Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Episode 474 (5-27-19): Andrea in May Announces Atlantic Tropical Storm Season 2019

Click to listen to episode (4:54).

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Extra Information
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).
Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 5-24-19.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of May 27, 2019.

MUSIC - ~ 9 sec

That music is part of “Driving Rain,” by the Nelson County- and Charlottesville, Va.-based band Chamomile and Whiskey.  It’s the backdrop this week for our annual call-out of the planned names of a bunch of soggy, windy, and generally unruly potential summer and fall visitors.  Have a listen for about 30 seconds, and see if you can guess what’s being named.

GUEST VOICES - ~29 sec – Andrea.  Barry.  Chantal.  Dorian.  Erin.  Fernand.  Gabrielle.  Humberto.  Imelda.  Jerry.  Karen.  Lorenzo.  Melissa.  Nestor; Olga.  Pablo.  Rebekah.  Sebastien.  Tanya.  Van.  Wendy.

If you guessed tropical storms or hurricanes, you’re right!  You heard the names planned for the 2019 Atlantic basin tropical storm season.  The Atlantic basin includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic tropical storm season runs officially from June 1 through November 30.  But tropical weather doesn’t always abide by the official dates.  For the past four years in the Atlantic basin, named storms have occurred before June 1: Hurricane Alex in mid-January 2016; Tropical Storm Arlene in April 2017; Subtropical Storm Alberto in late May 2018; and this year, Subtropical Storm Andrea, which developed on May 20.

[Editor's correction and note on the audio: Named storms have occurred before June 1 in the past five, not four years, including this year.  Besides the ones mentioned in the audio, others were Ana in May 2015 and Bonnie in May 2016.]

Tropical storms and hurricanes are two categories of tropical cyclones—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; at 74 miles per hour, a tropical cyclone is considered a hurricane.  Tropical depressions—with wind speeds below 39 miles per hour—don’t get names, but they can still bring heavy rainfall and flooding.  Hurricane-force storms are called simply tropical cyclones in some parts of the world and called typhoons in other parts.

[Editor's note on the audio: The audio states that tropical depressions don’t get names. That’s true for a system that never gets above tropical depression level.  But a tropical depression that previously was at tropical storm or hurricane wind speed will in fact have a name associated with it.]

Before a tropical system of any speed or name barges into the Old Dominion, here are some important preparedness steps you can take:
Make a written emergency plan, including an evacuation plan;
Assemble an emergency kit of food, water, and supplies:
Prepare your home for high winds: and
Establish ways to stay informed, especially if the power goes out.

Detailed safety tips for hurricanes and other severe weather are available from the “Safety” link at the National Weather Service Web site, www.weather.gov.  While the Weather Service’s “Hurricane Preparedness Week” for 2019 was May 5-11, right now is still a good time to start getting ready for the next tropical cyclone!

Thanks to 11 Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and students for lending their voices to this episode.  Thanks also to Chamomile and Whiskey for permission to this week’s music, and—while hoping this Atlantic tropical storm season doesn’t drive anyone too hard—we close with a few more seconds of “Driving Rain.”

MUSIC - ~ 12 sec


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


The 2019 Atlantic tropical cyclone names were called out by 11 Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and students on May 16-17, 2019.  Virginia Water Radio thanks those people for participating in this episode.

“Driving Rain,” from the 2012 album “The Barn Sessions,” is copyright by Chamomile and Whiskey and by County Wide Records, used with permission.  More information about Chamomile and Whiskey is available online at http://www.chamomileandwhiskey.com/, and information about Charlottesville-based County Wide records is available online at http://countywidemusic.worldsecuresystems.com/.  “Driving Rain” is also used in the following Virginia Water Radio episodes: 291 (11-23-15), 401 (1-1-18), and 451 (12-17-18).

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.


Names and tracks of Atlantic basin tropical cyclones (depressions, storms, and hurricanes) in 2018, according to the National Hurricane Center, online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/index.php?season=2018&basin=atl.

