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Weather Nerd

Tropics quiet; here’s a daily reading list

August 19th, 2013 - 1:48 pm

We’re in a bit of a “calm before the storm” holding pattern in the Atlantic tropics right now. Forecasters continue to expect a burst of activity fairly soon, yet there is nothing happening at all for the time being. Erin and Invest 92L have both officially died, and the first of the predicted series of African tropical waves, Invest 94L, has also fizzled due to dry air and Saharan dust. As a result, the outlook for the Atlantic basin presently looks like this:

atlantic-nothing

In fact, even the over-land waves on the African continent have dissipated for the moment. Moreover, the computer models have shifted their previously bullish outlook, with no predicted storm formations in the next 7 days.

That’s kind of surprising for mid-to-late August; we’re only three weeks away from the season’s climatological peak! (Then again, as Mark Sudduth points out, the tropics looked similarly quiet on August 19, 2005. We all know what happened 10 days later.)

For now, dry, stable air and wind shear, plus the ongoing dust flow caused by high pressure over Europe, keeps suppressing all the potential tropical troublemakers that try to rear the heads. But forecasters still expect this to change soon. My quote of Ghân-buri-Ghân yesterday — “Wind is changing!” — still applies. The crucial Madden–Julian oscillation is about to shift from an unfavorable pattern for tropical development to a highly favorable one. So the expectation is that, by next week or the week after, we’ll have a lot more to talk about.

In the mean time, I thought I would post a quick reading list, to help Weather Nerd readers stay abreast of tropical developments during this “calm before the storm,” during which I likely won’t be blogging much here, and during which my Twitter feed will probably consistent primarily of tweets about news, politics, college football, and other assorted non-weather-related topics.

Official information:
National Hurricane Center, including specifically the Tropical Weather Outlook

Graphics:
NHC/NOAA satellite imagery
Weather Bell Models: The most beautiful computer model graphics on the Internet (pay site; 7-day free trial)
Tropical Atlantic: Free computer model maps

Blogs:
Dr. Jeff Masters gives a thorough daily overview of what’s happening in the tropics (and other major weather events)
Tropical Tidbits: Levi Cowan’s blog & site, including awesome YouTube updates
Hurricane Analytics: Michael Watkins’s blog & site
Hurricane Analytics Tumblr: Watkins again, with helpful graphics and quick but informative analysis
HurricaneTrack: Mark Sudduth’s blog and site
FLhurricane.com: Good, link-heavy summaries
Capital Weather Gang: The Washington Post‘s excellent weather blog; focuses on Beltway area, but covers tropical weather generally when it threatens the U.S.
Houston Chronicle‘s SciGuy: Eric Berger is a long-time favorite. He posts about a variety of topics, when when there’s a tropical threat, he’s a great resource (especially if Texas could be threatened)

Twitter lists:
@AmySweezey/wx-tweeps: As I often say, this is a great one-stop shop. It includes most of the individual tweeps listed below, and many others. Unlike, say, a Twitter Search for a storm-related term, or clicking on a hashtag like #Erin or #92L, you can pretty much rely on the fact that people on this list are meteorologists or at least have some clue what they’re talking about. However, because Twitter lists don’t show @replies by list members (which sometimes contain valuable info), and because not everyone is on Sweezey’s list, I sometimes like to check certain individuals accounts too…

Twitter accounts:
@hurrtrackerapp: Informative graphics and frequent updates
@RyanMaue: The best computer models graphics on the web (from his pay site WeatherBell). Tweets about Pacific storms too.
@clfenwi: Charles Fenwick and I go way back; he was one of the great weatherbloggers back in the Katrina days and before. He doesn’t tweet on anything like a regular schedule, but when he does, it’s always informative and illuminating.
@bigjoebastardi: Joe Bastardi, a colleague of Maue’s at WeatherBell, is an iconoclast, his tweets sometimes require a bit of decoding, and he isn’t shy about reminding readers when he was right in a particular prediction. :) But his analysis and “ideas” (as he often calls his general trend forecasts) are always worth reading and considering.
@tropicaltidbits: Another informative account.
@watkinstrack: Michael Watkins’s Twitter account.
@hurricanetrack: Mark Sudduth’s Twitter account.
@EdPiotrowski: Not hurricane-specific, but lots of good weather tweets, including tropical weather when it’s worth talking about.
@wxbrad: Similar to Piotrowski: not just hurricanes (Brad Panovich is the chief meteorologist for a TV station in Charlotte, NC), but lots of good weather tweet, including tropical weather when it’s worth talking about.

I don’t check all of these links every day, though I probably should (and now that I’ve listed them in one place, maybe I will!) … but it’s a good list if you want to keep abreast of what’s happening. (I may add a few blogs or tweeps if I realize that I’ve forgotten anyone.)