Hurricane Prediction - June, 2010

Weather prediction using Vedic astrological chart analysis can provide important and life-saving information well in advance of impending storms or cyclonic activity.  However, to date, scant information or research is available to the astrologer, which would offer useful planetary markers or specific combinations, to utilize when attempting to assess or predict cyclone or hurricane (tropical cyclone) activity.  This topic should be taken seriously and formal research into the onset, progression and consequent prediction of hurricane activity would be welcome. 

Hurricane prediction is a very difficult science since there are many variables that influence the number and severity of hurricanes.  For 2010, NOAA (National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration, U.S.) predicts “a 70% chance of 14 to 23 storms this season, with 8 to 14 growing into hurricane strength, and 3 – 5 storms considered “major hurricanes.” A “major hurricane” is defined as a hurricane with winds over 111 mph.  This forecast is far from exact, in terms of predictive accuracy, considering the tools that meteorologists have at their disposal.   Even with this large amount of latitude, NOAA stated that there is a 30% chance that the actual number of storms formed will fall outside of this estimated range.  Previous predictions made in May (preceding the actual hurricane season) have been accurate only 40% of the time.  Astrologers would be ostracized for producing such poor predictive performance!

The following manuscript presents some weather-related logical astrological constructs, “food for thought” and observations, which may prove useful to consider when predicting the potential landfall of hurricanes. To illustrate these ideas, the charts of “Hurricanes Katrina and Andrew,” will be analyzed.   Moreover, the predictive outlook for future hurricane development over the next 4-year span (2010-2013), is included to demonstrate the application of the astrological constructs proposed.

BASIC HURRICANE DEFINITION:

A “hurricane” is defined as a tropical storm with winds that have reached a constant speed in excess of 74 mph.  The hurricane consists of outer concentric bands of heavy rain and winds, and movement is in a counter-clockwise direction, around a calm center (“the eye of the storm”). The eye of the storm is usually 20-30 miles wide and may extend over 400 miles, depending on the size of the hurricane.  The destructive force of a hurricane is due to both extreme wind and torrential rains, often resulting in massive flooding and property damage due to flying debris transformed into projectiles.  Tornados are often associated with hurricanes as well, exacerbating the total damage to life and property.

The following atmospheric conditions must be present for the development of a hurricane: (1) Developing Low-Pressure system; (2) Warm temperatures over the Ocean; (3) Moist environment (high humidity) and; (4) Tropical wind patterns over the equator.  

The formal hurricane season begins June 1st of every year and ends November 30th.   However, the majority of major hurricanes occur from mid-August through September, generally the hottest time of the year in the Atlantic basin.  

THE SAFFIR/SIMPSON SCALE:     Hurricanes are rated on the following scale, based on wind speed.  The higher the category, the greater the amount of expected destruction to life and property:  
Category    Winds (mph)            Damage to Property and Life
  1.  74-95          Minimal to Moderate (Trees down, flying debris, power outages, flooding)
  2.  96-110         Moderate  (Roofs blown off houses, loss of life, window breakage)
  3. 111-130        Extensive (Mass injury/death, collapse of buildings, lack of water/power)
  4. 131-155        Extreme (Massive damage/injuries/deaths, damage to major structures)    
  5.  >156            CATASTROPHIC
PLANETARY & ELEMENTAL INFLUENCES ON WEATHER:

The planets have distinct associations with different weather modalities.  The Sun and Mars are associated with sunshine, heat and higher temperatures.  Mars is also associated with fast moving, sudden, acute, violent weather conditions.  Mercury is associated with wind and dryness (air).  The Moon, Venus and Jupiter are associated with dampness/rain and when in excess, flooding.  Aside from obstructions, Saturn is associated with cold, dry climate, which is antithetical to hurricane development. Rahu and Ketu are associated with storms in general, lightning, unexpected events, fog and clouds (obscurity).  Rahu is often involved in stirring up problems and whipping up the winds.  Ketu can be destructive in its own style.  The natural counter-clockwise hurricane movement aligns itself with the Rahu/Ketu axis, which tends to go against convention and usually moves in retrograde motion.

