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Friday, July 18, 2014


Tropical Storm Wali, barely at 40 miles/hour, is heading for Hawaii:

As this is the first named storm for the Central Pacific, why doesn't it have a name beginning with the letter A?  Here are some basics of ocean storms:
  • A name is given when sustained cyclonic winds of 40 MPH (65 kilometers/hour) are reached.
  • This term is upgraded to hurricane (or typhoon or cyclone, depending on where) at 74 MPH.
  • A super hurricane starts at 150 MPH.
  • North of the Equator, these storms are called hurricanes or typhoons and rotate counterclockwise; south, cyclones with clockwise rotation.
  • So you ask, what happens when one attempts to cross the Equator.  THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED!!!  Thus, future OTEC mega plantships will be located within 4 degrees of the Equator.  Surface water temperatures are also the highest in this band.  And, maybe surprisingly, the deep ocean temperature is in the range of 4 C or lower.  Someday there could be a thousand floating cities in this 4 degree band around the Equator drawing 4 degree C deep ocean fluids.
  • However, various regions have different lists of storm names. 
  • The naming of a storm depends on where it was first formed.
  • In the North Atlantic, they always start with A, and we have thus far seen only Arthur.  Next, Bertha.  For the next couple of years, no Q or U, with #21 this year being Wilfred, if reached.  There are 6 lists that rotate, and 78 names have been retired, usually for notoriety.
  • The Eastern Pacific started with Amanda, now up to Fausto, which almost affected Hawaii last week, but mostly dissipated.  Next will be Genevieve.  No Q's or U's, with Zeke being #24, if reached.
  • The West Pacific is either a mess, or, confusingly regional, depending on your point of view.  Virtually every country has its own list, and nothing is alphabetical.  Typhoon Rammasun, now at 145 MPH over Northern Hainan, is on the list for Thailand:
  • The name for just formed Tropical Storm Matmo at 45 MPH, comes from the USA, and Matmo is currently projected to strike Taiwan as a Category 2 typhoon:
  • I have no idea what the next typhoon in the West Pacific will be called.
  • The North Indian Ocean is equally confusing with names from all the involved countries.
  • But the South-West Indian Ocean, mostly involving Madagascar, Mauritius and Reunion, only has one list, which is alphabetical.
  • Any storm near Indonesia has a local name and is alphabetical.
  • Same for Australia and other areas of the South Pacific, but they are different from each other.
  • The Mediterranean has had 99 tropical storms over the past 60 or so years, are given names, and when they exceed 73 MPH, are called MEDICANES.  Bet you don't remember Medicane Antinoo in 2007?
  • The South Atlantic (which has a season just the opposite from the North Atlantic--the same can be said for all storms south of the Equator) has had only 12 cyclonic storms since 1974, and there is no particular naming system.  The most recent were Catarina in 2004, Anita in 2010 and Arani in 2011.

So we now return to Wali (above) threatening to dump a lot of rain on Hawaii this weekend.  The Central North Pacific has our own names, and they are all Hawaiian.  There are so relatively few that there are four lists, all in a kind of alphabetical order.  We are currently on List 3, and just continue down the list from year to year.  In August of last year, Pewa and Unala appeared as tropical storms, and did not do much.  The next, and last of List 3, is Wali.  The next will come from List 4 as Ana.  Wali, incidentally, means smooth, and has something to do with poi, and nothing to do with the Islamic wali, which means master.

The monumental Super Typhoon Ioke formed just south of the Big Island on 31 August 2006:

This was the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Central Pacific, attaining 155 MPH as a Super Typhoon over Wake Island and maintaining cyclonic status for 17 days.,


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