DISCUSSION: When it comes to studying tropical cyclones, there is no debate that there are several very interesting features which to mind with some of the more intense tropical cyclones which come into existence. For example, within the heart of any intense tropical cyclone is the eye of a tropical cyclone. Within the confines of the eye of a tropical cyclone there can sometimes be a series of events which unfold in such a way that there can be smaller-scale features known as misovortices which form within the center and outer portions of the eye. Most often, such microscale features can form within an eye of an intense tropical cyclone due to rapid changes in intensity which occur within the core of an intensifying tropical cyclone.
As shown in the graphic and animated Twitter graphic below (courtesy of the NOAA Satellites Twitter account), you can clearly see one such example of this as found in association with Super Typhoon Jebi back on 31 August 2018. Note how within the eye of Super Typhoon Jebi you can clearly see the presence of what appears to be a four-pointed star cloud “dancing” around the center of Super Typhoon Jebi. Such small and interesting patterned clouds form within the eye of an intense tropical cyclone as a result of incredibly small-scale wind fluctuations and minor pressure fluctuations within the center of an intense tropical cyclone. As impressive as such gorgeous misovortices are, the presence of such cloud features within the heart of a tropical cyclone are a direct indication of an incredibly intense tropical cyclone being in place and/or quickly developing when such features are present.
Thus, despite the natural majesty and beauty associated with such features within intense tropical cyclones, the underlining message here is the fact that it is imperative to always respect the natural power of such storms. Moreover, in such situations when an intense tropical cyclone is developing such features, it is essential to respect and heed the advice of local emergency officials if such a storm is heading or is expected to head in your direction.
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© 2019 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
DISCUSSION: Although it has now already been a few months since Hurricane Florence smacked into the coastal and semi-coastal sections of the Carolinas, there is still much to be gained from this event and much learning which is still yet to come in the context of furthering current and future scientific knowledge. Having said that, it is worth noting that even though a good portion of the rainfall from Hurricane Florence unfolded somewhat closer to the Mid-Atlantic coastline, there was more to the Florence flooding situation that meets the eye. For example, as shown in the animated Tweet graphic attached below (courtesy of the United States Geological Survey), rainfall gauge measurements certainly are a useful reflection of the reality which unfolded in association with the coastal approach and eventual landfall of Hurricane Florence.
Regardless of how you approach the overall evaluation of this storm, Hurricane Florence was a storm which would forever change the lives and memories of millions of people living across coastal and semi-coastal sections of North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond. Moreover, the fact that the major flooding event which ensued and progressed further inland with time is a testament of the mammoth extent of the deep moisture which flowed inland with the landfall of the mammoth circulation associated with Hurricane Florence. This is perfectly shown in the spiking of the rainfall accumulations which is shown by way of the highlighted dots within the map along the path of Hurricane Florence. You can also see how various rainfall gauges were observed to be below or above flood stage. By scanning the periphery of this animated graphic, you can see how the flooding extended far inland from the inland which exacerbated the complications associated with rescue and recovery operations to occur in the wake of the passage of a weakening Hurricane Florence.
Thus, this animated graphic just goes to show that tropical cyclone rainfall events can (as they have many times before) extend very far inland from a given coastline and Hurricane Florence was absolutely no exception to this rule in any context. Therefore, whenever you are presented with a situation defined by an incoming flooding event which is projected to have major impacts on a given region you are living in or visiting, it is imperative to always follow the recommendations and advice of regional emergency officials.
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© 2019 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz