Posts Tagged ‘tropical storm’

Good morning.  It’s 03:36 at the Florida Sea Base.  I got up to check the 02:00 weather update.  All is well here.  All of the sailboats are docked at Sea Base or in some other marina.  The scuba divers on base completed a night dive last night.  The divers on the Scuba Liveaboard Conch Pearl completed three or four day dives plus a night dive last night.  They are at dock on Stock Island.

Right now we are experiencing the calm before the storm.  There is almost no wind on the Florida Sea Base dock and it is not raining.  I can see the moon through the clouds to our southwest, maybe an hour and a half before it sets for the night.  I checked US and Cuban radars.  There is a large area of gentle rain over Andros Island, Bahamas, right now.  Not much else.  Maximum winds from T/S Bonnie are estimated in the 40 mph range.  The National Weather Service forecast for our area reads:

Today: Tropical storm conditions expected. Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. High near 88. North wind 20 to 25 mph increasing to between 40 and 50 mph. Winds could gust as high as 60 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Tonight: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 80. Windy, with a south wind 15 to 25 mph becoming east. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

So we are expecting some rain and a few hours of fairly serious wind.  The winds should be back to normal by this evening.  We will do our best to entertain the kids on the base today and should be back to normal operations on Saturday.

All of the ships have been ordered off the Deepwater Horizon site until the storm makes landfall in Louisiana.  That will obviously stop the skimming and other oil recovery efforts.

2 a.m. update, 23 July

I have time to get 2 hours sleep before the 07:30 staff meeting.  I will post more details after the storm passes.

09:30 UPDATE – Miami and Fort Lauderdale are experiencing an hour or so of intense rain.  There is nothing more than a light drizzle and very mild winds here.

10:30 UPDATE – It looks like T/S Bonnie has missed us and has made landfall near Miami.  The buoys near Miami are reporting 45+ mph wind speeds.  The buoys in the Keys are reporting North winds at about 15 knots.  We are making plans now to get the sailors sailing and divers diving after lunch.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

I literally have only a few moments this morning.  Here is the latest on Tropical Storm Alex.  It is no threat to the Florida Sea Base but if you live anywhere along the Texas coast you need to read this update from Weather Underground.

Hi, Dr. Rob Carver filling in for Jeff on the late shift again.
As of the 11PM EDT advisory, Alex is once more a tropical storm moving to the W-NW at 6 knots. According to the CIMMS wind shear estimates Alex is experiencing less than 20 knots of shear, so it’s in a favorable location for intensification. The NHC forecast track has Alex moving to the W-NW and making landfall in northern Mexico.

Disagreement between the forecast models
As of 300EDT, there are roughly three different sets of forecast solutions for the forecast models. CMC/GFS have Alex making landfall along the Texas coast north of Corpus Christi, but south of Houston. GFDL/HWRF have Alex coming ashore near Brownsville. UKMET/ECMWF/NOGAPS/NGFDL show Alex coming ashore well south of the Rio Grande. As was the case yesterday, the difference between the CMC/GFS and UKMET/ECMWF forecast lies in the interaction of the trough with the area of high pressure in the Gulf that’s currently steering Alex. Upper-air data from the Gulfstream IV should help refine model forecasts.

What does it mean?
The CMC/GFS/UKMET/ECMWF are all very good global models so it’s hard to discount one model in favor for another. If you live along the Gulf coast from Tampico, MX to the Texas/Louisiana border, it would be very prudent to review your hurricane planning and preparations. I still think the chances of Alex directly interfering with oil spill recovery efforts are low.

04:00 Computer Models from Weather Underground

I Have to run but I’ll post more later today.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape


It’s Over

in Staff  •  3 comments

Today was a great day at the Florida Sea Base, unless you were in the office.  Thank goodness it’s over.  Here’s how it went.

Before breakfast one of the staff members came into the office and presented with a possible concussion including severe pain at the site of an earlier blow to the head and exceptional drowsiness.  The staff member will receive medical care.  Also before breakfast Capt. Carl Olshenske who drives BSA Explorer for the scuba program reported that he had a youth participant on his boat this week who was having behavioral problems.  After breakfast I had the young man and one of his adult leaders in my office to get the young man’s attention and assure that he acted in a safe and reasonable manner on the boat.  (The captain reported this afternoon that the youth performed much better.)

Shortly thereafter I discovered that Florida Sea Base incident reports were not being completed to reflect these and other issues.  That will be addressed at Monday’s 07:30 staff meeting morning.

Before lunch it was brought to my attention that Davis Tours had not shown up to take a departing crew to the airport.  The crew was in jeapordy of missing thier flight from Fort Lauderdale.  I tried multiple times to call Davis Tours and their emergency phone number to no avail.  We are very short handed on Sundays at the Florida Sea Base.  Capt. Alex Bergstedt volunteered to drive them to the airport.  They barely made it and we never heard from Davis Tours.  I don’t mean to give Davis Tours a black eye.  I am only reporting fact.  For the 10 years that I have worked at the Florida Sea Base they have had an exemplary record.  However, something has happened and they have had major scheduling issues recently.  Our Director of Program, Rob Kolb, will be addressing our concerns with Mr. Davis on Monday.

Immediately before lunch I saw Capt. Dutch VanderLann hobbling across the yard.  He has re-injured his left knee.  He is a trooper and will gut it out.

