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WxWatcher007

Category Five Hurricane Dorian

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5 minutes ago, HurricaneJosh said:

Good idea-- I edited the post to make it more "current." I had copied it from a Facebook post.) I'll probably get a satellite phone-- just been lazy about it.

Season 1 of "Hurricane Man" covers 2018's storms, so DORIAN will not be included.

DORIAN's was definitely one of the most acid-trippy eyes I've been in-- yes.

I hope we see it in Season 2... That will be a must watch-DVR keeper

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17 minutes ago, Orangeburgwx said:

You may want to edit that post since I saw you mention you *did* catch the stadium effect (even if it was mist blocked). But seriously, glad to see you and everyone who rode out the storm in that bunker come out of it safe.

There is a brief few seconds on the uploaded video where the stadium-effect from the eye, comes into view (that was slowed to show it since the camera was being swung around at the time and not necessarily positioned to catch it in the moment).  I screencapped -

stadium-effect-dorian-marsh-harbour-vid-09132019.PNG

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1 minute ago, Orangeburgwx said:

I hope we see it in Season 2... That will be a must watch-DVR keeper

Haha, I just set it on my DVR. As a tropical weenie, I can't wait. I've deliberately avoided the sneak peek to make an event of it tomorrow. :weenie: 

As for Josh's safety, I'm not a worrier to begin with so that helps, but I wasn't worried about Josh. Crazy moments I'm sure but as far as I'm concerned he's the best in the world at this. I was sure he'd make it through. 

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48 minutes ago, Hurricane Agnes said:

There is a brief few seconds on the uploaded video where the stadium-effect from the eye, comes into view (that was slowed to show it since the camera was being swung around at the time and not necessarily positioned to catch it in the moment).  I screencapped -

Yeah, that's why I slow-motioned it there. I actually shared that exact frame on social media the other day. When I noticed it, I was excited. 

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11 minutes ago, WxWatcher007 said:

Haha, I just set it on my DVR. As a tropical weenie, I can't wait. I've deliberately avoided the sneak peek to make an event of it tomorrow. :weenie: 

As for Josh's safety, I'm not a worrier to begin with so that helps, but I wasn't worried about Josh. Crazy moments I'm sure but as far as I'm concerned he's the best in the world at this. I was sure he'd make it through. 

Ha ha, that is awesome! :) I'm excited you're making an "event" out of the show's premiere. Let me know how you like it!

And thanks for your kind words. 

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Morning Josh.  Great chase and great Ep 1 "Hurricane Man".     I'm curious as to your thoughts on the death toll.    The death toll has not budged from 50 although the missing is now down to 1300.  Why don't you think the death toll has not risen (even by a couple) over the past many days?  There must be some heavy equipment in storm surge areas (in those shanty towns) but the toll remains the same.  Is it political for some reason?  Thoughts?

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1 hour ago, wxeyeNH said:

Morning Josh.  Great chase and great Ep 1 "Hurricane Man".     I'm curious as to your thoughts on the death toll.    The death toll has not budged from 50 although the missing is now down to 1300.  Why don't you think the death toll has not risen (even by a couple) over the past many days?  There must be some heavy equipment in storm surge areas (in those shanty towns) but the toll remains the same.  Is it political for some reason?  Thoughts?

Thanks, Gene! I am so glad you liked the first episode of "Hurricane Man." :) Re: the death toll and the complications and politics around getting a real number... That is way outside my expertise, but I will say that I personally expect it to shoot way up, well into the hundreds, if not more.

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Josh I have a few questions for you. Do you wish you would have stayed in that school building or are you glad that you took refuge in that government building? Was there any damage that you seen that you have no idea how that could have happen? Last thing down by "The Mudd" what do you estimate the storm surge was? Thanks man and keep doing what makes you happy!

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7 hours ago, HurricaneJosh said:

Hey, shaggy! How've you  been? Thanks for worrying about me. I was a li'l worried, too. I made sure to select a building that was high-enough above sea level, but there was a lot of wind damage, and I had to relocate during the eye. Anyhoo, now I'm OK. :)

I'm doing just fine. Great video and the wind is just insane. Theres one gust on there that just has no words to describe. Pretty amazing chase for you. That brings me to my next question.

Would you have chased had you known it was 185mph and what's your limit? Not just wind speed but infrastructure, threat of civil unrest afterwards, and topography. 

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one more question Josh.  what was the backside of the storm like in relation to the front side?  because this was a slow moving hurricane and SFMR values were of the charts in all quadrants, I'm wondering if there was even a difference in windspeed between the 4 quads.  

