The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
-Psalm 19:1

Do you know that God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?
-Job 37:15

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Could we have another "perfect storm"???

If you've seen "The Perfect Storm", you are familiar with the set-up I am about to describe, which is actually the set-up which could occur on our east coast today and tomorrow. Yesterday, we saw Hurricane Ida, become a Tropical Storm and make landfall in Alabama. A slight surge occurred causing some flooding. The moisture was pulled away from the center of circulation as the system became extra-tropical. The remnants of extra-tropical Depression Ida continue to push east, even this morning, as a significant low, being pushed off shore by a high pressure to the northwest.Here's the problem, sitting off the coast is an area of low pressure, which has a low likelihood of development, but could merge with the remnants of Ida to form a powerful low pressure system, as it continues to move to the northwest.Hypothetically, as the newly merged low pressure system (with its counter clockwise motion) were to move to the northwest and interact with the high pressure system (with its clockwise motion), a pressure gradient would set up. Link
The pressure gradient would force the air through the two fronts amplifying the impact. Back in 1991, when this occurred, it was referred to as "the perfect storm" or "no-name storm" or "The Halloween Nor'easter of 1991.

The 1991 Perfect Storm, also known as the No-Name Storm, was an unusual nor’easter which was extratropical, and absorbed one hurricane, and ultimately evolved into a small hurricane within an extratropical system late in its life cycle. The initial area of low pressure formed across Indiana before moving offshore of Atlantic Canada, where the cyclone reached its peak intensity. The unnamed hurricane of 1991 was the last tropical cyclone of the 1991 Atlantic hurricane season, and its fourth hurricane. By November 2, Atlantic Canada experienced the effects of a landfalling tropical storm. Damage totaled $208 million (1991 USD)[1] and the death toll climbed to 12 people including 6 onboard the Andrea Gail and one Air National Guard pararescue jumper, TSgt Arden "Rick" Smith. Most of the damage occurred while the storm was extratropical.

The Halloween Nor'easter of 1991, as an extratropical cyclone (today's case would be Ida), with its associated high winds from the pressure gradient between the high to its northeast and its low pressure center (sound familiar???), created large waves. Canadian buoy 44137 reported a wave height of 100.7 feet October 30. NOAA buoy 44011 reported maximum sustained winds of 49 knots (56 mph) with gusts to 65 kt (75 mph) and a significant wave height (average height of the highest waves) of 39 feet. (The central Atlantic coast of the US is under an imminent threat.)

It lashed northeastern U.S. with a storm tide of more than 13 ft above a storm surge of approximately 5 ft, and piled on top of that 30 ft waves. The worst of the storm stayed offshore. Duxbury Beach, Massachusetts had gusts up to 85 mph.
The "perfect storm" moniker was coined by author and journalist Sebastian Junger after a conversation with NWS Boston Deputy Meteorologist Robert Case in which Case described the convergence of weather conditions as being "perfect" for the formation of such a storm.
Well, here comes the potential for the perfect conditions again. It could happen similar to the events of 1991. Wouldn't that be interesting??? Regardless, the shores of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia can expect flooding and wind.

Have a blessed day!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's a little scary. We do not have such storms in the Pacific Northwest. I do love a good storm--we did have a big wind that came through three years ago, and all the hills around here had lots of snow last winter.

    But no real scary weather--well, unless you read about the little tornado that did damage out in Lincoln City along the coast last weekend...

    I really enjoyed reading your blog today!


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