Therefore, it may be hypothesized that under wet, stormy conditions, such as during a hurricane, the Moon, Venus and or Jupiter will be involved in various salient combinations as to promote excessive rainfall.  Windstorms will likely involve Mercury in the equation.  While Mars, Rahu and Ketu will be linked through their association with violent, cloudy, electrical storms.  Saturn may actually play a role inhibiting storm formation, due to its dry, colder association.

Clearly, a hurricane is an event involving a complex organization of wind and water.  Since the hurricane is largely dependent upon warm ocean temperatures for its origin and the warm waters serve as fuel for its continued development, Mars is likely to play an active role in the propagation, level of destructiveness and speed of a given storm.    The fact that the hurricane is a violent, driving, churning, destructive force brings to mind an image of an angry Mars, at war with other planets.   Perhaps the mutual aspects involving Saturn and Mars are likely to be an important indicator of impending storms during a given summer.  Mars hates nothing more than being slowed down and thwarted by Saturn.

It’s interesting to note that the majority of major hurricanes occur when the Sun is transiting through Leo (mid-August – mid-September), it’s own strong fire sign.  This is the height of the summer, when the temperatures peak in the tropics.  However, during certain years, Mars and the Sun are conjunct and these periods may bring a heightened level of heat as compared to other summers.  We might also expect Mars and the Sun to be in relatively strong positions during hurricanes.   It would be interesting to determine statistically, whether a greater number of hurricanes occur during such powerful Mars-Sun transits. 

HURRICANE KATRINA:  EXAMPLE ONE  

According to a report by NOAA, the year 2005 set the record for the most U.S. major hurricane strikes in history since records were kept in 1851.  For example, on August 29, 2005, at 6:10 A.M. CDT, hurricane Katrina, a major Category 5 storm, struck New Orleans, Louisiana.  Katrina is one of the five most deadly and costliest storms ever to have hit the United States, causing over 1800 deaths and over $81 billion in property damage throughout several states.  

Examination of the planetary transits during August 2005 indicates that Saturn was in Cancer (Pushya), a water sign, and Mars was in Aries (Bharani), a fire sign.  In this particular case, both Saturn and Mars were aspecting each other, with Mars in the stronger position.  Examination of this chart reveals a Leo lagna (Magha) with a prominent, powerful Sun also in Magha. One of Magha’s significations is associated with death, since it promotes the shakti to leave the body and to mourn.

  A strong Sun and Mars reflect the high temperatures which were present, as 2005 was one of the hottest summers on record.   Mars is particularly strong in the 9th house of Aries, in Bharani nakshatra, which is associated with Yama, the god of death.  Mars is aggravated by Saturn’s aspect, supporting (at least in this particular example), the above hypothesis regarding Mars’ influence with hurricane propagation and destruction.  In the Navamsa, Mars and Saturn are conjunct in the 6th house in Swati nakshatra, associated with scattering by the winds, in the 6th house of accidents. 

Moreover, in the Rasi chart, the Moon at that moment was in Gemini at 14 degrees, Ardra nakshatra, which is symbolized by the teardrop and is ruled by Rudra (form of Lord Shiva), the howling god of storms.  Ardra is defined as, “the moist one,” referring to rains, storms, and crying.  Considering all of the 27 nakshatras, perhaps Ardra stands out as the most prominent nakshatra directly associated with storms and hurricanes.  Gemini is also an air sign, so we might expect some prominent placement of the Moon in one of the air signs under hurricane conditions.  It is interesting to note that yet again, under Hurricane Andrew (1992), another devastating category 5 hurricane, the Moon was also in Ardra and conjunct Ketu, when the storm made landfall in Homestead, FL (chart described in detail below).

