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Hurricane Season

Atlantic Weather Systems Intensify; Gulf of Mexico Preps for Potential Disturbances



As the season advances, the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico face heightened weather activity, with several systems emerging on the radar. The National Hurricane Center advises residents and officials in potentially affected areas, especially those in the Caribbean region, to stay updated on these weather developments.

Detailed Insights:

Eastern Tropical Atlantic – System AL98: An expansive low-pressure zone, situated several hundred miles to the west of the Cabo Verde Islands, is showing increased signs of coming together. The associated showers and storms appear to be consolidating, suggesting favorable conditions for a tropical depression formation in the days ahead. Current trajectories indicate a west-northwest to northwest movement at an approximate pace of 10 mph across the eastern tropical Atlantic. Notably, by the following week, climatic models hint at stronger upper-level winds, which may hinder its growth.

  • Likelihood of formation in 48 hours: Moderate at 50%.
  • Chance of formation over the next 7 days: Elevated at 70%.

Central Tropical Atlantic – System AL99: This elongated low-pressure trough, positioned more than a thousand miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands, is triggering sporadic showers and storms. The current climate suggests a slight edge for this system to evolve into a tropical depression soon. As for its movement, a west-northwestward trend ranging from 10 to 15 mph across the central tropical Atlantic is expected. Nonetheless, forthcoming upper-level winds may deter its continuous development.

  • Formation probability for both 48-hour and 7-day: Moderate at 40%.

Proximity of the Lesser Antilles: Another trough of low pressure, stationed a few hundred miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles, is hinting at possible development. Over the forthcoming weekend and into next week, there’s a potential for some strengthening. It’s projected to move predominantly in a west-northwest direction, clocking speeds of 10 to 15 mph, crossing the Lesser Antilles and entering the northeastern Caribbean region.

  • Potential for formation in 48 hours: Low at 10%.
  • 7-day formation outlook: Minimal at 20%.

Western Front of the Gulf of Mexico: Stirrings north of Hispaniola have set the Gulf of Mexico on a cautious watch. Predictions point towards a broad low-pressure region establishing itself here by the early part of the next week. As it embarks on its westward course, this system may undergo slow evolution, aiming to touch the western fringe of the Gulf of Mexico by mid-week.

  • Probability of formation in 48 hours: Virtually 0%.
  • Chances over a week: Mild at 30%.

In light of these developments, it’s paramount for residents and local officials in the identified regions to maintain vigilance. Staying updated and ensuring necessary preparations are in place can aid in effectively managing potential outcomes.

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Hurricane Season

Anticipating a Stormy Horizon: 2024 Forecast Signals Unprecedented Hurricane Season



Forecasters from the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project have issued a stark warning for an “extremely active” Atlantic hurricane season in 2024. The convergence of transitioning El Niño to La Niña conditions, alongside historically high sea surface temperatures in the eastern and central Atlantic, sets the scene for an alarming uptick in hurricane formation and strength.

The forecast, unveiled on April 4, anticipates a remarkable total of 23 named storms, with 11 escalating into hurricanes, and 5 of those reaching the major hurricane status of Category 3 or higher. This prediction starkly exceeds the 30-year averages, setting a foreboding expectation for an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Index of 210 and a Net Tropical Cyclone Activity (NTC) of 220%—figures that far surpass long-term norms.

More concerning is the increased likelihood of major hurricanes making landfall. The United States’ coastline and the Caribbean are notably at risk, with predicted probabilities of a major hurricane touching down leaping to 62%, 34%, and 42% across various regions. This signifies a 66% chance that the Caribbean will experience the direct impact of at least one major hurricane, marking a significant rise from historical averages.

The final analysis underlines a near 60% surge in named storms and a 52% and 56% increase in hurricanes and major hurricanes, respectively, over the 1991–2020 averages. Such projections represent a substantial climb from the typical ACE Index of 123 and NTC of 135%, highlighting an expected season of heightened storm activity.

This foreboding outlook is the product of a robust statistical model, refined through over four decades of data, and corroborated by forecasts from leading global weather agencies. The unanimity among these models underscores the severity of the upcoming season.

Central to these predictions is the shift from El Niño, which typically suppresses hurricane formation through increased vertical wind shear, to La Niña conditions. La Niña favors the opposite scenario—reduced wind shear and warmer Atlantic temperatures, setting an ideal stage for hurricanes to form and intensify. This transition is crucial for understanding the anticipated increase in hurricane activity, as El Niño and La Niña play pivotal roles in shaping global weather patterns, particularly influencing the Atlantic hurricane season.

