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms just off-shore of the northeastern coast of Mexico. The low-level center of circulation is also elongated, which is a bad sign for a tropical cyclone trying to organize. Tropical cyclones need a strong, rounded circulation to strengthen. The NHC noted that slow development is still possible before System 95L moves inland in northeastern Mexico later in the day on Wed. Aug 21. The system has a 30 percent chance of developing before that happens. Once inland, its chances for development are greatly reduced because it will be cut off from its life-giving warm water supply.

Tropical Storm Gordon is History

On Monday, August 20, satellite imagery and surface data revealed that Tropical Storm Gordon lost his tropical characteristics, making it a post-tropical cyclone. According to Reuters news, Gordon caused some power outages, fallen trees and minor flooding.

The National Hurricane Center issued their final advisory on Gordon on August 20 at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 UTC). At that time, Gordon still had maximum sustained winds near 45 mph (75 kmh) and was weakening. Gordon was about 370 miles (595 km) east-northeast of the Azores, near latitude 39.2 north and longitude 20.3 west. Gordon was moving east-northeast near 16 mph (26 kmh) and was expected to turn southeast while weakening further. Gordon is expected to dissipate in a couple of days east of Portugal.

To see an image of Tropical Storm Gordon captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer instrument onboard NASA’s Terra satellite on Aug. 20 at 8:20 a.m. EDT, before it transitioned into a post-tropical storm, visit:

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August 22, 2012 1:00 am

Was it mcfibben, who recently hoped that `man-made`global-warming-related hurricane would be a Great thing to slam into Florida, just in time for the convention?
Aside from the fact that hurricanes become LESS frequent during periods of global warming- as per Dr Grey- the idea of massive death and destruction really seems to appeal to True Believers.

August 22, 2012 1:32 am

@ Otter
Prophets of doom always garner grains of personal ‘pleasure’ from other peoples’ misfortune.

John Edmondson
August 22, 2012 1:59 am

That looks bad for Cuba. Where will Isaac go from there? High pressure to the north of the storm on Sunday, so probably into the Gulf. Landfall west Florida/Alabama as cat 2-3.

August 22, 2012 3:05 am

This is exciting news. Much more so than Romney’s candidacy or Ryan’s budget.

August 22, 2012 3:53 am

Oh NO !!!!!! Unprecedented tropic storms .. in the tropics..
Quick, alter the cawg bletheren !!!
Anyway.. Isn’t it about time you guys over there had another decent hurricane, they have been pretty few and far between of late.

Ian W
August 22, 2012 3:54 am

For those living in Florida watching the progress of these storms is not a ‘sport’ there are regular ‘tropical weather’ bulletins twice an hour updating on what is happening in the various source areas for tropical storms.
The site provides easy access to information about the storms. For those who do not use it as regularly as denizens of Florida, the front page of the NHC site shows the storms with a roll over window with brief description. Click on a tracked storm and you get to that storm’s page. The interesting parts are in the top menu bar. The Discussion gives the latest report from the current forecaster and why a particular model is or is not being followed and the reasoning for the forecast storm track. To the far right of the top menu bar is Archive. Clicking on this gives access to what was said in the previous forecast and all the associated graphics can be accessed from the “graphics archive” button on the top menu bar. So going to the graphics archive and clicking on say “5-Day Track Forecast, Uncertainty Cone, and Watch/Warning” you will see the development of the storm track and the various corrections made at each forecast. Sometimes there can be extreme wagging of the forecast track, other times the initial forecast is surprisingly prescient.

August 22, 2012 3:58 am

The climate tribe will likely be out in force. Just too easy a story PR event for them. Katrina redux. Blame Bush on not fixing the climate. The media, prefering to not cover the convention, will find time to fit into their abbreviated coverage endless pieces on the “Occupy the Hurricane”, “Hansen’s Hurricane Hooligans”, etc. out protesting and being arrested. (I’d include a ref. to Mann but he’s a sensitive kind of guy that doesn’t like political satire it seems).
One does hope Al Gore doesn’t show up. Can you imagine Florida covered in a massive blizzard?