In the Katrina chart, Mercury is seriously afflicted in the 12th house (loss) in the water sign Cancer, conjunct Saturn and receiving the aspect of Mars.  Mercury is also the dispositor of the Moon (in a difficult parivartina yoga with the Moon) and is in the challenging nakshatra of Ashlesha, associated with destruction, but through poisoning or being trapped.   Through Mercury and the Moon, this chart depicts suffering through winds and flooding, respectively.  Many of the victims of the storm were left homeless to fend for themselves in the midst of enormous flooding from storm surges and broken levees.  Help was not available.  The ruler of the 7th house (partners), Saturn, is afflicted in the 12th house and unavailable to provide any assistance.  Pain, sickness, suffering and being trapped engulfed the entire city.  Sick patients died while being trapped in hospitals, which were flooded.  Saturn does not perform well in water signs. 

Ketu is tightly conjunct debilitated Venus and Jupiter and all three planets receive the aspect of Saturn.   Venus and Jupiter are associated with rain and both are afflicted in this chart, and possess little power to offer much assistance.  The conjunction of Jupiter and Venus are known to cause excessiveness in some area of the chart.  In terms of weather, one might expect excessive moisture (rain). The combination of Jupiter and Venus might also be an important signature for hurricane formation, as both planets promote excessive rains and consequent flooding.

Ketu’s involvement figures prominently as it is exactly conjunct to the degree with debilitated Venus, creating obstruction, chaos, confusion, lack of organization and an unusual situation, completely unexpected.   The majority of the population did not anticipate the storm to go in that exact location and few individuals expected the levees to be breeched by rising waters.  When the Rahu/Ketu axis is involved in an event, expect the unexpected. 

In this chart, the Venus/Ketu conjunction is in Hasta nakshatra, which is associated with achieving one’s desires and “placing it in your hands.”  In this case, the Hasta planets are terribly afflicted, indicating the inability to achieve one’s desires and the lack of success in overcoming the storm’s influence.  

Finally, analysis of the Navamsa reveals the Saturn/Mars conjunction in the 6th house, (discussed above) and a highly afflicted Venus as lagnesh of the Navamsa.  Venus is in Cancer, conjunct Ketu, with the Sun and aspected by Saturn, re-emphasizing the affliction by water that was revealed in the main Rasi chart.  

SATURN’S TRANSITING INFLUENCE:

Attention should always be paid to Saturn’s current transiting position.  Over a 15-year period, I have reliably observed that Saturn’s transiting zodiac sign accurately reflects problematic weather patterns, according to that specific element in which Saturn is transiting.   When Saturn transits through a water sign, expect more problems with flooding, rains and major storms.  When Saturn transits through a fire sign, expect more than normal droughts, high temperatures, dryness, and fires.  Saturn transiting through an air sign brings more tornados, hurricanes, spreads wildfires and indicates damaging wind-driven events.  Saturn transiting through an earth sign brings colder winters and dry conditions.  However, Saturn is also influenced by other transiting planets, so these weather conditions are general observations.  Other concurrent planetary transits must be considered, during any given month, to understand the total weather picture.

Saturn’s movement through an earth sign is likely to bring more earthquakes and volcanoes, as we are currently witnessing in 2010 and previously in 2009, while Saturn transits through the earth sign Virgo.  The Saturn/Mars tandem is likely to bring more serious problems, particularly when they conjunct.  This exact Mars/Saturn transit is going to take place near 7 degrees Virgo on August 1, 2010, when Venus also enters Virgo at zero degrees.  The Moon will be in Revati (in a difficult sarpa drekkana), receiving the aspects of Saturn and Mars on that day.  The Sun will be in Cancer, getting ready to go into Ashlesha.  This appears to be an astrological signature for a hurricane, major storm or possibly major earthquake, volcano (or all of the above).   By the time this manuscript goes to press, this date will have already passed and the prediction may be evaluated in terms of its own merits.   

