Arthur would be yet another early tropical storm: Does hurricane season officially start too late?
The storm should form well off the Florida coast and spin out to sea. Although it won’t directly impact the U.S., the storm will churn up some big waves at the beaches of the Southeast, AccuWeather said.
If Arthur develops, 2020 would mark the sixth consecutive year with a named storm in May, which is before the season’s official start date of June 1.
In fact, “in every year since 2012, except for 2014, there has been at least one named tropical system during May,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
Hurricane season: From Arthur to Wilfred, here’s the list of hurricane names this year
Most of the May storms have tended to be weak and uneventful, with Tropical Storm Alberto in 2018 being a deadly exception. That storm, which hit 65 mph, killed 18 people in Cuba and the United States.
Should the start of the hurricane season be pushed back to May 15 to accommodate these earlier storms? Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach said no, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
“I don’t think it’s worth extending the hurricane season since the continental U.S. has never witnessed a hurricane landfall prior to June 1,” he told the paper.
Meanwhile, hurricane center spokesman Dennis Feltgen told USA TODAY that a named storm has formed between May 15 and May 30 in about half of the past 10 to 15 years, according to National Hurricane Center data.”But, (the center) is also aware of the lack of any such activity during the second half of May in the preceding 30 years,” Feltgen said in an email.
The hurricane center „is weighing the potential advantages and disadvantages of changing the official start date of the Atlantic hurricane season based on the possibility that the recent uptick in late May storms will continue,” he said.
If it forms, Arthur might be a harbinger of an active Atlantic hurricane season, the Capital Weather Gang said. „Preseason forecasts are almost all predicting a substantially busier-than-normal season, with one forecast out of Pennsylvania State University calling for one of the stormiest seasons on record,” the Gang’s chief meteorologist Jason Samenow said this week.
Based on long-term trends, there is „no significant relationship” between the day of the first Atlantic named storm formation and seasonal Atlantic hurricane activity, according to Klotzbach.
The system that’s forecast to become Arthur is already dumping heavy rain in Florida. As of midday Thursday, over 4 inches of rain had fallen in Marathon making it the city’s fifth-wettest May day since records began in 1950, according to Weather Channel meteorologist Greg Diamond.
What’s in store for hurricane season 2020: Forecasters expect ‘above average’ storm activity.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tropical Storm Arthur: Should hurricane season start date be changed?
NAPLES, Fla. – Four brush fires burning a total of about 400 acres shut down a section of Interstate 75 in southwest Florida on Wednesday, officials said.
A toll section of the interstate, known as Alligator Alley, was shut down for about 20 miles, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
Several fires have broken out in four Southwestern Florida counties: Collier, Lee, Hendry and Charlotte.
Multiple brush fires in Collier County grew and expanded to about 5,000 acres as of Wednesday night, with several residents already displaced and structures damaged or lost.
Those fires began in Golden Gate Estates around 2 p.m. Wednesday and separated into about six different brush fires because of the spread of embers or flames, said Kingman Schuldt, chief of the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District.
This is also happening: Southwest Florida smells like it’s on fire, as four counties battle brush fires
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office and the Greater Naples Fire Control District issued an emergency notice Thursday morning to residents warning of high fire danger in several areas. It said the situation could escalate to an evacuation but there is no current evacuation order for the immediate area.
The warning said residents should be aware and pay close attention to the potential for rapidly changing fire conditions.
The Sheriff’s Office also said moderate winds were contributing to significant fire movement and asked residents to follow the direction of local on-scene officials and be prepared to evacuate if conditions warrant.
Contributing: Associated Press
This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News: Florida wildfires: Brush fire along I-75 shuts part of Alligator Alley
They eventually combined to form one large fire spanning as much as 6,000 acres on Thursday. The fire is five to ten per cent contained.
Parts of Interstate 75, known as Alligator Alley, have been closed as a precaution, with visibility changing unpredictably due to smoke and shifting winds.
The Naples Fire-Rescue Department said in a statement posted to Facebook: “All residents in the area of the fires should be aware of the danger and follow any orders advising evacuation.”
“This is an extremely dangerous situation and the fire conditions are making it very difficult to predict the movement and protect property.”
Governor Ron DeSantis is travelling to Collier County to receive an update on the fires from local emergency officials.