Bloke down the pub
August 22, 2012 4:03 am

Well an hurricane hitting the Republican convention must be a sign of global warming. At very least it’s a sign that if God exists, She’s got a sense of humour.

August 22, 2012 4:08 am

With Ron Paul and his supporters being actively excluded by the unelected few so the obvious continuation of more wars and debt no matter who you vote for. I’d happily put this down to an act of God.
Off topic:
I wonder if Anthony has seen the temperature and pressure graphs off “Curiosity” yet?
Finding the heating and cooling rates of land/air and the shift in daytime pressure changes are of some interest.

August 22, 2012 4:28 am

Nothing like a -63F cloud top to warm a tropical ocean….meanwhile….the two party puppet show goes on….rain or shine.

Eric Webb
August 22, 2012 4:54 am

Isaac could also still go to Charlotte :), and if it does get time over water east of Florida, then we could have a major hurricane on our hands.

August 22, 2012 5:29 am

Eric – Please leave Isaac away from the mid-atlantic! We are kind of alergic to “I” Storms (having suffered from isabel and Irene).

August 22, 2012 5:49 am

This storm will miss Florida and head up to South or North Carolina. These early forecast are always way off. If it hits both the mountains on Hispanola and Cuba it will substantially weaken, No need to go to Home Depot and Publix yet.
Andrew distroyed my office in ’92 ( I did find a dead lobster under my desk) so I have become accustomed to watching these things carefully.

August 22, 2012 5:56 am

It should not be Isaac at all. At the most it should be Helene which was used up on the disorganized patch of clouds called TD7 that crossed the Atlantic and hit Mexico last week. It had “well defined” circulation according to a hurricane hunter, but did not appear so on satellite. It also had 40 knot winds but no details on how those were measured (estimated) or how extensive they were. The hurricane naming process has become a charade to use up names.

August 22, 2012 6:02 am

philjourdan, the tropical storms that make it to the Mid Atlantic can do a lot of good in a dry year. Some flooding occurs but mainly on flood plains or poorly designed urban areas. Some trees fall and unfortunately some people are killed, but those trees would probably fall in a winter storm when the power cuts are more serious.

Owen in GA
August 22, 2012 6:50 am

Anthony, I think there are a couple of east-west reversals in the text. 95L is the western-most Atlantic system vice eastern-most, and Gordon will dissipate west of Portugal rather than east. (Spain and Southern France could get quite a surprise as written!)
Nice rundown of what looks like very similar patterns to what we used to fly against in the 80’s (53WRS Hurricane Hunters). I don’t see anything particularly disturbing in this report, though any hurricane or tropical storm can be deadly for the unprepared.

Jeff L
August 22, 2012 7:43 am

Check out last night’s GFS – basically taking Isaac right over Tampa during the convention.
The AGW’ers would have a field day with that !
Fortunately, this is climatologically improbable as that part of the coast has a relatively low strike probability :
It looks by all models that this will be an interesting storm to follow

Jim Cripwell
August 22, 2012 7:45 am

To date we have 9 named srorms in the North Atlantic for which we have ACE values. In 1967, when there were 8 named storms in total, the ACE value was 122. To date in the NA, the ACE values is 25. Is this really an “active” tropical North Atlantic?

August 22, 2012 7:57 am

eric1skeptic says:
August 22, 2012 at 6:02 am
philjourdan, the tropical storms that make it to the Mid Atlantic can do a lot of good in a dry year
Many forget/ignore that aspect. TS/hurricanes, in addition to the problems, can also bring much needed rain, especially in areas like the mid-Appalachians when August/Sept doesn’t produce much rain by others means. This yr there isn’t serious drought (yet) in west MD, but last yr there was, and the drought was eliminated by a Sept TS.

August 22, 2012 8:20 am

The last major (Cat 3 or higher) hurricane to hit the US was Wilma on October 24, 2005. It has been as of 8/22/2012 a period of 2494 days since then. That is a historic record.
So far Isaac looks like a poor candidate to end that streak.

