Three waves are headed west in the Atlantic. Two could merge into tropical depression
As the Atlantic basin inches toward peak hurricane season, the National Hurricane Center is tracking three tropical waves, a tropical storm and a tropical depression.
Tropical Storm Nana, which briefly became the season’s fifth hurricane as it came ashore in Belize, was back down to a tropical storm Thursday afternoon with 40 mph winds, as of the 2 p.m. update. It was almost all the way through northern Guatemala and headed toward the Pacific Ocean at about 14 mph, dumping enough rain on the region that flash flooding was a worry.
“Continued weakening is expected, and Nana is likely to be a remnant low pressure area by the time it reaches the Gulf of Tehuantepec in about 24 h,” forecasters wrote.
All watches and warnings in the region were discontinued Thursday morning.
Tropical Depression Omar is not long for this world. Forecasters, who’ve been tracking this disturbance since it formed off the coast of North Carolina and headed due east, said it’s likely to dissolve Thursday evening.
The hurricane center identified a new tropical wave Thursday morning.
The closest wave is about midway between Africa and the eastern Caribbean. Forecasters said gradual development is possible early next week and gave it a 40% chance of forming into a tropical depression in the next five days as another, larger wave passes to the north of it.
The hurricane center said the second wave, which was near Africa’s west coast, was developing slowly but is expected to merge with another tropical wave. Formation chances for the next five days are high at 70%.
“A tropical depression is more likely to form early next week over the central tropical Atlantic where environmental conditions are forecast to be more favorable for development,” they wrote.
The final wave is forecast to move off Africa’s coast over the weekend and could develop a little over the next week. The hurricane center gave it a 20% shot at strengthening in the next five days.
The next storm names are Paulette and Rene.
Typhoon Maysak drenches North and South Korea
A powerful typhoon drenched both Koreas on Thursday, killing at least one person in the South and inundating streets across a port in the North as it churned its way up the peninsula.
Typhoon Maysak — named after a Cambodian word for a type of tree — made landfall in Busan on the southern coast, packing gusts of up to 140 kilometres per hour (87 miles per hour), knocking down traffic lights and trees and flooding streets.
A woman was killed after a strong gust shattered her apartment window in the city, while more than 2,200 people were evacuated to temporary shelters and around 120,000 homes were left without power across southern parts of the peninsula and on Jeju Island.
Another victim of the typhoon was a statue at a park in Ulsan of a brachiosaurus — a huge plant-eating dinosaur — which was pictured with its neck broken by strong gusts of wind.
The storm later made its way northwards, passing into the Sea of Japan, known as the East Sea in Korea, before making a second landfall around 0200 GMT at Kimchaek in North Korea.
Natural disasters tend to have a greater impact in the North due to its creaking infrastructure, and the country is vulnerable to flooding as many mountains and hills have long been deforested.
The typhoon brought heavy downpours across the North, with total rainfall in the 15 hours to 0300 GMT Thursday reaching 385 millimetres in the port town of Wonsan on its east coast.
Pyongyang’s state media have been on high alert, carrying live broadcasts of the situation, with one showing a reporter standing in a street inundated with water in the port town.
But authorities lifted their typhoon warning as the storm weakened and moved towards China.
„The typhoon will pass through Musan and leave our country,” a meteorological officer told Korean Central Television. „I don’t expect any effects.”
In Japan, rescuers were searching for a cargo ship with 43 people on board and reportedly carrying 5,800 cows.
The Gulf Livestock 1 issued a distress call on Tuesday night as strong winds and heavy rain from Maysak lashed the East China Sea.
Nana was downgraded to a tropical storm on Thursday as it hit Guatemala, several hours after making landfall in Belize as a hurricane.
„Nana has weakened to a tropical depression, moving westwards,” said David de Leon, the spokesman for Guatemala’s Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED.)
De Leon said winds had reduced to a maximum 55 kilometers per hour.
„Continued weakening is expected, and Nana is expected to degenerate to a remnant low pressure area on Friday,” said the US National Hurricane Center (NHC.)
However, it warned that the storm could produce up to eight inches of rainfall in Guatemala and Mexico.
„These rainfall amounts may produce life threatening flash floods and mudslides.”
CONRED reported trees falling and the collapse of a home in the northeastern town of Morales.
In Belize, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) reported heavy rainfall and strong winds in Stann Creek district and other regions.
It said there had been electricity blackouts and warned that the storm „could also produce rainfall of 4-8 inches with isolated amounts of 10 inches over southern and central Belize which could lead to flash flooding and possible landslides.”
But the emergency organization urged people not to forget about containment measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which it described as „the bigger threat.”
– Precautionary measures –
Soon after it was upgraded from a tropical storm to a hurricane, Nana made landfall between Dangriga and Placencia, towards the middle of Belize’s coastline, about 60 kilometers south of Belize City, just after midnight Belize time (0600 GMT).
It was traveling west at 25 kilometres (16 miles) per hour, with maximum sustained winds of 120 kph (75 mph), according to the NHC.
