Tropical Storm Plan

Based on the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center, the wind speeds for this potential tropical storm will be around 50 knots. We just don’t know where those winds will be located and from what direction they will blow.

Here is the predicted location of the center of the low for 8pm tomorrow, Friday night, the 26th of August, 2016.

48 hr wind and wave forecast for 8pm 26-aug-16

That is approxiamately 300 nautical miles away from Key West, and although there is a note that says possible gale, the wind speed arrow in front of the system is forecasted at a mere 15 knots and below the system is a measley 5 knots.  We hope that will be true, because it looks like it’s headed directly for us.

Here is the predicted location of the center of the low at 8pm Saturday night, 27th of August, 2016. That’s about 100nm away from Key West.

72 hr wind and wave forecast for 8pm 27-Aug-16

Again, forecaster Mundell is predicting the gale-force winds will remain to the northeast of the center of the low.

I think that second “X” to the left of the big “L” is a second low pressure system, due to predicted disorganization.

Right now the plan is that we are moving the boat Saturday morning out of the mooring field to our boat slip at Safe Harbour Marina and working out how best to tie a bunch of lines in all directions so it stays put.

Possible Escape Route

Ok, just to be clear, we are not making a decision yet. We have to wait and see how the system develops over the next 3 days. Here is the forecasted wind and wave conditions at 10pm on Saturday, the 27th of August.

 

72 hrs as of 2am 24-Aug-16As you can see we are only forecasted 1 to 2 foot seas, and 10 knots of wind on Saturday night, so we have time to watch and wait for the predicted path of the center of the low pressure system, whatever it may be at that time.

We are hopeful that the system heads north and doesn’t affect us very much, and we are allowed to move the boat into our new slip at Safe Harbour Marina a few days early.

In case things get ugly, the green arrow is the escape route from Key West to Isla Mujeres, Mexico. It is about 350 nautical miles away. We can travel between 6 and 8 knots, so that is a 50 hour trip at 7 knots. That’s the current backup plan.

Currently we are in the middle of yet another lightning storm and bouncing around in the mooring field. The fear of being hit by a bolt of lightning with the ominous threat of a tropical storm approaching is a bit unnerving at the moment. But this will soon pass, as we have plans for happy hour at BO’s Fish Wagon and the Green Parrot in a couple of hours, once this storm clears!

Approaching Storm Threat

The forecast is now 80% of tropical storm formation by the time this disturbance reaches Florida this weekend, with a possibility that it will reach Hurricane strength as it passes through the warm waters of the Bahamas.

Invest 99-L 23-Aug

So that means we have to monitor this system’s strength and direction closely.

We need to make a decision soon to either sail out of it’s path or to try and get into our new marina slip before it gets here.

Sub-Tropical Storm Ana

Remember I said it’s a bad year for Florida and the Bahamas? Warmer than normal sea surface temperatures are brewing storms already, and it’s not hurricane season yet.

The National Hurricane Center has upgraded Invest 90L to Sub Tropical Storm Ana as of 11 pm EDT/10 pm CDT yesterday.  Ana is going to be a very slow moving storm over the next few days and will bring upwards of 2 to 4 inches of rainfall, gusty winds of up to 50 mph, rough surf, beach erosion and coastal flooding right through this weekend.

Full data on Sub Tropical Storm Ana can be found at http://crownweather.com/index.php/active-storms/ana/ .

Sub-Tropical Storm Ana

The complete list of names for the 2015 hurricane season are as follows:

Ana
Bill
Claudette
Danny
Erika
Fred
Grace
Henri
Ida
Joaquin
Kate
Larry
Mindy
Nicholas
Odette
Peter
Rose
Sam
Teresa
Victor
Wanda

Are you named this year?

Thankfully, for Lindsay and I, the Western Caribbean is not expecting a major storm season, so our house and business are in a good position this year.

2014 Hurricane Season

All in all, the 2014 season was rather low in activity and strength of hurricanes. I believe this was forecasted early on in the season as it was an El Nino year.  I believe that involves an upper level wind shear strength, or something like that every few years, which counteracts the swirling of the rising hot air from the ever hotter sea surface.

Something interesting about this year’s hurricane season was the tropical depression Hanna. This one came from the Pacific coast, crossed land into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and got pushed eastward across the Yucatan Penninsula by a predominant weather system in the Pacific. Now that’s just strange!

2014 Hurricane Chart

Stormy days

The last days in Key West we spent a fair amount of time watching the weather for the upcoming trip, but were not immune from it while still anchored off Key West Bight.

Key West sundown storm

We had some pretty crazy weather – a far cry from the normal hot and sticky summer weather of Florida. One minute everything is sunny and then the wind shifts and you look out and there’s a big, nasty black cloud spreads across the sky. It becomes like watching an accident – you can’t stop staring as it bubbles and grows, practically tumbling over itself as the wind pushes it across the horizon and blotting out the sun.

Video of Key West Squall developing in anchorage

The first of this wave of storms gave us a lashing – the mad winds that came first had us bouncing all over the place, and at the time we still had our solar panel tied down with string to the bimini (canopy shade) and, unfortunately, my fears started to be realized as the panel first slid to one side and then the other… just as I shouted to Tadd the wind caught the front edge of the pane and tried to make it fly. We spent the next half hour getting soaked by the rain as we clung to our coveted solar panel.

Needless to say we made it a priority to get the panel up and screwed down on our davits off the back to the boat!

Davits