I'll post thoughts later on the video, def have a lot

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On 9/13/2019 at 8:05 PM, HurricaneJosh said:

Hey, thanks! Yeah, when we saw all those papers flying, we were kind of alarmed, because we took that as a sign that some part of the building had broken open. The flying debris in this thing was crazy-- really, really scary. It was way beyond anything I've seen in previous storms, including MICHAEL. That's not to take away from MICHAEL, but it just didn't hold a candle to this beast.

Josh, I am so relieved you made it through the storm safely.  I can only imagine what you experienced during the storm and in the chaos afterwards, though your mesmerizing video does an excellent job of conveying it.  I can still hear the wind of Hurricane Hugo in my head thirty years later.  It's something you can't erase out of your memory.

On a side note, the company my brother-in-law works for is located in Freeport.  He was able to get back to North Carolina on one of the last flights out of Freeport.  Fortunately, the business came through the storm mostly unscathed.  It would have been another story had the center of the hurricane traversed the entire length of Grand Bahamas Island.

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On 9/14/2019 at 12:44 PM, HurricaneJosh said:

Thanks, Gene! I am so glad you liked the first episode of "Hurricane Man." :) Re: the death toll and the complications and politics around getting a real number... That is way outside my expertise, but I will say that I personally expect it to shoot way up, well into the hundreds, if not more.

Do you ever get any negative reactions from local people when you tell them why you are there?

Great footage tho. Watched the 1rst episode, it was good as well. :lol:

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Had a chance to rewatch a couple of times and there are two aspects of the video i would like to comment on:  One would be the winds themselves documented and the second being the impact these winds had on the structures in Marsh Harbor.

First off I think a congratulations is in order for you.  This is undoubtedly the strongest hurricane wind ever observed on film and its not even close.  Haiyan, Michael, all take a backseat to this.  The most impressive thing about the winds was the sustained ferocity at ground level.  At times it appear the winds were 150 kts inches above the surface.  The other impressive thing is the sound.  Violent 4/5 hurricanes really separate themselves from others by the sound of the wind IMO.  Cat 5 Michael had a jet engine roar quality to it, this one sounded like knives slicing the air.  Straight up banshee scream.  Another unique thing about this storm is the lack of severe winds leading up to the core.  From the video it appears as if this was a 15 mile wide tornado that was surrounded by tropical storm force winds.  Not sure what the measured wind radius of the storm was, but it seemed much smaller than usual when compared to your other intercepts. 

Second thing I'd like to comment on is the building performance against these brutal winds (as an architect this interests me even more than the winds themselves).  One obvious thing to note:  most wood frame structures or wood framed portions of structures were completely shredded.  Im sure this is common knowledge, but one should never ride out a hurricane this severe in a wood framed building.  Even a large apartment complex.  Wood has great flexsural strength and can usually bend enough to survive, the issue is the connections in wood framed structures are not strong enough to endure such stress and debris impact.  This is why a wood framed building is the best structure to be in during a severe earthquake (very flexible), and the worst in a severe hurricane (no protection from debris).  Another thing I would like to point out is the performance of concrete structures in this event.  I think a distinction needs to be made between a steel re-inforced concrete building and a steel re-inforced CMU building.  The videos of concrete structures shown in this video are the latter (CMU structures).  Lets compare the construction of both which will illustrate why CMU walls fail and concrete walls tend not to:

1) CMU walls consist of modular masonry block laid over a bed of mortar.  The hollow cores of the block are filled with concrete and steel re-inforcement. 

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjNy__qvNPkAhULZKwKHRQlAaMQjRx6BAgBEAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fcreditxonline.info%2Fcmu-retaining-wall%2F&psig=AOvVaw09eMvsmc5s1okEG3IxASGk&ust=1568659145737638

2) Cast in Place Concrete walls are constructed using formwork with steel re-inforcement places in the middle of the wall

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwj144eFvdPkAhVOLKwKHe6gBsEQjRx6BAgBEAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinterest.com%2Fpin%2F135459901272838550%2F&psig=AOvVaw2c7i2BActU_oQ61q_oT2RA&ust=1568659190217501

Both walls perform equally with respect to shear loads (meaning the amount of weight the can carry), because both walls have the same amount of concrete mass.  Despite this, there are fatal flaws that a CMU wall has when dealing with winds this severe.  Because of the modular construction, the CMU block and the inner concrete reinforced pour are not connected.  Debris strikes if located in the correct spot could completely blow the block apart on both the inside and outside.  Additionally, the wind can completely strip away the mortar bedding which can further compromise the wall.  This is the reason you see completely blown apart bits of CMU in multiple parts of the video.  You would never see a cast-in-in-place wall blown to bits in the same manner, because it is consistent concrete throughout.  What you might see is portions of the wall scoured to the rebar due to debris impact.  In the future I would advise against riding something out this severe in a CMU building, and ensure that your shelter is a cast-in-place concrete wall.  it can withstand severe debris impact much better, and generally will survive sustained winds up to 200 mph.  beyond that nothing can be guaranteed.

