12,000 Years Ago, Florida Hurricanes Heated Up Despite Chilly Seas

Category 5 hurricanes may have slammed Florida repeatedly during the chilly Younger Dryas, 12,000 years ago. The cause? Hurricane-suppressing effects of cooler sea surface were out-weighed by side effects of slowed ocean circulation. That’s the finding of USGS researcher Michael Toomey and colleagues in their Geology article published online today.

As the last ice age waned, undersea landslide deposits called turbidites captured the fury of Florida’s stormy days. Previously, Toomey linked turbidites in the Bahamas with modern hurricanes. For this study, the group examined turbidites in cores spanning the shift from the Younger Dryas into the warmer early Holocene, collected offshore the Dry Tortugas, Florida. The turbidites, complete with smashed up shells and jumbled sediments, reveal that in Younger Dryas days Florida was surprisingly hurricane-prone, at a time when cooler sea surface temperatures may have put the brakes on such intense storms elsewhere in the Atlantic.

To explore why, Toomey and colleagues analyzed computer models that simulated ocean and atmospheric conditions near Florida during that period. In modern times, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) brings cool water south and warm water north. But during the Younger Dryas the AMOC is thought to have weakened considerably, slowing circulation and reshaping environmental conditions across much of the Northern Hemisphere.

Modeling results indicated that lower sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic, near Barbados, for example, corresponded with a drop in storm potential intensity. Near Florida, sea surfaces cooled as well. However, the change there was not as dramatic as further south or to the north. The relative warmth of waters offshore the southeastern U.S. compared to the regional Atlantic, explains Toomey, seems to have set the stage for intense hurricanes near Florida. “The modeling work suggests other factors, such as wind shear and humidity at mid-latitudes, outweighed changes in sea surface temperature at our core site,” he says. Models and geologic records both show that by the early Holocene, as the AMOC regained strength, Florida’s hurricanes subsided.

The results, says Toomey, reveal that when it comes to generating hurricanes, ocean circulation plays a powerful role. What’s more, he adds, the study demonstrates that on certain types of coastlines, turbidites have great potential for unraveling ancient hurricane histories. However, Toomey cautions against applying the results directly to future hurricane activity. He says for that, we need more field data and higher resolution models. “That’s where I see this work headed next.”

Hurricane Nate Makes Landfall In Louisiana

Hurricane Nate has made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) says.

The storm, with maximum sustained winds of 85mph (137km/h), is moving north, and a second landfall is expected on the Mississippi coast later.

Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Florida earlier issued warnings and evacuation orders.

Nate killed at least 25 people in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Honduras.

The tropical storm has since strengthened and is now a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Although not as strong as last month’s Maria and Irma, Nate is expected to bring strong winds and storm surges.

US President Donald Trump earlier issued an emergency declaration for Louisiana, allowing the state to seek federal help with preparation and possible relief efforts.

In Alabama, Republican Governor Kay Ivey has urged residents in areas facing heavy winds and storm surges to take precautions.

Five ports along the Gulf Coast have also been closed to shipping as a precaution.

Most oil and gas platforms in the US Gulf of Mexico have evacuated their staff and stopped production ahead of the storm.

n its latest update at 03:00 GMT, the NHC said a hurricane warning was in effect for the “mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama-Florida border”.

Evacuation orders have been put in place for some low-lying areas.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency ahead of the hurricane.

He said more than 1,000 National Guard troops had been mobilised with a number sent to New Orleans to monitor the drainage pumps there. “Anyone in low-lying areas… we are urging them to prepare now,” he said.

A mandatory curfew from 18:00 (23:00 GMT) is in place in New Orleans, where residents from areas outside the city’s levee system have been evacuated.

A tropical storm warning is currently in effect for New Orleans.

The NHC said that Nate “is expected to weaken quickly after landfall, and it is likely to become a tropical storm Sunday morning.

“It should degenerate into a remnant low late Monday.”

Nate went past Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula – home to the popular beach resorts of Cancun and Playa del Carmen – on Friday night as it headed north, the NHC said.

Nate caused heavy rains, landslides and floods which blocked roads, destroyed bridges and damaged houses as it tore through central America.

At least 13 people died in Nicaragua, eight in Costa Rica, three in Honduras and one in El Salvador.

The tail of the storm is still causing problems in the region, where thousands have been forced to sleep in shelters and some 400,000 people in Costa Rica were reported to be without running water.

2nd Rockslide In 2 Days Occurs At Yosemite National Park, Injuring 1

A second rock slide in just two days has occurred at Yosemite National Park, injuring one person.

The rockfall happened one day after the first killed one park-goer and injured another Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the park confirmed to ABC News that a significant rock slide released off of El Capitan, a summit above Yosemite Valley, on Thursday.

No fatalities are known at this time, the spokesperson said.