On Wednesday night the local sheriff’s office tweeted: “Moderate winds are contributing to significant fire movement which is now anticipated throughout the late night.”
We are monitoring the brush fires in SWFL and this afternoon I will be traveling to #CollierCounty to receive an update from local emergency management officials. We thank the first responders & @FLForestService who are working to contain these brush fires & keep residents safe.
More than a dozen wildfires raged across Florida this week thanks to hotter and drier than average weather in April.
The Florida Panhandle was hit hard last week when wildfires led to evacuations and road closures near Pensacola.
Follow @FFS_cafc for latest.
Forty years ago, Ted Ruble looked out of a window while working at an electronic store, and he witnessed an ominous greenish-gray sky. He took his brand new video camera and VHS deck outside to film the sight, and he pointed it west, not knowing his footage would make history.
It was on a fairly typical spring day in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Tuesday, May 13, 1980, until just after 3:30 p.m. when a supercell thunderstorm moved onshore from Lake Michigan, AccuWeather Reporter Blake Naftel explained.
„I just thought I’d take it outside and video this particular weather we were having, greenish-black on the right, bright on the left,” Ruble told Naftel.
Little did Ruble, who was 24 years old at the time, know, he was recording the first-known amateur video of a killer tornado in the United States. It’s hard to imagine today, in the age of smartphones, when tornado videos from amateur witnesses flood social media feeds during severe weather outbreaks in the U.S. with an immediacy that was unthinkable back then.
|The 1980 Kalamazoo tornado is seen touching down in Ted Ruble’s video. (Ted Ruble)|
Ruble stood still recording when he realized that a tornado, which was later rated an F3 on the Fujita scale with winds upwards of 165 mph, was descending on Kalamazoo. „That’s a tornado! Would you look at that!” Ruble said with wonder in the background of the video.
But soon, fear began to creep in and he realized the perilous situation that he and others nearby were in, and the terror becomes evident in his voice.
„Hey, I don’t like this guys … it’s right here, that’s not very far away. Let’s go! Let’s get out of here. Everyone get to the basement. We’ve got a tornado out front!” Ruble can be heard shouting in the video.
Ruble didn’t stop recording as he ran down basement steps. „Yeah, it’s here boys! Feel your ears pop?” Ruble yelled.
|Blake Naftel reports in front of the doorway of the former electronics store where the historic amateur video was filmed. (AccuWeather / Blake Naftel)|
What they were feeling was the air pressure dropping quickly as the storm swooped into the area, similar to the feeling that can occur while a plane is descending for a landing.
Even though Ruble stopped recording, reporters from the local CBS affiliate television station were also able to document the twister with their professional broadcasting equipment. Rick Amick was the lead weather broadcaster at the local CBS affiliate news station that afternoon.
|Significant damage to buildings from the 1980 Kalamazoo tornado. (Kalamazoo Police Department)|
„Tons of things are going through your head … I was not only trying to warn people in general overall but with family in the path, it was personally impacting me as it was going along,” Rick Amick, former WKZO TV and radio weather broadcaster, told Naftel.
Then, it was all over in about five minutes, Johanne Cohagen who lived through the tornado told Naftel, and silence fell. Ruble and his coworkers emerged from the basement to see utter destruction from the twister, which had left behind an 11-mile-long scar in the city. Some people weren’t as lucky.
|People look at the damage left behind by the 1980 Kalamazoo tornado. (Bill Cole)|
„The tornado caused extensive damage and resulted in the deaths of five people and injured 79 others,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Carl Erickson reported. In total, the tornado rampaged on the ground for 20 minutes.
It is still in record books as the worst disaster in the city’s history after the tornado tore directly through the downtown business district. Naftel explained that the widespread damage was beyond anything the bustling city, home to 79,000 residents, has experienced before or since.
Those who survived the historic event hope to never experience such a powerful storm in their lifetimes again, Naftel said, yet anyone can go back in time to relive the moment from decades ago all because a videographer was in the right place at the right time.
Reporting by Blake Naftel.
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Two giant pandas in Canada will be heading back to China because their main meal, fresh bamboo, was getting too difficult to find during the pandemic, officials at Calgary Zoo in Canada said.
The bamboo for Er Shun and Da Mao was flown directly from China and then, when the pandemic reduced flights, on transfers from Toronto, the zoo said Tuesday. But even those flights have been reduced, making the adult bears’ favored food supply shaky.
