No, I don't want to talk about the Eagles. Thank you, cousin Carol for the sympathy e-mail, although I expected my Seattle-based cousins to be the ones giving me grief about our battered birds.
What I did want to talk about - briefly - is Hurricane Epsilon - The Storm That Would Not Die. It's nowhere near land - floating in big circles somewhere out in the Atlantic, but the situation with the National Hurricane Center forecasters is getting humorous.
They first began issuing advisories on Tropical Storm Epsilon on November 29th. In that first briefing, they noted:
BY 96 HOURS... EPSILON IS EXPECTED TO
ACCELERATE RAPIDLY NORTHEASTWARD AND BECOME EXTRATROPICAL OR
POSSIBLY EVEN BECOME ABSORBED BY THE MUCH LARGER EXTRATROPICAL LOW
From that point on, Epsilon has refused to do what they think it will, or even to follow the physical laws of hurricanes.
EPSILON HAS BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED THIS MORNING WITH SATELLITE
IMAGERY INDICATING CONVECTION HAS NOW WRAPPED MORE THAN 75 PERCENT
AROUND THE CENTER... WITH A HINT OF A RAGGED BANDING EYE FEATURE
OUTER CONVECTIVE BANDING FEATURES HAVE IMPROVED AND A RAGGED BANDING
EYE FEATURE APPEARS TO TRYING TO DEVELOP...AGAIN. IT IS STILL POSSIBLE THAT EPSILON COULD BRIEFLY REACH
HURRICANE STRENGTH. HOWEVER... BY 24 HOURS THE EFFECTS OF COOLER
WATER AND INCREASING WESTERLY SHEAR SHOULD GRADUALLY INDUCE SLOW
BUT STEADY WEAKENING... AND EPSILON IS EXPECTED TO BECOME
EXTRATROPICAL BY 48 HOURS.
DEC 2 - Upgraded from Tropical Storm to Hurricane:
DEEP CONVECTION HAS MADE SOMEWHAT OF A COMEBACK DURING THE PAST
SEVERAL HOURS...DESPITE MOVING OVER SLIGHTLY COOLER WATER SINCE THIS TIME YESTERDAY
...EPSILON HAS CONTINUED TO BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED WITH A SOLID
CONVECTIVE BAND NOW WRAPPING COMPLETELY AROUND THE CYCLONE CENTER. EPSILON SHOULD BEGIN TO STEADILY WEAKEN WITHIN THE NEXT
12-18 HOURS AND PROBABLY BECOME EXTRATROPICAL BY 36 HOURS.
EPSILON IS A
TENACIOUS TROPICAL CYCLONE WHICH HAS MAINTAINED HURRICANE INTENSITY
OVER COOL WATERS AND APPARENT UNFAVORABLE ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS. EPSILON HAS CONTINUED TO STRENGTHEN AGAINST ALL ODDS. THE CLOUD
PATTERN IS REMARKABLY WELL-ORGANIZED FOR A HURRICANE AT HIGH
LATITUDE IN DECEMBER...EPSILON CAN NOT MAINTAIN THE CURRENT
INTENSITY MUCH LONGER SINCE THE ENVIRONMENT IS BECOMING
DEC 4 - downgraded to Tropical Storm at 4:00 a.m., then re-upgraded to Hurricane at 10:00 a.m.:
AFTER A SLIGHT WEAKENING OVERNIGHT...MORNING SATELLITE IMAGES
INDICATE THAT EPSILON HAS RESTRENGTHENED. THERE ARE
NO CLEAR REASONS...AND I AM NOT GOING TO MAKE ONE UP...TO EXPLAIN
THE RECENT STRENGTHENING OF EPSILON AND I AM JUST DESCRIBING THE
FACTS. HOWEVER...I STILL HAVE TO MAKE AN INTENSITY FORECAST AND THE
BEST BET AT THIS TIME IS TO PREDICT WEAKENING DUE TO COLD WATER
...HIGH SHEAR AND DRY AIR. THE UPPER LEVEL WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO BE
HIGHLY UNFAVORABLE AND EPSILON WILL LIKELY BECOME A REMNANT LOW. I
HEARD THAT BEFORE ABOUT EPSILON...HAVEN'T YOU?
Morning Advisory: DEEP CONVECTION IN THE EYEWALL...WHICH HAD BEEN RAGGED IN THE
SOUTHEASTERN QUADRANT EARLIER...HAS BECOME COLDER AND MORE
SYMMETRIC OVER THE PAST SEVERAL HOURS. WITH THE SOUTHWARD
COMPONENT OF MOTION CONTINUING IT SEEMS THAT AN IMMINENT
EXTRATROPICAL TRANSITION IS...ALAS...A LOST CAUSE.
Evening Advisory: WE HAVE SAID THIS BEFORE AT TIMES DURING THE PAST SEVERAL NIGHTS...
ONLY TO HAVE EPSILON MAKE A COMEBACK THE FOLLOWING MORNING... BUT
EPSILON REALLY DOES NOT APPEAR AS STRONG THIS EVENING AS IT DID
I checked the morning advisory today to see if Epsilon had finally given up . . . but apparently it is the NHC that has thrown in the towel:
I HAVE RUN OUT OF THINGS TO SAY...AND THIS ONE WILL BE SHORT.
EPSILON CONTINUES ON STEADY STATE WITH A RING OF DEEP CONVECTION
WHICH INTERMITTENTLY SURROUNDS THE LARGE EYE. INITIAL INTENSITY
REMAINS AT 65 KNOTS BUT A GRADUAL WEAKENING IS ANTICIPATED.
It seems appropriate that in a record-setting year like this one, that the storms just don't want to give up. The Hurricane Season ended six days ago, and the forecasters are still at work. Hopefully their vacations will start soon.
[I wonder if they'll go to the islands?]
Quote du jour:
"The rule on staying alive as a forecaster is to give 'em a number or give 'em a date, but never give 'em both at once."
Jane Bryant Quinn (1939 - ____) US journalist
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