NAKSHATRAS AND HURRICANES:

Nakshatras provide the astrologer with great detail about any given situation, when the meanings, symbols, deities and shaktis are taken into account and applied to a specific event.  Analysis of the 27 nakshatras as applied to weather, offer some interesting observations.  Of all 27 nakshatras, Ardra stands out as the most prominent for indicating rains, storms, windy conditions, change of weather and flooding.  Other nakshatras that might play an important role in storms include Bharani, Krittika, Ashlesha, Magha, Swati, Jyeshtha, Mula, Purva Ashadha, Shatabhisha, Purva Bhadra, Uttara Bhadra and Revati.  Of this group, notice that Ardra, Swati and Shatabhisha are all found in air signs, all are ruled by Rahu, and associated with change, difficulties, destruction, controversy, unconventionality, independence and intensity of energies---all reasonable descriptors for hurricanes. 

For example, Swati (6º40 – 20º00 Libra) means “independence” and has the symbol of a young sprout swaying in the wind.  Its shakti is to scatter its energies like the wind.   Swati is ruled by Vayu (the powerful god of the wind).  Without strong wind, no hurricane could exist.  Another example involves Uttara Bhadra (3º20’ – 16º40’ Pisces), whose shakti is the power to bring rain and whose basis above is the raining of the clouds.  Excessive rainfall (low pressure system) always accompanies the hurricane. 

Planets transiting through water signs and air signs are likely to be particularly vulnerable.   For water signs, Ashlesha, Jyeshtha, Purva Bhadra, Uttara Bhadra and Revati are likely to be culprits due to their meanings, associations and symbols connected to some level of transformation or destruction.  For the air signs, Ardra, Swati and Shatabhisha are likely to be prominent for the same reason.  Bharani, Krittika, Magha, Mula, Purva Bhadra, Uttara Bhadra and Revati are associated with death, endings and/or destruction, all prominent trademarks of hurricanes.  Purva Ashadha’s deity is Apas, deified water, refers to churning the oceans. 

HURRICANE ANDREW:  EXAMPLE TWO  

On August 24, 1992 at 5:05 A.M. EDT, Homestead, Florida, a devastating hurricane of massive proportions, made landfall in South Florida, wrecking havoc, causing enormous injury, loss of life and property damage.

According to Ed Rappaport, the former director of the National Hurricane Center, “Hurricane Andrew was a ferocious Cape Verde hurricane that wrought unprecedented economic devastation along a path through the northwestern Bahamas, the southern Florida peninsula, and south-central Louisiana. Damage in the United States is estimated to be near 25 billion, making Andrew the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history (as of 1992).  The tropical cyclone struck southern Dade County, Florida, especially hard, with violent winds and storm surges characteristic of a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale… In Dade County alone, the forces of Andrew resulted in 15 deaths and up to one-quarter million people left temporarily homeless. An additional 25 lives were lost in Dade County from the indirect effects of Andrew. The direct loss of life seems remarkably low considering the destruction caused by this hurricane.”

Examination of this chart reveals Cancer lagna (Pushya) with Mercury in the 1st house in Ashlesha.  The Moon, as lagnesh, is in the dusthana 12th house, in Ardra conjunct Ketu.  Notice the lagna is a water sign and that the Moon is in Ardra, two putative hurricane markers proposed. The fact that the Moon is also the lagnesh makes the Moon’s influence particularly potent.  The lagna is further weakened by an aspect from Saturn situated in the 7th house.   So, the situation is disturbing and portends trouble.  

The Moon and Mercury form parivartina yoga between the 1st and 12th house placements, which is also problematic.  Mercury in Ashlesha in the prominent 1st house is indicative of further difficulties, complex problems and issues caused by wind (Mercury) and flooding (Moon in Ardra).  Mercury receives the malefic aspect of Saturn as well.  Saturn serves as a malefic influence to Cancer rising due to its 8th house rulership and natural malefic status.  

