Tropical Storms

  • First ever Iberian subtropical storm recorded

    The first ever subtropical storm has been recorded in an occurrence described by meteorologists as a "historic fact".

    According to weather experts, subtropical storm Alpha, which barrelled along the Portuguese coast and through some parts of Spain last weekend, was the first event of its kind to be registered since weather records began.

    This was first put forward by Spanish meteorologists and later confirmed by the Portuguese Met Office (IPMA).

    In some cases along the Portuguese coast, particularly the stretches along the Algarve and up to Lisbon, entire beaches were consumed by rapid rises in sea levels, while winds of up to 100km/h were registered in some inland locations.

    On 18 September, 522 occurrences were registered by civil protection authorities due to strong rain and wind which wreaked havoc in various parts of the country.

    The early hours of 19 September were calmer, but the Civil Protection service still registered 33 occurrences, mostly associated to falling trees, flooding, toppling structures and tidal surges in coastal areas.

    Newspaper Observador reported two tornados in Beja and Palmela, which occurred due to supercells.

    The districts of Leiria, Lisbon and Faro were the most affected by the unseasonably bad weather.

    According to Visão magazine, Juan Jesús González Alemán, a researcher in atmospheric dynamics, quoted by Spanish daily newspaper El País, has no doubts: "it is a historical fact."

    Rubén Del Campo, spokesman for the Spanish meteorological agency, added: "It was a very profound storm and, above all, rare for the time of year and for the latitudes where it passed."

    Weather experts appear to be in agreement, Visão reports, that there seems to be a growing movement of weather phenomena more typical of the American coastline on Europe's doorstep. Last year, three other tropical phenomena landed in Portugal and Spain, whereas the norm would be the odd occurrence over extended periods.

    Tropical storms are a type of cyclone that carry sustained winds - that is, the average wind speed in one minute - of between 60 and 120 kilometres per hour. The next step up, hurricane category, exceeds 120km/h.

    Subtropical storms are hybrids that have the characteristics of the occurrences of the tropical system, but which occur at mid-latitudes.

  • T.S Isaias Pummels the Eastern Seaboard

    Tropical Storm Isaias flooded cars and homes, knocked out power to hundreds of thousands and spawned deadly and destructive tornadoes from the Carolinas into Virginia and Maryland.

    Isaias (pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs) made landfall at 11:10 p.m. Monday at the South Carolina-North Carolina border as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. It was racing toward the northeast, and tropical storm warnings were raised as far north as Maine.

    Deadly tornado in Windsor

    Two people were killed and at least 20 injured Tuesday when a tornado scoured a mobile home park overnight in Windsor, North Carolina, Bertie County Sheriff John Holley confirmed to WNCT-TV. A dozen people were hospitalized, but several others who were missing had been accounted for later in the day, according to the Associated Press.

    Holley told WRAL the scene was the worst thing he had seen in his 38 years with the department. “It’s bad,” Holley said. “It doesn’t look real, it looks like something on TV. Nothing is there.

    All my officers are down there at this time,” Holley said. “Pretty much the entire trailer park is gone.

    Sharee and Jeffrey Stilwell huddled in their living room as the tornado tore through Windsor.

    I felt like the house was going to cave in,” Jeffrey Stillwell, 65, ttold the AP. They, and their home, escaped unscathed.

    Two people were reportedly injured by a possible tornado that severely damaged several homes near White Stone, Virginia, on the Chesapeake Bay. Possible tornadoes damaged homes and overturned a vehicle in Maryland, also.

    Altogether, the storm is blamed for the deaths of six people, including a person killed by a falling tree in New York City. Two people died when the storm pounded the Dominican Republic last week.

    Hundreds of thousands in the dark

    Across the mid-Atlantic and into the Northeast, about 3 million homes and businesses were without electricity as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, according to poweroutage.us, more than 210,000 were in Virginia and over 130,000 were in North Carolina. Maryland had more than 73,000 outages, but power was slowly being restored in all three states.

    At about 6:45 p.m., more than 166,000 remained without power in Virginia, more than 87,000 in North Carolina and about 49,000 in Maryland.


    Isaias brought flooding to Maryland as the morning went on. St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said most of the county’s roads were impassable and dangerous.

    Maryland State Patrol troopers rescued two people about 11 a.m. after their vehicles were swept into floodwaters on Brandywine Road in Charles County. The road remained closed for several hours.

    Flooding and downed trees closed more than 60 roads in Anne Arundel County. State officials closed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge for about three hours Tuesday morning because of high winds. A gust of 79 mph was measured on the bridge.

    In Ocean City, a town on the Atlantic coast, Isaias ripped the roof off a condominium building and two other buildings, WBAL-TV reported.


    In Virginia, multiple businesses and homes in downtown Suffolk were damaged when a possible tornado touched about 3:15 a.m. Tuesday, WAVY-TV reported. A fire station also was damaged.

    Trees fell on a number of homes in Suffolk as well.

    Trees were down across the Hampton Roads area, including a large tree that fell across Interstate 264 in Portsmouth, Virginia.

    In Southhampton County, the Courtland Volunteer Fire Department reported a possible tornado touchdown. The Palm Tree Inn in Courtland sustained major damage.

    In Norfolk, Virginia, the facade of the First Baptist Church on 38th Street — including a huge stained-glass window — collapsed into the street.

    North Carolina

    North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Brunswick, Pender and Onslow counties were among the hardest hit with storm surge, structure fires and reports of tornadoes, the AP reported. About two dozen shelters were open because of the storm, he said.

    In Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, where Isaias came ashore, flooding reached 3 feet in some areas, Mayor Debbie Smith told WECT-TV.

    On Oak Island, families had to be rescued from flooded homes. Video from Oak Island showed roads covered with up to a foot of sand in places.

    In Southport’s marina, dozens of boats were slammed together when the docks collapsed.

    South Carolina

    Streets were flooded in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and a large section of the Sea Captain Pier in nearby Cherry Grove was missing, WBTW-TV reported.

    A high-water rescue vehicle had to be called in after 4 feet of water prevented rescuers from reaching people in a flooded home in Cherry Grove.

    The department also responded to six house fires, one of which caused significant damage and one caused moderate damage.

    On the heels of Isaias, forecasters say 10 more hurricanes are likely this season.

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