Dangeorus Hurricane Rick still growing off Mexico

Saturday, October 17th, 2009 4,382 views

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/media/ALeqM5iVV5HDz_W2kxPaAchDKm89tbbNgg?size=lMEXICO CITY — Hurricane Rick quickly strengthened into an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm off Mexico’s Pacific coast on Saturday and forecasters said it could strike the Baja California Peninsula in about five days.

The storm had sustained winds near 145 mph (230 kph) and it was expected to grow into a monster Category 5 storm with winds surpassing 155 mph (250 kph), the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami reported, though it said the storm was likely to lose much of that punch before hitting land.

Rick was centered about 280 miles (450 kilometers) southwest of Acapulco Saturday morning and it was moving west-northwest near 12 mph (19 kph), the center said.

Forecasters said it was projected to stay well off the coast for several days before bending east over cooler waters and hitting the Baja California Peninsula by early Thursday as a weakened Category 1 hurricane.

Meteorologist Jessica Schauer told The Associated Press that warm waters fueled Rick’s rapid jump from Category 1 to Category 4 in only about 36 hours.

“Right now it’s over very warm water and the current forecast track keeps it over warm water for quite a while,” she said.

Rick was forecast to pass near Socorro Island, about 300 miles (500 kilometers) south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas, on Tuesday. The island is a nature reserve with a small Mexican Navy post and it hosts scuba diving expeditions in winter months.

Acapulco’s Civil Protection Department had earlier issued a warning that rains from outer bands of the storm could trigger landslides and flooding in the resort city.

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Hurricane Bill gains strength on Atlantic track

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 1,817 views

MIAMI (Reuters) – Hurricane Bill, the first hurricane of the 2009 Atlantic season, revved up quickly as it headed toward Bermuda on Monday, while the remnants of Tropical Storm Ana dissipated without threatening the U.S. Gulf oil patch.

Hurricane Bill is pictured moving through the Atlantic Ocean, more than 1,160 miles (1,870 km) east of the Lesser Antilles islands of the Caribbean, in this satellite image taken on August 17, 2009. REUTERS/NOAA/Handout

Hurricane Bill is pictured moving through the Atlantic Ocean, more than 1,160 miles (1,870 km) east of the Lesser Antilles islands of the Caribbean, in this satellite image taken on August 17, 2009. REUTERS/NOAA/Handout

Once a worrisome storm, Ana was little more than a cluster of thunderstorms as it raced through the Caribbean Sea south of Puerto Rico on a track that could take it into the eastern Gulf of Mexico by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, Bill was steering well clear of the U.S. Gulf energy fields on a path that would take it north of the Caribbean islands in the general direction of Bermuda. Forecasters said it would be west of the British territory by Saturday morning.

Energy markets quaver at Gulf storms because the region produces a quarter of U.S. oil and 15 percent of its natural gas and some forecasters noted that Ana had already regenerated once.

Storm watches and warnings for Ana were dropped and the U.S. National Hurricane Center said the system had lost its swirling wind pattern, but could still bring heavy rainfall to the northern Caribbean islands in its path.

Ana drenched Puerto Rico as it raced toward Hispaniola, the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It was about 145 miles east-southeast of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic when the hurricane center issued its final advisory on the system on Monday afternoon.

In the mid-Atlantic, Hurricane Bill’s top winds reached 90 mph, just below Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity, the Miami-based hurricane center said.

MAJOR HURRICANE EXPECTED

Forecasters expected it to hit Category 3, with winds of more than 110 mph by Wednesday. Category 3, 4 and 5 storms are considered “major” hurricanes, the most destructive kind.

At 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) Bill was about 975 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and headed west-northwest at 16 mph, the hurricane center said. It was expected to curve more to the north as it nears Bermuda later in the week.

The timing of that turn will determine whether Bermuda is spared a direct hit and whether the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast feels the storm’s outer fringes.

Tropical Storm Claudette hit the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast near Fort Walton Beach in the Florida panhandle early on Monday and quickly weakened to a tropical depression as it moved over southern Alabama.

Florida emergency managers reported sporadic power outages but no widespread damage. They cautioned residents to watch for rising rivers and flooding in low-lying areas.

Claudette, which sprouted with surprising speed on Sunday in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, missed the largest concentration of U.S. oil and gas production platforms, which stretch along the coast from Mobile Bay, Alabama, to Brownsville, Texas.

(Additional reporting by Scott DiSavino in New York and Jane Sutton in Miami; editing by Pascal Fletcher)

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Hurricane Tracking for the iPhone

Monday, August 17th, 2009 1,251 views

http://www.theiphoneblog.com/images/stories/2009/08/img_0336-266x400.pngHurricane [$3.99 - iTunes link] is a hurricane tracking app for the iPhone and iPod touch.

Back when I lived in Florida, hurricanes were a yearly concern. Now that I am in Texas, they don’t play such a prominent role but they are still something to think about. Hurricane is an app designed to try to take away some of that concern.

I have actually had this app for well over 4 months, but I wanted to wait till the middle of hurricane season so I could see it in action. And let me say, the app generally performs very well. The app starts off with a screen where you can select Atlantic or Pacific hurricanes, and then gives you a list of the active storms as well as completed storms. When you click on a storm, you can look at the radar loop, projected path, tracking map, satellite images, and bulletins. All of this allows you to try to keep on top of these potentially devastating storms.

In addition, you can look a historical storms (from last year going back to 1851) and specific data feeds (like satellite images) from a variety of sources. For people with little hurricane experience, you can also see how hurricanes are rated on the Saffir-Simpson scale. While it certainly isn’t necessary, it would be nice to have some sort of hurricane checklist included (what to do, or not do, when one hits, for example).

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