The strong Sun in Leo and unafflicted Mars in the 11th house supports the hypothesis that strong Sun and Mars combinations may be prominent in hurricane charts, as proposed earlier.   The Sun is fortified by its benefic association with Jupiter and Venus, which are tightly conjunct.  In this case, the Sun is strengthened substantially and is in Magha (one of the possible hurricane nakshatras).  Mars’ aspect to the Sun raises the overall temperature and refers to the summer heat that was in force at the time.  In this example, Mars in the 11th house is strong and is also the raja yogakaraka planet for Cancer rising.  So, it is quite capable of producing intense, rash, violent results.    

The tight planetary war between Jupiter and Venus within 1 degree in Leo is also noteworthy.  Since both planets rule water, their tight association may refer to intense, excessive rainfall and flooding.  Combine this with Moon in Ardra in the 12th house (of loss), conjunct Ketu, and the chart reveals just how serious this situation was.  

In the Navamsa, note the lagna is in Swati and Venus is in the 3rd house, in Mula, receiving the harsh aspect of the Sun (in Ardra).  The Moon is in Shatabhisha aspected by Mars.  The Navamsa duplicates several of the hurricane signatures proposed.

  However, in the case of this hurricane Andrew chart, Saturn and Mars are not directly aspecting each other, as they did in hurricane Katrina’s chart.  But, they do form a close tajika trine aspect.  Each hurricane has its own unique qualities, and these are likely to be reflected in each chart.  Some hurricanes bring much more rain than others.  They all have the same common denominator features by definition.  However, some hurricanes produce heavier flooding than others, while some veer off the predicted course, and others become more serious wind events, with less rainfall.  Therefore, the charts should ultimately reflect the unique character of each storm.  

HURRICANE DEVELOPMENT & LANDFALL OVER THE NEXT 4 YEARS (2010 – 2013):  PREDICTIONS
 
To review, the hypothetical factors being considered for potential hurricane landfall include some combination of the following elements: (1) Strong Sun and Mars (2) Saturn in a Water or Air Sign  (3) Saturn conjunct or aspecting Mars  (4) Affliction to Mercury (5) Ketu/Rahu involvement (6) Venus and Jupiter transiting through a water sign and/or Jupiter or Venus afflicted; and (7) Planetary involvement of the specified nakshatra list described earlier.

The current summer of 2010 appears very strong for the likelihood of several (more than the normal average) major hurricanes to form and make landfall for the following reasons: (1) Mars and Saturn will be conjunct in Virgo afflicting each other;  (2) Sun will be strong in Leo for 1 month (mid August to mid Sept.); (3) Rahu and Ketu are transiting through Ardra; (4) Mercury will be relatively weak, afflicted or retrograde in August;  (5) Venus will be debilitated and harmed by its conjunction with Saturn and Mars in Virgo during the summer; and (6) Jupiter is transiting through Pisces, a water sign and will receive the harmful aspects of both Saturn and Mars, while turning retrograde in July.   A greater than normal number of major hurricanes is therefore predicted to develop and make landfall in the United States.

The summer of 2011 does not appear to be as prominent a year for hurricane development and landfall for the following reasons: (1) Mars will be transiting through weaker signs and not as powerful. (2) Saturn continues to transit through Virgo, but will not conjunct with Mars and several other planets concurrently; (3) Ketu will have shifted out of Ardra and moved to Mrigashira in Taurus; and (4) Jupiter will be transiting through Aries, a fire sign.

(One caveat, Saturn will closely aspect Moon & Mars in Ardra (Gemini) on 8/24/2011, which may indicate hurricane development on or near that date. Mercury will be weak in Ashlesha, retrograde on that date also.)  However, statistically, it appears that there will be fewer than normal major hurricanes during 2011.

