September’s full harvest moon rises tonight, but there’s something special about the lunar machinations this time of year.
Near the fall equinox, which was Saturday, the moon rises each day closer together, according to Earth and Sky. That means instead of a delay between 40 and 50 minutes each subsequent day, it’s more like 30 to 35 minutes.
The higher the latitude, the shorter the time lag. In Alaska, the lag time is just 10 minutes. In Denver it’s 30 minutes.
“No matter where you live worldwide, the moon will appear plenty full to you on both September 24 and 25, lighting up the night from dusk until dawn,” said Earth and Sky columnist Bruce McClure.
In West Palm Beach, moonrise tonight is 7:20 p.m.
Tuesday’s moonrise will be 7:55 p.m..
Wednesday will see the moon rise at 8:41 p.m.
The Harvest Moon is the only Full Moon name which is determined by the equinox rather than a month, according to TimeandDate.com.
Bottom line, look east tonight at 7:20 p.m. for September’s full harvest moon. Go to the beach, or the Intracoastal waterway for a special celestial treat when the moon emerges large and plump over the flat horizon.
11 p.m. UPDATE: Tropical Storm Kirk’s top sustained winds decreased to near 35 mph as it accelerated westward across the Atlantic, according to the latest National Hurricane Center advisory. It’s now a tropical depression.
Kirk is about 835 miles west-southwest of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands and moving rapidly around 25 mph.
Little change in the maximum winds is forecast during the next several days. But forecasters said Kirk could degenerate into a trough of low pressure as it moves quickly across the tropical central Atlantic over the next several days.
5 p.m. UPDATE: Tropical Storm Kirk continues on its rapid westward trek across the tropical Atlantic, speeding due west at 23 mph, according to the latest National Hurricane Center advisory.
Kirk is about 645 miles southwest of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands with maximum sustained winds near 40 mph. Some strengthening is forecast during the next day or two.
However, Kirk could encounter shear that could weaken the storm over the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, newly named Subtropical Storm Leslie is crawling toward the west in the middle of the Atlantic. Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph, but Leslie is forecast to dissipate in a few days.
11 a.m. UPDATE: Tropical Storm Kirk continues its westward trek, and is now moving west at 21 mph. It is 545 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands and still has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Kirk’s forecast of continued westward movement and strengthening early in the week hasn’t changed.
Meanwhile, a new storm, Leslie, has formed. A subtropical storm, Leslie has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, and is out in the middle of the Atlantic on the same latitude as South Carolina. Leslie is only moving west at about 3 mph and isn’t expected to move very far in the next two days, forecasters say.
NHC forecasters predict Leslie will likely be absorbed by a larger low-pressure system by mid-week.
Finally, Tropical Depression 11 is no more. The remnants of the depression were expected to weaken further in the next day or so. They have maximum sustained winds of 25 mph and are about 350 miles east-northeast of the Windward Islands.
Atlantic Ocean- Tropical Depression 11 and Other storms On this Sunday the National Hurricane Center is issuing advisories on weakening Tropical Depression Eleven, located several hundred miles east of the Windward Islands ….https://t.co/garxEbOHTlpic.twitter.com/iH5TWSeWx8
Forecasters say Kirk will begin moving more quickly across the ocean as of Tuesday and is expected to strengthen in the next two days. However, they add it may begin weakening in the middle of the week.
Meanwhile, Tropical Depression 11, what forecasters are calling a “poorly organized” storm, is likely to dissipate by this evening. It’s 415 miles east-northeast of the Windward Islands and had maximum sustained winds of 30 mph.
11 p.m. UPDATE: Kirk is about 425 miles south-southwest of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands and moving west-northwest about around 16 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center advisory. Top sustained winds were still 40 mph.
A faster westward motion across the deep tropical Atlantic Ocean is expected Sunday through Tuesday. Some strengthening is forecast through Sunday night, with little change in intensity expected on Monday and Tuesday.
Meanwhile, poorly organized Tropical Depression 11 is creeping northwestward about 440 miles east of the Windward Islands with sustained winds of 30 mph.
The depression is forecast to dissipate on Sunday or early Monday.
5pm UPDATE: (Eliot Kleinberg)
Tropical Storm Kirk, which formed overnight, continued Saturday to cross the Atlantic Ocean, steering toward a possible collision with the islands of the eastern Caribbean by the end of next week, according to a 5 p.m. National Hurricane Center advisory.