Shipments have gone to the wrong place, delivery times have been longer and the pair just won’t eat some of the bamboo, zoo officials said.
„We believe the best and safest place for Er Shun and Da Mao to be during these challenging and unprecedented times is where bamboo is abundant and easy to access,” Calgary Zoo President and CEO Clément Lanthier said in a statement.
Bamboo composes 99 percent of the bears’ diet, and each one eats about 88 pounds of it in a day, according to the zoo.
The duo arrived in Calgary in March 2018 after spending time at the Toronto Zoo. They were originally scheduled to stay in Canada for nearly four more years.
Er Shun and Da Mao are expected to leave without goodbyes from the public because the zoo is closed temporarily. The city of Calgary is still under modified stay-at-home orders.
„This was an incredibly difficult decision to make but the health and well-being of the animals we love and care for always comes first,” Lanthier said.
|Several dozen mothballed Delta Air Lines jets are parked at Kansas City International Airport Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. The planes are among the thousands of passenger jets taken out of service worldwide as travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders due to the new coronavirus have drastically reduced air travel. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)|
The coronavirus pandemic has crushed U.S. airlines in ways so devastating, abrupt and potentially long term that a return to the recent normalcy of February could be years or more away.
There has been a 93 percent drop in passenger volume for U.S. airlines since February, after roughly 5 percent growth in January-February, according to Airlines for America. That has led airlines to idle 52 percent of the total of 6,100-plus U.S. passenger aircraft as of May 12. Just 5 percent were grounded on Feb. 29.
On Tuesday, the CEO of plane maker Boeing predicted on NBC’s Today show that a major U.S. airline would go out of business by this fall. „Something will happen when September comes around,” said Boeing CEO David Calhoun.
The rest of May and all of June – the heart of tornado season – should be a more immediate concern for the airlines. Many of those idled planes are parked in areas prone to tornadoes or severe storms at this time of year.
„Airplanes are sitting ducks in this crisis,” said AccuWeather lead long-range meteorologist Paul Pastelok.
„I was surprised to see the planes parked in places where things could be bad because of the weather,” said AccuWeather’s Geoff Knauth, a pilot with more than 41 years of flying experience. „The question is, if there is a tornado bearing down, how do you move things quickly enough?”
Airports have closed some runways and parked planes in Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Denver, as well as tornado-prone sites such as Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas City and Tulsa, Oklahoma, among other locations.
American Airlines has massed the highest number of its planes in Tulsa because it has the largest commercial aviation maintenance facility in the world, according to the company, with more than 5,500 employees and 3.3 million square feet of hangar and shop space on 330 acres at Tulsa International Airport.
However, Tulsa also is one year removed from one of its most active tornado seasons on record. The National Weather Service issued 103 tornado warnings for the area from April 30 through May 2019, the most issued by any forecast office in the country during that span.
A total of 99 tornadoes struck in Oklahoma in 2019, the fourth-highest state total in the U.S. last year. And a tornado on May 20, 2019, hit close to the Tulsa International Airport, roughly four miles away, and passengers at the airport were moved into shelters for about 30 minutes.
|This image made from video provided by KWTV-KOTV shows two funnel clouds formed in Crescent, Okla., Monday, May 20, 2019. An intense storm system swept through the Southern Plains, spawning a few tornadoes that caused some damage and a deluge of rain but no reports of injuries. (KWTV-KOTV via AP)|
„We are aware of the weather, but Tulsa is our largest maintenance base,” an American Airlines representative told AccuWeather.
Airplane maintenance is crucial for the parked aircraft to remain air-worthy when needed again. „If planes sit for too long and are not properly maintained, they can face corrosion problems and other things that could become very expensive,” Knauth said.
So far in the U.S., there have been just nine preliminary reports of tornadoes this month. „The tornado trend will pick up late May in the south-central Plains and mid- to lower Mississippi Valley,” Pastelok said, referencing an area including Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Nebraska, among other states.
Last May, a total of 506 tornadoes occurred – roughly 46 percent more than the average for May of 269 and just off the record of 542. AccuWeather is predicting 250 to 325 tornadoes in the U.S. for May 2020.
„The chances of an airport getting hit, or any specific spot, are low,” Pastelok said.
The U.S. airlines certainly hope the odds are finally in their favor.
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