Revenge of the fish storm

Although it can’t compare for melodrama to the clown-car masquerading as a government in the self proclaimed “Greatest Nation on Earth”(tm), the saga of Tropical Storm Philippe is still worthy of some words. While originally not expected to significantly impact the Leeward Islands, the storm continued to track westward and did ultimately bring gusty winds and heavy rain bands across the islands, even as far west as the Virgin Islands … here is the Puerto Rico radar this morning:

click any image to embiggen.

Compare the tracks from just three days ago (October 1st) with the current position and forecast:

Global model track forecasts, 1 Oct vs 4 Oct 2023

So what happened? Weak disorganized storms are tough to forecast – it’s hard to identify where the center of circulation is (if there even is one), and the “steering” varies with the depth (thickness) of the storm. The expectation was the storm would intensify enough to be steered northward, as all of the global models were showing to one degree or another. That said, all along NHC (and other reliable forecasters) added the caveat that a weaker storm would tend to go further west than a stronger storm. As it turned out, Philippe didn’t intensify, so it trended west. That’s not a catastrophe from a watch and warning standpoint because as is often ranted, storms aren’t points, they are “swaths” and how strong matters a lot. So the fact it drifted west may have cause unexpected impacts, is shouldn’t have been especially dangerous.

Where is Philippe going now? Here are links to Key Messages regarding Tropical Storm Philippe (en Español: Mensajes Claves) and my TAOS/TC swath map based on that forecast:

Bermuda will probably get tropical storm watches later today, and by the weekend it is likely watches will extend to Canada and their dysfunctional neighbors to the south (although given their confusion over “Are Nazis Really So Bad?” Canada is in no position to point fingers). Digging a bit deeper, the major models now show the storm passing over or near Bermuda before potentially ending up over Maine of Nova Scotia. The intensity (and structure) of the storm by that point will likely be more extra-tropical than tropical, but that still means heavy rain and gusty winds – nor’easter like conditions over a broad swath. Here is an analysis showing the dispersion of the key models, along with the the area within which there is a 75% chance the “center” (such as it is) of the storm will end up in each of the next four days …

Haven’t looked a much weather media lately with all the geopolitical developments, but if anyone is worried, the southeast isn’t at any significant risk from this thing. As noted above, Bermuda is likely to get tropical storm conditions, and New England and Nova Scotia look to be in the frame Sunday or early Monday.

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