Record-Breaking Hurricane Lorenzo Becomes the Second Category 5 Storm This Year
It has since weakened to a Category 2 storm, but is still expected to be a "large and powerful hurricane" when it passes near the Azores early Wednesday, according to the most recent advisory from the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
Lorenzo is now an extremely powerful category 5 hurricane. It is the strongest hurricane on record this far north and east in the Atlantic basin. pic.twitter.com/nUR5ugJws7— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 29, 2019
The NHC has issued a hurricane watch for the islands of Flores, Corvo, Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Graciosa and Terceira and a tropical storm watch for São Miguel and Santa Maria. The storm is expected to dump two to four inches of rain over the western Azores, which could cause "life-threatening flash flooding," the NHC warned.
It is unusual for hurricanes to reach the Azores, according to The Weather Channel. Since the mid-nineteenth century, only seven hurricanes Category 2 or higher have blown within 200 nautical miles of the islands. Those include Ophelia in 2017, which knocked down a few trees and caused some flooding when it passed south of the Azores, and a 1926 hurricane that passed over São Miguel.
Per NOAA's historical database, only 7 Cat. 2+ #hurricanes have tracked within 200 nautical miles of the #Azores. We'll see if #Lorenzo will maintain at least that intensity next week. pic.twitter.com/oY4vSOJy7S— Jonathan Erdman (@wxjerdman) September 27, 2019
Lorenzo could also join Ophelia in being the rare former hurricane to impact the UK. Its weakened winds could veer northwest and lash Ireland, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.
"Ophelia did the same thing and impacted the region in 2017, bringing with it very strong winds," Brink told CNN.
While Lorenzo is unusual for its intensity so far east, The Weather Channel noted that it is also part of a growing trend of hurricanes impacting the eastern Atlantic. Hurricane Leslie almost reached Portugal in 2018, and Hurricane Alex hit the Azores with a freak January strike in 2016.
Lorenzo is also part of an overall trend in stronger storms during the past few years. It was the second Category 5 storm in the Atlantic this year, following Dorian, and the sixth in less than three years. Furthermore, it contributed to making Septembers 2017 to 2019 the three busiest on record in terms of accumulated cyclone energy, which measures the strength and duration of tropical storms, NHC scientist Eric Blake tweeted.
The past 3 Septembers (2017-2019) are now the busiest 3 consecutive September’s on record in terms of accumulated cyclone energy (ACE), thanks in part to #Lorenzo. The previous record was 2003-2005 pic.twitter.com/I53v0Yc68x— Eric Blake 🌀 (@EricBlake12) September 29, 2019
Lorenzo also broke records for the lowest pressure east of 50 degrees west longitude and for the longest time as a major hurricane for any storm east of 45 degrees west longitude, according to The Weather Channel.
NBC meteorologist John Morales listed Lorenzo beside several recent record-breaking storms.
"There's something happening here," he tweeted.
Lorenzo '19 is a record setter— John Morales (@JohnMoralesNBC6) September 27, 2019
Dorian '19 was a record setter
Michael '18 was a record setter
Ophelia '17 was a record setter
Irma '17 was a record setter
Harvey '17 was a record setter
There's something happening here. What it is, is exactly clear. https://t.co/oARe1JhW4C
Lorenzo's intensification over the weekend was due to warmer than average Atlantic Ocean temperatures, The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang explained.
"The water under Lorenzo when it was a Category 5 hurricane is about 28°C (82.4), which is about 1°C (1.8°F) warmer than average ... just enough to give it that extra jolt," Capital Weather Gang's tropical weather expert Brian McNoldy wrote.
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By Matt Kasson, Brian Lovett and Carolee Bull
Home gardening is having a boom year across the U.S. Whether they're growing their own food in response to pandemic shortages or just looking for a diversion, numerous aspiring gardeners have constructed their first raised beds, and seeds are flying off suppliers' shelves. Now that gardens are largely planted, much of the work for the next several months revolves around keeping them healthy.
Start With Prevention<p>Just as preventive steps like maintaining a balanced diet help keep humans healthy, home growers can take many actions to help their gardens thrive.</p><p>One key step is assessing soil fertility – the ability of soil to sustain plant growth – which can vary widely depending on your location and soil type. Low soil fertility limits food production and predisposes plants to disease and pests. University extension <a href="https://soiltesting.wvu.edu/" target="_blank">soil testing labs</a> can help evaluate the quality of garden soil and identify nutrient deficiencies and acidic soils, often at no charge.</p>
Using weed barrier landscape cloth for planting rows and mulching between rows is an effective way to suppress weeds. Matt Kasson, CC BY-ND
Diagnosing Problems<p>Common plant pathogens include <a href="https://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/disandpath/viral/introduction/Pages/PlantViruses.aspx" target="_blank">viruses</a>, <a href="https://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/disandpath/prokaryote/intro/Pages/Bacteria.aspx" target="_blank">bacteria</a>, <a href="https://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/disandpath/nematode/intro/Pages/IntroNematodes.aspx" target="_blank">nematodes</a>, <a href="https://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/disandpath/oomycete/introduction/Pages/IntroOomycetes.aspx#:%7E:text=The%20oomycetes%2C%20also%20known%20as,foliar%20blights%20and%20downy%20mildews." target="_blank">oomycetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/disandpath/fungalasco/intro/Pages/IntroFungi.aspx" target="_blank">fungi</a>. All of these microorganisms, especially at an early stage of infection, are too small to see. But when they proliferate, they cause changes in plants that we can recognize.</p><p>Unlike insects, which move around on six legs or on wings through the air, pathogens can move unseen and unchecked from leaf to leaf on the wind, through the soil or in droplets of water. Some microbes have even formed intimate relationships with insects and use them as vehicles to move from plant to plant, which makes these pathogens even more challenging to manage. Unfortunately, by the time some pathogens make their presence known, the damage is already done.</p><p>We recently conducted a <a href="https://twitter.com/kasson_wvu/status/1265989041725624323" target="_blank">Twitter poll</a> of gardeners nationwide to find out which culprits plagued their gardens. People named <a href="https://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/aphids" target="_blank">aphids</a>, <a href="https://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/squash-vine-borer" target="_blank">squash vine borers</a>, <a href="https://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/squash-bug" target="_blank">squash bugs</a> and <a href="https://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/flea-beetle" target="_blank">flea beetles</a> as the most problematic insect pests. Their most troublesome pathogens included <a href="https://extension.wvu.edu/lawn-gardening-pests/plant-disease/fruit-vegetable-diseases/powdery-mildew" target="_blank">powdery mildew</a>, <a href="https://plantpath.ifas.ufl.edu/rsol/Trainingmodules/BWTomato_Module.html" target="_blank">tomato bacterial wilt</a> and <a href="https://extension.wvu.edu/lawn-gardening-pests/plant-disease/fruit-vegetable-diseases/downy-mildew" target="_blank">cucurbit downy mildew</a>.</p><p>To manage such perennial challenges, the first step is to spend time closely looking at your plants. Do you notice any insects consistently hanging around, or molds colonizing leaves or other plant parts? How about symptoms such as blight, stunting, or leaves that are yellowing, browning or wilting?</p>
This white fungal growth is an early sign of powdery mildew on a leaf of susceptible summer squash. Matt Kasson, CC BY-ND
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