At 5 p.m. Saturday, Kirk was about 430 miles south of the Cabo Verde Islands and was moving west-northwest at 15 mph, up slightly from its earlier 14 mph pace. Top sustained winds were 40 mph.
” A faster westward motion across the deep tropical Atlantic Ocean is expected Sunday through Tuesday,” the advisory said.
ORIGINAL POST: (Eliot Kleinberg)
Tropical Storm Kirk has formed out in the eastern Atlantic, and is expected to move quickly across the ocean and possibly threaten islands as early as Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said Saturday in an 11 a.m. advisory.
At 11 a.m., Kirk was far south of the Cabo Verde Islands. Top winds were 40 mph, just 1 mph over the minimum to be a tropical storm. It was moving west near 14 mph and was expected to speed up from Sunday through Tuesday.
“Some strengthening is forecast through Sunday, with little change in intensity forecast on Monday and Tuesday,” the advisory said.
But forecasters said the next named storm, which would be Kirk, could form over the weekend when an area of low pressure in the central subtropical Atlantic finds its way into more favorable conditions.
The spot of disturbed weather, which is midway between Bermuda and Azores, has a 70 percent chance of developing over the next five days.
Of the other three areas, two have meager shots of becoming something more in the short term, while the third — a tropical wave off the coast of Africa — has a 60 percent chance of development.
“The coming weeks into mid-October often bring several additional tropical storms and hurricanes,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski wrote in his forecast. “This year may not be any exception.”
One of the areas being watched is about 100 miles southeast of Bermuda and has moisture associated with the now defunct Florence, which made landall last week in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane. It has a 30 percent chance of development over five days.
National Hurriane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said the area doesn’t contain enough of Florence to keep that name if it becomes a tropical storm.
After Kirk, the next two names on the 2018 storm list are Leslie and Michael.
The tropical wave, which is about 600 miles south-southeast of the Cabo Verde Islands, was showing signs of organization Friday with environmental conditions forecast to be more accommodating for a tropical depression to form next week.
The peak of the hurricane season was Sept. 10. This season has so far had 10 named storms and five hurricanes. Three hurricanes — Florence, Helene and Isaac — and two tropical storms — Gordon and Joyce — formed between Sept. 1 and Sept. 12.
As of Friday, the season remained more active than normal. Many forecasts reduced their predictions because they believed a fall El Niño was likely. El Niño climate patterns create storm-killing wind shear and are associated with below normal hurricane seasons.
“The anticipated El Niño for this upcoming fall and winter has been lagging, and we are still technically in a neutral phase,” said AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski. “Even though we are over the hump in terms of the average peak of hurricane season, there is still more hurricane season to go.”
Ordered in April, the nearly four-month wait is more than quadruple the norm as aluminum prices edge up and supply dwindles with more mills looking toavoid tariffs by buying American, said Andy Kobosko, Jr., owner of Guardian Storm Protection in suburban West Palm Beach.
Kobosko, whose company filled the Frenchman’s Creek order, said he’s recently reduced delays to four to six weeks by buying in bulk with his Fort Lauderdale-based distributor. A normal wait time for shutters before the tariffs was two to three weeks, Kobosko said.
“Things are starting to catch up, but it’s been a stressful three months,” he said.
The tropics are nothing if not tenacious this September, with a tropical wave trying to become the next named storm under a plume of dry Saharan air.
National Hurricane Center forecasters are giving the area of disturbed weather only a 20 percent of tropical development over the next five days, with nearly no chance of development in the next 48 hours.
But by September, SAL outbreaks overspread the Caribbean only 10 to 15 percent of the time.
“It’s just that they’re a bit smaller than their June to August cousins and they especially don’t tend to reach as far west,” Dunion said.
Forecasters said Monday that tropical development was unlikely over the next 10 days.
While hurricane season lasts through Nov. 30, the tropical waves that produce Cape Verde storms tend to diminish by late September, said Bob Henson, a meteorologist for Weather Underground, part of IBM.
“We’ve come past the normal peak and it was an especially sharp peak this year because everything kind of aligned,” Henson said. “It was just a constellation of ingredients that came together and if the formula changes just a little bit, the numbers can drop pretty sharply.”
This year, three hurricanes — Florence, Helene and Isaac — and two tropical storms — Gordon and Joyce — formed between Sept. 1 and Sept. 12.
