Saturday 4 April, 2020

What is a tropical storm, and other weather terms explained

Coastal watches/warnings and forecast cone for Tropical Storm Kirk

Coastal watches/warnings and forecast cone for Tropical Storm Kirk

Barbados, Dominica, St Lucia, Martinique and Guadeloupe have all found themselves under a Tropical Storm Warning as the rejuvenated Tropical Storm Kirk makes its way towards the Windward Islands. 

Days after degenerating into a Tropical Wave, Kirk has regenerated into a Tropical Storm.

The Barbados Meteorological Services this morning issued this warning: 

"Sustained surface winds of between 25 to 35 mph (40 to 55 km/h) with gusts to storm force are expected to spread across Barbados starting tonight and persisting into tomorrow. In addition, pockets of moderate to heavy showers, periods of rain and scattered thunderstorms are expected. Rainfall accumulations of at least 2 to 4 inches (50 to 100 millimetres) are possible between tonight and Friday morning.

"Some flash flooding is likely in low-lying areas. Thus, residents are urged to be on the alert and take all necessary precautions."

The number of Tropical Storms and Hurricanes increases substantially in August, peaks in mid-September and decreases towards a minimum by early November.

And with so many storms, waves, and cyclones, Loop is breaking down all the definitions you need to be aware of.

Tropical Storm

A tropical storm is a tropical cyclone that has maximum sustained surface winds ranging from 39-73 mph.

Tropical Storm Watch

A Tropical Storm Watch is issued when Tropical Storm conditions, including winds of 39-73 mph, pose a POSSIBLE threat to a specified coastal area within 48 hours.

Tropical Storm Warning

A Tropical Storm Warning is issued when Tropical Storm conditions, including winds of 39-73 mph, are EXPECTED in a specified coastal area within 36 hours or less.

Hurricane

A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that has maximum sustained surface winds of 74 mph or greater.

Hurricane Watch

A Hurricane Watch is issued when sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are POSSIBLE within the specified area of the Watch. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the Watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the onset of tropical storm force winds.

Hurricane Warning

A Hurricane Warning is issued when sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are EXPECTED somewhere within the specified area of the Warning. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the Warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the onset of tropical storm force winds.

NOTE: A Hurricane Warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and exceptionally high waves continue, even if the winds have subsided below hurricane intensity.

Tropical Wave

An inverted trough - or an area of relatively low pressure - moving east to west across the tropics. These can lead to the formation of a tropical cyclone. Also known as an easterly wave.

Tropical Disturbance

This is a tropical weather system originating in the tropics or subtropics, and lingering for 24 hours or longer. 

Tropical Cyclone

A tropical cyclone is a low-pressure system (not associated with a front) that develops over tropical and sometimes sub-tropical waters.

Post-Tropical Cyclone

A cyclone that no longer possesses sufficient tropical characteristics to be considered a tropical cyclone. But post-tropical cyclones can continue to carry heavy rains and high winds.

Subtropical Cyclone

A non-frontal low-pressure system that has characteristics of both tropical and extra-tropical cyclones. Subtropical cyclones originate over tropical or subtropical waters and have a closed circulation about a well-defined centre.

Tropical Depression

A tropical depression is a tropical cyclone that has maximum sustained surface winds (one-minute average) of 38 mph or less.

Storm Surge

An abnormal rise in sea level accompanying a tropical cyclone. 

Thanks to the National Weather Service for the info.

 

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