With Gordon becoming a strong Category 2 hurricane today (110 mph in the 8 pm intermediate advisory), it inspired me to give a quick history of the four Gordons that have formed in the Atlantic. The name Gordon replaced the infamous, Hurricane Gilbert of 1988 that devastated much of the Caribbean. Since that time, the Gordons have proven to be quite a nuisance from the Gulf Coast (specifically Florida) to the Azores Islands in the Northeast Atlantic.
Hurricane Gordon 2012
The current Hurricane Gordon is currently enroute to pass the Azores to the south by Monday morning. As it moves east, the storm will encounter cooler sea surface temperatures which should induce some weakening. It is possible that some form of Gordon could make landfall in Portugal by mid-week.
As you can see in the infrared satellite image above, Gordon looks quite good tonight with very good outflow in just about all quadrants and a distinct eye. The storm is moving along at a swift 21 mph, which is why it is not being affected by wind shear at upper levels. Ironically, this is the best looking hurricane of the 2012 season so far and it’s in the North-Central Atlantic! The latest track guidance indicates that the ultimate destination of Gordon may be Western Europe by mid-week, but in a much weaker state.
Past Hurricane Gordons
Hurricane Gordon 2006 took a similar track of the current Hurricane Gordon. It’s maximum intensity was 120 mph or Category 3 and passed through the Azores Islands bringing hurricane-force wind gusts. The storm became extratropical shortly after that and wound up causing some damage in Spain and Northern Ireland before dissipating. If the current Gordon does the same thing, it would be uncanny!
Hurricane Gordon 2000 formed near the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula and quickly strengthened to a hurricane over the loop current in the Gulf of Mexico with a maximum intensity of 80 mph or Category 1. Gordon made landfall near Cedar Key, Florida as a tropical storm with winds of 65 mph and a couple tornadoes.
Hurricane Gordon 1994 was definitely one of the most bizarre tracks in the climatology of the Atlantic. The storm peaked at 85 mph or Category 1 off the Southeast U.S. coast and dropped six tornadoes. This Gordon is responsible for over 1000 deaths and it’s kind of surprising that the name wasn’t retired.
What is next?
The disturbance in the Eastern Atlantic may become quite a headache for many in the next 7-12 days. Computer model forecasts are all over the place, but there seems to be decent agreement as you can see above on a track towards the Lesser Antilles in a few days. A couple of the models have what would be Isaac as a strong hurricane prior to entering the Eastern Caribbean, so this bears watching. I’ll have more on this as the system develops.
Thanks for reading!