Ophelia headed northeast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:17 PM GMT on September 09, 2005

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Ophelia, as expected, has regained hurricane strength. long range radar out of Melbourne shows that a full eyewall has formed, and the strength and coverage of echoes has shown a moderate increase the past 12 hours. The latest wind field analysis from the NOAA Hurricane Hunters (Figure 1 below) shows the strongest winds are on the southeast side of the hurricane. Since the storm is moving northeast, the storm's motion adds to the rotational speed of the winds to make the strongest winds occur on the southeast side (the so-called "right-front quadrant").


Figure 1. Winds Friday afternoon from the NOAA Hurricane Hunters' SFMR instrument and other sources.

Ophelia is headed out to sea--but not for long. All the computer models agree that a northeast motion will continue until late Saturday, as a weak trough pushing off the coast carries Ophelia eastward with it. High pressure is then expected to build back in, forcing Ophelia back towards the coast Sunday through Tuesday. The latest (8am EDT) runs of the NOGAPS and GFS models indicate Ophelia may hit North Carolina and track up the coast, possibly affecting New England as a tropical storm. Other models take Ophelia due west into Georgia or South Carolina before turning her northward. The track forecast is still highly uncertain, since the steering currents are still very weak. Given the recent model trends, Florida is looking less likely as a landfall location, and North Carolina needs to be increasingly concerned. There is a 10% chance that Ophelia will miss the U.S. entirely, and merely brush the Outer Banks of North Carolina and perhaps Cape Cod.

The intensity forecast, as usual, is low-confidence. Some slow intensification could occur the next 24 hours. Ophelia is over warm Gulf Stream waters and will remain so for the next four days. These waters are warm (83F), but nowhere near the temperature of the 89F waters that fueled Katrina. Ophelia has good upper-level outflow to the north, but is under 10 - 15 knots of shear from strong upper-level winds from the south, which is the main factor inhibiting her intensification. However, by Sunday, a large upper-level low currently near Puerto Rico is expected to position itself to the southeast of Ophelia and cut off the southerly shearing winds. The counter-clockwise flow around this low will provide a good ouflow channel for Ophelia to the south, something she has lacked. At the same time, the trough that is currently steering her to the northeast will be gone, allowing a more favorable upper-level outflow pattern to emerge. This combination should allow Ophelia to intensify to a Category 2 hurricane by Monday, and possibly a Category 3. Intensification beyond Category 3 status is very unlikely.

Elsewhere in the tropics
Maria and Nate are both weakening tropical storms with just a day or two left to live as they move northeastward over cold waters. The entire tropical Atlantic between Africa and the Leeward Islands is choked with dry, dust-laden air. Development in this area is not expected for many days.

Jeff Masters

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505. StormJunkie
4:11 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
Yea FSU I've been worying a little about the nados. I am also afraid that people willnot take her seriously because they are forcasting a CAT 1. A 15 to 20 hour period of Tropical storm force winds is not a good scenario. Which is what it looks to be right now. The slow motion also tells me that she is getting close to making her change in direction. I am a little suprised that the officail forcast is still so far N, but people can not think of this as a point landfall. This storm has a big windfield. WOW just realized the pressure drop.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16607
504. Weatherwatcher007
4:09 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
Link

Link

Looks like Ophelia is stalling and may be ready to turn west soon.
502. weatherboyfsu
4:07 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
Well hello people in the great state of South Carolina.......when she makes her turn and starts heading west and the NHC adjust their forecast, they should be right on with landfall..........looks pretty good for a landfall for ophelia with winds around 90-100mph somewhere around Georgetown.......Theres going to be alot power outages, some minor flooding and beach erosion, and look out for TORNADOS........... I think that tornados will be the killer if in anybody should die..........So watch the radar and keep abreast of your local warnings.....
Member Since: July 17, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1025
501. StormJunkie
3:55 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
That is what it looks like 007. Can not sleep much. Keep waking up and checking the models. Still not much change.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16607
500. Hecker
3:45 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
S127-

Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne came up from the Gulf side last year, so the WNC mountains got dumped on big time (especially with Frances). Past history indicates that a storm coming from the Atlantic side is less likely to do this..but there are no certainties here.
Member Since: June 29, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 309
499. killdevilmax
3:45 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
The models will get a better handle on what happens after landfall once the west turn starts and it begins moving. It looks like it is stalling and wobbling now.
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
498. Weatherwatcher007
3:40 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
I have to go back to the store. I think that Ophelia will move in around charleston and move farther inland to about Columbia before slowing and stalling. Thats just what I think but everyone needs to watch this storm closely espically after the turn. Bye guys and gals.
497. killdevilmax
3:35 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
icebear, i'd listen to the models as they are getting more in sync. From them it doesn't look like it will skirt the coast but well inland. TRhe question is how far? i'm worried where it will start it's turn north after it makes landfall.
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
494. pirateotobx
3:06 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
007 ...alittle too much caffeine this morning...I was just providing a couple of links that might be useful....Anything could happen..I know that...but this is the first time the models have been this close together since this storm started being tracked....take off the CAPS AND RELAX.....
493. icebear7
3:03 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
...also, is this hurricane looking like it might 'ride' the SC coastline instead of digging right into a narrow inland track?
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5
492. icebear7
3:02 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
ok, i realize i am way behind, but i assume its back officially back to cat1 and headed for SC.... now is there any true worry of it strengthening before landfall...and what it the time estimate on landfall....and is everyone getting supplies and boarding up, or is it still considerd too soon to begin such prep?

