Bad Girl Ana

January 29, 2016
Tropical Storm Ana

Bad Girl Ana heading to the Carolinas.


Ana was a rule-breaker. The Atlantic Hurricane Season is supposed to start in June.  Tropical Storm Ana developed in early May.

Tropical storms are supposed to develop in the tropics. Ana was born north of the tropics. El Niños are supposed to keep tropical storms from developing in the Atlantic. Nothing stopped Ana.

Even Ana’s start was messy. She started as a crazy schizophrenic. Basically, there are two types of storms​—tropical and extratropical (cold fronts). Ana was both! Her top, what the satellites could see, looked like a large extratropical thunderstorm. Her bottom was a raging tropical storm! She was a half-and-half, a subtropical storm.

Click to enlarge image. The schizophrenic storm—a subtropical storm. Source: Browning Media

Originally, Ana was a southern thunderstorm, raining where a cold front met hot, wet air from the Atlantic. When she finally drifted over the hot Atlantic waters, the bottom of the storm heated. When the hot ocean air started to reach the colder air overhead, it started to act like a tropical storm. The heat rose higher and higher and eventually the thunderstorm turned into a subtropical and then tropical storm. Now she is flowing north and weakening. Eventually she will be cool enough to turn back into an extratropical thunderstorm. Meanwhile, despite some high tide flooding and downed power lines, there have been no reported deaths or injuries. She is doing far less damage than the flurry of tornadoes further west in Oklahoma and Texas.

Click to Enlarge Image. North America is surrounded by hot water, which will shape a very weird summer. 

Ana was just one flower in the bizarre weather bouquet for Mother’s Day. On the same day the US was also hit by hail, snow, flooding, a tornado and a tropical storm. Let this be a warning. The water around North America is as hot as it normally is for June. Having Tropical Storm Ana on Mother's Day is just the beginning of what will be a very weird summer.

About This Blog

Are you a weather watcher? Welcome to “Weather Whispers” by James Garriss and until recently, Evelyn Browning Garriss. With expertise and humor, this column covers everything weather—from weather forecasts to WHY extreme weather happens to ways that weather affects your life from farming to your grocery bill. Enjoy weather facts, folklore, and fun!

With heavy hearts, we share the news that historical climatologist and immensely entertaining Almanac contributor Evelyn Browning Garriss passed away in late June 2017. Evelyn shared her lifetime of weather knowledge with Almanac editors and readers, explaining weather phenomena in conversation and expounding on topics in articles for the print edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac as well as in these articles. We were honored to know and work with her as her time allowed, which is to say when she was not giving lectures to, writing articles for, and consulting with scientists, academia, investors, and government agencies around the world. She will be greatly missed by the Almanac staff and readers.