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HurricaneJosh

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About HurricaneJosh

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    Hardcore hurricane chaser. Southern Californian. Hurricane Man.
  • Birthday 01/21/1970

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    Male
  • Location:
    Southern California USA
  • Interests
    A.k.a. iCyclone. Obsessed with severe, deep-tropical cyclones. Nothing else matters.

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  1. HurricaneJosh

    Spring 2019 New England Banter and Disco

    Thanks, Gene! My show, Hurricane Man, is broadcasting in a bunch of countries now, including the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc. In the USA, it'll premiere on Science Channel in September. It was going to be June, but that's a dead zone in terms of TV. The network really digs the show and decided they wanted to have it as part of their big fall primetime lineup, so they rescheduled it. I'll announce the premiere date as soon as I know it. Thanks, man. Well... The lead dude on an action-adventure TV show needs to be... expressive. I might also add that I do find myself in legitimately dramatic situations-- like, you know, Cat 5s in the jungles of the Philippines. It's not like I'm hamming it up in 40-knot winds and drizzle in Myrtle Beach. Thx, Will. I've taken some dumb risks over the years and I've had a few brushes with death-- but, hey, I'm still here after 28 years of chasing around the globe, so I'm doing something right. P.S. I miss our collaborations. You used to be one of my go-to guys. My crew was amazing. There were actually three crews. When I first went to England to meet them, I was worried as hell-- these folks had never been in a hurricane, and I was thinking, "Holy crap, can they handle this?" But I trained them on what to expect and how to survive, and they were very brave. They never freaked out or complained-- even as I took 'em in to the cores of multiple Cat 5s (Super Typhoon MANGKHUT and then MICHAEL). They kept their heads down and got the shots we needed to create awesome TV. I'm damn proud of the show. In case anyone's curious, here's the promo they used to promote the show in the United Kingdom for this premiere this past spring:
  2. HurricaneJosh

    Major Hurricane Michael

    The mood in this discussion has gotten kind of edgy, and I don't know why. We seem to be talking past each other, because just as you feel misunderstood, I feel you are repeatedly misunderstanding me, or ascribing viewpoints to me that I never expressed: * I didn't perceive you to be disparaging my chase, nor was I disparaging yours. * I've expressed no opinion about where MICHAEL's strongest winds occurred. I simply said the worst wind damage I saw was in Panama City. (I definitely wasn't implying MICHAEL's highest winds occurred at my location, since I wasn't in Panama City-- I was E of there.) * In the final hours, I chase using radar. I see how the three recon fixes showed a more right tendency, but neither the radar track of the eye nor the NHC's operational track (both mapped above) showed a N wobble-- that's all I was saying. I pointed out that the report you cited only showed Cat-3 winds because I thought it was funny, since of course we both agree winds were much higher than that. I thought you'd see the humor in that, too. I was wrong! It's a shame this conversation soured like it did. Have a good night.
  3. HurricaneJosh

    Major Hurricane Michael

    P.S. Here's a graphic I made comparing my analyzed radar track (purple) with the NHC's operational track based on advisory positions (pink). Theirs looks more jagged and jumpy because 1) they only give hourly positions (whereas my track has positions every few minutes) and 2) they only fix points to the nearest tenth of a degree of latitude/longitude (whereas I placed points manually, for maximum precision). The brown star is where I was initially, and the black star is where I adjusted to during the moat (to penetrate the eye). I collected complete data at both locations.
  4. HurricaneJosh