The strong wind and rains had already furiously shaken the Honduran tourist attraction of Islas de la Bahia, causing floods there and elsewhere in the country.
Civil protection organizations in Guatemala, El Salvador and parts of Honduras initiated precautionary measures as the storm threatened to cause severe damage.
With two tropical waves merging in the Atlantic Ocean, two more are being tracked as Tropical Depressions Nana and Omar continue to weaken, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The two newest waves aren’t nearly as close to each other as the others that the NHC is tracking. One is several hundred miles away from Newfoundland, and the other is off the west coast of Africa.
The first wave is about 625 miles south of Cape Race, Newfoundland, and it causing showers. Forecasters say that “some slight subtropical or tropical development of this system is possible before it reaches cooler waters later on Friday.” It has a low 20 percent chance of forming in the next five days.
The other wave is forecast to move off the west coast of Africa over the weekend, then forming an area of low pressure early next week. There could be gradual development and a tropical depression could form while it moves over the far eastern tropical Atlantic, forecasters say. It has a near-zero percent chances forming in the next two days, but a medium 40 percent chance of forming during the week.
As for the two waves that are currently merging, one is several hundred miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands, and the other is a couple of hundred miles south of the same islands.
Forecasters say the merging of the waves is “resulting in an extensive area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms.” This system is forecast to see slow development over the next couple of days while it moves west-northwestward at 15 mph.
After that, a tropical depression is more likely early next week over the central tropical Atlantic, forecasters say. The system has a low 20 percent chance of forming in the next 48 hours and a high 70 percent chance of forming in the next five days.
The next storm name would be Paulette.
Hurricane Nana formed Wednesday night and then quickly weakened to a tropical depression on Thursday.
It made landfall early Thursday in Belize and as of the 5 p.m. advisory weakened to a depression.
It is about 220 miles west-southwest of Belize City and is continuing to head west-southwest at 14 mph. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.
Nana is forecast to degenerate to a remnant low pressure area on Friday.
In the northeast, Tropical Storm Omar weakened to a tropical depression as it continued its eastern track. As of the 5 p.m. update, forecasters said Omar is predicted to dissolve into a remnant low Friday or sooner before dissipating Sunday morning.
An international collaboration of scientists on Wednesday announced the merger of two black holes, detected by a gravitational wave generated when the universe was „about half its age.”
The signal from the wave, labeled GW190521, was first detected on May 21, 2019 with the National Science Foundation’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and the Advanced Virgo detector at the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO).
The two black holes merged to produce a new black hole of intermediate mass — the first clear detection of its kind, researchers said. Intermediate mass puts the black hole’s mass between 100 and 1,000 times that of the sun, scientists said.
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EGO estimates the merger happened „about 7 billion years ago, a time close to the ancient ages of the Universe.” The brief signal detected by scientists lasted less than a tenth of a second, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) reported.
According to the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, every gravitational wave signal detected so far has been from a „binary merger,” either two black holes or two neutron stars. The collaboration reports this merger „appears to be the most massive yet” and the two black holes that merged had masses „about 85 and 66 times the mass of the sun.”
“This doesn’t look much like a chirp, which is what we typically detect,” says Virgo member Nelson Christensen, a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, said in a press release. “This is more like something that goes ‘bang,’ and it’s the most massive signal LIGO and Virgo have seen.”
Black holes that have been previously observed fit into two categories.
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They are either stellar-mass black holes, „which measure from a few solar masses up to tens of solar masses,” the ones thought to form when massive stars die; or they are supermassive black holes, the ones that are hundreds of thousands to billions of times larger than the sun, according to the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.
“LIGO once again surprises us not just with the detection of black holes in sizes that are difficult to explain, but doing it using techniques that were not designed specifically for stellar mergers,” Pedro Marronetti, program director for gravitational physics at the National Science Foundation, said in a statement.
He added, “This is of tremendous importance since it showcases the instrument’s ability to detect signals from completely unforeseen astrophysical events. LIGO shows that it can also observe the unexpected.”
The discovery raises some questions. The larger of the two black holes that merged to create the intermediate mass black hole falls firmly into a mass range known as the „pair instability mass gap” — the LIGO Scientific Collaboration reports a collapsing star „should not be able to produce a black hole between approximately 65 and 120 solar masses.”
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“The fact that we’re seeing a black hole in this mass gap will make a lot of
astrophysicists scratch their heads and try to figure out how these black holes were
made,” said Nelson Christensen, director of the Artemis Laboratory at the Nice
Observatory in France, in a statement.
Scientists are considering the possibility the two black holes that formed to create the intermediate mass black hole first themselves formed from mergers of smaller black holes.
There’s still the possibility the gravitational wave detected was produced by something other than a merger of two black holes.
“The bar for asserting we’ve discovered something new is very high,” Alan Weinstein, professor of physics at Caltech, said in a statement. “So we typically apply Occam’s razor: The simpler solution is the better one, which in this case is a binary black hole.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Researchers: Gravitational wave from massive merger of 2 black holes