Wandering Wanda to keep hurricane season going a couple more days
Tropical Storm Wanda is caught in an area of weak steering flow in the middle of the Atlantic. It’s drifting north and is forecast to drift back south again over the next couple of days before a strong enough dip in the jet stream comes along. That scoop should send it off into the North Atlantic.
Wanda is over chilly water, closer to 70 degrees than 80, but when the air aloft is cool, tropical storms can still run off the heat of a coldish ocean, although they can’t get terribly strong.
The westernmost islands in the Azores will have to keep an eye on Wanda over the weekend. As the circulation gets scooped up to the northeast, it might brush those islands. The storm will be accelerating at that time, so whatever effects are felt on the islands, if any, should pass quickly.
There are no signs that another tropical system will develop after Wanda. There’s a good chance the hurricane season is over, although another spin-up somewhere can be ruled out. It’s very likely the season is over for Florida and the U.S. coast, however.
Low-pressure systems from now on are likely to be like the one that’s forecast to develop in the Gulf and move across Florida tomorrow and Saturday bringing some heavy rain. It will be associated with fronts, which is one of the distinguishing features of a non-tropical system. The trailing cold front will bring cooler, breezy weather to the entire state by Sunday.
Historically speaking, freak tropical storms do occasionally happen. On this date in 1935, the so-called “Yankee Hurricane” hit Miami. It came from the north, having been off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina three days before – thus the “Yankee” name.
The Miami Herald had a small column about the storm on its front page that Monday morning, November 4, 1935. The Bahamas was getting pounded, but forecasters thought the center of the storm center would stay east of Nassau. Instead, it arced to the west, making landfall just north of downtown Miami in the early afternoon.
The headline on the 5th said, “Three Die as Yankee Storm Sweeps Miami.” The subheading called it a “Freak Hurricane.” The track was definitely bizarre. There’s nothing exactly like it in the record book.
Today’s estimate is that the hurricane had top winds of about 100 mph. The strongest winds were in north Dade County and the southern half of Broward County, where significant damage was reported. The winds went calm in downtown Miami when the eye passed over, but damage downtown was relatively minor.
The takeaway is that weird storms do occasionally happen, even late in the year. So while there’s reason to feel good that this hurricane season is likely over, living along the coast means always keeping an eye on what’s happening over the ocean.