Roop Vision

Thursday, May 31, 2007 (3:43 pm)

Watching the Caribbean

Filed under: Weather — daweathaman @ 3:43 pm

By Charles E. Roop

No, I am not watching for pirates in the Caribbean (I would like to see the third movie, but I haven’t seen POTC II yet). What I am watching is the Caribbean Sea for some interesting weather.

Just one day before the official start of hurricane season – and one day before I start shopping for it – we have an area of disturbed weather the National Hurricane Center is watching…

SPECIAL TROPICAL DISTURBANCE
STATEMENT
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE
CENTER
MIAMI FL
1150 AM EDT THU
MAY 31 2007

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS IN
THE NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA…SOUTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO AND ADJACENT LAND
AREAS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE CENTERED ABOUT 75 MILES
SOUTHEAST OF COZUMEL MEXICO. ALTHOUGH THIS SYSTEM HAS SOME POTENTIAL FOR TROPICAL
DEVELOPMENT OVER THE NEXT DAY OR SO…THE LOW IS EXPECTEDTO MOVE SLOWLY
NORTHWARD INTO THE SOUTHERN GULF OF MEXICO WHERE ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS WOULD
LIKELY FAVOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENT AS A NON-TROPICAL LOW. REGARDLESS OF
DEVELOPMENT…THIS SYSTEM SHOULD BRING HEAVY RAINS ACROSS
WESTERN CUBA AND SOUTHERN
FLORIDA
OVER THE NEXT
COUPLE OF DAYS. PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER SERVICE
OFFICE FOR MORE DETAILS.

It looks like south Florida might get the aid it needs if the forecast holds. I am hoping that the rain gets sent to Gainesville, as well.

The deep convection seems to come in and out from looking at infrared satellite imagery. I am seeing slight twisting at a certain level in the visible imagery; however, nothing too organized as of now.

I’ll be watching it. 

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“Historic” drought on hand in south Florida.

Filed under: Weather — daweathaman @ 12:24 pm

By Charles E. Roop

I was thinking that south Florida was in a better situation with rain than the rest of the state was based on drought index numbers. However, it looks like we have a long way to go.

Storm chaser and videographer Jeff Gammons blogged about how south Florida is under a severe drought. Check out his latest blog post. The photos of before and after are amazing. Click here to check it out.

Hurricane season is almost here

Filed under: Alligator,News,Photography,UF,Weather — daweathaman @ 12:07 pm

By Charles E. Roop

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Charles Roop/Alligator Staff
A display of batteries sits on the sales floor of the Lowe’s on Southwest Archer Road Wednesday afternoon.

Andrew Tan wrote an article for the Alligator on Alachua County’s hurricane preparedness plans. It can be viewed by clicking here.

Also, Dr. William Gray et. al. from Colorado State just released the new predictions for this season. It remains the same from the April 3 forecast: 17 named storms, nine of those hurricanes, five of the hurricanes considered major (winds 111+ mph).

In the forecast, which can be viewed by clicking here, includes conditions that support the teams forecast. This includes warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the eastern Atlantic as well as the end of El Nino and the start of La Nina. Also, another factor…

The Atlantic Meridional Mode (AMM) evaluates the strength of the SST gradient between the northern tropical and southern tropical Atlantic, spanning from 21°S-32°N and the South American coastline to the West African coastline.  A positive AMM is in place when the meridional gradient of SST between the northern tropical Atlantic and southern tropical Atlantic is greater than the long-period average.  When the AMM is positive, the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) shifts northward.  Consequently, convergence is enhanced in the northern tropical Atlantic, while trade wind strength and vertical wind shear in the tropical Atlantic are reduced.  Also associated with a northward-shifted ITCZ are enhanced low-level vorticity and below-normal sea level pressures (Knaff 1997).  When all these conditions occur, more active Atlantic basin tropical cyclone seasons are typically observed (Chiang and Vimont 2004, Klotzbach and Gray 2006).

So, it looks like an active year is highly possible. Now is the time to be prepared.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 (11:47 am)

The importance of having a NOAA Weather Radio

Filed under: Photography,Weather — daweathaman @ 11:47 am

By Charles E. Roop

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Saturday was a day for family preparation since it was Hurricane Preparedness Week. With that in mind the Gainesville Amateur Radio Society set up a table outside of a northwest Gainesville Publix and provided disaster preparedness information as well as a service to program NOAA Weather Radios. The grocery store sold the radios for $30 and, if any customers wanted to, the GARS members at the table would program the Specific Area Message Encoding code numbers for anyone (for more about SAME, click here). 

