Hurricane Humberto (2019)

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Hurricane Humberto
Category 3 major hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Humberto 2019-09-18 1535Z.jpg
Hurricane Humberto near peak intensity west of Bermuda on September 18
FormedSeptember 13, 2019
DissipatedSeptember 26, 2019
(Extratropical after September 20)
Highest winds1-minute sustained: 125 mph (205 km/h)
Lowest pressure951 mbar (hPa); 28.08 inHg
Fatalities1 killed, 1 missing
DamageUnknown
Areas affectedHispaniola, Cuba, Bahamas, Southeastern United States, Bermuda, Atlantic Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom
Part of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Humberto was a large and powerful tropical cyclone that was the first storm to produce hurricane-force winds on the island of Bermuda since Nicole in 2016. The eighth named storm, third hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, Humberto developed from a disturbance in the Atlantic on September 13. The disturbance slowly organized as it moved through the Southern Bahamas, and late on September 12th, it was designated Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine, as it posed a threat to imminent land areas in Florida and the Bahamas. The next day, the potential cyclone developed a closed surface circulation, and was designated a tropical depression. The depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Humberto a few hours later. After re-curving northeastward, away from the United States, Humberto began to intensify. Humberto reached hurricane strength at 3:00 UTC September 16th, and peaked as a Category 3 hurricane as it approached Bermuda. The eastern portion of Humberto's eye moved over Bermuda as it began to evolve into an extratropical cyclone, a process it completed by early on September 20. Post-Tropical Cyclone Humberto accelerated east and gradually weakened before it was absorbed by a larger storm over the British Isles.

Humberto was the first hurricane to make landfall in Bermuda since 2016's Hurricane Nicole. The storm was responsible for large swells across the East Coast of the US during mid-September, and one fatality was reported after a man drowned due to a rip current in North Carolina. Another man was reported missing after the storm in St. Augustine. Bermudan officials reported that no fatalities occurred on the island during Humberto's passage.

Meteorological history[edit]

Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

Early on September 8, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) began monitoring a disturbance to the northeast of the Lesser Antilles for potential tropical cyclone development.[1] The disturbance moved westward over the next few days without much improvement in organization.[2] On September 12, surface pressures began to fall over the southeastern Bahamas and associated convective activity began to consolidate;[3] as the system posed an imminent threat to land areas, the NHC initiated advisories on Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine at 21:00 UTC that day.[4] Within an environment of moderate wind shear, the system initially struggled to develop a distinct center. However, an Air Force reconnaissance aircraft investigated the disturbance on the afternoon of September 13 and discovered a closed low-level circulation. In response, the NHC classified the potential tropical cyclone as a tropical depression at 21:00 UTC that day.[5] The depression intensified into Tropical Storm Humberto six hours later.[6]

As Humberto moved slowly toward the northwest, its interactions with an upper-level trough to the south imparted some characteristics of a subtropical cyclone through the morning of September 14.[7] Shear associated with the trough relaxed over the next 12 hours, allowing Humberto's center to become covered by convection.[8] Banding features gradually became better defined and an inner core took form, despite persistent influence from nearby dry air.[9] A dry slot persisted into the early morning hours of September 15 but was soon replaced by deep convection. Upper-level outflow expanded in all quadrants of the storm, and a ragged mid-level eye became evident on microwave satellite imagery.[10] By 03:00 UTC on September 16, as the cyclone curved northeastward around the western periphery of a mid-level ridge, Humberto intensified into the third Atlantic hurricane of the 2019 season.[11] The newly designated hurricane continued to strengthen as it traveled through a region of low wind shear, adequate atmospheric moisture, and warm ocean temperatures, intensifying to just shy of Category 2 intensity by September 16.[12]

This strengthening trend was arrested over the following day as the hurricane's wind field became increasingly broad and asymmetric, with maximum sustained winds substantially lower than its central pressure alone would suggest.[13] By late on September 17, however, a large eye, 35–40 mile (55–65 km) in diameter, grew increasingly distinct while surrounding cloud tops cooled.[14] Based on data from an Air Force reconnaissance, Humberto was upgraded Humberto a Category 3 major hurricane at 00:00 UTC on September 18.[15] Humberto exhibited the first signs of extratropical transition later that day, with convection focused mainly to the north of the center as it made its closest approach to Bermuda.[16] Even as this evolution progressed, further investigation by the Hurricane Hunters late on September 18 found evidence of a stronger system, and Humberto peaked as a strong Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph (205 km/h) at 09:00 UTC on September 19.[17] A few hours later, frontal features developed near the center and dry air engulfed the western and southern semicircles of the circulation, promoting a weakening trend.[18] Humberto completed its transition to a powerful extratropical cyclone by 03:00 UTC on September 20.[19] Humberto's remnants accelerated eastward over the next few days while gradually weakening, passing over the British Isles late on September 24 before merging with another extratropical system to the west two days later.[20][21][22]

Preparations[edit]

Immediately upon the formation of Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine, tropical storm warnings were issued for the northwestern Bahamas, except Andros Island.[23] Late on September 12, a tropical storm watch was issued for the east coast of the Florida Peninsula between Jupiter Inlet and the VolusiaBrevard County line.[24] After an expansion northward to include more of the Florida coastline,[25] the watch was canceled late on September 13.[26] A tropical storm watch was first issued for Bermuda on September 16 and ultimately upgraded to a hurricane warning the next day.[27][28]