 

Kudos and can't wait until the next one.

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Although apparently misunderstood when I previously asked this question, does anyone know of any data available that provides a good estimate of the MSW experienced in places such as Marsh Harbor or Elbow Cay?  Know that both of those locations got into the eye, but were at least 10 nm S of the 160 kt/185 estimated MSW.  Know they each got into Cat 5 winds, but also recognize neither of those rather populous towns experienced winds close to 160 kt, either.  Already shared my best educated guess based solely on all the available data I've seen, to date.  However, there may be additional data I'm unaware of and if so, I'd love to see it.    

Even though some misconstrue my wholly scientific interest in these observations as somehow being relevant to any chasers who happened to be there, that makes zero difference to me, nor should that affect anyone else's objectivity.

After every single major hurricane event, I have always sought to obtain the most reasonable estimate of the max winds to impact a particular location.   

In the case of hurricane Michael, for example, all of the available data strongly suggested that the western-most portion of Mexico Beach received the highest wind speeds from that particular storm.  The fact I just happened to be at that location had no influence on my own objectivity, much less the unbiased data.  In hurricane Harvey, for a different example, I missed my connecting flight into Houston and was unable to get all the way to my predetermined intercept location at Fulton, Tx.  Instead, I made it to the east side of Refugio.   Although I technically got into the eyewall of Harvey when it was still a Cat 4, it doesn't change the fact that Refugio didn't get those MSWs of 115 kt.  The same applies to my intercept of Irma in S Naples later that same year.  Got almost directly into the eye while it was a 100 kt/115 mph Cat 3, but those peak winds were about 5 nm away to the SSE of me.  I could say that I experienced those max winds in both cases, as I got almost into the absolute center of both eyes, but I objectively know that wasn't the case.  

In short, I genuinely care about the scientific accuracy in such instances.  Always have since years before I got my degree in the field and always will! It's a no brainier to me.  As such, it's quite frustrating and truly annoying when some want to attribute a completely inaccurate motive (or "agenda") to such unbiased analysis.

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18 hours ago, ncforecaster89 said:

Although apparently misunderstood when I previously asked this question, does anyone know of any data available that provides a good estimate of the MSW experienced in places such as Marsh Harbor or Elbow Cay?  Know that both of those locations got into the eye, but were at least 10 nm S of the 160 kt/185 estimated MSW.  Know they each got into Cat 5 winds, but also recognize neither of those rather populous towns experienced winds close to 160 kt, either.  Already shared my best educated guess based solely on all the available data I've seen, to date.  However, there may be additional data I'm unaware of and if so, I'd love to see it.    

Even though some misconstrue my wholly scientific interest in these observations as somehow being relevant to any chasers who happened to be there, that makes zero difference to me, nor should that affect anyone else's objectivity.

After every single major hurricane event, I have always sought to obtain the most reasonable estimate of the max winds to impact a particular location.   

In the case of hurricane Michael, for example, all of the available data strongly suggested that the western-most portion of Mexico Beach received the highest wind speeds from that particular storm.  The fact I just happened to be at that location had no influence on my own objectivity, much less the unbiased data.  In hurricane Harvey, for a different example, I missed my connecting flight into Houston and was unable to get all the way to my predetermined intercept location at Fulton, Tx.  Instead, I made it to the east side of Refugio.   Although I technically got into the eyewall of Harvey when it was still a Cat 4, it doesn't change the fact that Refugio didn't get those MSWs of 115 kt.  The same applies to my intercept of Irma in S Naples later that same year.  Got almost directly into the eye while it was a 100 kt/115 mph Cat 3, but those peak winds were about 5 nm away to the SSE of me.  I could say that I experienced those max winds in both cases, as I got almost into the absolute center of both eyes, but I objectively know that wasn't the case.  

In short, I genuinely care about the scientific accuracy in such instances.  Always have since years before I got my degree in the field and always will! It's a no brainier to me.  As such, it's quite frustrating and truly annoying when some want to attribute a completely inaccurate motive (or "agenda") to such unbiased analysis.

My one criticism would be the inability to pinpoint the location of mesovorts. Hypothetically they are possible at any location that receives the core of the eye, regardless of which side. 

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On 9/13/2019 at 8:21 PM, ncforecaster89 said:

Excellent explanation and response to that question.  