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Jeff, W4UFL, stands by the information table outside the Hunter’s Crossing Publix in Gainesville Saturday. 

The event went pretty well with some people buying the radios, getting them programed and asked questions about the program as well as amateur radio.

The point: the radios can save lives! NOAA Weather Radio, dubbed "the voice of the National Weather Service," gives timely weather information and warnings to the public. Most radios on the market have an alert feature. This means that when a watch or warning is issued for your area, an alarm could go off or turn on the radio (depending on what you set it to) and can alert you and even wake you up at night to notify you of the hazard. The radios have come down in price in recent years and can be found from anywhere between $20-80 on average.

Former Vice President Al Gore said in the mid-1990’s – before he invented the Internet – that weather radios should be in every home just like smoke detectors. I agree.

I have had some sort of weather radio wherever I lived for ten years and is a very useful tool. Since hurricane season is just around the corner, I encourage those who don’t have one to get one. For more on the program, check out http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr.

Remembering those who served.

Filed under: Alligator,Photography — daweathaman @ 11:15 am

By Charles E. Roop

Monday was Memorial Day and a time to remember those who have and are fighting for our country. I went around the Gainesville area yesterday and grabbed a few shots for the Alligator. Two made it in today’s paper, but below are additional photos.

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Charles Roop/Alligator Staff
Plastic tombstones representing military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan line Northwest Eighth Avenue on Monday morning.

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Charles Roop/Alligator Staff
Memorial Melodies
A man plays the bagpipes at the Forest Meadows Funeral Home and Cemetary’s Third Annual Memorial Day Service in Gainesville on Monday afternoon. The event included the Gainesville Harmony Show Chorus and the Gainesville High School Drill Team.

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Monday, May 14, 2007 (9:48 pm)

Getting Smoked.

Filed under: Alligator,Journalism,Life,News,Photography,Weather — daweathaman @ 9:48 pm

By Charles E. Roop

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A self potrait of me in the back of a SUV during the tour of the fires in Columbia County.

I was asked to cover the Bugaboo fires in Columbia County (just north of Alachua County) Monday afternoon for the Alligator. It was practically my first big assignment of the Summer 2007 term as a staff photographer.

The Florida Division of Forestry gave some members of the press a tour of the fires and flames in northern Columbia County in the Osceola National Forest. This was the same fire that started in southeast Georgia nearly a month ago. This fire has scorched 108,000 acres in Florida, said Florida Division of Forestry Incident Commander Sonny Greene at a press conference Monday afternoon.

It was my first time covering a forest fire as well as getting close to anything like this. I tagged along with a Gainesville Sun intern and UF photojournalism student and a Orlando Sentinel photographer with a reporter along side. In two other vehicles were a CNN video crew, an AP videographer and a  Lake City Reporter photographer. A Classic 89 (WUFT-FM) reporter also tagged along. Two information officers with the Division of Forestry were escorting everyone through since U.S. Highway 441 north of Lake City and areas around the fire were closed off.

All of us – wearing yellow pants, jackets and helmets for our safety – got out at certain spots and got pictures, collected sound and got pictures of flames. It was an interesting experience.

I hope that releif and rain comes to those in Columbia County, as well as the rest of the state, soon.

Here are some photos…

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Firefighters are given a briefing before being sent out.

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Jamie Rittenhouse of the Florida Division of Forestry talks on the radio during the tour.

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Edward Vuolo of the Florida Division of Forestry uses the tractor to keep the fire from spreading.

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Annaleasa Winter, a Information Officer with the Florida Division of Forestry, talks to a reporter at a press conference.

Check out Tuesday’s Alligator for the latest on the fires.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007 (10:32 pm)

Introducing my f/2.8 lens!

Filed under: Photography — daweathaman @ 10:32 pm

By Charles E. Roop

I made another investment, and a well-needed one. For a shallow depth of field as well as some help in low-light situations, I did some research and found lens that got some good ratings. I got the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC Macro lens for Canon EOS digital SLRs (for a review by Popular Photography and Imaging, click here). So far, the lens is pretty cool. Below are a few shots I took this afternoon.

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Subtropical Storm Andrea forms off the coast of Florida.

Filed under: Weather — daweathaman @ 12:21 pm

By Charles E. Roop

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Image Source: WeatherTap.com 

The National Hurricane Center in Miami has started issuing statements on Subtropical Storm Andrea after hurricane hunter aircraft discovered that the storm had subtropical characteristics.

