A "Barry" Interesting Situation with "Broad" Parameters
Tornados, tropical storms, surges, cyclonic water spouts and hurricanes, OH MY! -- A voice from the Broadmoor neighborhood in NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Written by Briana Augustus
They couldn't make it sound less frightening if they wanted to. Lot of "weather events" going on, along with a lot of terms being thrown out there by our trusted meteorologists. They are always so awesomely excited to share their knowledge with us! Oftentimes though, the sirens have already been set off in the minds of concerned citizens, and the sound drowns out the rather helpful and informative details in between "preparedness," "evacuation," and "like Katrina". Since you've decided to pause and try to figure out what exactly those technical terms entail - besides the fact that the City of New Orleans and Mayor Latoya Cantrell are as prepared as prepared can be at this present time - here's a little translation breakdown:
- The waterspout footage circulating throughout media looks pretty crazy - oh, and it is! What was witnessed and referenced July 10th, 2019, was a "tornadic waterspout" - which is basically a tornado that hit water before it hit land. It has the potential to move onshore (at which point a "tornado warning" is declared) and is known for its generally severe thunderstorm activity (high winds, rainfall, etc.).
- "Storm surge" is another term commonly heard throughout storm news coverage. It is indicative of an unusual rise in seawater level during a storm.
- A "tropical cyclone" is a broad term for a series of organized thunderstorms, which encompasses hurricanes and other storm systems that develop over tropical or subtropical waters. If storm winds are sustained but remain below 39 miles per hour (mph), they are simply called "tropical depressions".
- If the winds reach and exceed 39 mph, the storm system turns into a "tropical storm". If tropical storm winds reach 74 mph, it turns into a "hurricane" (also known broadly as a "tropical cyclone").
- What about the various hurricane "categories" being mentioned? The winds of a hurricane are rated and organized into categories. On a scale of 1 to 5, the categories predict the potential for property damage - 5 being the highest level of predicted property damage.
- There were several news reports about tornadoes touching down in areas - what's the difference? A tornado is characterized as a storm with violent, high-speed winds. Other common aspects include hail, that 'calm before the storm' period of still air and a typically brief touchdown time (around 15 minutes).
So long story short:
No further concrete details available beyond the fact that this may or may not be a smooth, mild or rough storm. Today, may or may not be an indicator of the level of severity to be expected in lieu of the brewing storm "Barry" - and that being said: who knows. Please keep an eye out on your local, regional and state news outlets for the latest storm updates and preparedness tips.
Photo credits: Briana Augustus