Hurricane In January Could Happen!
Hurricane in January… Well if you can have temperatures 30 to 40 degrees above normal, a raging el nino, record high temperatures in the east for the entire month of December, why not a hurricane in January! But indeed that is possible. Take a look at the satellite pictures of the weather system off the Flordia coast and you can see the beginnings of a subtropical storm developing. Water temperatures throughout the southern Atlantic are very warm hovering close to thresholds that support tropical storms. Add a little non tropical influences and you have the makings of the first tropical storm in the month of January since 1978.
Here is a description of the last January tropical storm in the Atlantic courtesy of Wikipedia.
Subtropical Storm One
|Subtropical storm (SSHWS)|
|Duration||January 18 – January 23|
|Peak intensity||45 mph (75 km/h) (1-min) 1002 mbar (hPa)|
In the middle of January, an upper-level trough in the westerlies spawned a surface low pressure area to the east-northeast of the Lesser Antilles to the south of the subtropical ridge. Isolated from the detrimental effects of the westerlies, it was initially non-tropical in nature and intensified through a baroclinic energy source, or one that derives energy from the interaction of cold and warm air. Convection increased slightly despite cool sea surface temperatures of around 75 °F (24 °C). At 1200 UTC on January 18, it organized into a subtropical depression about 1,725 mi (2,776 km) east-northeast of Puerto Rico while moving in a general westward track, which it would maintain for much of its duration. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) initiated Dvorak classifications on the cyclone at 0000 UTC on January 19, assessing a Dvorak number of T2.5, suggesting both tropical and subtropical characteristics. On the same day, the pressure gradient between the storm and the ridge produced gale force winds. By early on January 20, the storm maintained minimal convection near its center, with its primary rainband revolved cyclonically around its well-defined center. Later that day, the storm strengthened into a subtropical storm and attained peak winds of 45 mph (72 km/h), supported by both ship and Hurricane Hunters reports.
Late on January 21, the outer rainbands to the south and east of the center began diminishing, which began a weakening trend after the storm maintained peak winds for about 36 hours. At around that time, the cyclone was moving west-southwestward, and within 72 hours was forecast by one hurricane forecast model to be located over Hispaniola. By midday on January 22, the winds decreased to below gale force after the convection dissipated near the center. Subsequently it turned more to the west away from land, and by January 23 the circulation degenerated into a remnant trough about 185 mi (298 km) north of the Lesser Antilles. The storm was one of four tropical or subtropical cyclones on record in the month of January, and one of two to have formed in the month.
Now what does that mean for the large scale pattern? Well this could have huge implications with regards to the developing block in the North Atlantic.
The strong tropical/subtropical system helps to pump up the blocking ridge to the north! Given the parameters here it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Why not a hurricane in January? It would just be icing on this very unusual cake.
More on the long range on my latest video
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