The Glossary of Meteorology from the American Meteorological Society defines a subtropical storm as "a cyclone in tropical or subtropical latitudes that has characteristics of both tropical cyclones and midlatitude cyclones."

From the NHC’s 11 a.m. EDT adivisory…

AT 11 AM EDT…1500 UTC…A TROPICAL STORM WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED ALONG THE SOUTHEAST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES FROM ALTAMAHA SOUNDGEORGIA SOUTHWARD TO FLAGLER BEACH FLORIDA. A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA…GENERALLY WITHIN THE NEXT 36 HOURS.

[…]

AT 1100 AM EDT…1500Z…THE CENTER OF SUBTROPICAL STORM ANDREA WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 30.8 NORTH…LONGITUDE 79.3 WEST OR ABOUT 140 MILES…225 KM…SOUTHEAST OF SAVANNAH GEORGIA AND ABOUT 150 MILES …240 KM…NORTHEAST OF DAYTONA BEACH FLORIDA.

ANDREA IS MOVING GENERALLY TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 3 MPH. A CONTINUED SLOW MOTION AND A GRADUAL TURN TOWARD THE SOUTHWEST ARE EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. ALONG THIS TRACK…THE CENTER OF ANDREA IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN OFFSHORE OF THE U.S. COAST THROUGH AT LEAST THURSDAY MORNING.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 45 MPH…75 KM/HR…WITH HIGHER GUSTS. LITTLE CHANGE IN STRENGTH IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

WINDS OF 40 MPH EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 115 MILES…185 KM…MAINLY TO THE EAST OF THE CENTER.

THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE RESERVE RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT WAS 1003 MB…29.62 INCHES.

SINCE THE HEAVIEST RAINS ASSOCIATED WITH ANDREA ARE EXPECTED TO REMAIN OFFSHORE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS… ANDREA IS NOT EXPECTED TO PRODUCE SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL OVER ANY LAND AREAS THROUGH AT LEAST THURSDAY MORNING.

The forecast track has the center of Andrea actually hitting the northeast Florida coast sometime Saturday. Before then (let us hope), Andrea should bring in some chances of rain and help quench the thirst of Florida’s landscape.

As for the wildfire situation, winds have switched to the northwest at the Gainesville airport. There is still smoke in the air here in southwest Gainesville, but not as much haze. Right now, I have no real status of the fire situation except for what was in this morning’s Gainesville Sun. According to the paper, nearly 66 percent of the Santa Fe swamp has been burned and more than 700 residents have been evacuated in Alachua and Bradford counties.

I just found out from the Gainesville Sun’s website that Gov. Charlie Crist will be having a press conference in just a matter of minutes at Hope Baptist Church in Bradford County.

I’ll be at home watching the situation today.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007 (4:30 pm)

Smokin’

Filed under: Amateur Radio,News,Weather — daweathaman @ 4:30 pm

By Charles E. Roop

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A view of the smoke on Southwest Archer Road looking northeast Tuesday afternoon.

Erin and I were on the way home from her grandmothers in Dunnellon (southwestern Marion County) last night when two things happened. I received a Civil Emergency Message on my cellphone and witnessed a huge plume of smoke from the north. It turns out that a brush fire broke out near the Alachua and Bradford County border.

Right now, I am monitoring the situation from my apartment looking for any media reports and relaying any news on the local repeater when necessary. Here in Gainesville, it’s smoke city. It reminds me a lot of the 1998 wildfires.

For those living in the area, check out the Gainesville Sun where they are making updates every few hours: http://gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070508/SUNFRONT/705080332

Also, keep any eye on NOAA Weather Radio, radio (either AM 850 WRUF or "The Sky" 97.3), TV or other media outlets for the latest information on the fire. 

Be back later.

Sunday, May 6, 2007 (3:46 pm)

Watch cancelled for Alachua County.

Filed under: Weather — daweathaman @ 3:46 pm

By Charles E. Roop

I just checked the latest watch status report for the severe thunderstorm watch mentioned in the last entry. Alachua County was removed from the list of counties in the watch as of the 3:35 p.m. EDT WW#2 update (for text, click here). Possible reason: weather to the north appears relatively clear and any inclement weather seems unlikely.

However, there are some warnings posted for east-central Florida. Severe thunderstorm warnings are in effect for Orange, Seminole, Volusia and Brevard counties.

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