    Major Hurricane Michael

    MICHAEL actually didn't wobble much at all as it came ashore. Here's the radar track I created based on a tedious frame-by-frame analysis. (It appears in my report-- not sure if you saw.) For a major landfalling hurricane it moved in a pretty behaved way-- and based on that consistent motion, I was able to anticipate the track and adjust my position during the moat to get in the eye. In my experience, landfalling hurricanes in the USA tend to behave-- the tracks are usually pretty smooth, like MICHAEL's. It's in Taiwan and Luzon (in the Philippines) and the Pacific coast of Mexico-- where the mountainous terrains seem to "confuse" cyclones-- that you get insane pre-landfall wobbles that make chasing really, really tough. (PATRICIA's pre-landfall wobbles in Mexico were nuts, and we didn't have radar-- we had to work off visible satellite imagery! I consider penetrating PATRICIA's pinhole eye the greatest feat of my career.) Point taken Re: CELIA having decent damage N of the center. But p. 273-275 of this detailed analysis from The Monthly Weather Review is very clear that the most pronounced and sharpest streaks of damage (and the storm's main energy) were S of the center: http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/general/lib/lib1/nhclib/mwreviews/1970.pdf Re: the CELIA wind map on the local NWS office site-- that's not exactly a precision graphic, and it's clearly mapping values from their table, most of which are estimated. The problem is, estimated wind values from this era were often grossly inflated-- it seemed in the old reports that every storm had estimated gusts to 170 or 200 mph-- so Lord knows how the 180-mph gusts in Aransas Pass and Robstown were estimated-- what the "methodology" around that was. (The Monthly Weather Review summary doesn't even include the sustained 130 mph at Aransas Pass, which leads me to believe that's quackery as well.) I've found in general that the local NWS office sites are not always the best sources when it comes to historical events. The highest reliably measured wind in CELIA was the 140-knot (161-mph) gust at the WSO at the airport in Corpus Christi, S of the center. But we're getting way into the weeds. I wasn't suggesting CELIA is an analog for MICHAEL, nor was I claiming MICHAEL's strongest winds were left of the center-- I was using CELIA to make a broader point, which is that there's no ironclad rule Re: which side the strongest winds occur on. It's usually on the right but not always. ANDREW is another example where apparently the worst damage was left of the center. Back to MICHAEL: I guess we just remember the damage differently. Again, wind damage in Mexico Beach looked no worse to me. I remember that fairly flimsy-looking houses above the surge line got through it beat up but intact. (By the way, one of the reports you cite estimates maximum gusts anywhere at 150 mph, which would suggest Cat 3. Be careful not to undermine your own thesis with the materials you bring into the discussion. ) You've made it clear you feel very, very strongly that it was 140 knots and that you were perfectly situated for those winds, and I understand that you feel that. We'll just have to leave it there.
  5. HurricaneJosh

    Major Hurricane Michael

    Hi, Tony! A few things: * My point about IRMA is that there are consistent problems with the SFMR data, so if the case for Cat 5 rests on a single SFMR reading, it's on shaky ground. * I was not on the balcony in Mexico Beach with you. And you were not in Callaway with me as I penetrated the inner eyewall and got into calm and sunshine. I'm sure it felt intense to you. It definitely did to me. Either way, these kinds of observations don't advance the discussion because Cat-4 eyewalls always feel nuclear. I've been in a bunch of Cat-4/5 eyewalls (DEAN (just nicked it), DANAS, HAIYAN, DUJUAN, PATRICIA, HAIMA, HARVEY, MARIA, MANGKHUT, MICHAEL)-- including a 145-knot Cat 5 a few weeks before MICHAEL-- and it feels off the charts and indescribable every time. So, that's a given! * I spent days in the region after the hurricane-- I had to because of my show-- so I got a really good look at the wind damage across the entire landfall zone-- from Panama City Beach (where there was almost no damage) to Mexico Beach. I'm not an engineer, but the wind damage didn't look a hair worse in Mexico Beach than in Panama City. Not a hair. (I'm talking specifically wind damage. The storm surge damage was of course much worse in Mexico Beach.) * Related to the previous point... Winds in the right eyewall are usually stronger but not always. There are exceptions. Hurricane CELIA of 1970 is a good example of how, even despite land friction and brisk translational speed (which would have subtracted from the winds on the left side), winds in the left eyewall were way worse than on the right side. I'm not saying that's the case with MICHAEL-- I'm saying we really don't know. Recon doesn't sample every convective cell. As with CELIA in Corpus Christi, it could be that the really vigorous convection in MICHAEL's left eyewall was producing localized bursts of much higher winds. We just don't know. I will say the wind damage around Panama City was the worst I saw anywhere in the storm. Based on everything I saw and measured, I'll reiterate that it seemed like a cyclone in the range of 125 to 135 knots. You feel it was higher. And that's OK-- we don't need to agree.
  6. HurricaneJosh

    Major Hurricane Michael

    Tony, I agree that it's borderline, and I agree that they're more likely to keep it at 135 knots. I've noticed that the SFMR data are often problematic-- for example, with IRMA they actually lowered the peak intensity slightly in postanalysis, I believe because the SFMR values seemed inflated. My subjective take, comparing how it "felt" on the ground next to the other high-end Cat 4/5 cores I've penetrated: MICHAEL felt like a very solid Cat 4. If I didn't know anything about the NHC's operational estimates and had only 1) the data I collected in the eye and inner eyewall, 2) my on-the-ground experience going through the cyclone, and 3) my tour of the impact zone (Panama City to Mexico Beach) afterward, I would've guessed it was absolutely no lower than 125 knots and probably no higher than 135 knots. Wind damage to buildings was off the charts, but I think part of it had to do with the quality of construction in the region. This having been said, if they bump it to 140 knots, I won't be shocked or even disagree with it, although I'll consider it maybe a touch generous. I want to emphasize that I'm not downplaying MICHAEL. It was definitely in my Top 5 in terms of "holy sh*t" factor-- and that's including the really crazy, industrial-grade cyclones I've witnessed in the Philippines and Mexico-- and calling it the 4th strongest out of the hundreds of hurricanes that have hit the USA since 1851 is giving it pretty profound respect.
  7. HurricaneJosh

    Major Hurricane Michael

    Thank you! Yeah, the NHC has my report! I always send my reports to them so they can factor my data into their postanalyses.
  8. HurricaneJosh

    Major Hurricane Michael

    Cool video, Tony! Some really intense moments in there. Hey, thanks! Hope you found it interesting! Thanks so much-- I really appreciate that! And, yeah, I really, really need to get caught up with my chase accounts! It bums me out how behind I am! Grrrr. I at least need to do the really major ones. Anyhoo, thanks for reading 'em.
  9. HurricaneJosh

    Major Hurricane Michael

    Yeah, I heard about that. My data don't show gradients anywhere near that high. Mine are a little greater than MARIA's, not as high as PATRCICIA's. (All data are from my devices, so it's apples to apples.)
  10. HurricaneJosh

    Major Hurricane Michael

    I know you, and I know you find the editing process challenging. I'm with you on that-- I find the process really unpleasant. You have hours of footage, and it feels overwhelming to go through it all and pick the best little bits. (Even my latest release, WILLA-- a relatively small, simple video-- was a total birth struggle. Lol.) But get it done. Just force yourself. You'll feel great when you get it on YouTube and share it with the world. (And I'm sure you have cool footage just because of where you were!)
  11. HurricaneJosh

    Major Hurricane Michael

    Yeah, like I said, my gut tells me it was a juiced-up, vigorous Cat 4, but I don't feel strongly about it. If the NHC bumps it to 140 knots in post, that's totally cool by me, and I'll call it a Cat 5. P.S. I'm working on my MICHAEL report now, which means I'm really going over my air-pressure data line by line (sample rate was 2/min, so there's a lot). Interestingly, so far the peak gradients I've found are in the neighborhood of MARIA, but nowhere near what I measured in PATRICIA (which was officially a hair below MARIA, but had nuclear gradients). But that's preliminary. I'm still going through it. Full report soon!
  12. HurricaneJosh

    Major Hurricane Michael

    I use the Joint Typhoon Warning Center intensities. JTWC is the US military, meaning they use 1-minute sustained winds, just like in NHC does in the Atlantic-- so it's the same standard. Goodnight!
  13. HurricaneJosh

    Major Hurricane Michael

    Landfall intensity is not based on winds over land. It's based on the highest estimated winds anywhere in the system (including over water) at the time the center crosses the coast. I do not think the 135 knots was an overestimate. The wind damage was extremely severe. Anything around 130 or 135 knots seems right to me.
  14. HurricaneJosh

    Major Hurricane Michael

    Well, a 140-knot typhoon is the same as a 140-knot hurricane. The difference is that the WPAC generally gets more Cat 4s and 5s than other basins. That having been said, by far the strongest reliably-observed cyclone in terms of winds was in the EPAC: Hurricane PATRICIA of 2015, at 185 knots. That even kicks HAIYAN's ass. By the way, HAIYAN-- like many of the really extreme Atlantic hurricanes-- was quite small. Everyone thinks it was so big, and it wasn't. I took a direct hit and the main event lasted less than two hours, with the really hairy conditions under an hour. Anyhoo, I'm going to sleep now-- it's late here on the West Coast!
  15. HurricaneJosh

    Major Hurricane Michael

    In DEAN, I just grazed the S eyewall and it was very dark. My location did not get the absolute highest winds. Sadly, I did not chase FELIX in Nicaragua.
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