Tropical Depression Andrea in the Atlantic Ocean west of Florida, May 21, 2019. Photo from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Hurricane Center, accessed online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/gtwo.php?basin=atlc&fdays=2, 5/21/19, 10:40 a.m. EDT.


On Tropical Cyclone Preparedness

The following information is quoted from the National Weather Service’s “Hurricane Preparedness Week 2019” list of tips for each day of a week, online at http://www.weather.gov/wrn/hurricane-preparedness#prepweek.

Day 1 - Determine your risk.
Find out today what types of wind and water hazards could happen where you live, and then start preparing now for how to handle them. Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. Their impacts can be felt hundreds of miles inland. It’s easy to forget what a hurricane is capable of doing.

Day 2 - Develop an evacuation plan.
The first thing you need to do is find out if you live in a storm surge hurricane evacuation zone or if you’re in a home that would be unsafe during a hurricane. If you are, figure out where you’d go and how you’d get there if told to evacuate. You do not need to travel hundreds of miles. Identify someone, perhaps a friend or relative who doesn’t live in a zone or unsafe home, and work it out with them to use their home as your evacuation destination. Be sure to account for your pets, as most local shelters do not permit them. Put the plan in writing for you and those you care about.

Day 3 - Assemble disaster supplies.
You’re going to need supplies not just to get through the storm but for the potentially lengthy and unpleasant aftermath. Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of one week. Electricity and water could be out for at least that long. You’ll need extra cash, a battery-powered radio and flashlights. Many of us have cell phones, and they all run on batteries. You’re going to need a portable, crank, or solar-powered USB charger.

Day 4 - Secure an insurance check-up.
Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance check-up to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or even replace your home. Don’t forget coverage for your car or boat. Remember, standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding. Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you’ll need a separate policy for it, and it’s available through your company, agent or the National Flood Insurance Program at www.floodsmart.gov. Act now as flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period.

Day 5 - Strengthen your home.
If you plan to ride out the storm in your home, make sure it is in good repair and up to local hurricane building code specifications. Many of these retrofits do not cost much or take as long to do as you may think. Have the proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels to board up the windows and doors. Remember, the garage door is the most vulnerable part of the home, so it must be able to withstand the winds.

Day 6 - Check on your neighbor.
Many Americans rely on their neighbors after a disaster, but there are also many ways you can help your neighbors before a hurricane approaches. Learn about all the different actions you and your neighbors can take to prepare and recover from the hazards associated with hurricanes.

Day 7 - Complete your written hurricane plan.
The time to prepare for a hurricane is before the season begins, when you have the time and are not under pressure. If you wait until a hurricane is on your doorstep, the odds are that you will be under duress and will make the wrong decisions. Take the time now to write down your hurricane plan. Know where you will ride out the storm and get your supplies now. You don’t want to be standing in long lines when a hurricane warning is issued. Those supplies that you need will probably be sold out by the time you reach the front of the line. Being prepared, before a hurricane threatens, makes you resilient to the hurricane impacts of wind and water. It will mean the difference between your being a hurricane victim and a hurricane survivor.

On Tropical Cyclone Names

The following information is quoted from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Tropical Cyclone Names,” online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml.

“Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms had been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center. They are now maintained and updated through a strict procedure by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization [online at http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/tcp/].

“[Six lists] are used in rotation and re-cycled every six years, i.e., the 2019 list will be used again in 2025. The only time that there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity. If that occurs, then at an annual meeting by the WMO committee (called primarily to discuss many other issues) the offending name is stricken from the list and another name is selected to replace it. Several names have been retired since the lists were created. [More information on the history of naming tropical cyclones and retired names is available online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames_history.shtml.]

“If a storm forms in the off-season, it will take the next name in the list based on the current calendar date. For example, if a tropical cyclone formed on December 28th, it would take the name from the previous season's list of names. If a storm formed in February, it would be named from the subsequent season's list of names.  In the event that more than twenty-one named tropical cyclones occur in the Atlantic basin in a season, additional storms will take names from the Greek alphabet.”