August 22, 2012 8:43 am

SamG says:
August 22, 2012 at 3:05 am

This is exciting news. Much more so than Romney’s candidacy or Ryan’s budget.

I know! Fiscal responsibility is such a downer when you’re the recipient of the taxpayer’s (forced) largess or you’re fascinated watching the decline of a once-great nation:

old engineer
August 22, 2012 8:59 am

Wow. Image that. Several systems in the Atlantic that “might” become hurricanes. Has anyone bothered to look at the calendar? It’s August 22. The peak of hurricane season is mid- August to October first. In any average hurricane season there are always several low pressure areas in the Atlantic this time of year.

August 22, 2012 9:44 am

This could work out well.
It should help the expected protesters take a shower for the first time in a while.
Republican party should donate soap to the cause.

August 22, 2012 10:32 am

Has a hurricane ever hit NYC? And if not, how could it be arranged?

August 22, 2012 10:45 am

Ok, so it’s going to rain in Tampa. The tropical storm bit just means it will be a bit windy. As for the politics – you vote, you choose. You have my sympathy. Your lot looks as bad as our lot in the UK.

Reply to  AlanG
August 22, 2012 11:20 am

Right on Alan, Doesn’t matter who you vote for, you will vote for the Government which will do what it has always done.
All they do is argue like puppets on the poop deck of the Titanic about arranging it’s deck chairs to keep the public eyes diverted from the fact they both have conspired to sink the ship at the nearest iceberg.
Both incumbents want to end your rights, have more wars and spend themselves into riches while selling you into more debt slavery. The AGW crowd flourished VERY well with aGW Bush at the helm to you know!

August 22, 2012 11:09 am

Could mean a little stormy weather for the GOP convention, eh?

August 22, 2012 11:52 am

Don’t forget the European model…which has predicted a farther west path for Isaac. No one wants to think of that possibility.

August 22, 2012 11:58 am

Looks like ( by its reports ) that Isaac is still approaching this buoy.
See below for area maps and additional stations.
The area is full of monitoring stations and/or buoys.
Click on the station # for data (some will return: Data from this station are not quality controlled by NDBC).
Use the arrows on the map edges to move all over the world.
Have fun !

Mac the Knife
August 22, 2012 1:19 pm

The fresh water aquifers and reservoirs associated with the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee could use a really good, protracted rain deluge …. or five, to help restore the fresh water levels a bit from the unrelenting demand from municipalities like Miami.

Tom in Florida
August 22, 2012 4:22 pm

Currently we on the central west coast of Florida are experiencing heavy rains daily. This will saturate the ground so the timing of Issac on top of all that rain is going to cause major problems with flooding, erosion and uprooted trees, even if it is just a tropical storm. I bet my money on the latest GFS track which could take the eastern eye wall directly over my house. Fortunately I invested in new steel shutters this spring. Five days out: checking supplies and hurricane emergency kit. Inspecting trees for loose branches and cutting any that could come down in stronger winds.

August 22, 2012 5:27 pm

Looks like Isaac is tracking south of this buoy.
Winds are building, pressure dropping.

August 22, 2012 5:29 pm

It is going right at Hati and Guantanimo.

August 22, 2012 8:08 pm

At least right now, it seems NDBC/NOAA has their servers fired up.
Instantanous data from the Caribbean Sea.

August 23, 2012 5:15 am

Isaac seems to have gone south of the initially projected track on early Aug. 23.

August 23, 2012 7:26 am

Isaac seems to be aiming South-Southwest towards the northern tip of Colombia at 10:20 EST.
NOAA and other forecasters expect it to restart heading West-Northwest soon.
This would put it further to the west of Tampa, FL.

