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Hurricane Arthur

Posted on Jul 6, 2014

There always seems to be something strange going on with the weather in the Northeast United States and this Independence Day weekend was no exception. I cannot recall a time where we were even talking about tropical cyclones in early July but sure enough, Hurricane Arthur decided to make a close pass right off the Mid-Atlantic and New England coasts on the Fourth after ramming through the Carolinas.

The most engrossing image I saw in the last week was this radar grab by the Severe Weather Institute – Radar & Lightning Laboratories at UAHuntsville. As they said it depicts the power of the National Weather Service’s newly-upgraded dual-pol (dual polarization) radar systems.

Hurricane Arthur birds eye

The left side of this image shows typical reflectivity off Newport/Morehead, North Carolina, while the right side shows “ZDR”, or differential reflectivity, a product that identifies the shape of the object the beam hits. In this case those bright white, pink and purple areas are birds trapped in the eye of Arthur while the rest of the image shows rain. Incredible!

Arthur came close enough to give us a few extra waves, some wind and rain across southern New England, thankfully sparing us major problems for both human life and property and all of the nesting waterbirds.

Hurricane Arthur satellite

While Arthur had by far the least impact on Connecticut when considering Irene and Sandy it was still a bit surreal to literally feel a tropical cyclone brush by for the third year out of the past four with its humid air, classic small raindrops and gusty winds. It was also a good reminder that this is going to happen more frequently, with more ferocious storms, all over longer periods within each calendar year as our oceans and atmosphere continue to warm and gain energy. The potential for what we could see become “regular” is frightening. This little nudge that was Arthur should be remembered for more than canceling a few picnics and fireworks displays.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator