Wednesday, June 1, 2011

2011 Hurricane Season/Black Cat Sighting/Sonic Skaters


Hi again everyone! It has been nearly 3 months since I last posted. We moved into our new home on March 25th and between all of that, new job and lots of family events, I have not been able to carve out any time to blog. But I have thought of things I want to share a million times.

Of course today is very important as it marks the beginning of the 2011 Hurricane Season for the Atlantic basic (Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico). As we kick it off, the Atlantic basin has a small area of low pressure just off the coast of the Carolinas. See figure at right. According to the National Hurricane Center, this area only has a 10% chance of developing as it drifts westward into land over the next day or so.

For a complete discussion of the forecast for this hurricane season, see my AND MORE section.

Weather wise, there is a slight risk for severe storms for west Texas and extreme eastern New Mexico. There is also a slight risk for eastern Michigan.

Houston and Austin will continue on the dry side through the week with and increased chance for rain late in the weekend and early in the coming week. Houston has a better chance for thunderstorms, but Austin has at least a chance. Lows will be in the low 70s with highs primarily in the low 90s. Austin hit a record high of 100 early last week. Hopefully, this is not a sign of things to come this summer. See the AND MORE section for a discussion of the Climate Prediction Center's 3 months outlooks.

For the next few days, there will be some troughiness out west and that will allow rain for parts of the west. Just a few days ago, my sister sent me a photo of her kids playing in the new snow in the Lake Tahoe area. They have had a ridiculous number of snow days and the kids will be going school at least until mid June.

The Midwest has been unusually cold and as we know wet. At my nephew's graduation celebration a week ago Friday in Council Bluffs, Iowa it was in the 50s and windy.


Let's go with vacation or de vacaciones , pronounced day vah-cah-see-OWN-ehs. Woohoo, it is time for de vacaciones. Be safe and have fun!

We have released our Volume 3 DVD and Volumes 1 through 3 music review CD for Let's Learn Spanish with Frank & Paco. We have a special at our web site. Buy the bundle--Volumes 1 through 3 and get the music review CD for FREE!!! To take advantage of that offer, go to our web site:

You can also find my award winning education series, Let's Learn Spanish with Frank & Paco, Volumes 1 and 2, on the shelf (in the education section) at Barnes & Noble stores or you can order them from,,, or Our ESL (English as a Second Language) version can be found at P.S. THEY MAKE TERRIFIC GIFTS!!!


There are several forecasts for the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season. To summarize, all three of my favorites are forecasting an above normal hurricane season. The main reason for this is that the water temperatures are still running above normal, we continue in a multi-decadal pattern of above normal activity and even though the La Nina episode is winding down, the effect of it (which is reduced wind shear in the Atlantic basic) is expected to linger through the summer.

National Hurricane Center 2011 Hurricane Forecast
The following was copied directly from the National Hurricane Center's web site. Special shout-out to my friend Bill Read, director of the National Hurricane Center. I am so proud of you and wish you all the best this season.

Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA is predicting the following ranges this year:

•12 to 18 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which:

•6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including:

•3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher)
Each of these ranges has a 70 percent likelihood, and indicate that activity will exceed the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

“The United States was fortunate last year. Winds steered most of the season’s tropical storms and all hurricanes away from our coastlines,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “However we can’t count on luck to get us through this season. We need to be prepared, especially with this above-normal outlook.”

2011 Hurricane Season Forecast from the Weather Research Center

The following are the chances for a tropical storm to strike these locations (first number) and the average chance of same is the 2nd number.

Texas 70% 51%
Mexico 40% 40%
Louisiana to Alabama 90% 59%
West Florida 90% 71%
East Florida 60% 41%
Georgia to N. Carolina 70% 56%
East Coast of U.S. 30% 36%

The figure at right shows the areas with highest strike probability in red.

And here is their forecast for the total number of storms.
Number of Named Storms 10
Number Intensifying into Hurricanes 6

Dr. William Gray's team's 2011 Hurricane Forecast

16 named storms
9 become hurricanes
5 of those develop into major hurricanes.

72% probability that one of those major hurricanes will strike somewhere along the entire U.S. east coast, from Brownsville, Texas to northern Maine

48% chance of a major hurricane striking somewhere along the U.S. east coast

2011 Hurricane Season Names

The World Meteorological Organization puts out lists of names for the Atlantic season in 6 year sets. If a given year produces a particularly bad storm for a given name, then that name is retired and 6 years later a new name is inserted. It has been 6 years since Katrina and Rita--notice the new names in their place--Katia and Rina. Here is the set of names for this year.


Climate Prediction Center 3 Month Outlooks - June, July and August
The outlook is above normal temps for the southwest into the southeast and cooler than normal for the Midwest into the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. The Northwest is expected to have above normal rain chances. See figures at right

Drought Assessment and Outlook
There is exceptional drought right now for much of Texas and New Mexico. The outlook is for some easing of that drought in central and eastern Texas. Keep your fingers crossed.

2nd Annual National Flood Workshop
The Weather Research Center is holding their 2nd annual National Flood Workshop in Houston from February 27th through March 1st in Houston. Abstracts are due in August. I attended the 1st one, and it was outstanding! To learn more, go to:

News Other Than Weather Forecasts and Hurricane Season
We are really enjoying living near Brushy Creek north of Austin. The area is full of nature and yet you are very close to modern conveniences. Gordy and I both saw some kind of wild black cat when we were getting the mail. It was not a housecat...being much larger but not as large as what I would consider a mountain lion. It was not a bobcat as it had a long tail. I looked on the Internet and it said that there have never "officially" been any black jaguars in Texas. But we know what we saw. Some neighbors told us there have been news stories about this black cat...I have not looked them up yet, but I will let you know. Bottom line is that there is a lot of wildlife out here. We see deer all the time.

Finally, in case you were wondering about those skaters at Sonic, I did my own little interview recently. The guy told me that at least for their store the manager requires at least one employee to skate per shift. Everyone is expected to be able to skate, but usually the best skater is chosen. All I know is that I would kill myself doing that.

Have a great week everyone!
Cecilia Sinclair
Wonder Weather Woman

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