Used for Audio

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), “NASA Provides in-Depth Analysis of Unusual Tropical Storm Alex,” 1/15/16, online at http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/alex-atlantic-ocean.

National Hurricane Center (NHC):
Main Web page, online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/. This site provides bulletins, maps, and other information on tropical storms as they are occurring.
“Glossary,” online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutgloss.shtml. This site includes the wind-scale designations for tropical depression, tropical storm, and hurricane.
“Hurricane Preparedness Week,” online at https://www.weather.gov/wrn/hurricane-preparedness#prepweek.
“NHC Data Archive,” online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/.
“Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale,” online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshws.php.
“Subtropical Storm Alberto,” online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2018/ALBERTO.shtml?.
“Subtropical Depression Andrea,” online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/graphics_at1.shtml?start#contents.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):
“NOAA predicts near-normal 2019 Atlantic hurricane season,” 5/23/19, online at https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/noaa-predicts-near-normal-2019-atlantic-hurricane-season.
“Tropical Cyclone Names,” online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml.
“What’s the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon?” online at https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/cyclone.html.

National Weather Service:
“Hurricane Safety Tips and Resources,” online at https://www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane.
“Tropical Cyclone Climatology,” online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/climo/.

For More Information on Tropical Cyclones and Emergency Preparedness

American Red Cross, “Hurricane Safety,” online at http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/hurricane.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), “Hurricanes,” online at http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA)/Climate Prediction Center, “Atlantic Hurricane Outlook and Summary Archive,” http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/outlooks/hurricane-archive.shtml.

Virginia Department of Emergency Management “Know Your Zone” Web site for evacuation planning, online at http://www.vaemergency.gov/hurricane-evacuation-zone-lookup/.

Virginia Department of Transportation, “VDOT and Emergency Response” (including hurricane evacuation information), online at http://www.virginiadot.org/about/emer_response.asp.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html). See particularly the “Weather/Natural Disasters” subject category.

Following are links to other episodes on tropical cyclones.

Episode 134, 10/29/12 – Hurricane Sandy and storm surge.
Episode 163, 5/27/13 – annual season-preview episode.
Episode 215, 5/26/14 – annual season-preview episode, with storm names for 2014.
Episode 226, 8/11/14 – mid-season update.
Episode 266, 5/18/15 – annual season-preview episode, with storm names for 2015.
Episode 317, 5/27/16 – annual season-preview episode, with storm names for 2016.
Episode 330, 8/22/16 – mid-season update.
Episode 337, 10/10/16 – Hurricane Matthew and storm surge.
Episode 345, 12/5/16 – season-review episode.
Episode 369, 5/22/17 – annual season-preview episode, with storm names for 2017;
Episode 385, 9/11/17 – Hurricane Irma and storm surge.
Episode 423, 6/2/18 – annual season-preview episode, with storm names for 2018.
Episode 438, 9/17/18 – basic hurricane facts and history.


The episode—the audio, extra information, or sources—may help with the following Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs).

2013 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2010 Science SOLs

Grades K-6 Earth/Space Interrelationships Theme
2.6 – identification of common storms and other weather phenomena.
4.6 – weather conditions, phenomena, and measurements.
5.6 – characteristics of the ocean environment.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
6.7 – natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; health and safety issues; and water monitoring.

Grades K-6 Matter Theme
6.6 – Properties of air (including pressure, temperature, and humidity) and structure/dynamics of earth’s atmosphere.

Life Science Course
LS.10 - changes over time in ecosystems, communities, and populations, and factors affecting those changes, including climate changes and catastrophic disturbances.
LS.11 – relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science Course
ES.11 – origin, evolution, and dynamics of the atmosphere, including human influences on climate.
ES.12 – energy, atmosphere, weather, and climate.

Biology Course
BIO.8 – dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems; including nutrient cycling, succession, effects of natural events and human activities, and analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems.

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Civics and Economics Course
CE.6 – government at the national level.
CE.10 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 - how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.

Government Course
GOVT.7 – national government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – public policy process at local, state, and national levels.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15 – on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15 – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16 – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18 – on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.