Overall, the summer of 2012 appears very strong for hurricane formation, particularly on 8/13-8/14/2012, when Saturn and Mars will be conjunct at zero degrees Libra and the Moon and Venus will be conjunct in Ardra.  Jupiter will be conjunct Ketu, 8th from Mars/Saturn and 12th from Moon/Venus.  The Sun will be in Ashlesha on that date with Mercury in Pushya (aspected by Saturn).  Two other notable dates for possible hurricane formation include 9/7/2012 and 10/7/2012.   On September 7th, Mars and Saturn continue to conjunct in Libra, and Mars will aspect Ketu/the Moon/Jupiter in Taurus.  Meanwhile, Venus will transit through Pushya (water sign) and receive a close Saturn aspect.  The Sun will be strong in Leo and Mercury will be combust.  On October 7th, Saturn (in Chitra) now conjuncts Mercury (in Swati), while Mars is strong in Scorpio, conjuncts Rahu and aspects a retrograde Jupiter/Ketu.  Mars also aspects the Ardra Moon in force on that date. October is generally very late for hurricane formation, so this would be an unusual occurrence.

The summer of 2012 has many of the putative hurricane signatures proposed: Mars/Saturn conjunction, then Mars becoming stronger, Mars conjunct Rahu in a water sign, Scorpio, Jupiter retrograde with Ketu, Venus afflicted while transiting through a water sign and Mercury afflicted.  Nakshatra involvement prominently includes Ardra, Ashlesha, Magha and Swati during that time.

Overall, the summer of 2013 also appears strong for hurricane development and landfall.  In July, there will be a major constellation of planets joining together in Gemini.  On July 7th Mars, Jupiter, the Moon, Sun and retrograde Mercury will all be transiting through Gemini.  On that date, Jupiter and the Moon will be in Ardra, while Mars is not far behind in Mrigashira. Rahu will aspect the Gemini group of planets as well.   Saturn continues to transit through Libra (Swati) and will join with Rahu, while aspecting Venus in Ashlesha.  In 2013, Jupiter will transit through an air sign and the Guru Mangala yoga is notable in July.  The winds may be particularly damaging this year due to the constellation of combust, afflicted planets in Gemini.

CONCLUSIONS & FUTURE RESEARCH:  

The majority of points proposed in this manuscript are derived from observations, logic and integrating astrological constructs.  All of them should be held to the litmus test by conducting future research on the topic, to determine which of the constructs are accurate for predicting hurricanes.  Such research should include examination of at least 50 - 100 previous hurricanes, to determine if these planetary markers are statistically significant for predicting hurricanes.  It may well turn out that several different chart patterns emerge due to the different natures of individual storms.  Some markers are likely to be more important and ubiquitous than others.  

Another research focal point involves examination of the years in which a greater number of major hurricanes struck the U.S. vs. years in which few major hurricanes formed.  It would be particularly interesting to see whether Saturn’s transit played an influential role in promoting or inhibiting major hurricane development.  Some of the worst years for major hurricane strikes were during 1950 (8 strikes), and in 1961 and 2005 (7 major strikes each).  The period between 1962 – 1994 produced zero major hurricanes, so this would be an interesting period to examine as well.

For now, during the summer of 2010, it will be quite interesting to monitor the hurricane season since Mars and the Sun will be conjunct in Leo, followed by the Mars-Saturn conjunction in late July.   Venus will be quite afflicted, in debilitation and conjunct Mars and Saturn as well.  Jupiter will aspect Venus which might exacerbate flooding. NOAA predicts 2010 to be one of the worst years for major hurricanes to strike the United States.  The astrological correlates seem to agree with NOAA this year.  Perhaps that concordance will make for a robust hurricane season.

Biography:
David A. Goldstein, Ph.D. is a full-time professional Vedic Astrologer who received his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology (1991), with a specialty in Health Psychology from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. He has published several research studies, book chapters and journal articles in the fields of Vedic astrology, health psychology, cancer biology and psycho-neuroimmunology.

Currently, Dr. Goldstein is the director of the Vedic Astrology Institute of Central Texas, where he offers consultations, private tutorials and lectures. On-going research in the area of medical diagnostics (oncology) through the Vedic astrological chart is of particular interest.  Psychological dimensions of the birth chart are also a strong focal point for his research interests.  Weather phenomena are always a curiosity. 

He may be contacted at:  Consult@Dgoldsteinphd.com
Website:  www.Dgoldsteinphd.com
Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 341015, Austin, Texas U.S.A.  78734