Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Episode 580 (6-7-21): Ana’s May Arrival Opens the 2021 Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Season

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (5:05).

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 6-4-21.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of June 7, 2021. 

MUSIC – ~10 seconds - instrumental

That’s part of “Tropical Tantrum,” composed for Virginia Water Radio in 2017 by Torrin Hallett, a recent graduate of Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver.  The music sets the stage for our annual preview of the Atlantic basin tropical cyclone season.  We start with some guest voices, calling out names that, if we’re lucky, will not become infamous this summer or fall.   Have a listen for about 30 seconds, and see if you can guess who—or rather, what—is being named.

GUEST VOICES - ~30 sec – “Ana.  Bill.  Claudette.  Danny.  Elsa.  Fred.  Grace.  Henri.  Ida.  Julian.  Kate.  Larry.  Mindy.  Nicholas.  Odette.  Peter.  Rose.  Sam.  Teresa.  Victor.  Wanda.”

If you guessed the names planned for storms that may occur during this year’s Atlantic tropical cyclone season, you’re right!  The Atlantic basin includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic tropical cyclone season runs officially from June 1 through November 30.  Most Atlantic tropical cyclones occur within this period, but not all of them.  For the past six years in the Atlantic basin, named storms have formed before June 1, including Alex in January 2016, and this year, Ana, which strengthened into a tropical storm on May 23.

[Editor’s correction and note, not in the audio: Named storms have formed before June 1 in the past seven (not six) years; besides the ones mentioned in the audio, the others were Ana in May 2015, Bonnie in May 2016, Arlene in April 2017, Alberto in May 2018, Andrea in May 2019, and Arthur and Bertha in May 2020.]

Tropical storms and hurricanes are two categories of tropical cyclones, which are 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 named if they never reach tropical storm wind speed,* but they can still bring damaging rainfall and flooding.  Hurricane-force storms are called typhoons in northwestern areas of the Pacific Ocean.

[Editor's note, not in the audio: A tropical system that never gets above the tropical depression wind-speed level won’t be given a name.  But a lingering tropical depression that previously was at the wind speed of a tropical storm or hurricane will 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 recommended by the National Weather Service.

Know your zone – that is, find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation area by checking the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s “Know Your Zone” Web site, or contacting your local emergency management office.

Assemble an emergency kit of food, water, medicines, and supplies.

Have a family emergency plan, including plans for evacuating and for getting in touch with one another in an emergency.

Review your insurance policies to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property.

And establish ways to stay informed, especially if the power goes out, and be sure you understand the meaning of Weather Service forecast terms.

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.

Thanks to several Blacksburg, Va., friends for lending their voices to this episode.  Thanks also to Torrin Hallett for this week’s music, and we close with the last 15 seconds of “Tropical Tantrum.”

MUSIC – ~15 seconds - instrumental


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.


“Tropical Tantrum” is copyright 2017 by Torrin Hallett, used with permission.  Torrin is a 2018 graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio, a 2020 graduate in Horn Performance from Manhattan School of Music in New York, and a 2021 graduate of the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver.  More information about Torrin is available online at https://www.facebook.com/torrin.hallett.  Thanks very much to Torrin for composing the piece especially for Virginia Water Radio.  This music was used previously in several episodes, most recently in Episode 526, 5-25-20, the 2020 Atlantic tropical storm season preview.  Click here to hear the full piece (28 seconds).

Thanks very much to Blacksburg friends who recorded the planned tropical cyclone names.

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.


Predictions for the 2021 Atlantic tropical storm season.  Graphic from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “NOAA Predicts Another Active Atlantic Hurricane Season,” 5/20/21, online at https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/noaa-predicts-another-active-atlantic-hurricane-season.

Map showing the names, dates, and tracks of named Atlantic basin tropical cyclones (tropical storms and hurricanes) in 2020. Map from the National Hurricane Center, “2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season,” online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/index.php?season=2020&basin=atl.

