View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Hurricane update - 15 October

The Atlantic hurricane season remains as lifeless as the proverbial dodo, but the East Pacific season, which runs concurrently with the Atlantic one, is roaring. This evening, storm number 20 formed, some 400 miles south of Acapulco and what will be Rick is expected to strengthen very quickly indeed, to hurricane force as early as Saturday (GMT) and major hurricane by late Sunday. Although the storm is currently heading away from land, it is expected to veer northwest, and could be on a collision course with Baja Califormia - with winds of at least 115 knots - early next week.

The West Pacific typhoon season is also in conveyor belt mode. After tropical storm Parma finally disappeared from the weather charts after gracing them with its presence for 17 days, we now have tropical storm Lupit east of the Philippines. By the time this storm reaches Luzon Island, it could be a category IV typhoon. As if Luzon hasn't already had enough typhoons this season: after 3 helpings of Parma, preceeded by a deadly deluge from Ketsana, Lupit could deliver another heavy blow with 125 knot winds and the usual catastrophic downpours.

It is habitual to retire hurricane / typhoon names if a storm, carrying that name, has caused catastrophic loss of life and / or damage to property. There will never be a hurricane Katrina, or a typhoon Durian. Ketsana is also unlikely to reappear again in 6 years' time (the lists of names rotate on a 6 year cycle). Last year, no Western Pacific typhoon names were retired. There will be quite a handful this year, unless I'm badly mistaken.

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