Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Episode 656 (5-29-23): ‘Tis the Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Season 2023, Officially June 1 – November 30

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (5:10).

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 5-22-23.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the weeks of May 29 and June 5, 2023.

SOUNDS – ~6 sec – loud thunder and rain.

Sounds of rain and thunder open Water Radio’s annual episode previewing a potential bunch of rainy, thunderous, windy, and dangerous summer and fall visitors.  Have a listen for about 35 seconds to some more stormy sounds accompanying 21 names that we hope will not become infamous this year.

SOUNDS AND VOICES - ~34 sec – “Arlene.  Bret.  Cindy.  Don.  Emily.  Franklin.  Gert.  Harold.  Idalia.  Jose.  Katia.  Lee.  Margot.  Nigel.  Ophelia.  Philippe.  Rina.  Sean.  Tammy.  Vince.  Whitney.”

Those were the names planned for storms that may occur during this year’s Atlantic basin tropical cyclone season.  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 do.  In fact, every year from 2015 through 2021 had a named Atlantic basin storm before June 1.  [Editor’s note, not in the audio: Pre-June named Atlantic storms from 2015 through 2021 were Ana in 2015, Alex in January 2016 and Bonnie in May 2016, Arlene in April 2017, Alberto in May 2018, Andrea in May 2019, Arthur and Bertha in May 2020, and Ana in May 2021.  The first named storm in 2022 officially formed on June 5, when on that day the National Hurricane Center upgraded Potential Tropical Cyclone One to Tropical Storm Alex.]

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 five important preparedness steps recommended by the National Weather Service.

1.  Know your zone – that is, find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation area by checking the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s “Hurricane Zone Evacuation Tool,” available online at  vaemergency.gov/prepare, or by contacting your local emergency management office.

2.  Assemble an emergency kit of food, water, flashlights, first aid materials, a battery-powered radio, and other items that would be useful in a power outage.
3.  Have a family emergency plan, including procedures for evacuating and for getting in touch with one another in an emergency.

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


5.  Establish ways to stay informed, especially if the power goes out.

Detailed safety tips for hurricanes and other severe weather are available online from the National Weather Service, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the American Red Cross, and various other sources.

Thanks to seven Virginia Tech colleagues for lending their voices to this episode.

We close with about 25 seconds of original music for tropical storms, composed and performed by Torrin Hallett. Here’s “Tropical Tantrum.”

MUSIC - ~27 sec – 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 episode.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


All sounds in this episode were recorded by Virginia Water Radio in Blacksburg, Va.

The tropical storm name call-outs by seven Virginia Tech faculty and staff were recorded on May 19, 2023.  The opening rain and thunder were recorded in Blacksburg on July 31, 2012.  The rain and thunder accompanying the name call-outs were recorded in Blacksburg on September 28, 2016.

“Tropical Tantrum” is copyright 2017 by Torrin Hallett, used with permission.  As of 2022-2023, Torrin is the associate principal horn of the Symphonic Orchestra of the State of Mexico.  He 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 by Virginia Water Radio most recently in Episode 580, 6-7-21, a preview of the 2021 Atlantic tropical storm season.

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; Episode 601, 10-31-21, connections among Halloween, water, and the human boy; and Episode 640, 10-31-22, a Halloween-themed tree quiz.
“Beetle Ballet” – used in Episode 525, 5-18-20, on aquatic beetles.
“Chesapeake Bay Ballad” – used most recently in Episode 632, 7-18-22, on Chesapeake Bay conditions.
“Corona Cue” – used in Episode 517, 3-23-20, on the coronavirus pandemic.
“Flow Stopper” – used in Episode 599, 10-18-21, on “Imagine a Day Without Water.”
“Geese Piece” – used most recently in 615, 2-7-22, on Brant.
“Ice Dance” – “Ice Dance” – used most recently in Episode 606, 12-6-21, on freezing of water.
“Lizard Lied” – used in Episode 514, 3-2-20, on lizards.
“New Year’s Water” – used most recently in Episode 610, 1-3-22, on water thermodynamics and a New Year’s Day New River wade-in.
“Rain Refrain” – used most recently in Episode 559, 1-11-21, on record rainfall in 2020.
“Runoff” – in Episode 585, 7-12-21 – on middle schoolers calling out stormwater-related water words.
“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.

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.


National Hurricane Center map of the Atlantic tropical weather outlook for the next seven days, as of 8 a.m. EDT on May 23, 2023; map accessed online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/gtwo.php?basin=atlc&fdays=7.
National Hurricane Center map showing the names, dates, and tracks of named Atlantic basin tropical cyclones (tropical storms and hurricanes) in 2022; map accessed online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/index.php?season=2022&basin=atl.

“5 Things to Know About Hurricane Hazard Risks” poster from the National Weather Service, “What to Do Before the Tropical Storm or Hurricane,” online at https://www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane-plan.  The site also has posters with “5 Things to Know About…” having an evacuation plan, strengthening one’s home, getting information, and insurance.


The following information quoted from the National Weather Service, “Hurricane Safety,” online at https://www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane, May 22, 2023.

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 from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes [available online at https://www.flash.org/].

“Preparation tips for those with chronic illnesses [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 [online at https://www.weather.gov/nwr/] 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.  [Information about reducing carbon monoxide risk is online (as a PDF) at https://www.cdc.gov/co/pdfs/generators.pdf.]

“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 May 22, 2023.

“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 [WMO, 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 2023 list will be used again in 2029.  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.”

“In the event that more than twenty-one named tropical cyclones occur in the Atlantic basin in a season, or more than twenty-four named tropical cyclones in the eastern North Pacific basin, any additional storms will take names from an alternate list of names approved by the WMO for each basin.”


Used for Audio

National Archives/Federal Register, “Presidential proclamation of National Hurricane Preparedness Week 2023, April 28, 2023, online at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/05/03/2023-09538/national-hurricane-preparedness-week-2023.  (Dates for the week in 2023 were April 30-May 6.)

National Hurricane Center (NHC):
Main Web page, online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/;
“Active Tropical Cyclones,” online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/cyclones/;
Glossary,” online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutgloss.shtml;
“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 Advisory Archive,” online https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/#advisories;
“Tropical Cyclone Names,” online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml;
“Tropical Weather Outlook,” online at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/gtwo.php.

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):
“Latest News and Features,” online at https://www.noaa.gov/news-features (this site should have information on predictions for the 2023 Atlantic tropical storm season, as of May 25, 2023).
“National Hurricane Preparedness,” online at https://www.noaa.gov/hurricane-prep;

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

Virginia Department of Emergency Management:
“Hurricanes,” online at https://www.vaemergency.gov/threats/hurricanes/;
“Know Your Zone” (for evacuation planning), online at https://www.vaemergency.gov/know-your-zone/.

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), “NOAA predicts a near- or above-normal 2023 central Pacific hurricane season,” May 25, 2023, News Release.

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.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Weather/Climate/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.
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.
Episode 580, 6-7-21 – annual season-preview episode, with storm names for 2021.
Episode 629, 6-6-22 – annual season-preview episode, with storm names for 2022.


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.
4.4 – Weather conditions and climate have 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
6.4 – There are basic sources of energy and energy can be transformed.
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.

Grades K-3 Civics Theme
3.12 – Importance of government in community, Virginia, and the United States.

Virginia Studies Course
VS.10 – Knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

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 https://www.doe.virginia.gov/teaching-learning-assessment/instruction

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 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
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.
Episode 606, 12-6-21 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.