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Haiyan from on high

Super-Typhoon Haiyan produced some of the strongest winds ever recorded within a tropical cyclone as it moved across the northeastern Philippines early Friday morning, Philippines Time (yesterday evening, U.S. Mountain Standard Time). With sustained winds estimated at least as high as 190 mph (165 kts, 306 kph), and gusts over 220 mph (191 kts, 354 kph) at landfall, Haiyan had winds similar in strength to Typhoon Tip from 1979. Very impressive! Depending on a reanalysis of the storm winds once more data can be made available, Haiyan will probably rank as one of the top three strongest tropical cyclones ever measured. Here’s a visible image of the storm from a geostationary weather satellite as it made landfall (Thanks to the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Monterey, CA for the image):


The following animation of the landfalling typhoon shows it having all the characteristics, as seen from a geostationary weather satellite, of a very strong tropical cyclone. It has a small, well-defined, very warm eye; the eye is embedded in a circular, symmetric, and uniform area of dense cloudiness with very cold cloud-top temperatures; and higher clouds emanate from the storm almost equally in all directions. This is a 7-hour loop showing the storm as it moves into the northern Philippines (Thanks to NOAA for this set of images):

Weather satellite animation of Super-Typhoon Haiyan moving over the northern Philippines, 08 November 2013

7-hour loop, IR satellite imagery, as Super-Typhoon Haiyan makes landfall in the Philippines, 07 November 2013, 1557-2257 UTC (2357, 07 November to 0657, 08 November, Philippines Time)


May it snow?

Central Colorado had a very snowy April—for instance, Boulder, CO set a record for April snowfall measuring more than four feet (122 cm) of snow during the month…and most of that fell during a two-week span in the middle of the month. May has continued the pattern with an all-day snowfall today along the Front Range of the central Rockies. What does a mid-spring snow day look like? Much like a mid-winter snow day except for the perturbed robin and the confused buds…

A collage of 4 pictures showing snowy scenes from May Day 2013, in central Colorado

Snowy scenes from May Day 2013

Reading a Storm

SnowstormMeteorology and poetry are often interrelated.  Poets write about what they see and feel. What they see and feel is influenced, changed, and shaped by the weather’s vagaries.  The association between the two can produce something like this:

The storm puts its mouth to the house
and blows to get a tone.
I toss and turn, my closed eyes
reading the storm’s text.

This is the first verse of a poem by the most recent winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Tomas Tranströmer.  The poem, entitled “storm,” was translated from Tomas’ native Swedish into English by the Scottish poet Robin Robertson and published in the short paperback, The Deleted World: Poems (see cover photo below).  This particular verse reminds me of what we all do when listening to the wind heralding the approaching onslaught—we attempt to “read the storm’s text.”  Meteorologists just tend to do it much more than normal folk.The Deleted World: Poems

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