Thursday, October 8, 2015

Joaquin in the East Coast by Ivanna Ramirez

Hurricane Joaquin's forecast track shows it could be near North Carolina by Monday and possibly New Jersey a day later, hauntingly close to where Superstorm Sandy made landfall in 2012.
It was just three years ago this month that Sandy slammed the northeastern United States, devastating parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
But the projected path of the current storm system already has changed multiple times and could change again.
And should Joaquin make it back to the areas Sandy devastated before, it's not expected to pack the same punch.
When Sandy made landfall on October 29, 2012, it had hurricane-force winds. Joaquin is projected to be a tropical storm once it gets that far north.

Funnel Cloud Over Tuscon by Ivanna Ramirez

The remnants of the October storm that dropped so much rain on Tucson also created a cold-core funnel cloud yesterday.
The funnel clouds rarely touch down and are created when a storm brings much colder air to the higher altitudes.

El Nino Wintry Effects by Ivanna Ramirez

Even with an intensifying El NiƱo influencing the weather pattern across the country, residents in Nebraska can expect a pretty typical winter.
Wintry weather will become active early on in the northern Plains, with the potential for a few snowstorms as early as November and December, forecasters with AccuWeather said Wednesday in issuing their winter forecast.
The weather pattern, however, will be a roller coaster, causing wintry weather to back off in the middle of the season and return again just before spring.

Bright Aurora Phenomenon by Ivanna Ramirez

This week, the aurora brought hundreds of people out into the darkness with their cameras in hopes of capturing its colorful display. (The same thing happened at the South Pole, but only penguins were around to see it.)
As explained by NASA, the phenomenon is caused by solar wind — streams of charged particles escaping the sun — that bumps into the Earths magnetic field and travels along it toward the poles. There, electrons from the sun interact with gases in the earth’s upper atmosphere, “exciting” them in physics terms. As the gas molecules calm down, they release particles of light, called photons. The colors of the light depend on what gases are being affected; nitrogen tends to produce blue light, oxygen emits green, or sometimes red.
Wednesday night’s aurora was particularly vibrant because of the position of the sun’s “coronal holes,” which send high-speed particles hurtling away from the sun’s surface. Right now, the holes are near the suns’s equator, meaning that the particles head out along the same line of latitude as Earth instead of  “up” and “down” into the emptiness of space. It also helps that this is happening in autumn, which, according to Britain’s national weather service, is a better time for auroras, though we don’t quite understand why.

Severe Thunderstorms in the Plains

Portions of the southern High Plains, central Plains and Midwest may see a few isolated severe thunderstorms and locally heavy rainfall on Thursday.

An isolated severe threat is expected to develop farther east on Friday, along and ahead of a cold front. The risk of severe thunderstorms will stretch from portions of the interior Northeast into the Mid-Atlantic and into parts of the Tennessee Valley.

  • The threat for a few severe thunderstorms and flash flooding will persist from southern New Mexico into parts of western and southern Texas.
  • An isolated severe thunderstorm or two will be possible ahead of a cold front from northern Illinois, back into northern and central Missouri, southeastern Iowa and northeastern Kansas.
  • Isolated severe thunderstorms will be possible from southern Pennsylvania and Maryland southward through West Virginia and southeastern Ohio into eastern portions of Kentucky, western Virginia and Tennessee.
  • Thunderstorms, generally non-severe, may fire once again across portions of far southern New Mexico into southwestern Texas.
  • No severe weather is expected, but a few thunderstorms may impact the coastal Carolinas, Georgia and the Florida peninsula.
  • A few thunderstorms may develop in parts of the Southwest as well.

Where the October Hurricane Threat Is the Greatest

The map above shows the 13 hurricanes that have made landfall in October since 1950. Eight of those occurred in Florida and you can see the cluster of lines in south Florida in particular.

The southwestern Atlantic Ocean, including off the Southeast coast of the U.S., and the eastern Gulf of Mexico are favorable areas for development in October, while the chance for storms to form in the eastern Atlantic becomes less likely. The western Caribbean Sea is also an area to watch for possible development, associated with the migration and extension of the monsoon trough from the eastern Pacific.

Navarre Pier in Navarre Beach is pounded by massive waves during Hurricane Ivan in 2004. (Chris Duval/State Archives of Florida)

A man is seen kayaking with his dog along a flooded street in Key West following Hurricane Wilma in 2005. (State Archives of Florida)

Victims gather around a building devastated by a hurricane in 1896 in Cedar Key. (State Archives of Florida)
Two men stand in Dupont Plaza in this photo taken in Miami during Hurricane Betsy in 1965. (State Archives of Florida)

Decades-Old Oil Plume Underneath Pearl Harbor Contains More Than 5 Million Gallons of Fuel

Royal Thai Navy personnel, Thai Army and local volunteers clean up Ao Phrao beach after a major oil slick hit the island of Ko Samet on July 31, 2013. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images) 

Streaks of crude oil cover the shore of Prao Bay on Samet Island in Rayong province eastern Thailand Monday, July 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Daily News) 
The plume consists mostly of bunker fuel, a tar-like substance used by ships. Additionally, it contains weathered jet fuel and diesel. Because bunker fuel is so heavy, the state health department does not believe that the oil is moving and that it will not seep into the water soon. 
However, if it were to seep into the water, it would cause a significant amount of marine and environmental damage.