North and South

Major hurricane Laura is bearing down on the Gulf Coast with possible rapid intensification. Meanwhile, off the coast of Asia, Typhoon Bavi is soon to make landfall in North Korea.

Historically, North Korea has had one hurricane make landfall, Lingling in 2019.

Jeff Masters and Bob Henson, formerly of Weather Underground, are now contributors to Yale Climate Connections’ Eye on the Storm.

posted by dances_with_sneetches (13 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Water temperature at Houston is 86 degrees.

This is going to be a fucking disaster.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:08 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]

Serious question – I feel like we are in constant catastrophe mode. Is it real or perception?
posted by double bubble at 7:24 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]
Marco was a gentleman, and bowed out gracefully.
posted by Melismata at 7:25 AM on August 26
Holy cow!

In the extended range, there is some chance that Laura re-intensifies as a tropical cyclone off the Mid-Atlantic coast, instead of becoming part of a frontal system, but for now the forecast will stay extratropical at 96 hours and beyond.

This storm could make landfall in the gulf, degrade to a tropical depression over Arkansas, then sweep out over Maryland and re-intensify into a tropical storm once it gets back over water.

Is there any precedent for this? Would the NHC still use the same name, or would it be considered a new tropical system?
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:48 AM on August 26

Serious question – I feel like we are in constant catastrophe mode. Is it real or perception?

Both. Humans are really bad at intuitively measuring risk, long term risk more so. Observer bias is a real thing.

However it is real at least in terms of hurricanes. They’re just heat engines. Water evaporates, latent heat gets released, air gets hotter, can absorbs more water, more latent heat gets released. As the air gets hotter it gets lighter, air rushes in to equalize pressure and boom, a hurricane. Thanks to climate change the oceans are warmer than ever giving them even more energy to feed off.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:49 AM on August 26 [2 favorites]

We’re in real catastrophe mode, but both the catastrophes and our perceptions of them are exacerbated by the fact that we don’t have leadership competent enough to deal with immediate crises (hurricanes, wildfire, superstorms, economic collapse, threat of war, etc) so feel compelled to keep a closer eye on these problems than we might otherwise. (And there’s climate change and an ongoing epidemic making all the regular crises worse.)

I don’t even live in hurricane country anymore, but I feel such a pit of dread over this. If an atheist’s prayers help at all — I’m absolutely praying for the Gulf.
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:50 AM on August 26 [2 favorites]

Kyle otoh was allll wet over North Carolina but transitioned into a beefier Storm Ellen on its way across the pond to give [parts of] Ireland a drubbing. On constant catastrophe: Kyle is the earliest K storm ever, ten days in advance of Katrina 2005. That’s one datum rather than data to indicate more frequent storms.
posted by BobTheScientist at 7:50 AM on August 26
Hurricane Ivan in 2004 came around twice.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:53 AM on August 26
Laura has swerved, now looks like it will hit between Houston and Louisiana, closer to Beaumont.
posted by emjaybee at 7:54 AM on August 26
Ah, Houston, where they got 60″ of rain during Harvey in 2017.
posted by Melismata at 7:57 AM on August 26
It looks like Storm Ellen was extratropical. But from Huffy Puffy’s link it it looks like Ivan set the precedent for retaining names for cyclones which redevelop from remnants.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:59 AM on August 26
Atlantic Hurricane Season prediction models are getting pretty good and this one has turned out as expected, that is, extremely active. (btw, that research is in part by Michael E. Mann of climate hockey stick fame)

While an increased frequency of hurricanes has not been confirmed to have a relation to climate change, as mentioned above, the intensity of individual hurricanes definitely does, due both to warming oceans (storm intensity) and sea level rise (storm surge intensity)
posted by gwint at 8:01 AM on August 26


NHC just boosted the storm surge forecast to historic levels in Louisiana.

20ft of surge would put Hurricane Laura into rare territory in the 140-year recorded history of hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, on par with Ike (2008) and Galveston (1900).

This is a dire emergency.

Holthaus is a meteorologist and climate activist and tends to focus on the more extreme ends of the prediction models, but still, the storm surge is going to be massive.
posted by gwint at 8:13 AM on August 26

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