Wednesday’s rockfall also occurred on a popular climbing route on El Capitan. The release point appeared to be near the Waterfall Route on the East Buttress of the summit, according to a press release.

It is currently climbing season at Yosemite National Park, with many park-goers climbing on El Capitan and other routes, according to park officials.

Information on the victims’ identities were not released. Further details were not immediately available.

Maria, Again A Hurricane, Swirls Over North Carolina Beaches

Maria regained strength and became a hurricane again Wednesday, pushing water over both sides of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and taking its time to slowly turn away from the U.S. Atlantic coast.

No injuries have been reported, but the surge of ocean water washed over eroded beaches, flooding properties and state Highway 12, the only road through the narrow barrier islands of Hatteras and Ocracoke.

No ferries were moving, cutting off access to Ocracoke, and with parts of the highway flooded even at low tide, any travel on Hatteras remains hazardous, Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson said in an email. He said the worst problems were on Hatteras Island, where more than 10,000 visitors left under an evacuation order, but hundreds of local residents were allowed to stay.

The National Hurricane Center said an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft measured Maria’s top sustained winds at near 75 mph (120 kmh), with higher gusts. Its center was about 180 miles (290 kilometers) off Cape Hatteras at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

While Maria’s most punishing hurricane-force winds remained offshore, tropical storm-force winds extended for as much as 230 miles (370 kilometers) from the center, churning up the surf on both sides of the islands. The hurricane’s forward speed is just 6 mph (9 kph), so the storm was lingering before swinging out to sea.

On Hatteras, a fine rain fell Wednesday, with patches of blue sky occasionally showing through. Police set up a check point to block all traffic except for residents and reporters. As the winds picked up, waves crashed up to and beyond ocean-front homes between the communities of Rodanthe and Avon, where the water has washed under waterfront homes and onto side streets since Tuesday at high tide.

“Mother Nature keeps chopping at it,” said Tony Meekins, 55, a lifelong resident of Avon who works as an engineer on the temporarily halted Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry. “We see storm after storm.”

Standing near Avon’s closed fishing pier, Meekins pointed to where the dune line is gone, pounded down by previous storms. At low tide, a layer of wet sand covered the road.

Chip Stevens owns Blackbeard’s Lodge, a 38-unit hotel on Ocracoke. He hopes the highway remains passable on both islands to enable the people and supplies that arrive by ferry to move up and down the island.

This weather is only the latest tropical blow to the Outer Banks, among the most fragile islands in the continental United States. Officials warned that the surge of ocean water and waves would overwhelm sand dunes from both the ocean and from Pamlico Sound, which separates the islands from the mainland. Bulldozers were in place to push the sand off Highway 12 when water subsides.

That said, Texas, Florida, several small Caribbean islands and Puerto Rico have all seen worse this year. Puerto Rican officials said electrical power may not be fully restored for more than a month after the grid was destroyed by Maria’s Category 4 hurricane winds last week. More than 3 million of the island’s U.S. citizens still lack adequate food, water and fuel.

Maria is predicted to erode more than half the dunes along North Carolina’s 300-mile (485-kilometer) coast. Beaches in Maryland and Virginia could fare even worse, with two-thirds seeing erosion and the ocean washing over the dunes on one-third of them, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

All that salt water “is like throwing battery acid on your car,” said Carrington Erhardt, who worries about driving to the homes she cleans. “That’s the biggest thing, is that it destroys the vehicles.”

Brent and Donna Bennett, of Buxton, worry about lost wages. He works at an ice cream shop, which is closed, and she can’t make it through the floods to her hotel desk job in Hatteras Village.

“Storms are something you come to expect. We seem to have more of our share recently, and I’m over it,” Donna Bennet said.

Hurricane Lee, meanwhile, strengthened to a major Category 3 hurricane in the open Atlantic, where it was swinging north and east before damaging winds could reach Bermuda.

UPDATE : Hurricane Maria: Path Keeps Large Storm Off The East Coast

Hurricane Maria continued on a path northward on Tuesday morning and will pass offshore of North Carolina over the next few days.

Maria is barely a hurricane as of Tuesday morning with 75 mph winds, according to the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane force winds start at 74 mph.

Tropical storm warnings remained in effect for parts of the coast of North Carolina, where the effects of the large storm could be felt starting later today.

In addition there’s the possibility of storm surge along parts of the Outer Banks, and a storm surge watch is in effect for some areas.

As of the last advisory from the hurricane center, at 7 a.m. CDT, Hurricane Maria was located about 190 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and was moving north at 7 mph.

A tropical storm warning is in effect along the North Carolina coast from Bogue Inlet to the Virginia border as well as Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

In addition, a storm surge watch is in effect from Cape Lookout to Duck. The hurricane center said storm surge flooding, especially along the sound side of the North Carolina Outer Banks, will be possible starting later today.