With this forecast, coastal dwellers are urged to brace themselves for the months ahead. The CSU team’s emphasis on preparedness highlights the reality that it only requires a single landfalling hurricane to unleash significant devastation. As such, the 2024 hurricane season calls for heightened vigilance and readiness from those in potentially affected regions.

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Hurricane Season

WAPA Addresses Cash Flow Challenges with New 6-Month Fuel Contract Before Hurricane Season



The Water and Power Authority (WAPA) has proactively taken steps to ensure a steady fuel supply by approving a six-month contract for a land-based fuel source, aiming to circumvent the potential disruptions in sea freight deliveries that hurricane season might bring.

At the heart of this strategic move is the recognition by Kevin Smalls, WAPA’s Director of Production, of the need for a safety margin in fuel supplies at the Estate Richmond power plant. Under normal circumstances, the plant operates efficiently with a seven-day fuel reserve. However, the unpredictability of hurricane impacts, such as blocked sea channels by sunken vessels or debris, necessitates a two-week fuel reserve to maintain operations without interruptions.

The board sanctioned a contract with SOL Petroleum, capping expenditure at $4.78 million for the procurement of approximately 25,568 barrels of ultra-low-sulfur diesel. Additionally, a trucking contract will supplement this arrangement, incurring costs just shy of $129,000.

Maurice Muia, the latest addition to the board, inquired about the feasibility of maintaining a 14-day fuel reserve. In response, Mr. Smalls elaborated on the financial impracticality of such a reserve, highlighting the significant opportunity cost – around $3 million – that holding the extra fuel would entail for WAPA, especially amidst its current financial duress.

Andrew Smith, WAPA CEO, echoed the sentiment by emphasizing the utility’s dire financial constraints, which limit its ability to opt for what would otherwise be a straightforward approach to storm risk mitigation: stocking substantial fuel reserves.

The current fiscal situation of WAPA, described by Mr. Smalls as the most severe cash flow crisis in his four-decade tenure at the utility, has led to discussions among board members about generating revenue through the resale of some of the procured fuel.

To counter the threat of hurricane-induced tank damage, a novel yet financially constrained solution was proposed: filling the tanks to at least three-quarters capacity with “station water” to maintain their integrity, considering WAPA’s inability to stock all its tanks with fuel, given its extensive storage capacity of 125,000 barrels.

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Hurricane Season

Tropical Storm Tammy Picks Up Momentum, Nears Leeward Islands



The Miami-based National Hurricane Center has updated its advisory on Tropical Storm Tammy, indicating an anticipated intensification as it nears the Leeward Islands. The onset of potential tropical storm conditions, along with substantial rainfall, is forecasted to begin this Friday.

As recorded at 5:00 a.m. AST, the storm was positioned about 480 miles east-southeast of Guadeloupe, advancing at a pace of 17 mph westwards. Meteorological predictions suggest a veer towards the west-northwest by this evening, followed by a further swerve to the northwest between Friday evening and Saturday. Given this trajectory, the storm’s core is likely to skirt or traverse the Leeward Islands during this timeframe.

At present, Tammy exhibits sustained winds nearing 40 mph, with prospects of even mightier gusts. Over the ensuing days, the storm is poised to amplify its strength, potentially verging on hurricane intensity as the weekend concludes. Winds emanating from the tropical storm span out to about 140 miles from its core, accompanied by a central pressure reading of 1006 mb.

Watches and Alerts: The Antiguan government has disseminated a Tropical Storm Watch for Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts, and Nevis. This watch extends to Barbados, Dominica, Martinique, and Guadeloupe as well. A watch signifies that the delineated regions might experience tropical storm conditions typically within the forthcoming 48 hours. The advisory also underscores the likelihood of additional alerts being proclaimed later today.

Land Perils: In line with the critical messages released for Tammy, tropical storm conditions are anticipated to kickstart in the watch zones from Friday. The rainfall quota through Saturday night is estimated between 3 to 6 inches, albeit certain areas, particularly the northern Windward and the Leeward Islands, might be on the receiving end of up to 10 inches. The British and U.S. Virgin Islands, along with eastern Puerto Rico, are foreseen to accumulate rainfall tallies between 1 to 2 inches, peaking at 4 inches. Such precipitation volumes may instigate isolated flash and urban flooding, coupled with a potential for mudslides in elevated terrains.

Moreover, the storm-induced swells are predicted to impinge on parts of the Lesser Antilles later today, potentially spawning hazardous surf conditions and rip currents.

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