One of several “5 Things to Know About…” posters related to hurricane safety, provided by the National Weather Service, “What to Do Before the Tropical Storm or Hurricane,” online at https://www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane-plan.  The other posters in the series cover evacuation planning, strengthening one’s home, getting information, and updating insurance.


The following information is quoted from the National Weather Service, ‘Hurricane Safety,” online at https://www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane.

Plan for a Hurricane: What to Do Before the Tropical Storm or Hurricane
(online at https://www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane-plan)

“The best time to prepare for a hurricane is before hurricane season begins on June 1.  It is vital to understand your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind.  Here is your checklist of things to do BEFORE hurricane seasons begins.

Know your zone: Do you live near the Gulf or Atlantic Coasts?  Find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation area by contacting your local government/emergency management office or, in Virginia, by visiting https://www.vaemergency.gov/hurricane-evacuation-zone-lookup/.

Put Together an Emergency Kit: Put together a basic emergency kit; information to do so is online at https://www.ready.gov/kit.  Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, generators, and storm shutters.

Write or review your Family Emergency Plan: Before an emergency happens, sit down with your family or close friends and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in an emergency.  Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supplies kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster.  Information to help with emergency plan preparation is online at https://www.ready.gov/plan.

Review Your Insurance Policies: Review your insurance policies to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property.

Understand NWS forecast products, especially the meaning of NWS watches and warnings.

Preparation tips for your home are available from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, online at https://www.flash.org/.

Preparation tips for those with chronic illnesses are available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, online at https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/emergency.htm.

Actions to Take When a Tropical Storm or Hurricane Threatens
(online at https://www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane-action)

“When a hurricane threatens your community, be prepared to evacuate if you live in a storm surge risk area.  Allow enough time to pack and inform friends and family if you need to leave your home.

Secure your home: Cover all of your home's windows.  Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows.  A second option is to board up windows with 5/8 inch exterior grade or marine plywood, built to fit, and ready to install.  Buy supplies before the hurricane season rather than waiting for the pre-storm rush.

Stayed tuned in: Check the websites of your local National Weather Service office (online at https://www.weather.gov/) and local government/emergency management office.  Find out what type of emergencies could occur and how you should respond. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or other radio or TV stations for the latest storm news.

Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if ordered!

If NOT ordered to evacuate:

*Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level during the storm.  Put as many walls between you and the outside as you can.

*Stay away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.

*If the eye of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm, but at the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane force winds coming from the opposite direction.”

After a Hurricane
(online at https://www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane-after)

Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.

If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.

Once home, drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.  If you must go out, watch for fallen objects in the road, downed electrical wires, and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks that might collapse.

Walk carefully around the outside of your home to check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage.

Stay out of any building if you smell gas, if floodwaters remain around the building, if the building or home was damaged by fire, or if the authorities have not declared it safe.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms in areas dealing with power outages.  Never use a portable generator inside your home or garage.

Use battery-powered flashlights.  Do NOT use candles.  Turn on your flashlight before entering a vacated building.  The battery could produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.”


The following information is quoted from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Tropical Cyclone Names,” online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml, as of 6-8-21.

“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 Hurricane Center (NHC):
Main Web page, online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/?atlc. This site provides bulletins, maps, and other information on tropical storms as they are occurring.
“2016 Hurricane Alex Advisory Archive,” online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2016/ALEX.shtml?.
“2017 Tropical Storm Arlene Advisory Archive,” online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2017/ARLENE.shtml?.
“2018 Subtropical Storm Alberto Advisory Archive,” online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2018/ALBERTO.shtml?.
“2019 Subtropical Storm Andrea Advisory Archive” online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2019/ANDREA.shtml?.
“2020 Tropical Storm Arthur Advisory Archive,” online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2020/ARTHUR.shtml?.
“2021 Tropical Storm Ana Advisory Archive,” online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2021/ANA.shtml?.
“Glossary,” online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutgloss.shtml. This site includes the wind-scale designations for tropical depression, tropical storm, and hurricane.
“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.
“Tropical Cyclone Climatology,” online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/climo/.
“Tropical Cyclone Names,” online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml.

