Thursday, May 14, 2015

Episode 266 (5-18-15): Here Comes Atlantic Tropical Storm Season 2015

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:31)

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, images, and additional information follow below. All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 5-14-15.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of May 18, 2015.

This week, we feature a mysterious series of names that we hope do not become cursed as disaster-makers during this coming summer and fall.  Have a listen for about 30 seconds, and see if you can guess who—or rather, what—is being named.

SOUND - ~30 seconds - Voices

If you guessed tropical storms or hurricanes, you’re right!  Those are the names planned for tropical storms and hurricanes and tropical storms during the 2015 Atlantic tropical storm season, covering the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea.  The season runs officially from June 1 through November 30, but exceptions happen, such as this year, when the first named storm, Ana, made landfall in the Carolinas on May 10.  The last week of May is National Hurricane Preparedness Week, and from May 25 to 31, Virginia is offering its annual sales-tax holiday for hurricane-preparedness supplies and equipment.

Tropical storms and hurricanes are two categories of tropical cyclones—counter-clockwise-rotating storm systems that start in tropical or sub-tropical latitudes.  A tropical cyclone is called a tropical storm—and gets a name—when sustained wind speeds reach 39 miles per hour [SOUND – 2 sec - wind]; at 74 miles per hour, a tropical cyclone is considered a hurricane [SOUND – 3 sec- louder wind].  Tropical depressions—with wind speeds below 39 miles per hour—don’t get names, but they can still bring heavy rainfall and flooding.

Before a tropical system of any speed or name barges into the Old Dominion [SOUND – 3 sec – wind, rain, thunder], you can get ready by making an evacuation plan; assembling an emergency kit of food, water, and supplies; and establishing ways to stay informed, especially if the power goes out.  Detailed instructions are available from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, online at  Thanks to friends in Blacksburg for lending their voices to this episode.


For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

Thanks to the Blacksburg, Va., residents who recorded tropical storm names for this episode on May 13, 2015.

Following are the planned names for storms in the 2015 Atlantic tropical storm season, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) “Tropical Cyclone Names” Web page, Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Erika, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Joaquin, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor, Wanda.


Names and tracks of 2014 Atlantic tropical storms, according to the National Hurricane Center, online at
Former Tropical Storm Ana, by this time downgraded to a tropical depression, over North Carolina and southeastern Virginia on May 11, 2015, 8:45 a.m. EDT.  Photo taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Web site at, on 5/11/15, 9:45 a.m. EDT.


American Red Cross, “Hurricane Preparedness,” online at

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), “Hurricanes,” online at

National Hurricane Center, online at; this site provides bulletins, maps, and other information on tropical storms as they are occurring.  Data archives for past seasons are available at  Information on Hurricane Preparedness Week is online at

Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA)/Climate Prediction Center, “Atlantic Hurricane Outlook and Summary Archive,”

National Weather Service, “What is a Tropical Cyclone?”; online at

Virginia Department of Emergency Management
, “Hurricanes,” online at  Details regarding Virginia’s Hurricane Preparedness Week and Sales Tax Holiday in 2015, can be found in Gov. Terry McAuliffe's proclamation, online at; and form the Department of Emergency Management at

Virginia Department of Transportation, “VDOT and Emergency Response” (including hurricane evacuation information), online at

For previous episodes on weather and storm preparedness, please see the “Weather” category” category at the Index link above (  Tropical-storm preparedness, specifically, was featured previously in Episode 163 (5/27/13) and in Episode 215 (5/26/14), which had storm names for 2014.

This episode may help with the following Virginia’s 2010 Science Standards of Learning (SOLs):
Grades K-6 Earth/Space Interrelationships Theme
2.6 - weather phenomena
4.6 - weather conditions and predictions

Grades K-6 Matter Theme
6.6 – structure and dynamics of earth’s atmosphere

Earth Science Course
ES.12 – energy, atmosphere, weather, and climate

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2008 Social Studies SOLs:
World Geography Course
WG.2 - how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at