In my case, I know I damaged my hearing somewhat by exposing myself to the full effect of Cat 5 winds in Michael.  The intense pain I felt is truly indescribable and the thing I will always remember most are far as what I personally experienced aside from the incredible devastation and the hardship brought to the residents in the area.  It wasn't simply just the rapid pressure drop.  

As a result, my wife is still pissed as she noticed the difference in my hearing immediately thereafter and it continues to this day.  When I intercept the next Cat 5, I will use ear plugs to mitigate the deafening roar of the wind.   

I agree loud sounds are something to contend with in a hurricane.

My earlier point is that absolute pressure is what matters, and this changes any time one climbs in elevation, even in weather outside of a hurricane. It seems that the equivalent height change in relation to a hurricane pressure drop is at a rate commonly encountered when one rides an elevator in a tall building, or drives up a mountain. The conversion is about 25 feet per millibar.

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5 minutes ago, PSLwx said:

Cancelled Hurricane Hunters cause data blind spots for forecasters at critical time during Hurricane Dorian:

https://www.tcpalm.com/story/weather/hurricanes/2019/09/13/canceled-hurricane-hunters-cause-data-blindspots-forecasters/2309690001/

I remember tracking a couple that started heading out to the storm and then they turned around and headed back.  The suggestion at the time was due to mechanical issues.  Those poor planes get a lot of wear in tear flying through what other aircraft try to avoid or fly above!

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9 hours ago, LongBeachSurfFreak said:

My one criticism would be the inability to pinpoint the location of mesovorts. Hypothetically they are possible at any location that receives the core of the eye, regardless of which side. 

Totally agree with that aspect.  Although, that possibility doesn't reflect the one minute maximum sustained wind at any one location.  

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6 hours ago, salbers said:

I agree loud sounds are something to contend with in a hurricane.

My earlier point is that absolute pressure is what matters, and this changes any time one climbs in elevation, even in weather outside of a hurricane. It seems that the equivalent height change in relation to a hurricane pressure drop is at a rate commonly encountered when one rides an elevator in a tall building, or drives up a mountain. The conversion is about 25 feet per millibar.

Very true, as is often the case as one increases in elevation on an airplane.  Until my experience with Michael, I never even considered the prospect of damaging ones hearing in such high velocity wind speeds.   

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On 9/13/2019 at 5:41 PM, HurricaneJosh said:

Thank you. It's nice to be back. I don't think I'll see another cyclone like that in my career.

I’m sure you wouldn’t want to unless you were in some sort of structure created for the purpose of surviving those kind of winds. Think the mt. Washington observatory. 

I think the only way to surpass Dorian would be In the west pac on a small island. Hypothetical typhoons there could be a good deal stronger. 

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4 hours ago, LongBeachSurfFreak said:
I’m sure you wouldn’t want to unless you were in some sort of structure created for the purpose of surviving those kind of winds. Think the mt. Washington observatory.  I think the only way to surpass Dorian would be In the west pac on a small island. Hypothetical typhoons there could be a good deal stronger.

Of the Atlantic Basin's most intense hurricanes to make landfall at their peak, the 1935 Labor Day has enough documentation to suggest the Atlantic can and does produce legendary nightmare island landfalls as well. Obviously the Western Pacific produces more high end Saffir-Simpson Category 5s with much greater frequency, but you might be surprised to find that the wind potential in the Atlantic for a hypothetical high end Category 5 is just as high if not higher. Simply put, the lowest observed or estimated pressures between tropical cyclones does not necessarily result in the highest observed or estimated winds. The characteristics of the surrounding atmosphere's airmass density also plays an important role in gradient-driven forced motion of air parcels into a constricted vortex.

 

The atmosphere over the Atlantic Basin generally has higher mean background pressures than the WPAC. The Atlantic also has stronger short-lived 600+ dm mid-level steering ridges than the WPAC and periods of stronger surface pressures. Hypothetically, I can see a scenario play out in the Atlantic Basin where a sub 900hPa hurricane reaches maximum potential intensity while being embedded within an air mass of above-normal background surface pressures. A powerful 600+ dm ridge in combo with a surface 1030+ hPa ridging axis, producing incredible gradients, leading to the strongest surface wind speeds ever observed in a tropical cyclone. Of course it takes luck (or bad luck depending on perspective) for interactions between such strong ridge axes and high end TCs to occur over a location with high TCHP; however, from a climatological and historical perspective, these scenarios do occur and will again. There are some researchers that suspect the Great Hurricane of San Calixto in 1780 may have surpassed 175 kts based on descriptions of stone and concrete structure collapses that were not surge related. The 1935 Labor Day hurricane was also embedded in very strong surface pressures and we at least have the 892 mb barometer reading.