National Ocean Service, “What’s the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon?” online at https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/cyclone.html.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):
“NOAA Predicts Another Active Atlantic Hurricane Season,” 5/20/21, online at https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/noaa-predicts-another-active-atlantic-hurricane-season.

National Weather Service, “Hurricane Safety Tips and Resources,” online at https://www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane; and “What to Do Before the Tropical Storm or Hurricane,” online at https://www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane-plan; the latter is the source of the preparedness tips in the audio.

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

Virginia Governor’s Office, “Governor Northam Urges Virginians to Prepare Now for 2021 Hurricane Season,” News Release 6/4/21, online at https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/all-releases/2021/june/headline-896997-en.html.

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 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). 

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.
Episode 474, 5-27-19 – annual season-preview episode, with storm names for 2019.
Episode 526, 5-25-20
– annual season-preview episode, with storm names for 2020.

Following are other music pieces composed by Torrin Hallett for Virginia Water Radio, with episodes featuring the music.

“A Little Fright Music” – used in Episode 548, 10-26-20, on water-related passages in fiction and non-fiction, for Halloween.
“Beetle Ballet” – used in Episode 525, 5-18-20, on aquatic beetles.
“Chesapeake Bay Ballad” – used in Episode 537, 8-10-20, on conditions in the Chesapeake Bay.
“Corona Cue” – used in Episode 517, 3-23-20, on the coronavirus pandemic.
“Geese Piece” – used most recently in Episode 440, 10-1-18, on E-bird.
“Ice Dance” – used in Episode 556, 12-21-20, on how organisms survive freezing temperatures.
“Lizard Lied” – used in Episode 514, 3-2-20, on lizards.
“New Year’s Water” – used in Episode 349, 1-2-17, on the New Year.
“Rain Refrain” – used most recently Episode 559, 1-11-21, on record rainfall in 2020.
“Spider Strike” – used in Episode 523, 5-4-20, on fishing spiders.
“Tundra Swan Song
– used in Episode 554, 12-7-20, on Tundra Swans.
“Turkey Tune” – used in Episode 343, 11-21-16, on the Wild Turkey.  


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 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.”

2018 Science SOLs

Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems
1.7 – There are weather and seasonal changes; including that changes in temperature, light, and precipitation affect plants and animals, including humans.
2.6 – There are different types of weather on Earth.
2.7 – Weather patterns and seasonal changes affect plants, animals, and their surroundings.
3.7 – There is a water cycle and water is important to life on Earth.
4.4 – Weather conditions and climate effects on ecosystems and can be predicted.
4.7 – The ocean environment.

Grades K-5: Earth Resources
3.8 – Natural events and humans influence ecosystems.

Grade 6
6.6 – Water has unique physical properties and has a role in the natural and human-made environment.
6.7 – Air has properties and the Earth’s atmosphere has structure and is dynamic. 

Earth Science
ES.10 – Oceans are complex, dynamic systems subject to long- and short-term variations.
ES.11 – The atmosphere is a complex, dynamic system subject to long-and short-term variations.
ES.12 – The Earth’s weather and climate result from the interaction of the sun’s energy with the atmosphere, oceans, and the land.

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Grades K-3 Geography Theme
1.6 – Virginia climate, seasons, and landforms.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.1 – Skills for historical thinking, geographical analysis, economic decision-making, and responsible citizenship.
CE.6 – Government at the national level.
CE.7 – Government at the state level.
CE.8 – Government at the local level.

World Geography Course
WG.1 – Skills for historical thinking, geographical analysis, economic decision-making, and responsible citizenship.
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.
WG.3 – How regional landscapes reflect the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants.

Government Course
GOVT.1 – Skills for historical thinking, geographical analysis, economic decision-making, and responsible citizenship.
GOVT.7 – National government organization and powers.
GOVT.8 – State and local government organization and powers.

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.
Episode 483, 7-29-19
– on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20
– on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20
– on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20 – on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.