A very exciting day in the world of ocean exploration today… there was a live expedition dive on the first reef of its size discovered in the Great Barrier Reef in over 120 years! Those aboard the R/V Falkor discovered and mapped this detached reef 5 days ago – it measures about 500m from the base to the top, with the shallowest part being about 40m below the sea surface, and it’s about 300m long and 50m wide:
It’s the ‘pinnacle’ in the middle of the inset in the screen capture above. If you want to see the expedition, you can find the video here for the lowest part of the reef and here for the shallowest part of the reef – including the very healthy top – all seen for the first time by humans. Here’s a snapshot of the shallowest part of the reef:
Meanwhile, in the Caribbean, Tropical Storm Zeta is now a mid-size Tropical Storm with winds of 60mph, central pressure of 996mb (TS range: 39-74mph). The intensity forecast was shifted upward and it’s now expected to be a mid-sized cat 1 storm when it makes landfall in the Yucatan peninsula tomorrow. I think it’s already a hurricane because there is good circulation (vorticity) throughout the troposphere and there is strong convection because of the very warm and deep warm waters it is over:
There is not a lot of wind shear, so there is nothing really to keep it from continuing to intensify until it reaches land. It’s at 18.2N, 83.9W, heading NNW at a very very slow 2mph – i.e. pretty much stationary.
I agree with the location of the center today, so I’ll go with the NHC track now. It did shift to the west as the center was shifted a little to the south of the location. Again, the landfall location in the northern Gulf is still a bit uncertain of course, so be prepared from TX to FL.
More tomorrow of course!
These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms – not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center’s official forecast and local weather service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I “run away, run away” (Monty Python), I’ll let you know.