 

Unfortunately wind speeds of any of these long-past historical systems can only be estimated, but we do have plenty of modern examples now with observed Atlantic TCs and recon data to investigate further. For example, hurricane Allen was embedded in abnormal low-latitude surface pressures atypical for the Western Caribbean at the time it traversed that region. Though Wilma and Gilbert both had lower recon millibar/hPa recordings in the same location, Allen had stronger measured sustained winds and wind gusts. Likewise, Dorian and Irma's vorts both had measured sustained winds of 160 kts with 178 kt gusts (most likely mesovortices) yet both their lowest pressure recordings are only in the low 910s pHa pressure range.

 

Having said all this, now imagine a 890-880s pHa TC in that same atmospheric setup as Dorian and Irma? That likely was the scenario of the '35 LD and 1780 storms. Something at least on par in wind speeds in the strongest WPAC systems observed, if not stronger based on atmospheric setup. Obviously we all wish recon would have been utilized for Haiyan as it is clearly the strongest typhoon in recent memory that just happened to be embedded within an abnormally strong 595+ dm steering ridge. Ironically, the EPAC's Patricia @ peak intensity is the global record holder for highest reconned winds observed @ 175 kts / 190 kts gusts, yet it was actually embedded within a large trough of lower atmospheric background pressure.

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On 9/14/2019 at 1:11 PM, hickory said:

Josh I have a few questions for you. Do you wish you would have stayed in that school building or are you glad that you took refuge in that government building? Was there any damage that you seen that you have no idea how that could have happen? Last thing down by "The Mudd" what do you estimate the storm surge was? Thanks man and keep doing what makes you happy!

A side of me wishes I stayed in the school, because when I left I had to cut my data collection, so my air-pressure trace ends in the eye. That bums me out a little. But three dudes were counting on me for a ride to the safer building-- my car was one of the few that still worked-- so I had to do the right thing and put people before data.

The wind damage was freaky in this one-- way worse than anything I've seen in the aftermath of any other hurricane or typhoon, with the single possible exception of HAIYAN. I was in HAIYAN's eyewall, but the absolute peak winds passed a couple of miles S of me, and some of the damage down there and in a town called Guiuan (which I saw afterward) was DORIAN-level crazy. One thing I especially noticed in DORIAN's aftermath was the cars. They weren't just thrown-- something which can happen in a Cat 3. They were mutilated. The other Cat-5 cores I've punched-- DEAN, MANGKHUT, and the marginal MICHAEL-- didn't hold a candle to it. ANDREW actually might have-- I believe ANDREW might still be underestimated, despite its 2002 upgrade-- but I can't say because I'm just judging from pictures. I did not chase ANDREW or see its aftermath firsthand.

But, anyhoo, DORIAN was a special, special beast. I don't expect to so perfectly sample another specimen of that rare quality for the rest of my career. By "perfectly sample," I mean squarely nailing the eye, on a small island, with very little land friction. By "that rare quality," I mean a cyclone that has an official estimated intensity of 160 knots while I'm inside the eye collecting data. For a chaserdude, that is storybook shit.

On 9/14/2019 at 1:40 PM, shaggy said:

I'm doing just fine. Great video and the wind is just insane. Theres one gust on there that just has no words to describe. Pretty amazing chase for you. That brings me to my next question.

Would you have chased had you known it was 185mph and what's your limit? Not just wind speed but infrastructure, threat of civil unrest afterwards, and topography. 

Yes, I would have chased it, whatever the wind speed. Remember, when I was chasing PATRICIA 2015, the estimated winds were 175 knots (200 mph) before it weakened. I was a little scared, of course, but I still chased it. It's just in my blood-- a compulsion that I can't deny.

On 9/14/2019 at 5:31 PM, Normandy said:

one more question Josh.  what was the backside of the storm like in relation to the front side?  because this was a slow moving hurricane and SFMR values were of the charts in all quadrants, I'm wondering if there was even a difference in windspeed between the 4 quads.  

I'll post thoughts later on the video, def have a lot

It's a good question and I can't answer it, since I really got a much, much better look at the frontside.

On 9/14/2019 at 9:26 PM, Eric said:

Josh, I am so relieved you made it through the storm safely.  I can only imagine what you experienced during the storm and in the chaos afterwards, though your mesmerizing video does an excellent job of conveying it.  I can still hear the wind of Hurricane Hugo in my head thirty years later.  It's something you can't erase out of your memory.

On a side note, the company my brother-in-law works for is located in Freeport.  He was able to get back to North Carolina on one of the last flights out of Freeport.  Fortunately, the business came through the storm mostly unscathed.  It would have been another story had the center of the hurricane traversed the entire length of Grand Bahamas Island.