Governor of Bermuda John Rankin called up to 120 members of the Royal Bermuda Regiment to prepare for recovery efforts. The minister of national security in Bermuda, Wayne Caines, stated that schools, government offices, and ferries on Bermuda closed at noon and bus services stopped at 4 p.m.[29]

Impacts[edit]

Tropical Storm Humberto passing east of the Bahamas and Florida on September 14

United States[edit]

Rip currents produced by Humberto affected much of the Eastern United States for several days. A 62-year-old man drowned at Topsail Beach, North Carolina, while a 22-year-old man went missing at St. Augustine, Florida.[30][31]

Bermuda[edit]

Humberto started producing hurricane-force winds on Bermuda at around 8 p.m. ADT on Wednesday, September 18. By early Thursday morning, Humberto left more than 80% of the island, over 27,900 customers, without power, plunging the island into a blackout.[32] The Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service reported seventeen minor incidents of gas leaks, nine medical incidents, and three structural fires that were caused by Humberto.[33] The Causeway, a road that connects the busy airport in northern Bermuda to the population centers in southern Bermuda, was closed as engineers assessed its stability.[34]

Aftermath[edit]

Humberto knocked over many power lines, while others dangled dangerously low. This resulted in mass road closures, and a statement from the government of Bermuda advising residents to stay indoors until it was deemed safe. The government released an additional statement shortly thereafter saying that no one died on the island due to Hurricane Humberto.[34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eric S. Blake (September 8, 2019). "Two-Day Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  2. ^ Lixion A. Avila (September 11, 2019). "Two-Day Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  3. ^ Lixion A. Avila (September 12, 2019). "Two-Day Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  4. ^ Lixion Avila (September 12, 2019). "Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine Discussion Number 1". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  5. ^ Lixion A. Avila (September 13, 2019). "Tropical Depression Nine Discussion Number 5". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  6. ^ John P. Cangialosi (September 13, 2019). "Tropical Storm Humberto Public Advisory Number 6". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  7. ^ John L. Beven II (September 14, 2019). "Tropical Storm Humberto Discussion Number 7". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  8. ^ Lixion A. Avila (September 14, 2019). "Tropical Storm Humberto Discussion Number 9". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  9. ^ John P. Cangialosi (September 15, 2019). "Tropical Storm Humberto Discussion Number 10". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  10. ^ Stacy R. Stewart (September 15, 2019). "Tropical Storm Humberto Discussion Number 12". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  11. ^ Richard J. Pasch (September 15, 2019). "Hurricane Humberto Discussion Number 14". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  12. ^ Stacy R. Stewart (September 16, 2019). "Hurricane Humberto Discussion Number 17". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  13. ^ Stacy R. Stewart (September 17, 2019). "Hurricane Humberto Discussion Number 20". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  14. ^ Richard J. Pasch (September 17, 2019). "Hurricane Humberto Discussion Number 22". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  15. ^ Richard J. Pasch (September 17, 2019). "Tropical Storm Humberto Intermediate Advisory Number 17A". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  16. ^ Stacy R. Stewart (September 18, 2019). "Hurricane Humberto Discussion Number 25". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  17. ^ David P. Roberts (September 19, 2019). "Hurricane Humberto Discussion Number 26". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  18. ^ John P. Cangialosi (September 19, 2019). "Hurricane Humberto Discussion Number 28". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  19. ^ Richard J. Pasch (September 19, 2019). "Post-Tropical Cyclone Humberto Discussion Number 30". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  20. ^ "Europe Weather Analysis on 24 September 2019". Free University of Berlin. September 24, 2019. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  21. ^ "Europe Weather Analysis on 25 September 2019". Free University of Berlin. September 25, 2019. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  22. ^ "Europe Weather Analysis on 26 September 2019". Free University of Berlin. September 26, 2019. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  23. ^ Lixion A. Avila (September 12, 2019). "Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine Advisory Number 1". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  24. ^ Stacy R. Stewart (September 12, 2019). "Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine Advisory Number 2". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  25. ^ John L. Beven II (September 13, 2019). "Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine Advisory Number 3". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  26. ^ John P. Cangialosi (September 13, 2019). "Tropical Storm Humberto Advisory Number 6". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  27. ^ Stacy R. Stewart (September 16, 2019). "Hurricane Humberto Advisory Number 16". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  28. ^ Stacy R. Stewart (September 17, 2019). "Hurricane Humberto Advisory Number 21". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  29. ^ Norman, Greg. "Category 3 Hurricane Humberto set to make close pass off Bermuda as busy Atlantic season continues". FOX News. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  30. ^ "62-year-old man drowns after getting caught in rip current at Topsail Beach". WTVD-TV. Associated Press. September 19, 2019. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  31. ^ Christen Kelley (September 16, 2019). "Search continues for missing swimmer off St. Augustine Beach". St. Augustine Record. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  32. ^ Krupa, Michelle; Jones, Judson. "Hurricane Humberto's swipe at Bermuda leaves 80% of island without power". CNN. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  33. ^ Maxouris, Christina. "Hurricane Humberto moves past Bermuda and leaves most of the island in the dark". MSN. CNN. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  34. ^ a b Chappel, Bill. "'We've Made It Through': Bermuda Endures Hurricane Humberto". NPR. Retrieved 19 September 2019.

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