Reconstruction of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Wilma with Reanalysis Data

Authors: Kent McGregor*, University of North Texas
Topics: Physical Geography, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Climatology and Meteorology
Keywords: Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Wilma, reanalysis model, hurricane track.
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In 2005, Hurricane Wilma had the lowest pressure ever measured in an Atlantic Hurricane. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas Coast with up to 50 inches of rain and caused catastrophic flooding in the Houston. About a week later, Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes on record, slammed into south Florida and worked its way up the entire length of the peninsula. The atmospheric environment of these hurricanes can be reconstructed with data from the reanalysis model. “Reanalysis” is a comprehensive, global atmospheric data set produced by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. Thus, reanalysis is a tool by which the meteorological process operating in these hurricanes may be examined both before and after landfall. In addition, the surrounding pressure gradients and winds that guide the hurricane along its track can also be explored. The results indicated that Irma had a conventional guidance structure moving westward along the southern edge of a high pressure cell before making a northern turn and striking Florida. In contrast Hurricane Harvey displayed a noticeable lack of atmospheric guidance showing little movement as the precipitation totals went off the chart. Hurricane Wilma became wedged between two high pressure cells in the Gulf of Mexico that directed the system to the north east across southern Florida.

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