Thanks so much, Eric. And, yeah, a direct, Cat-5 hit on Freeport would have been a whole other level of disaster. Just.... yikes.

On 9/15/2019 at 11:32 AM, Benadrill said:

Do you ever get any negative reactions from local people when you tell them why you are there?

Great footage tho. Watched the 1rst episode, it was good as well. :lol:

No, the local people were totally nice. They appreciated that an outsider was there taking an interest in their experiences and getting the story out to the rest of the world. The aid comes when folks in faraway places-- who might not even understand what a hurricane is-- see these harrowing images.

On 9/15/2019 at 11:47 AM, Normandy said:

Had a chance to rewatch a couple of times and there are two aspects of the video i would like to comment on:  One would be the winds themselves documented and the second being the impact these winds had on the structures in Marsh Harbor.

First off I think a congratulations is in order for you.  This is undoubtedly the strongest hurricane wind ever observed on film and its not even close.  Haiyan, Michael, all take a backseat to this.  The most impressive thing about the winds was the sustained ferocity at ground level.  At times it appear the winds were 150 kts inches above the surface.  The other impressive thing is the sound.  Violent 4/5 hurricanes really separate themselves from others by the sound of the wind IMO.  Cat 5 Michael had a jet engine roar quality to it, this one sounded like knives slicing the air.  Straight up banshee scream.  Another unique thing about this storm is the lack of severe winds leading up to the core.  From the video it appears as if this was a 15 mile wide tornado that was surrounded by tropical storm force winds.  Not sure what the measured wind radius of the storm was, but it seemed much smaller than usual when compared to your other intercepts. 

Second thing I'd like to comment on is the building performance against these brutal winds (as an architect this interests me even more than the winds themselves).  One obvious thing to note:  most wood frame structures or wood framed portions of structures were completely shredded.  Im sure this is common knowledge, but one should never ride out a hurricane this severe in a wood framed building.  Even a large apartment complex.  Wood has great flexsural strength and can usually bend enough to survive, the issue is the connections in wood framed structures are not strong enough to endure such stress and debris impact.  This is why a wood framed building is the best structure to be in during a severe earthquake (very flexible), and the worst in a severe hurricane (no protection from debris).  Another thing I would like to point out is the performance of concrete structures in this event.  I think a distinction needs to be made between a steel re-inforced concrete building and a steel re-inforced CMU building.  The videos of concrete structures shown in this video are the latter (CMU structures).  Lets compare the construction of both which will illustrate why CMU walls fail and concrete walls tend not to:

1) CMU walls consist of modular masonry block laid over a bed of mortar.  The hollow cores of the block are filled with concrete and steel re-inforcement. 

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjNy__qvNPkAhULZKwKHRQlAaMQjRx6BAgBEAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fcreditxonline.info%2Fcmu-retaining-wall%2F&psig=AOvVaw09eMvsmc5s1okEG3IxASGk&ust=1568659145737638

2) Cast in Place Concrete walls are constructed using formwork with steel re-inforcement places in the middle of the wall

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwj144eFvdPkAhVOLKwKHe6gBsEQjRx6BAgBEAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinterest.com%2Fpin%2F135459901272838550%2F&psig=AOvVaw2c7i2BActU_oQ61q_oT2RA&ust=1568659190217501

Both walls perform equally with respect to shear loads (meaning the amount of weight the can carry), because both walls have the same amount of concrete mass.  Despite this, there are fatal flaws that a CMU wall has when dealing with winds this severe.  Because of the modular construction, the CMU block and the inner concrete reinforced pour are not connected.  Debris strikes if located in the correct spot could completely blow the block apart on both the inside and outside.  Additionally, the wind can completely strip away the mortar bedding which can further compromise the wall.  This is the reason you see completely blown apart bits of CMU in multiple parts of the video.  You would never see a cast-in-in-place wall blown to bits in the same manner, because it is consistent concrete throughout.  What you might see is portions of the wall scoured to the rebar due to debris impact.  In the future I would advise against riding something out this severe in a CMU building, and ensure that your shelter is a cast-in-place concrete wall.  it can withstand severe debris impact much better, and generally will survive sustained winds up to 200 mph.  beyond that nothing can be guaranteed.

 

Kudos and can't wait until the next one.

Thank you so much-- I am delighted you found the video so interesting and feel it's such a rare document of truly extreme winds. I was doing my best and I appreciate it.

Re: the engineering stuff, I am no expert, but 1) yeah, anything made of wood got shredded in this cyclone's core and 2) I definitely noticed that there are different levels of concrete buildings, and some perform well while others fail. All concrete structures are not created equal!

