Congressional NHC hearing tomorrow; Hawaii eyes Cosme
There are no areas of interest to talk about in the tropical Atlantic today, and none of the reliable computer models are forecasting tropical storm formation during the coming week. We will need to watch the waters off the Carolina coast on Saturday, when a cold front is expected to push off the coast. The tail end of this front could serve as the focus for development of a tropical disturbance.
Hawaii eyes Cosme
Residents of the Hawaiian Islands need to keep an eye on Tropical Storm Cosme, which is headed towards the islands and may impact their weather by Saturday. Cosme is a not-too-impressive 40 mph tropical storm now, thanks to 15 knots of wind shear and ocean temperatures about 25 degrees C. However, satellite imagery of the storm shows that it is maintaining a solid amount of heavy thunderstorm activity despite the wind shear and cool SSTs. I expect Cosme will be a tropical depression or weak tropical storm on Saturday when it passes close to the Hawaiian Islands, since SSTs are expected to increase and wind shear should decrease over the storm on Friday.
Figure 1. Sea Surface temperatures beneath Cosme were about 25 C (78 F), just below the 26 C threshold favorable for tropical cyclones. Cosme will be traversing a region of 24-25 C SSTs through Friday, then SSTs will warm to 25-26 as it reaches the Hawaiian Islands on Saturday.
Congressional hearing on the National Hurricane Center
On Thursday, July 19, from 10am until 12pm EDT, the House Committee on Science and Technology is holding a hearing called, "Tracking the Storm at the National Hurricane Center". You can check out some of the press releases and listen to a webcast of the hearing at the Committee web site. The Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel, and Houston Chronicle have interesting stories on the upcoming hearing. The list of people testifying include Bill Proenza; QuikSCAT expert Dr. Robert Atlas; an emergency management official from the Gulf Coast states; and the head of NOAA, Admiral Lautenbacher. There may be others testifying, including Dr. Jim Turner, deputy director of the federal agency NTIS (National Technical Information Service), who led the inspection team that showed up at NHC without notice on July 2. Dr. Turner's report was scheduled to be completed this Friday, July 20, but is now scheduled to be released to the Congressional panel tomorrow. Notably absent from the list of people called to testify thus far: anyone from the National Hurricane Center, and a QuikSCAT science expert besides Dr. Atlas, who has thus far not addressed in his public comments--that I have seen--the very high uncertainties surrounding the impact of QuikSCAT data on track forecasts of landfalling hurricanes. I'll be sure to present a full analysis of the science presented--and the science left unsaid.