The Atlantic Ocean seems to be celebrating an early Halloween. The once-threatening Humberto, now a Tropical Depression, is shivering in its own wind, preparing to be “swallowed up” by a much larger extra-tropical cyclone within the next two days, while newly-minted Hurricane Manuel is buffeting Mexico’s Pacific coastline.
NOAA Storm Watch
According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administrations GOES-East satellite image taken on September 19, 2013 at 7:45 a.m. EDT, the NOAA is currently watching three tropical systems: Hurricane Manuel in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico that appears to be taking even more fearsome shape than it was the day before; Humberto, still struggling to survive near Bermuda, now becoming what the NOAA described in a recent press release as a “ghost of its former self“; and an elongated area near the Bahamas, poised for some zombie storm action, waiting to swallow Humberto as it falls to pieces.
The NASA’s HS3 hurricane mission is investigating the potential carnage with an unmanned GlobaHawk aircraft.
Making a Meal of Humberto
According to the National Hurricane Center press release, at 11 a.m. EDT on September 19, Tropical Storm Humberto appeared to be showing some strength. Located in the North Central Atlantic, latitude 32.8 and longitude 43.3 west, Humberto was too far from any land mass to create much concern at that time,: 985 miles southwest of the Azores, to be exact, and heading north-northeast at 6 mph with sustained winds near 35 mph.
The NHC anticipates little change from this status before another extra-tropical cyclone absorbs Humberto sometime in the next 24 hours.
When one extra-tropical storm comes close to another, the two begin to orbit one another, before one eventually absorbs the other – this is the Fujiwhara Effect.
According to HUNG Fan-yiu, of the Hong Kong Observatory, “ ‘Fujiwhara effect’ is named after Dr. Fujiwhara of Japan who performed a series of experiments and observations on water vortices from 1921 to 1923. … The stronger cyclone tends to have a dominant effect on the track of the weaker one. The interaction will end when: there is a stronger influence of a large scale weather system from outside, one of the tropical cyclones weakens or the two cyclones merge.”
Hurricane Manuel, Humberto, Super Typhoon
Hurricane Manuel: Hurricane Manuel, now over the southern Gulf of California, is causing extreme rainfall flooding, and mudslides in Mexico.
Tropical Storm Humberto: Humberto made some surprising moves in the past few days, though, with a dance that would impress fans of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. Humberto was observed by NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite on September 15 at 12:52 p.m. EDT and again on September 16 at 11:57 a.m. EDT and comparing these two orbits shows that Humberto changed significantly in a short period of time. On September 15, Humberto showed no rain in its center of circulation with some convective rainfall north of its location. On September 16, Humberto seemed to come back to life, showing strong areas of convective rainfall.
Super-Typhoon USAGI: Humberto and Manuel aren’t alone – Typhoon USAGI is moving towards the northern Philippines and southern Taiwan. According to the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission site at NASA, “What is now super typhoon USAGI formed in the open waters of the Philippine Sea about 1,000 km (~620 miles) east of the Philippines on September 16, 2013.”
Stormy Season in Full Swing
Although hurricane season started slow this year, we’ve now got our first significant storms. Looks like this year’s stormy weather continues to haunt us.
NASA. Humberto (Atlantic Ocean). (2013). Accessed September 19, 2013.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Super Typhoon USAGI Threatens The Philippines and Taiwan. (2013). Accessed September 19, 2013.
National Hurricane Center. Remnants of Humberto. (2013). Accessed September 19, 2013.
HUNG Fan-yiu. What is ‘Fujiwhara Effect’? (2012). Hong Kong Observatory. Accessed September 19, 2013.