On 9/16/2019 at 8:26 PM, LongBeachSurfFreak said:

I’m sure you wouldn’t want to unless you were in some sort of structure created for the purpose of surviving those kind of winds. Think the mt. Washington observatory. 

I think the only way to surpass Dorian would be In the west pac on a small island. Hypothetical typhoons there could be a good deal stronger. 

I don't expect to surpass DORIAN for the rest of my career. I feel this is my peak. I don't see how I can realistically expect to surpass it.

By the way, I don't believe WPAC typhoons get much stronger than the most extreme Atlantic/EPAC 'canes. Yeah, they have colder cloud tops and lower pressures, but there's no evidence the winds are any stronger than what happens around N America.

On 9/16/2019 at 8:54 PM, WEATHER53 said:

To be able to get the video through the glass the winds must not have been pressing on it, Did you set up like that by design?

There was no glass on those windows.

On 9/16/2019 at 10:07 PM, Windspeed said:

Of the Atlantic Basin's most intense hurricanes to make landfall at their peak, the 1935 Labor Day has enough documentation to suggest the Atlantic can and does produce legendary nightmare island landfalls as well. Obviously the Western Pacific produces more high end Saffir-Simpson Category 5s with much greater frequency, but you might be surprised to find that the wind potential in the Atlantic for a hypothetical high end Category 5 is just as high if not higher. Simply put, the lowest observed or estimated pressures between tropical cyclones does not necessarily result in the highest observed or estimated winds. The characteristics of the surrounding atmosphere's airmass density also plays an important role in gradient-driven forced motion of air parcels into a constricted vortex.

 

The atmosphere over the Atlantic Basin generally has higher mean background pressures than the WPAC. The Atlantic also has stronger short-lived 600+ dm mid-level steering ridges than the WPAC and periods of stronger surface pressures. Hypothetically, I can see a scenario play out in the Atlantic Basin where a sub 900hPa hurricane reaches maximum potential intensity while being embedded within an air mass of above-normal background surface pressures. A powerful 600+ dm ridge in combo with a surface 1030+ hPa ridging axis, producing incredible gradients, leading to the strongest surface wind speeds ever observed in a tropical cyclone. Of course it takes luck (or bad luck depending on perspective) for interactions between such strong ridge axes and high end TCs to occur over a location with high TCHP; however, from a climatological and historical perspective, these scenarios do occur and will again. There are some researchers that suspect the Great Hurricane of San Calixto in 1780 may have surpassed 175 kts based on descriptions of stone and concrete structure collapses that were not surge related. The 1935 Labor Day hurricane was also embedded in very strong surface pressures and we at least have the 892 mb barometer reading.

 

Unfortunately wind speeds of any of these long-past historical systems can only be estimated, but we do have plenty of modern examples now with observed Atlantic TCs and recon data to investigate further. For example, hurricane Allen was embedded in abnormal low-latitude surface pressures atypical for the Western Caribbean at the time it traversed that region. Though Wilma and Gilbert both had lower recon millibar/hPa recordings in the same location, Allen had stronger measured sustained winds and wind gusts. Likewise, Dorian and Irma's vorts both had measured sustained winds of 160 kts with 178 kt gusts (most likely mesovortices) yet both their lowest pressure recordings are only in the low 910s pHa pressure range.

 

Having said all this, now imagine a 890-880s pHa TC in that same atmospheric setup as Dorian and Irma? That likely was the scenario of the '35 LD and 1780 storms. Something at least on par in wind speeds in the strongest WPAC systems observed, if not stronger based on atmospheric setup. Obviously we all wish recon would have been utilized for Haiyan as it is clearly the strongest typhoon in recent memory that just happened to be embedded within an abnormally strong 595+ dm steering ridge. Ironically, the EPAC's Patricia @ peak intensity is the global record holder for highest reconned winds observed @ 175 kts / 190 kts gusts, yet it was actually embedded within a large trough of lower atmospheric background pressure.

I agree with your general point-- that typhoon winds actually don't get any stronger than the winds in hurricanes around N America. (See my previous point, above.)

By the way, PATRICIA's official peak was 185 knots-- not 175. Yes, it was incredible.

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I agree with your general point-- that typhoon winds actually don't get any stronger than the winds in hurricanes around N America. (See my previous point, above.)
By the way, PATRICIA's official peak was 185 knots-- not 175. Yes, it was incredible.
Ooops, though even @ 175 kts Pat would have held the record regardless. Jeez 185 kts sustained is just insane. Hell, Dorian's 160 kts is insane. As for the school, I'm glad you moved man. Don't second guess safety when all hell is breaking lose. If you go against your gut in situations as dangerous as that, you may end up critically injured or dead. You made the right choice.

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I have to agree with Josh about Hurricane Andrew.