One of the most widespread effects from Maria is dangerous surf. Forecasters said waves from the storm are affecting beaches from Florida through southern New England. Rough surf and deadly rip currents will be possible over the next few days.

Maria could weaken to a tropical storm as soon as today, the hurricane center said. Former Hurricane Jose is to thank for that.

Maria is moving over cooler waters that Jose stirred up last week, and forecasters said Maria is showing the effects.

Maria is looking less organized, its strongest winds are on its eastern side and its central pressure is rising, according to the hurricane center on Tuesday morning.

Forecasters expect Maria to weaken to a tropical storm in less than 24 hours.

The hurricane center is forecasting Maria to track northward for the next 36-48 hours then turn eastward and pick up speed. That should keep the center of the storm well away from the coast.

Forecasters said most forecast models agree on this scenario.

There is one other storm in the Atlantic on Tuesday: Hurricane Lee.

As of Tuesday morning Lee was located about 745 miles east of Bermuda and was moving west at 10 mph.

Lee is a small storm and is no threat to land.

Hurricane Lee had winds of 100 mph, making it a Category 2 hurricane, and could get a bit stronger before beginning to weaken on Wednesday, the hurricane center said.

UPDATE :Hurricane Maria is sending high winds, surf along East Coast

The East Coast braced for high winds and treacherous surf from Hurricane Maria, which was still churning in the Atlantic days after the storm caused widespread devastation in the Caribbean.

Maria will weaken to a tropical storm by Tuesday night, according to the National Hurricane Center. The dangerous core of the storm is expected to move well east of the southeast coast of the United States during the next day or so.

Maria maintained Category 1 status, with sustained winds of 80 mph on Monday, forecasters said.

“The good news is it is expected to stay weak, we don’t expect any more intensification as it goes north,” said CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar. “Then as it starts to veer out toward the east it’s going to come into blocking mechanisms. This is good news. This prevents it from getting too close to the US to actually have a direct landfall.”

North Carolina may bear the worst of the storm, as current forecasts show Maria brushing its coast late Tuesday into early Wednesday. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Bogue Inlet north to the Virginia border, as well as for Albemarle and Pamlico sounds.

A storm surge watch is in effect for Cape Lookout to Duck.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper released a statement Monday urging coastal residents and tourists to be prepared for heavy ocean surf, deadly rip currents and possibly storm surge flooding.

“Visitors to our beaches should stay out of the water during these dangerous conditions and wait until Maria passes,” he said. “Coastal residents should make sure they are ready and their homes are prepared.”

Along with gusty winds, rip currents will impact a large area of the East Coast, Chinchar said. The North Carolina coast may also experience flooding and beach erosion as well as a storm surge.

Although it’s not currently predicted to make landfall along the coast, Maria is the third hurricane to affect the US in the last month.

Rip currents along the beaches of North and South Carolina prompted 25 rescues Saturday, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Tim Armstrong in Wilmington. As far north as New Jersey, where Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty tweeted there were 35 rescues from strong weekend currents, the effects of Hurricane Maria were beginning to be felt.

“Regardless of the exact forecast track,” the storm is so big that “tropical storm-force winds could reach a portion of the North Carolina coast by mid-week,” the NHC said.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center of the storm, the NHC said, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 230 miles.

The five-day tracking model shows Maria maintaining hurricane strength through Tuesday as it makes it way north before turning northeast and heading further out into the Atlantic.

Millions of people in the Caribbean are still reeling from Hurricane Maria’s devastation. At least 10 people were killed in Puerto Rico, where much of the US territory is without power and many are without water.

That’s after the storm destroyed the island of Dominica, killing at least 15 people there. It also hammered the Dominican Republic, the US Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos, a British overseas territory.

Tropical Storm Pilar Heads For Devastated Mexico In Latest Shock Weather Warning

MEXICO will reel from further disaster after a tropical storm threatens to batter the Southwestern coast, just days after a two earthquakes struck the country.

Heavy rain accumulated by Tropical Storm Pilar of three to seven inches, with potential maximum amounts of 15 inches over western parts of Michoacan, Colima, Jalischo, Nayarit, and Sinaloa, will hit through Monday night, The National Hurricane Center said.

The rainfall could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, it warned.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for portions of the southwestern coast of Mexico from Manzanillo northward to El Roblito – and the Isles maria – with conditions will build up within the next 12 to 36 hours, the agency confirmed.

Pilar had maximum sustained winds of 40mph and the winds could strengthen as it nears landfall.

The revelations come after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that struck Mexico City on Thursday.

The killer quake destroyed more than 50 buildings in the sprawling Mexican capital, leaving thousands homeless and nearly 300 people dead nationwide.

According to the National Seismological Centre in Mexico there were three tremors, measuring on the Richter Scale 6.1 at 7:52am, 5.2 at 8:24am and 5 at 8:25am.

Residents of Mexico City ran into the streets and rescuers stopped picking up the rubble left by the big tremor earlier this week.