Gail Combs
August 23, 2012 11:02 am

eric1skeptic says:
August 22, 2012 at 6:02 am
philjourdan, the tropical storms that make it to the Mid Atlantic can do a lot of good in a dry year….
The southern east coast has been anything BUT DRY except for a couple weeks in June! You really only need a storm about once a week to keep things green BTW so that is any number over 5 storms a month.
Here is the # of rainy days in the summer for this year at selected cities inland between the Appalachians and the seacoast.
For the year 2012 month number of days it rained, fog, (cld = cloudy days) most are partly cloudy, NR=No record
Homestead: Lat/Lon: 25.5° N 80.5° W
May, 18, 11T (clds) Jun 18, 10T (10 clds) Jul 22, 20T (5 clds), Aug 22, 18T (4 clds) + 3NR
Orlando: Lat/Lon: 28.5° N 81.4° W
June 17 (6 clds), July 15 (15 clds), August 23 (5 clds) + 3 no record
Ocala: Lat/Lon: 29.2° N 82.1° W
June 16, 9T (7 clds), July 20, 13T 2 fog (8 clds) Aug 21, 20T ( 7 clds) + 3 no record
Gainesville: Lat/Lon: 29.6° N 82.3° W
June 18 (7 clds) July 18, 2 fog (8 clds) August 22 (6 clds) + 3 no record
Tifton: Lat/Lon: 31.5° N 83.5° W
Jun 12 (7 clds) Jul 24, 1 fog (1 clds) + 3 no record, Aug 19, 1 fog (8 clds) + 3 no record
Madison: Lat/Lon: 33.6° N 83.5° W
Jun 6 (13 clds) Jul 20, (8 clds) + 3 no record, Aug 14, 1 fog (9 clds) + 4 no record
Ellijay: Lat/Lon: 34.7° N 84.5° W
Jun 7 (14 clds) Jul 22, 3 fog (6 clds) , Aug 15, 2 fog (8 clds) + 3 no record
South Carolina
Walterboro: Lat/Lon: 32.9° N 80.7° W
Jun 9, 5 fog (10 clds), Jul 19, (4 clds)+ 1 no record, Aug 21, 2 fog (5 clds) + 3 no record
Manning: Lat/Lon: 33.6° N 80.3° W
Jun 7 (13 clds)+ 3 no record, Jul 17, (3 clds)+ 1 no record, Aug 18, 2 fog (7 clds) + 3 no record
Camden: Lat/Lon: 34.3° N 80.6° W
Jun 11, 1 fog (9 clds) Jul 17, 3 fog (1 clds)+ 2 no record, Aug 16, 2 fog (8 clds) + 3 no record
North Carolina ( this is where the change was a few years ago)
Lumberton: 34.6° N 79.0° W
Jun 9 (13 clds) Jul 17, 1 fog (3 clds) , Aug 15, 1 fog (9 clds) + 3 no record
Goldsboro: Lat/Lon: 35.4° N 78.1° W
Jun 13 (12 clds) Jul 17, 1 fog (9 clds) , Aug 15, 1 fog (10 clds) + 3 no record
Rocky Mount: Lat/Lon: 36.0° N 77.8° W
Jun 11 4 fog (3 clds) Jul 18, 1 fog (7 clds) , Aug 11, 4 fog (12 clds) + 3 no record
Sanford (piedmont) Lat/Lon: 35.5° N 79.2° W
Jun 5, 1 fog (16 clds) Jul 16, 3 fog (5 clds) , Aug 12, 4 fog (12 clds) + 3 no record
DATA from : and last five days is from five day forecast.

August 23, 2012 2:26 pm

Have a look at the GOES animation at showing Isaac still not beginning to turn northwards.
The page linked under my name is “Meteorology for South Florida and the Caribbean”, with links to all the pertinent Web resources.

August 23, 2012 3:43 pm

Every time I see one of those hurricane track prediction maps it reminds me of the “We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!” line from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

August 23, 2012 3:52 pm
August 23, 2012 5:16 pm

New Orleans: get prepped now.

August 23, 2012 11:49 pm

Which center will be the center? It’s still a bunch of vortexes messing with our eyesight. Be careful not to wish-cast, seeing the one you want and being blind to another. The morning will show more.

August 25, 2012 3:57 am

“The amazing image that shows every hurricane and tropical storm since 1851”
“Reveals every extreme weather event since records began
Shows unique ‘bottom up’ view of the earth, with Antarctica in the middle of the image”

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