Cristobal Headed Towards Iceland; 98L Moving Inland Over Texas

By Dr. Jeff Masters
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Published: 3:38 PM GMT on August 28, 2014

Hurricane Cristobal continues to churn northeastwards over the Atlantic towards Iceland. Satellite loops show that Cristobal has its most impressive appearance of its lifetime, with a large symmetric area of heavy thunderstorms. Cristobal will merge with a frontal zone on Friday and transition to a powerful extratropical storm that will likely bring tropical storm-force winds and heavy rain to Iceland on Sunday night. The GOES-14 satellite is in rapid-scan mode over Cristobal on Thursday, and you can access an impressive 1-minute resolution satellite loop of the storm from the NOAA/RAMMB website.


Figure 1. MODIS true-color image showing Hurricane Cristobal's off the coast of North Carolina at 2 pm EDT on August 27, 2014. At the time, Cristobal had top winds of 75 mph. Image credit: NASA.

Gulf of Mexico's 98L moving inland over Texas
A weak area of low pressure (Invest 98L) was centered near the coast at the Texas/Mexico border on Thursday morning. Satellite loops and images from the Brownsville, Texas radar showed the low was generating a few areas of heavy thunderstorms that were slowly growing more organized. Wind shear was a moderate 10 - 20 knots and ocean temperature were a very warm 29°C, which favor development, but 98L should move inland over South Texas on Thursday afternoon, before development into a tropical depression can occur. In their 8 am EDT Thursday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave 98L 2-day and 5-day development odds of 10%.

Caribbean disturbance 97L headed towards Mexico
In the Eastern Caribbean, a tropical wave (designated as 97L by NHC earlier this week) is generating disorganized heavy thunderstorms as it heads west to west-northwest. Wind shear was a prohibitively high 20 - 40 knots on Thursday, and will remain high through Saturday. On Sunday, when the wave will be in the Western Caribbean, shear will fall, but the wave will likely not have enough time to develop before crossing Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The wave is expected to emerge in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche on Monday, and development odds will be higher then. Two of our three reliable computer models for predicting tropical storm formation show some weak development in the Bay of Campeche on Tuesday. In their 8 am EDT Thursday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave the system 2-day and 5-day development odds of 0% and 20%, respectively.

New tropical wave coming off coast of Africa this weekend
A large and powerful tropical wave will move off the coast of Africa on Friday evening, and will move near or over the Cape Verde Islands on Saturday as the storm moves west at 10 - 15 mph. None of the three reliable computer models for predicting tropical storm formation predict the wave will develop over the next five days, but wind shear will be low enough and ocean temperatures warm enough to allow some slow development. In their 8 am EDT Thursday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave the system 2-day and 5-day development odds of 0% and 30%, respectively.


Figure 2. MODIS true-color image of Hurricane Marie in the Eastern Pacific taken at 19:05 UTC (3:05 pm EDT) on August 26, 2014. At the time, Marie was a Category 2 storm with 100 mph winds. The swirl at the lower left of Marie is the remnant of Tropical Storm Karina, which was destroyed by Marie's strong upper-level outflow winds. A must-see video of the high shear from Marie literally ripping Karina apart is posted at the GOES CIMSS Satellite blog. Image credit: NASA.

Tropical Storm Marie still generating huge waves in Eastern Pacific
The Eastern Pacific's Hurricane Marie was downgraded to a tropical storm on Wednesday, had top sustained winds of just 45 mph at 11 am EDT on Thursday, but was still generating huge swells that will pound the coast of Southern California and Mexico's Baja Peninsula through Friday. A High Surf Advisory is in effect for Los Angeles, where maximum waves of 10 - 15 feet with a few sets up to 20 feet high will potentially cause structural damage to piers and beachside property as well as significant beach erosion. The powerful surf will be accompanied by strong rip currents and long-shore currents, making for very hazardous swimming and surfing conditions through Friday. According to the NWS Los Angeles, Marie's high surf event is the most significant southerly swell (swell only) event in Southern California since July 25, 1996. Satellite loops on Thursday morning showed Marie was basically a swirl of low clouds with no heavy thunderstorms. The storm is over waters cooler than 22°C (72°F) and will steadily degenerate into a remnant low by Friday.

Jeff Masters

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About The Author
Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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