1126: Epsilon and Zeta
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Explain is chaos..|
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The last report of the 2005 season was issued on January 6, 2006.
A full analysis of the 2005 hurricane season can be found here.
 Sources for quotes
Not atypical of Randall's sense of humor, the quotes in this comic came from real weather advisories.
"<...> MORNING SATELLITE IMAGES INDICATE THAT EPSILON HAS RESTRENGTHENED. <...> THERE ARE NO CLEAR REASONS...AND I AM NOT GOING TO MAKE ONE UP...TO EXPLAIN THE RECENT STRENGTHENING OF EPSILON AND I AM JUST DESCRIBING THE FACTS. HOWEVER...I STILL HAVE TO MAKE AN INTENSITY FORECAST AND THE BEST BET AT THIS TIME IS TO PREDICT WEAKENING <...> EPSILON WILL LIKELY BECOME A REMNANT LOW. I HEARD THAT BEFORE ABOUT EPSILON...HAVEN'T YOU?"
"WE HAVE SAID THIS BEFORE <...> BUT EPSILON REALLY DOES NOT APPEAR AS STRONG THIS EVENING AS IT DID THIS AFTERNOON." (this is likely the only case where the text was changed a bit from its original meaning. The original quote reads: "WE HAVE SAID THIS BEFORE AT TIMES DURING THE PAST SEVERAL NIGHTS... ONLY TO HAVE EPSILON MAKE A COMEBACK THE FOLLOWING MORNING... BUT EPSILON REALLY DOES NOT APPEAR AS STRONG THIS EVENING AS IT DID THIS AFTERNOON.")
Missing Zeta quotes TBD
- The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season saw devastating storms like Katrina and Rita. But less well-remembered is just how strange the season got toward the end. The forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are the best of the best. Their predictions are masterpieces of professional analysis. But in November 2005, out in the center of the Atlantic -- far from any land -- the atmosphere stopped making sense. And the forecasters -- who'd expected the season to be long over by now -- started to get a little ... unhinged. This is their story, as seen through the actual 2005 NHC advisories:
- Tuesday, November 29th, 2005:
- Tropical storm Epsilon... The 26th named storm of apparently never ending 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.
- 10 PM Wed: The window of opportunity for strengthening should close in 12-24 hr.
- 4 PM Thu: Slow but steady weakening is expected to begin in 12-24 hours.
- 4 AM Fri: Epsilon does not appear weaker.
- 10 AM Fri: Epsilon has been upgraded to a 65-kt hurricane.
- 4 PM Sat: Epsilon has continued to strengthen against all odds ... [but] can not maintain the current intensity much longer since the environment is becoming increasingly unfavorable.
- 10 PM Sat: Epsilon might or might not still be a hurricane ... but in any case it likely will not be one on Sunday.
- 4 AM Sun: Epsilon is downgraded to a tropical storm.
- 10 AM Sun: Morning satellite images indicate that Epsilon has restrengthened.
- There are no clear reasons ... and I am not going to make one up ... to explain the recent strengthening of Epsilon and I am just describing the facts.
- However ... I still have to make an intensity forecast and the best bet at this time is to predict weakening ... Epsilon will likely become a remnant low.
- I heard that before about Epsilon ... haven't you?
- 4 PM Mon: The cloud pattern continues to be a remarkably well-organized for a hurricane at such high latitude in December.
- 10 PM Mon: We have said this before ... but Epsilon really does not appear as strong this evening as it did this afternoon.
- 4 AM Tue: I have run out of things to say.
- 10 PM Tue: The end is in sight. It really really is. But in the meantime ... Epsilon continues to maintain hurricane status.
- 4 AM Wed: The end is in sight ... yes ... but not quite yet. I thought I was going to find a weakening system and instead I found that Epsilon is still a hurricane.
- 10 AM Thu: Convection has vanished and Epsilon is now a tight swirl of low clouds.
- I hope this is the end of the long lasting 2005 hurricane season.
- ENTER TROPICAL STORM ZETA
- Friday, December 30th, 2005: An elongated area of low pressure ... which had its origins in an old frontal trough ... began developing organized convection overnight. Advisories are initiated on the 27th tropical storm of 2005.
- ANY NEW STORMS WOULD BE IN THE 2006 SEASON
- 4 PM Fri: Although the atmosphere seems to want to develop tropical storms ad nauseam ... the calendar will shortly put an end to the use of the Greek alphabet to name them.
- BUT 2005's WOULDN'T END UNTIL ZETA DID.
- 10 PM Sat: Zeta appeared on the verge of losing all of its deep convection a few hours ago... but since about 21z the convection has been on somewhat of an increase again.
- 10 PM Sun: This is like Epsilon all over again. most of the conventional guidance suggested that Zeta should have been dissipated by now...well it is not indeed...and Zeta is pretty much alive at this time. ... I have no choice but to forecast weakening again and again.
- 4 AM Mon: By 24-36 hours... a significant increase in westerly winds... should act to shear away most of the associated convection... and finally bring the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season to a merciful ending.
- 4 PM Mon: It is hard to conceive that a tropical cyclone will be able to survive for very long in such a hostile environment. Therefore I have not backed off on the forecast of weakening. (of course...Zeta may have other ideas.)
- 10 PM Mon: Zeta is stronger than yesterday.
- 10 AM Wed: As you can see...I ran out things to say.
- 4 AM Thu: Satellite intensity estimates have decreased ... Zeta is downgraded to a 30 kt tropical depression.
- 10 AM Thu: Shortly after the previous advisory had been issued ... regretfully...the intensity increased to 35 kt and Zeta is a tropical storm once again.
- 10 PM Thu: Although it seems as if Zeta will never die...the forecast continues to show weakening.
- 4 PM, Friday, January 6, 2006: Zeta no longer meets the criteria of a tropical cyclone... which means that both it and the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season have ended. ... this is the National Hurricane Center signing off for 2005 (... finally.)