|Thursday, September 15, 2005|
Daniel Drezner's unfortunately timed Hurricane porn post is appropriate at this time.
Despite all that is going on in the world, Ophelia has remained the big headline on cnn.com for the past day Websites of the blance of the MSM give the storm similar prominence.
All of them are in Carolina desperately searching for the money shot. Hitherto their efforts have been rewarded with a collapsed canopy (at Kure Beach) and the partial destruction of the fishing pier at Atlantic Beach.
A person unfamiliar with the history of hurricanes would assume from the media coverage that this is some sort of first for North Carolina. Of course, that is not the case. The stretch of coast from Little River Inlet to the Oregon Inlet is quite possibly the most storm battered in the country. Finding examples of recent storms to affect this area in a manner far more significant than Ophelia is an easy task.
- Isabel of 2003 "is considered to be one of the most significant tropical cyclones to affect portions of north-eastern North Carolina and east-central Virginia since Hurricane Hazel in 1954 and the Chesapeake-Potomac hurricane of 1933."
- The flooding caused by Floyd of '99 (enhanced by the passage of Tropical Storm Dennis over the same area only a couple of weeks earlier) was the seminal event in the history of many small towns along the rivers of northeast North Carolina and Virginia.
- Fran of 1996 made landfall as a category three hurricane and was responsible for 34 deaths in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
The three storms were significant enough for each of their names to be retired.
Lest they feel forgotten, allow me to remind the reader of Bonnie of '98 (made landfall as a borderline category three in Wimington) and Bertha of '96 (made landfall as a category two in the vicinity of Wilimington).
The disparity between the amount of coverage being given to Ophelia and the signifcance of the event is staggering. Hurricane porn, indeed.
2005 Hurricane Season, Weather comment 11:49:48 AM   trackback 
Ophelia continues to crawl her way to the northeast parallel to the Outer Banks. Refer to the National Hurricane Center for the latest on her.
I haven't been able to shake the feeling that Ophelia is like Felix of '95 in that she is a storm existing between bursts of activity in the Atlantic. That is not to say that we will see three storms form on the day that she becomes extratropical (the way that Humberto, Iris, and Jerry all formed on August 22, 1995), but I do think that we will have some more activity as she pushes off to the open sea.
The prime suspect for the next storm is described in the Tropical Weather Discussion thusly:
CENTRAL ATLC TROPICAL WAVE IS ALONG 45W/46W S OF 15N MOVING
The global models are nearly unaminous in developing this wave into a tropical cyclone (the NOGAPS model hints at one but does not provide a clear depiction). They are also in good general agreement over the positioning of the high in the Atlantic; all suggest that it well be centered well to the east such that the storm would have a clear path to head north (and eventually recurve, rather than being 'trapped' by the high and steered towards Florida or the Carolinas).
The caveat to this is that the global models are sometimes over eager in developing systems and therefore have a tendency to turn them north prematurely (such a tendency was displayed with Emily, when the model runs from before she entered the Caribbean suggested that she was a Florida threat).
In contrast to the global models, the tropical models (such as BAMD and LBAR) suggest that that the system will manage to continue westward into the Caribbean . While on average, the performance of the global models is superior to that of the tropical models (as the global models are vastly more sophisticated), there are situations in which their performance is better, and this may very well be one of those cases.
2005 Hurricane Season, Weather comment 9:42:40 AM   trackback