Hurricane Amanda: Strongest May Hurricane on Record in the Eastern Pacific
Latest on Hurricane AmandaLatest on Hurricane AmandaCan Sharks Predict Hurricanes?New Surge Maps and More from Hurricane ConferenceHurricane Amanda became the strongest eastern Pacific hurricane on record in the month of May on Sunday after a period of rapid intensification.Amanda’s estimated maximum sustained winds reached 155 mph late Sunday morning, putting it at the top end of the Category 4 range on the five-category Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. It has now surpassed 2001’s Hurricane Adolph, which was previously the eastern Pacific’s strongest May hurricane on record. (Incidentally, the strongest Atlantic May hurricane of record was Category 3 Hurricane Able with peak winds of 115 mph off North Carolina’s Outer Banks on May 21, 1951.)Amanda, the first named storm and first hurricane of the eastern Pacific hurricane season, formed Thursday afternoon as a tropical depression about 635 miles south-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico. It is now drifting slowly to the north-northwest; this motion is expected to continue through Tuesday. Other than a few minor islands well offshore such as Socorro Island, it is no threat to land.Amanda is expected to weaken quickly soon. Its slow motion is stirring up the waters beneath it, allowing colder water to come to the surface. Additionally, increasing vertical wind shear and dry air will start to disrupt its circulation. By later this week, if not sooner, Amanda will have weakened to a tropical depression, then remnant low.Again, to reemphasize, this system is not expected to threaten the North American mainland. However, it is possible some of Amanda’s remnant mid-and upper-level moisture may get pulled northward into parts of the Desert Southwest and Rockies later in the week.(MORE: Analysis from The Weather Channel Hurricane Specialists)
Storm InformationCurrent InformationSo, where exactly is the cyclone’s center located now? If you’re plotting the storm along with us, the information depicted in the map above provides the latitude/longitude coordinates, distance away from the nearest land location, maximum sustained winds and central pressure (measured in millibars). Infrared SatelliteINTERACTIVE SATELLITEInfrared SatelliteThis infrared satellite image shows how cold (and therefore how high) the cloud tops are. Brighter orange and red shadings concentrated near the center of circulation signify a healthy tropical cyclone.Visible SatelliteINTERACTIVE SATELLITEVisible Satellite (only during daylight hours)This visible satellite image helps meteorologists pinpoint the low-level circulation center during daylight hours. In cases of strong wind shear (stronger winds aloft than near the surface, sometimes from different directions), one can spot an exposed circulation center, with convection blown downstream. This is an indication of a weakening tropical cyclone.MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Hurricanes From Space1 / 69Hurricane Igor is featured in this Sept. 14, 2010, image photographed by an Expedition 24 crew member on the International Space Station. (NASA)
Colorado Mudslide: No Sign of Three Missing Men in Three-Mile-Wide Slide
Published: May 26, 2014, 9:08 PM EDT weather.comThree Missing After MudslideThree men are missing in rural Colorado after a massive mudslide struck near the small mountain town of Colbran at around 6:15 p.m. local time Sunday, but the search has been hampered because the area of the slide is unstable.Fifty-one-year-old county road worker Clancy Nichols, his 24-year-old son Danny and 46-year-old Wes Hawkins have been missing since Sunday after rain-saturated ridge collapsed.Searchers looked for the men Monday at the lower end of the slide. The upper portion is considered too unstable and is at risk of sliding again.The search is scheduled to resume Tuesday.The slide is estimated to be 2 miles wide, 4 miles long and up to 250 feet deep in places, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department said. No damage was reported to any structures or roads, but gas wells in the area were shut off under the threat of encroaching mud.”This slide is unbelievably big,” Lt. Phil Stratton of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, said. Authorities added that the site of the mudslide was extremely unstable and that the entire ridge was likely moving for much of the day Sunday.According to weather.com meteorologist Jon Erdman, the area didn’t see substantial rainfall amounts, but what little rain did fall may have contributed to the slide.”Nearby Grand Junction did pick up 0.42 inches of rain Sunday,” said Erdman. „Another 1.05 inches of