At the moment of equinox, the Earth’s axis leans neither toward or away from the sun — a parity that produces a nearly equal day and night.
“For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is rising later now, and nightfall comes sooner,” said Deborah Byrd, editor-in-chief of the online magazine Earth and Sky. “We’re enjoying the cooler days of autumn.”
But in South Florida, the onset of fall-like temperatures is still at least a month away.
The average daytime high in West Palm Beach doesn’t dip below 85 degrees until Oct. 20, with overnight lows remaining in the 70s until Oct. 27 when the normal finally dips to 69 degrees.
And even then, the difference between the warmest and coldest periods of the year in South Florida can be just 25 degrees, according to the book Florida Weather, which was co-authored by Florida Climatologist David Zierden.
This week, the difference between the daytime high and overnight low in West Palm Beach was just 12 degrees with Monday reaching a searing 91 degrees and this morning bottoming out at an unofficial 79 degrees.
An area of high pressure over the state should keep the temperatures above normal into the weekend. The normal high this time of year in West Palm Beach is 88 degrees, with a normal overnight low of 75 degrees.
Weather reporters covering Hurricane Florence no doubt dealt with hammering wind, driving rain, and charging storm surge.
But some people are criticizing what they feel are overly-dramatic reports from the storm.
In one clip, seasoned Weather Channel reporter Mike Seidel is bracing against Florence’s wind in Wilmington, N.C. when two people seemingly stride by behind him with little trouble in the gale.
The Weather Channel defended the experienced meteorologist.
“It’s important to note that the two individuals in the background are walking on concrete and Mike Seidel is trying to maintain his footing on wet grass, after reporting on-air until 1 a.m. this morning and is undoubtedly exhausted,” it said in a statement.
I find it sick and disturbing to use a natural disaster to boost ratings! I use to have mad respect for the weather channel but knowing what I know now going through it, I am truly disgusted by these actions. https://t.co/6tQj1YS0K3
The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang called out Hurricane Florence reporters in general who it thought were “manufacturing” action, “leaning into 30 mph winds like they are battling a Category 5.”
Deputy Weather Editor Angela Fritz said the drama is “driving me up the wall.”
“Really? There is no need for this,” she wrote in a column. “The wind is not the story here, and everyone knows it because they watched Florence drop in strength before it made landfall.”
Plus, Fritz said, if you are going to lean into the winds of a raging storm (turn your sound down) “do it right.”
In other social media posts, meteorologists were criticized for standing outside in the weather, while admonishing viewers not to do the same.
Ginger Zee, chief meteorologist at ABC News, responded saying she always puts safety first.
Florida Climatologist David Zierden also chimed in, asking if being outside during a storm is any less safe than a football game.
I am a degreed meteorologist and weather nerd. I go outside to watch thunderstorms, outside and windows instead of a safe room for severe weather. I want to see the weather as it happens as a viewer. Is this any less safe than an NFL football game? @Ginger_Zeehttps://t.co/8XA4dsvebT
South Florida didn’t see any direct impacts from Hurricane Florence, but sinking air and southwest winds on the periphery of the storm hiked temperatures to above normal over the weekend.
The daytime high Saturday and Sunday was 91 degrees at Palm Beach International Airport. That’s 3 degrees above normal for this time of year.
A lack of cooling afternoon storms kept it warm into the evening on both days. As warm as it was, it couldn’t top the record high of 94 degrees for Sept. 15 set in 1950, and 95 degrees for Sept. 16 set in 1990.
This morning’s unofficial low temperature of 79 is 4 degrees above normal, but 1 degree below the record warm low of 81 set in 1906.
Today could be much of the same, said Chris Fisher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami.
“We’re not expecting too much rain so the heat index will be 100 to 105,” Fisher said. “We may see some showers but not as much as you would see on a typical summer day.”
Florence, now a tropical depression, is forecast to move northward today into the Ohio Valley and then northeast across the northeastern portion of the U.S. tomorrow.
That change will give the high pressure that has been over South Florida for the past couple of days a chance to move north into Central and North Florida, shifting south Florida’s winds to a more easterly flow off the water.
While it may be mid-September, Fisher said noticeably cooler temperatures are several weeks away.
“You really don’t start feeling the difference until early to mid-October,” he said. “Technically, the dry season is still a month away.”