The threat to Spain that Hurricane Danielle drags with it has a name: extratropical transition

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It has finally been confirmed. The United States National Hurricane Center has confirmed that a tropical cyclone is forming west of the Azores and that, in the next few days, it will become a hurricane. It will be called Danielle and, although there is still great uncertainty about the path it will take, it seems unlikely that it will fully affect the Iberian Peninsula.

So, is the hurricane problem over? That question has three possible answers and only one of them is yes.

Forecasts play in our favor. The fact that the cyclone has a name can only indicate that this is serious. It has ceased to be a possibility and has materialized in the first “northern hurricane“, something that until recently we thought impossible to see.

throughout the morning, the models were pointing that the path of the hurricane tended to go more and more to the north. That moved away (although it did not rule out) the scenario that the northwest of the peninsula would face a tropical cyclone of this type and, in this sense, that the models begin to agree that it will not affect us directly is a relief. Provisional, but a relief all the same.

The danger of the extratropical transition. However, as we said this morning, the direct impact of the hurricane has never been the main problem. Right now, in fact, the greatest risk facing Spain is that of extratropical transition. That is to say, the process by which a tropical cyclone (with a warm and symmetrical nucleus) becomes an extratropical cyclone (with a cold and asymmetrical nucleus). In that process, the cyclone may decay or it may continue to develop as a cold core system.

That is to say, like a huge storm and that, despite being less striking, would give us many problems: its impact on the peninsula could be very strong. As we have repeated in the last few hours, we are talking about very long-term forecasts. They are not premature (in the sense that they are the ones commonly used to work with hurricanes), but it is true that these types of phenomena are so complex and the situation is so new that the uncertainties are still tremendous.

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Everything is changing. As the AEMET says, the most striking thing about this tropical cyclone is that “it is being generated far to the north, much more than usual.” In the image above you can see this anomaly “in comparison with other tropical systems that are developing in the usual areas.” And this is precisely what leaves more questions in the air. The possible appearance of these “northern” hurricanes is something that has been shuffled for yearsbut we had not seen.

And, although it is something that needs more research, everything seems to indicate that the main factor driving the phenomenon is the warming of the Atlantic. Satellite images are crystal clear.: The waters near New England and Newfoundland are very hot, too hot. And that is “pure gasoline” for the hurricane; just what you need to grow and gain strength.

The possibility of a hurricane reaching Spain next week is real.  And it's not the most worrying

What can we expect? Right now, we can expect almost anything. Danielle will grow over the next few days and will set a very problematic precedent for the future. It is true that it seems that the Peninsula will dodge this bullet, but it is a major warning that the changes in the atmospheric dynamics of the Atlantic are going to bring surprises. Things we thought we were not going to see.

It has finally been confirmed. The United States National Hurricane Center has confirmed that a tropical cyclone is forming west…

It has finally been confirmed. The United States National Hurricane Center has confirmed that a tropical cyclone is forming west…

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