Space X scrubs launch for third time

UPDATE 7:30 p.m.: Space X launch stopped during final countdown. Tonight’s failed launch was the third attempt in the past week.

There was a ship initially in the “keep out” area that put the launch on hold. Then there was a launch attempt at 7:21 but it was aborted at last second.

No new launch date set yet.

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Space X scrubbed two launches from Cape Canaveral last week, but has rescheduled for tonight with a launch window opening at 6:46 p.m. for its Falcon 9 rocket.

According to Universe Today, Space X stopped the launches on Wednesday and Thursday because of rocket fueling issues with liquid oxygen propellant.

The window for tonight’s launch will last about 90 minutes through 8:23 p.m. A backup date of Monday has also been scheduled in case this latest attempt is also unsuccessful.

The Falcon 9 rocket will be carrying the commercial SES-9 television and communications satellite. Tonight’s mission will also involve an attempt to recover the rocket’s first stage at sea via the “Of course I still love you” drone ship.

“Given this unique GTO profile, a successful landing is not expected,” SpaceX wrote in a press release. 

The company made history in December when it landed the first stage safely back at Cape Canaveral.

South Florida should be able to see the launch. Sunset is at 6:21 p.m. with last light at 6:45 p.m. The watch is also expected to be webcast at SpaceX.com/webcast.

Photo courtesy SpaceX
Photo courtesy SpaceX

 

 

2016 hurricane season, 97% chance of named storm hitting U.S.

Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science stopped doing quantitative December hurricane forecasts for pending storm seasons in 2012.

But researchers are still issuing a more qualitative discussion of the factors that will influence the 2016 hurricane season, including the climatological chances that the U.S. and individual states will get hit by a tropical storm, hurricane or major hurricane.

This year’s discussion, released last week, relies on two main events for its hurricane predictions; whether El Nino will remain a strong influence through summer next year and the potency of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation (AMO).

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El Nino is known to knock down hurricanes by creating strong westerly wind shear, such as we saw during the 2015 hurricane season.

The AMO is a longer-term phenomenon that impacts sea-surface temperatures. Warm sea surface temperatures are like candy to growing hurricanes.

While CSU’s study, which was written by hurricane expert Philip Kotzbach with assistance from William Gray, looks generally at four scenarios affecting hurricane frequency and strength, it also gives climatological landfall probabilities for 2016. The probabilities are long term chances, taking into account data from the 20th century.

“While we are not issuing a quantitative forecast in this early outlook, we can still provide interested readers with the climatological probabilities of landfall for various portions of the United States coastline,” Klotzbach wrote.

For all of the U.S., Klotzbach said there is a 97 percent chance of a named storm making landfall. That could mean a tropical storm, hurricane or major hurricane.

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Last week’s discussion also gives the climatological probabilities that a hurricane or major hurricane will impact specific states.

Climatological chance for a hurricane landfall in 2016
Climatological probabilities for a hurricane landfall in 2016.

Klotzbach notes that none of the 27 major hurricanes that have formed since Wilma in 2005 made a U.S. landfall.

“The 10-year period that the U.S. has gone without any major landfalls exceeds the previous record of eight years set between 1861 and 1868,” he wrote.

But why?

“There is obviously a luck component that has played a significant role,” Klotzbach said.

He explains another part of why in a blog for the Capital Weather Gang written with Brian McNoldy. Basically an exploration of how an east coast low pressure system may be steering hurricanes away from the U.S.

Florida is singled out as being “remarkably lucky” to have not been impacted by a hurricane since Wilma. Klotzbach said there has been a marked decrease in hurricanes hitting the Florida peninsula over the past 50 years.

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Bob Henson, a meteorologist and blogger for Weather Underground said CSU’s recent discussion makes him even more “eager to see how this very uncertain hurricane season will unfold.”

“As one would expect, the skill of these outlooks steadily improves as the hurricane season nears,” he wrote in a blog last week.  “Even if it’s too soon right now to expect an accurate forecast for 2016, the latest thoughts from CSU make me even more eager to see how this very uncertain hurricane season will unfold.”