Under normal circumstances, Sunday would have been a heavy blogging day for me, what with historic Tropical Storm Zeta prowling the waters of the Atlantic, the Notre Dame-Ohio State Fiesta Bowl looming Monday afternoon (and the USC-Texas Rose Bowl not far behind), a ton of other bowl games and bowl pick ‘em contest standings to talk about, and a new computer (and hopefully the end of my long PowerBook saga) to discuss.
But these are anything but normal circumstances. I’m still in recovery mode from the wonderful-but-exhausting wedding (and New Year’s) festivities, and meanwhile I also have a honeymoon to pack for. What’s more, the computer purchase has disrupted my digital world once again, forcing me to go through the now-familiar ritual of restoring backed-up data, re-installing applications and so forth. And blogging promises to remain light tomorrow and beyond as Becky’s and my honeymoon begins. Some things are more important than the blog! :)
So I figured I’d better at least post a brief update on Zeta, and a few Fiesta-related links and thoughts. I’ll start with the latter. Here are previews of the game by SI, Yahoo and ESPN, and here are columns by Jerry Bonkowski and Pat Forde. For an Irish-tinged perspective on the game, ND fanblog extraordinare The Blue-Gray Sky and Irish Buckeye blogger IrishLaw are probably your best options. The latter has a whole list of additional relevant links if you’re interested.
As for me, I wish I could watch the game, but I’ll be on a plane to Maui from the opening kickoff until the final whistle. (I know, I can feel your overwheming sympathy. Flying to Maui… it’s a tough life, but somebody’s got to live it.) Needless to say, I’ll be checking the final score on my cell phone the moment the plane lands.
GOOOOOO IRISH!!!!! BEEEEEAT BUCKEYES!!!!!
Regarding Zeta… the storm formed at 11:00 AM on Friday, tying 1954-55’s Hurricane Alice for the all-time latest tropical storm formation in recorded history. (Alice formed on December 30, 1954, but wasn’t recognized as a tropical cyclone by the National Hurricane Center until January 1, 1955; hence the “A” name. It’s unclear at exactly what time Alice formed on the 30th, so I’ll call it a tie between Zeta and Alice.)
In what has to be an unprecedented occurrence in the history of our relationship, Becky knew about Zeta’s formation before I did. She saw something about it on TV in the bridal get-ready room in the early afternoon. (In the best man’s room, where I was, we were watching old Rose Bowls on ESPN Classic.) I didn’t know anything about Zeta until around 8:00 PM Friday, when Chris and Nick mentioned it at the reception.
Commenting on Zeta’s formation Friday afternoon, InstaPundit declared, “I see this as Mother Nature’s way of marking hurricane-blogger Brendan Loy’s wedding.” Heh.
Zeta maintained its strength on Saturday, and on Saturday night into Sunday morning, it became only the second tropical storm ever to span two calendar years. (Alice, again, was the first.)
And now, much like Epsilon before it, Zeta is defying the forecasts:
THIS IS LIKE PREVIOUS TROPICAL CYCLONE 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. SATELLITE IMAGES STILL INDICATE A WELL-DEFINED CIRCULATION AND ALTHOUGH THE CONVECTION IS NOT VERY DEEP…THE CLOUD PATTERN REMAINS ORGANIZED WITH AN ESTABLISHED OUTFLOW IN THE NORTHERN SEMICIRCLE. IN FACT…THE LATEST QUIKSCAT AND AMSU DATA SUGGEST THAT ZETA COULD BE A LITTLE STRONGER THAN THE INITIAL INTENSITY OF 45 KNOTS GIVEN IN THIS ADVISORY. THE INITIAL INTENSITY IS BASED ON CONTINUITY AND SUBJECTIVE DVORAK ESTIMATES. ACCORDING TO THE SHIPS MODEL WHICH DISSIPATES ZETA BY 48 HOURS…THE COOLER THAN NORMAL 200 MB TEMPERATURE IS THE ONLY PARAMETER CONTRIBUTING TO THE MAINTENANCE OF THE CYCLONE. ON THE OTHER HAND…THE GFDL INSISTS ON MAKING ZETA A HURRICANE IN A COUPLE OF DAYS AND IT IS HARD TO GO AGAINST IT. HOWEVER…WITH STRONG WESTERLIES ALOFT AND DRY AIR HEADING FOR ZETA…I HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO FORECAST WEAKENING AGAIN AND AGAIN.
The Storm Track suggests that Forecaster Avila is being a wimp, and that he thinks Zeta will become a hurricane but “doesn’t have the guts to go for it” in his forecast. We shall see.