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The Outer Hebrides, Scotland

57.7N 6.8W

May 14th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

The Outer Hebrides, Scotland - May 12th, 2009

The Outer Hebrides, Scotland - May 12th, 2009

The Outer Hebrides (also known as the Western Isles or by their Gaelic name, Na h-Eileanan Siar) comprise an island chain off the west coast of Scotland.

The island chain forms part of the Hebrides, separated from the Scottish mainland and from the Inner Hebrides (right) by the stormy waters of the Minch (upper right), the Little Minch (center right) and the Sea of the Hebrides (lower right).

A faint phytoplankton bloom can be seen in the Atlantic Ocean, west of the islands.

The main islands form an archipelago. With their smaller surrounding islands these are sometimes known poetically as the Long Isle. The major islands include Lewis (top center) and Harris, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist, and Barra.

Much of the western coastline of the islands is machair, a fertile low-lying dune pastureland. Much of the archipelago is protected habitat, and this includes both the islands and the surrounding waters. There are numerous rare species, including the golden eagle, basking shark, whale, dolphin, otter and corncrake.

Remnants of Tropical Cyclones 13S (Gael) and 14S (Freddy)

February 11th, 2009 Category: Tropical Cyclones

Tropical Cyclone 14S (Freddy) - February 10th, 2009

Tropical Cyclone 14S (Freddy) - February 10th, 2009

Remnants of Tropical Cyclone 13S (Gael)

Remnants of Tropical Cyclone 13S (Gael)

The strength and organization of TC 14S (Freddy) has decreased significantly, and it is no longer categorized as a cyclone. The image to the left shows the weakened system  west of Australia as of 0600Z yesterday.

The remnants of Freddy are also visible in the image to the right, valid at 1800Z. By comparing the earlier and later images, it is evident that Freddy has continued to weaken and become more disorganized.

Further west, TC13S (Gael) has completed extratropical transitioning. The righthand image shows the remnants of the cyclone moving away from Madagascar and La Reunion. These remnants appear even less organized than those of Freddy.

As of this time, there are no potential areas for cyclone formation in the Pacific nor the Indian Oceans.

Tropical Cyclone 13S (Gael) Expected to Transition into Cold Core System

February 10th, 2009 Category: Tropical Cyclones

Tropical Cyclone 13S (Gael) - February 9th, 2009 © JTWC

Tropical Cyclone 13S (Gael) - February 9th, 2009

Locations of TC 13S and TC 14S © JTWC

Locations of TC 13S and TC 14S

Tropical Cyclone 13S (Gael), located approximately 720 nautical miles south-southeast of La Reunion, has tracked southeastward at 20 knots over the past six hours.

The image of the globe shows its position, southeast of Madagascar. Tropical Cyclone 14S (Freddy) is also visible to the right, west of Australia.

Maximum significant wave height of Gael is 20 feet.

Animated water vapor imagery shows TC13S has increased its forward motion and convection around the low level circulation center has significantly decreased.

Environmental analysis indicates the system has rapidly tracked into an area of strong vertical wind shear and cooler sea surface temperatures.

The cyclone is expected to transition into a cold core system over the next 12 hours as it gets absorbed into the baroclinic zone.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center will issue no further warnings on this system, though it will be closely monitored for signs of regeneration.

source JTWC

Tropical Cyclone 13S (Gael) Brushes Madagascar Coast, Returns to Open Ocean

February 9th, 2009 Category: Tropical Cyclones

Tropical Cyclone 13S (Gael) - February 7th, 2009

Tropical Cyclone 13S (Gael) - February 7th, 2009

TC 13S - enhanced image

TC 13S - enhanced image

Tropical Cyclone 13S (Gael), located approximately 355 nautical miles south of La Reunion, has tracked south-southeastward at 16 knots over the past 6 hours.

In the main image, TC 13S is visible in its position on February 7th, when it brushed the northeastern coast of Madagascar before returning over water. The map below, however, shows its current position southeast of the island nation.

The enhanced image permits a more detailed look at the well-defined eye of the cyclone.

Despite remaining an intense tropical cyclone, a rapid weakening trend is projected to begin over the next 24 hours as Gael transitions into a very strong extratropical system.

The current intensity of 90 knots hedges slightly lower than earlier intensity estimates due to the initiation of rapid weakening, as evident in more recent animated infrared and water vapor satellite imagery.

Excessive vertical wind shear ahead of a baroclinic boundary just upstream and sea surface temperatures below the 26 degree celsius threshold, will weaken the system to near 50 knots just prior to completing extratropical transition at TAU 24.

Maximum significant wave height is 23 feet.

source JTWC

Tropical Cyclone 13S (Gael) to Cause Heavy Damage to Madagascar

February 6th, 2009 Category: Rivers, Snapshots

West coast of Madagascar - February 6th, 2009

West coast of Madagascar - February 6th, 2009

While Tropical Cyclone 13S (Gael) approaches the east coast of Madagascar, the west coast remains clear for the moment. Several rivers are brown in color due to sediments.

Torrential rains and high winds are forecast for Madagascar as Gael moves towards the island.

The cyclone is expected to hit Madagascar near Toamasina (Tamatave), the country’s main port, on February 6th, with winds at speeds over 145 km/h (90 mph).

After landfall, Gael is forecast to weaken while tracking towards Antananarivo.

The main threat, according to the Swinden Group, will be widespread flooding caused by torrential rains, mudslides, and heavy damage to poorly constructed buildings and other infrastructure, including roads, communications, water, power, and sewage.

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