So Long, Sleepy Hurricane Season: Ian Targets Florida as Nova Scotia Dries Out After its "Tropical" Hit
Watch my pop-up Columbia Climate School Sustain What webcast on extreme storminess at the Arctic end of the Atlantic Ocean - a windblown Sunday visit with a filmmaker on Grimsey.
UPDATED, Monday, 9/26, 5pm ET - After a surprisingly sleepy first half, the Atlantic hurricane season is in high gear. Ian is the next threat after Fiona's extreme rains scoured Puerto Rico before the still-potent remains of the hurricane struck Nova Scotia with the lowest barometric pressure of any storm in 150 years of record keeping.
Storm researchers and forecasters around the world were agog at the ferocity of this "tropical" system this far north. Here's Ben Noll, a climate scientist in New Zealand, keeping track.
Ian is destined to become a major hurricane after crossing western Cuba, with Florida in the crosshairs next.
The latest National Hurricane Center advisory for Ian as of 5 pm ET Monday was dire for western Cuba and Florida, where life-threatening storm surge is predicted along almost the entire west coast. And watch out for inland flooding through Georgia and South Carolina into the weekend.
Brian McNoldy of the University of Miami, with whom I explored the weirdly sleepy first half of the season, recently described the storm-feeding ocean heat content in the western Caribbean as "a powder keg of energy sitting untapped" - and that's what's energizing Ian now.
In the meantime, Puerto Ricans who never fully recovered from Hurricane Maria are dealing with the task of recovery once again, with hundreds of thousands of residents still without power and safe drinking water.
As was revealed by remarkable "paleotempestology" research I covered for The New York Times in 2007, this region of the Caribbean has had periods of intense hurricane activity through thousands of years, including in cooler periods than now. So rather than debating a global warming role in storm patterns, it's best to prepare for the worst always.
And there's more trouble brewing off of West Africa. This wide view of the Atlantic basin (and the banner image) comes to you via the always-mesmerizing earth.nullschool.net global wind map visualization developed by Cameron Beccario, a versatile coder living in Tokyo (map origin story by Will Oremus).
Here's my post on the surreally quiet conditions through August:
Don't Be Lulled in this Weirdly Quiet Atlantic Hurricane Season Because All it Takes is One
And here's my exploration of this year's topsy turvy hurricane year with McNoldy.
Send feedback (including concerns or corrections!), tips, ideas here.
Find my social media accounts, books and music in a single click here.