not living in a hurricane prone area, so i have to ask questions like this.
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5
491. Weatherwatcher007
3:01 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
THERE IS A LARGE WATCH AREA MEANING THAT THERE IS STILL SOME UNCERTAINTY AS TO THE LANDFALL AREA OF OPHELIA.
490. pirateotobx
3:00 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
the models are really coming into agreement now...

Ophelia models

another link
488. CoastalNC
2:57 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
I'm really, really looking forward to the new installment of Dr. Jeff's blog.

*hungry for new information*

487. killdevilmax
2:56 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
D. 60 knots, is the estimate of maximum surface wind observed in knots. This is estimated from the reading of flight level wind.
F. 054degrees 074 knots, is maximum flight level wind near storm center with direction in degrees from center.

This info is on this site under guide to decoding recon....
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
486. Sheraqueenofthebeach
2:50 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
Redundant, I know, but....
As no one truly knows what HURRICANE Ophelia is going to do we all MUST STAY VIGILANT & prepare for the worst! !!!

Do Not make any plans based on amature posts on this BLOG. (other than Dr. Masters)

Remember for those who live in low lying areas or in mobile or manufactured homes.. Hotels are occupied by refugees from the Gulf coast so your regular may be not available. This will also cause more traffic as we scramble to find a safe place to stay. Get provisions early & avoid the rush & empty shelves. Don't for get to fill some water bottles 3/4 full & freeze them as they will help keep you fridge coal longer & then become drinking water that's actually cold. Thanks for your attention Bloggers!

Stay safe & enjoy the weather soaps! :-})

TRULY... any reading this in the potential land-fall areas , or anywhere close. PREPARE NOW.
Member Since: August 2, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 3140
485. abstractgray
2:46 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
It's just in the recon report. The latest NHC advisory raised the winds to 80mph.
484. Weatherwatcher007
2:45 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
ALERT FOR SOUTH CAROLINA AND NORTH CAROLINA. . .

AT 11 AM EDT...1500Z...A HURRICANE WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR THE
SOUTHEAST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES FROM NORTH OF THE SAVANNAH
RIVER SOUTH CAROLINA NORTHEASTWARD TO CAPE LOOKOUT NORTH CAROLINA.

HURRICANE CENTER LOCATED NEAR 31.6N 76.5W AT 10/1500Z
POSITION ACCURATE WITHIN 30 NM

PRESENT MOVEMENT TOWARD THE NORTHEAST OR 40 DEGREES AT 3 KT

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE 976 MB
EYE DIAMETER 10 NM
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS 70 KT WITH GUSTS TO 85 KT.


Ophelia's pressure has dropped and rapid intensification may be occuring. Everyone in the watch area needs to be prepared NOW!
483. Weatherwatcher007
2:42 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
Is that confirmed abstractguy? 95 mph surface winds?
482. SCCanesfan
2:39 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
Preparations are being made now. Thanks for all the concern from everyone. :)

The NHC and WU has landfall just north of Charleston, but that's not a gimme if it turns earlier or later. Mt. Pleasant, where I live, is about 10 miles north of Charleston. It looks like we're going to ride it out here instead of going inland, so time to batten down the hatches.

Good luck everyone.
481. abstractgray
2:36 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
OK... surface center displaced 2 miles from flight level center... that means shear, right?

100kt dropsonde winds at 965mb... somewhat above the surface. Am I reading this right and they are saying 82kt (95mph) winds actually at the surface? At least that would be in line with the central pressure...

Eyewall thermal gradient is up to 5 degrees. The eye size has suddenly gone from 8nmi in the last vortex report (a bit more than an hour ago) to 32nmi. Wilmington long range radar collaborates this. Was that an eyewall replacement cycle?
480. whirlwind
2:34 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
its been a while since I was on here...

anyone know what happened to StormTop? Ive read blogs but dont see him.
I did notice some retard named BlogPolice.
479. abstractgray
2:30 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
Huh, new vortex message...

