Where Fiona goes from here as it keeps getting stronger
Three storms wreaked havoc around the world over the weekend. Here is where they are now and where they are heading.
Extreme wind and storm surge from the remnants of a typhoon were powerful enough to uproot buildings in Alaska this weekend, and the storm it is still hanging around.
Hurricane Fiona brought over 2 feet of rain to portions of Puerto Rico, causing rivers to rage, demolishing a bridge in the torrent of water. Fiona caused an islandwide power outage, impacting nearly 1.5 million customers on Sunday. The storm is now forecast to strengthen into the Atlantic season’s first major hurricane.
And after making landfall in southern Japan as a strong typhoon, causing damage and power outages, Nanmadol is turning right and heading up the spine of Japan towards Tokyo. From there, it heads toward Alaska.
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Over a foot of rain has fallen in much of Puerto Rico over the past three days. One reporting station north of Ponce reported over 2 feet of rain in the last 24 hours.
That is an astonishing amount. Sometimes as a meteorologist, you wonder, is this really going to happen? You don’t want to cry wolf.
But, on Friday, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center began warning of a foot of rainfall possible in Puerto Rico. By Saturday, they upped the rainfall forecast after seeing how much rainfall the storm produced in Guadeloupe (over 19 inches in 24 hours), providing as much of an advanced warning as possible.
This excessive rainfall forced rivers to rise higher than during Hurricane Maria.
As the storm moves Monday off the northern shore of the Dominican Republic, it will continue to bring flooding rains to Puerto Rico as the storm’s southerly flow draws moisture across the island.
Southern Puerto Rico can expect an additional 4 to 6 inches, with up to 10 inches maximum possible in some locations. That would result in a storm total of 12 to 20 inches of rain, with local maximums of 30 inches across portions of the island.
The center of Fiona will slowly move off the Dominican Republic’s north shore today. As it moves over open water, it is forecast to strengthen as it passes Turks and Caicos on Tuesday.
Wednesday, it is forecast to become the season’s first major hurricane in the Atlantic.
From that day on, it is expected to curve to the northeast and track out to sea, threatening Bermuda later this week.
Landfall in Bermuda isn’t out of the question, but it is like hitting a tiny bull’s eye in a vast ocean.
I won’t feel really comfortable that the US East Coast is out of the woods until Fiona makes the turn in a couple of days and moves northeast.
However, forecast models seem to be in very close consensus that this turn will happen, leaving high surf and rip currents as the potential hazards to the US eastern coastline.
Worst storm surge since the early 1970s
The remnants of a typhoon lashed the western coast of Alaska all weekend. Although it is weakening, it was still hanging around early Monday.
The storm was so strong that winds were reported gusting up to 93 mph in Alaska. Storm surge pushed water levels over 10 feet in Nome, Alaska, the highest since a storm in November 1974.
And the water level was slow to subside as the storm refused to leave, forcing the Alaska regional weather service office to compare it to an unwanted relative.
“The storm is the uncle that comes over for a few days, makes a mess, & won’t leave. It will sleep on the couch along the northwest coast a few more days, but the worst is over & impacts will continue to fade,” it tweeted Sunday.
By Wednesday, the storm will have weakened enough to no longer be the dominant weather pattern across the state.
Then all attention will move to tracking the storm now hitting Japan.
“One of the strongest typhoons ever seen,” the World Meteorological Organization tweeted Sunday.
Powerful Nanmadol made landfall in Kagoshima Prefecture on Sunday as the fourth-most powerful typhoon (by pressure) to hit mainland Japan.
Ahead of the storm, Kyushu authorities took the unusual step of issuing a rarely used “special warning” to convey the seriousness of the threat posed by the storm.
A “large-scale disaster” could also be imminent, with extensive flooding and landslides, the Japan Meteorological Agency warned. “The highest level of vigilance is required for rising water levels and flooding of rivers, landslide disasters and flooding of lowlands,” it said on Sunday.
The storm has made a turn towards the northeast, traveling up the west coast of mainland Japan, before crossing over the country and back into the West Pacific.
The storm has weakened but will continue to deliver extreme rains, mudslides and storm surge as it tracks across the country.
From Japan, it will travel out over the Pacific and arrive on Alaska’s doorstep later in the week.
“While this storm is expected to curve north towards the southern Bering Sea, it will weaken significantly & not be anything out of the ordinary,” the weather service in Alaska tweeted Saturday. “It is not forecast to move into the Northern Bering” Sea.
So, the state can give a sigh of relief.
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