Check-in begins at 13:00 daily.  Sundays are big scuba crew arrival days.  One of the crews had an adult leader who had refused to submit his medical prior to arrival as required.  So Ellen, the Office Manager, was reviewing the medical he brought with him.  It was on the wrong form and we couldn’t accept it.  So he called backed home and had the appropriate form faxed to us.  The form showed that he is asthmatic and taking three medicications for asthma.  This disqualified him for the Florida Sea Base scuba program.  He was allowed to stay with his crew and he can snorkel, but he cannot scuba dive.  Somehow this gentleman feels that his failure to submit the medical when required (01 March 2010) so we could try to resolve his issue is not the problem.  I am the problem.  I am very sorry for the situation but mostly I am disappointed that this gentleman failed to follow procedure and we were deprived of the opportunity to address his issue.

Then we had a youth check in who was taking some medications that required counseling of him, his adult leaders and divemaster.  He will likely do fine.

Then another crew arrived that had a bad experience with Davis Tours.  They were aggitated but Ellen (and an air conditioned office) helped the leader calm down.

After dinner, Commissioner Matt McClure had a severe alergic reaction to some aloe vera that was being applied to his sunburn.  After two showers and 50mg of Benefryl he decided to go to the ER for a cortisone injection.  Before he left, Divemaster Scott Costa slipped and twisted his knee and decided to accompany Matt to the ER.  By the time they got to the ER, Matt was feeling better and did not see a doctor.  Scott has a sprain or torn ligament and will miss at least a week of work.

Now the latest on T/S Alex.  The official forecast still shows T/S Alex will curve into Mexico below the Texas border.

Tropical Storm Alex - Weather Underground

However, one of the more reliable computer models (GFS) still suggests the possibility of landfall south of Galveston, Texas.  This is a good example of how crazy life can be when a hurricane is forecasted to approach within a thousand miles of the Florida Sea Base.  The forecasted trajectory changes frequently and radically at times.

T/S Alex Computer Models - Weather Underground

It’s past my bedtime.  I will post sometime tomorrow.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape


Lazy Morning

in Weather  •  0 comments

I’m enjoying a lazy morning at the Florida Sea Base.  I feel asleep at about 23:00 last night, pretty late for me.  I woke up at 03:00 and 07:20 to pee but didn’t really get up until 09:00.  Then I fixed a nice breakfast and washed dishes.  I spent 30 minutes updating the pages on this website and then I checked the weather.

Tropical Storm Alex - Courtesy of Weather Underground

While it is still early and anything is possible, the current thinking is that TS Alex will move generally westward after crossing the Yucatan Peninsula and probably won’t travel over or near the Deepwater Horizon site.  TS Alex should have NO effect on your travel plans to the Florida Sea Base.

Invest 94L - Courtesy of Weather Underground

The best news for everyone is that Invest 94L is projected to curve north and east into the Atlantic Ocean.  Bermuda was a concern yesterday but it looks like they may miss this one.

Satellite image of the tropics at 9am EDT Saturday 6/26/10. Image credit: GOES Science Project.

Here’s a great overview of the activities in the tropics this morning.

I haven’t received any phone calls this morning.  That’s a good sign and I will check in with the office in a little while to confirm that all is well.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Good morning.  It’s already 84º at the Florida Sea Base (at 07:00).   Dr. Jeff Masters posted today’s weather blog quite early.  Here’s part of what he had to say:

The forecast for 92L
The National Hurricane Center is giving 92L a high (60% chance) of developing into a tropical depression by Wednesday morning, which is a reasonable forecast. The odds of development have increased since yesterday, as the storm has moved considerably to the northwest, away from the Equator. Now it can leverage the Earth’s spin to a much greater degree to help get it get spinning. It is quite unusual for a tropical depression to form south of 8°N latitude.

I expect that 92L’s best chance to become a tropical depression will come on Tuesday, and the storm could strengthen enough by Wednesday to be named Tropical Storm Alex. The farther south 92L stays, the better chance it has at survival. With the system’s steady west-northwest movement this week, 92L will probably begin encountering hostile wind shear in excess of 20 knots by Wednesday, which should interfere with continued development. Several of our reliable models do develop 92L into a tropical storm with 40 – 55 mph winds, but all of the models foresee weakening by Thursday or Friday as 92L approaches the Lesser Antilles Islands and encounters high shear and dry air. I doubt 92L will be anything stronger than a 45 mph tropical storm when it moves through the northern Lesser Antilles Islands on Friday and Saturday, and it would be no surprise if wind shear has destroyed the storm by then. However, as usual, surprises can happen, and the GFS and the SHIPS model (which is based upon the GFS) do indicate that more modest levels of wind shear in the 15 – 20 mph range late this week may allow 92L to stay stronger than I’m expecting. Residents of the islands–particularly the northern Lesser Antilles–should follow the progress of 92L closely, and anticipate heavy rains and high winds moving through the islands as early as Thursday night.

In a nutshell, 92L will likely become Tropical Storm Alex and then get blown apart by wind shear near the Lesser Antilles over the weekend.  Our inbound participants should not sweat this one.  Come on down and enjoy the sun and water.  I hope to see you soon.  I have an 07:30 staff meeting to attend.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape


Windy Weekend

in Weather  •  0 comments

While I’ve been at DEMA, the wind has been “breezy” back at Sea Base.  The weekend forecast calls for gale strength winds.  That makes life fairly miserable when you live on a boat.  This weather is NOT associated with Ida, but with a strong high pressure system over the central US.  This wind event have be a good thing in that it may rip Ida apart before she gets to us.  If it doesn’t, Ida is currently forecasted to to go through the Yucatan Channel, up towards the Florida panhandle and then curve very sharply back to the southeast towards the Keys.  The Florida Sea Base is in the forecasted cone of death next Thursday.

I am optimistic that Ida will fall apart before reaching Sea Base.

I am optimistic that Ida will fall apart before reaching Sea Base.