rain fell from May 10 to May 12. Higher totals atop Grand Mesa likely contributed to the slide.”Search and rescue efforts began almost immediately for three men, all locals, reported missing after the mudslide was reported Sunday night. A county road worker, his son and another man went to check on damage Sunday from an initial slide near the edge of Grand Mesa, one of the world’s largest flat-topped mountains, after a rancher reported that his irrigation ditch had stopped flowing, Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey said.Hilkey said no signs of the men or their truck have been found. Their names haven’t been released.”Everyone on this mountain is praying for a miracle right now,” he said.Deputies estimate that the entire ridge had been moving for most of Sunday before someone called to report the slide at 6:15 p.m., describing it as sounding like a freight train. Hilkey believes runoff from Grand Mesa from recent rain triggered the slide. A hydrologist from the Natural Weather Service and a geologist from the U.S. Geological Survey were helping authorities assess the situation.Bill Clark, a cousin of one of the missing men, visited the canyon where the slide struck and said it was completely filled with mud. He said the slide struck with so much force that some also spilled over into the neighboring draw.”I’ve never seen so much earth move like that in my life,” he said.From a distance of about 10 miles, the slide looked like a funnel, running from a ridgeline at or next to the flat-topped Grand Mesa and narrowing into a culvert below. It cut a giant channel through trees. Roads in the area, where some cattle grazed, were muddy from rain.Collbran resident Lloyd Power was on the side of a road Monday, gazing out at the slide.”How in the devil could this happen?” Power said.He said residents were praying for the missing. „That’s all we can do,” Power said.A sheriff’s helicopter was surveying the slide area Monday. Authorities erected a roadblock to keep onlookers from the slide area outside Collbran, a ranching town of about 700 people that also serves as a gateway to outdoor recreation like hiking and fishing. The slide is near Salt Creek Road and Vega Reservoir, which is in a state park.The area is part of the Piceance Basin, one of Colorado’s largest natural gas producing areas. Mud came up to the edge of three wells owned by the Occidental Petroleum Corp. and workers manually shut down the wells and connecting pipelines Sunday in case the slide continued to spread, said David Ludlam, executive director of the West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association, a trade group.No spills have been reported. Other operators are also monitoring wells, he said.The Associated Press contributed to this report.MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Oslo, Washington Mudslide1 / 462
Alaska Kenai Peninsula Wildfire: Funny River Fire Continues to Grow, Prompts More Evacuations
Published: May 26, 2014, 10:33 PM EDT weather.comAlaska Wildfire Continues to GrowA massive wildfire in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula grew to nearly 159,000 acres on Monday, leading to mandatory evacuations of 1,000 structures and threatening hundreds of cabins, vacation homes and year-round residences. The wildfire, which was only 30 percent contained by Monday morning, covered more than 248 square miles.No injuries or structure damage has been reported, officials said.Though the fire continues to grow, feeding off the foliage in Alaska’s 1.9-million acre Kenai Wildlife Refuge, weather conditions should provide relief in the coming days, according to weather.com meteorologist Jon Erdman.”Relief is ahead this week,” said Erdman. „Rain returns to southern Alaska Tuesday. Heavier rain is possible Thursday into Friday, along with cooler temperatures.”(MORE: Check the Forecast)Still, the growth of the fire, located south of Anchorage, Alaska pushed more people from their homes Sunday afternoon, the exact number of which is unknown, according to Michelle Weston, spokeswoman with the Alaska Interagency Management Team.The human-caused fire was sparked May 19 dubbed the „Funny River Fire” after a nearby road where all residents are being evacuated. Alaska State Troopers went door to door, evacuating an area that’s mostly second homes and is home to many retirees. Two Red Cross shelters have been set up. Many of the displaced residents are staying with friends and relatives, and others are staying in campers in the parking lot of an elementary school where one of the shelters was opened.The Funny River Fire grew rapidly over the weekend, pushed by high winds and warm dry conditions. Hundreds of firefighters from Alaska, Oregon, Canada and Montana, as well as the Alaska Air National Guard, are battling the week old blaze from the ground and from the air, Reuters reports.