I was only 3/4 years old, obviously I don't remember tracking it. (The first hurricanes I ever remember hearing about were Gordon 1994 and Felix 1995) However, even with the now dated-1992 radar, Andrew was so small, so strong, and clearly rapidly intensifying. The one thing that does surprise me with regard to Hurricane Andrew is the rather high pressure (922 mb). I'm quite surprised Andrew didn't drop further. My guess is the dominant high pressure ridging to the north kept Andrew from going sub-920 mb. But the damage from Andrew was so severe. My friend down in Florida showed me areas of trees in the Florida City region back in 2010 and even 18 years later you could see signs of Andrew's winds. I understand building codes have come quite a long way, as even as recently as the 1990s storms like the ones of the last 15 years would have caused even greater destruction. 

I'm assuming Andrew's sustained winds were more in the 175 mph range, not 165. We'll never know. 

I would love to see a recon or satellite image of the Labor Day Storm of 1935. My assumption is that it became a Category 5 early in the morning (much like Dorian), likely 160 mph, and then went full blast into the landfall around 2pm in the Upper Keys. 892 mb with an eye that tiny, it likely had sustained winds possibly even greater than 185 mph. Maybe more like 205 mph sustained. The stories of sand causing sparks is something I don't often hear about in hurricanes, and the idea of such a massive storm surge in the Keys despite the tiny size leads me to believe there were horrific winds.

 

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5 hours ago, Floydbuster said:

I have to agree with Josh about Hurricane Andrew.

I was only 3/4 years old, obviously I don't remember tracking it. (The first hurricanes I ever remember hearing about were Gordon 1994 and Felix 1995) However, even with the now dated-1992 radar, Andrew was so small, so strong, and clearly rapidly intensifying. The one thing that does surprise me with regard to Hurricane Andrew is the rather high pressure (922 mb). I'm quite surprised Andrew didn't drop further. My guess is the dominant high pressure ridging to the north kept Andrew from going sub-920 mb. But the damage from Andrew was so severe. My friend down in Florida showed me areas of trees in the Florida City region back in 2010 and even 18 years later you could see signs of Andrew's winds. I understand building codes have come quite a long way, as even as recently as the 1990s storms like the ones of the last 15 years would have caused even greater destruction. 

I'm assuming Andrew's sustained winds were more in the 175 mph range, not 165. We'll never know. 

I would love to see a recon or satellite image of the Labor Day Storm of 1935. My assumption is that it became a Category 5 early in the morning (much like Dorian), likely 160 mph, and then went full blast into the landfall around 2pm in the Upper Keys. 892 mb with an eye that tiny, it likely had sustained winds possibly even greater than 185 mph. Maybe more like 205 mph sustained. The stories of sand causing sparks is something I don't often hear about in hurricanes, and the idea of such a massive storm surge in the Keys despite the tiny size leads me to believe there were horrific winds.

 

Pressure and how it relates to strength is a funny thing(look at Jerry currently, his pressure is a mere 997mb, and he's practically a hurricane already).  922mb is an incredibly deep storm, and obviously very powerful.  Just because Andrew wasn't in the 911-913 range doesn't mean its winds were that much weaker than say Dorians.   Andrew created those Meso-Vorticies within its strongest winds/gusts, that totally devastated Homestead and surrounding areas like is seldom seen.  Even as bad as Dorian was on Elbow Cay...Andrews wind destruction seemed just as bad...if not worse than Dorians imo, due to Andrews Meso-Vorticies wreaking so much destruction.  Andrew was a total Beast...922mb and all.

 

 

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2 hours ago, WinterWolf said:

Pressure and how it relates to strength is a funny thing(look at Jerry currently, his pressure is a mere 997mb, and he's practically a hurricane already).  922mb is an incredibly deep storm, and obviously very powerful.  Just because Andrew wasn't in the 911-913 range doesn't mean its winds were that much weaker than say Dorians.   Andrew created those Meso-Vorticies within its strongest winds/gusts, that totally devastated Homestead and surrounding areas like is seldom seen.  Even as bad as Dorian was on Elbow Cay...Andrews wind destruction seemed just as bad...if not worse than Dorians imo, due to Andrews Meso-Vorticies wreaking so much destruction.  Andrew was a total Beast...922mb and all.

 

 

I don’t think Andrew had winds on Dorians level based on damage. There were a ton of cheaply constructed subdivisions and trailer parks In that part of Florida at the time. We didn’t have anything like that in Dorian. The Bahamas are a very economically conflicted place. While of course home to many poor, they also contain allot of rich people’s second homes or retirement dream homes which are built to the highest standards. They gave the illusion that damage was less severe. 

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