WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Oooh, Miss Grace

Posted October 5, 2009

Well, there's probably no "satin and perfume and lace" involved (apologies to the Tymes and their beach music classic), but the 7th named storm of the Atlantic tropical season was declared Sunday evening in an 11 pm National Hurricane Center bulletin, and by early this morning was only a few miles per hour short of hurricane status with 70 mph sustained winds.

It is in a bit of an odd location, though, over 3000 miles away from us, but only about 600 miles or so west of the northern border between Spain and Portugal. The first image attached shows a "Mariner's danger area" map from the National hurricane center that nicely illustrates how far into the northeast Atlantic the storm is (about the same latitude as central Maine!), and shows that it will move north and northeast the next day or so as it weakens and eventually merges into a larger extratropical low that will end up drifting across the United Kingdom. The second image is a water vapor satellite image from the Naval Research Laboratory Tropical Cyclone page, showing a small swirl in the upper right hand quadrant, with Spain and Portugal off to the west and Ireland northeast of the storm.

The rest of the Atlantic remains fairly quiet, though there is a disturbance about 1000 miles east of the Windward Islands that has a low chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next day or two. It has not been at all quiet in the western Pacific recently, though, and some of you may have seen news from the Philippines about a second brush with a Typhoon in the past couple of days as Parma made a tangent pass across the northern coast of Luzon. It has since weakened to a Tropical Storm with 63 mph sustained winds and a nearly stationary drift between the Philippines and Taiwan.

While Parma has weakened some, a second system in the northwest Pacific remains extremely impressive. It is called Super Typhoon Melor (see the third image, also a water vapor image from NRL, which shows the superbly organized Melor in the center and the weakened Parma near the left hand side of the shot) and has also weakened slightly, but its maximum sustained winds have only fallen from 160 mph yesterday to 155 mph today. As an aside, the term "Super Typhoon" is applied by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center to storms with sustained winds of about 150 mph or more, equivalent to an Atlantic storm in the upper end of the category four range. Right now, it appears Melor will recurve and perhaps brush the east coast of Japan around Wednesday of this week, hopefully having weakened a bit more by that time.


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