(MORE: Northern Arizona Wildfire Grows)Though large wildfires aren’t unusual for Alaska, the state does not usually see such massive fires this early in the season Weston told the Associated Press.Wildfires in Alaska’s remote areas are not unusual during the summer months, with an average of a million acres burned each fire season, Weston said.The Associated Press contributed to this report.MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Alaska Glaciers Recede1 / 47Muir Glacier and Inlet (1895)In the photo above, the west shoreline of Muir Inlet in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve is shown as it appeared in 1895. Notice the lack of vegetation on the slopes of the mountains, and the glacier that stands more than 300 feet high. See the glacier as it looked in 2005 on the next page. (USGS/Bruce Molnia)
Lake Superior Still Has Ice Despite Air Temperatures In the 80s on Memorial Day Weekend
By Jon Erdman Published: May 26, 2014, 2:16 PM EDT weather.comThe Weather Channel Facebook friend Ben Ellison sent us this photo standing on a chunk of ice in Lake Superior on May 25, 2014. The temperature at the time in Duluth was 80 degrees.The first 80s since the week after Labor Day induced a full-blown case of summer fever in the northern Great Lakes on Memorial Day weekend.This led to the odd spectacle of folks heading to the Lake Superior shore to enjoy the holiday weekend, only to see chunks of ice still floating in the lake.
As you can see above, it was hot enough to lay out a beach towel and work on your tan (or perhaps simply start one) in Marquette, Michigan, on Sunday, May 25.Swimming, not so much. I’m sure the lifeguard in the photo above was praying he wouldn’t have to rescue anyone crazy enough to swim in that dangerously cold water.High-resolution visible satellite image on May 25, 2014 indicating areas of lingering ice over parts of southern Lake Superior. (NASA/MODIS via UW-SSEC)According to NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, just under five percent of Lake Superior still contained chunks of ice as of May 26. A separate analysis from Environment Canada found Lake Superior ice cover to be the largest for late May in records dating to 1980-81. Environment Canada warned of „rotten very thick lake ice” near Duluth, east of the Apostle Islands and other locations in far southern Lake Superior, in what it deemed „an unusual presence of ice over the lake.”Given last winter and early spring, it’s no wonder there’s still ice to deal with.Photo of lingering ice in Lake Superior from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore near Munising, Michigan, on May 25, 2014. (Joel Nordin via Facebook)December through March was the coldest such period on record in Marquette and Hancock, Michigan. High temperatures at the National Weather Service near Marquette failed to rise above freezing from December 6 through February 18, a record 75-day streak. There were a record 65 days of subzero cold lows at NWS-Marquette, including a record latest subzero cold low on April 16 (-5 degrees). (RECAP: One of Coldest Winters)By March 5, just under 96 percent of Lake Superior was ice covered. That same week, Lake Michigan (93.29 percent) and Lake Huron (96.3 percent) also reached their maximum ice cover. On May 15, the U.S. Coast Guard wrapped up what it said was the nation’s largest domestic ice operation after over five months of ice-breaking operations in the northern Great Lakes. One eastbound crossing of ice-choked Lake Superior by the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw took nine days. Normally, this is a one-day voyage.National Weather Services offices in Sullivan, Wisconsin, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, warned those headed to Lake Michigan beaches during the holiday weekend to stay out of the cold water.While Lake Michigan water temperatures are typically chilly in late May, given the cold winter and late ice melt, water temperatures were running 1 to 3 degrees colder than average.We would love to see any cool photos of the lingering lake ice. Share them with us at weather.com/photos or via Facebook or Twitter. Your photo could win $15,000!
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Northern Arizona Wildfire: Slide Fire Containment Grows
Published: May 26, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT weather.com Containment on northern Arizona wildfire inches up Firefighters say they are slowly making progress in controlling a wildfire burning around Oak Creek Canyon.
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