405
URNT12 KNHC 101425
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE
A. 10/13:58:20Z
B. 31 deg 38 min N
076 deg 31 min W
C. 700 mb 2919 m
D. 60 kt
E. 318 deg 077 nm
F. 054 deg 074 kt
G. 313 deg 018 nm
H. EXTRAP 977 mb
I. 10 C/ 3052 m
J. 15 C/ 3043 m
K. 13 C/ NA
L. RAGGED WALL
M. C32
N. 12345/ 7
O. 0.02 / 1 nm
P. AF300 1216A OPHELIA OB 12
MAX FL WIND 75 KT NE QUAD 12:27:00 Z
SURFACE CENTER DISPLACED 2 MILES SOUTHWEST OF FL CENTER
MAXIMUM EYEWALL DROPSONDE WINDS 360/100 KNOTS AT 965MB. MEAN BOUNDRY LAYER WIND 005/92 KNOTS.SURFACE WINDS (988MB) 355/82 KNOTS
SLP EXTRAPOLATED FROM 700MB.
478. killdevilmax
2:17 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
We should be hearing from Jeff and Steve soon as they digest the latest data. Pay close attention to local advisories. This storm could intensify rapidly where it is now and the cone of influence could extend well into NC from it's projected landfall location. Advisories should come out at 1100. Begin preparing now rather than later.
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
477. Sheraqueenofthebeach
2:11 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
sorry.... fridge coal = "fridge COLD"
Member Since: August 2, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 3140
476. Sheraqueenofthebeach
2:10 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
As no one truly knows what HURRICANE Ophelia is going to do we all MUST STAY VIGILANT & prepare for the worst! !!!

Do Not make any plans based on amature posts on this BLOG. (other than Dr. Masters)

Remember for those who live in low lying areas or in mobile or manufactured homes.. Hotels are occupied by refugees from the Gulf coast so your regular may be not available. This will also cause more traffic as we scramble to find a safe place to stay. Get provisions early & avoid the rush & empty shelves. Don't for get to fill some water bottles 3/4 full & freeze them as they will help keep you fridge coal longer & then become drinking water that's actually cold. Thanks for your attention Bloggers!

Stay safe & enjoy the weather soaps! :-})

TRULY... any reading this in the potential land-fall areas , or anywhere close. PREPARE NOW.

Member Since: August 2, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 3140
475. cgableshurrycanegal
1:56 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
looks like it's deepening, with the plane in there they are getting exact readings of 974-976 so it'll be back up to hurricane status by 11 probably. It's what they expected.
That whole area needs to be on the watch for the next couple of days, and prepare sooner than later, we were told Kat would be slower than she was and So FL had fewer hours to prepare, so the Southeast Coastal area should ramp up just as a precaution, don't sit back and say you have 3 days, just get ready and then hang out if you DO have 3 days.
Member Since: July 12, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 212
474. scooter127
1:53 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
lefty, weatherwatcher007-

What are your thoughts about impact for those of us in Western North Carolina? Anytime a Hurricane gets in the ballpark of impacting us, I get flashbacks to Ivan and Frances and the associated damaged brought here. Thanks for your insight.
473. abstractgray
1:51 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
SC landfall, eh? And then the forecast has it going over land and dumping lots of rain on eastern and central NC. Good thing too, we haven't been getting much.

I'm in Raleigh, NC. Looking out my south-facing window, it's perfectly clear. Just like before Isabel. Even the normal slight haze tends to reduce. A tad breezy, too. Last evening there was a band of cirrus visible, from the storm's northern outflow. Very pretty when the sunset made it glow pink.

What's all this convection to the northeast of the storm? Is it from a frontal boundary or something, or will it actually move along with the storm to the west?
472. abstractgray
1:45 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
Dude, what's up with this storm? 976mb central pressure, 66kt max flight level winds. Is it just in an area of lower than normal surrounding pressure or is something odder going on?

Also, the eye is now coming into view on Wilmington 248nmi radar.
471. cgableshurrycanegal
1:44 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
good morning all,
echoing bahamas, we are with you in thought. Listen to your local officials are prepare as best possible. We thought our cat1 Kat wasn't going to be much here in So. FL and got played, so while Oph might not be a major killer, it could be a major headache. Play it safe!
And you stormchasers, you play it safe as well, OK? We want to read your reports, not about you!
Member Since: July 12, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 212
470. mybahamas
1:33 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
From someone who lives in the islands and still is haunted by Hurricane David (as a child) and rode out at least six-10 hurricanes, all the best to those in this one's path. This is slow-moving like how Frances and Jeanne was for us in the Bahamas. :( A lot of people in western Grand Bahama lost everything they had from such a slow-moving storm and I would not wish that on anyone else. Once again, blessings and luck to you, whichever you believe in. :)
469. Eyeonyou
1:33 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
Weather Channel reported Pressure @ 976mb.
468. Oxfat
1:31 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
I take it that "shear" is the upper level wind direction. How can you tell the shear conditions? What do you use?
467. killdevilmax
1:24 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
It looks like the last burst of convection may be trending it to the west and slowing up some. If it stays very long where it is now rapid intensification is possible as wind shear will be decreasing from the west the next 24 hrs.
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
466. icebear7
1:13 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
is it back to a hurricane now? the morning news show on tv, the weather chubbster said its a 1cane now, but i can't seem to find something onluine that has updated to that, or maybe the data isn't refreshed to me....argh
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5
465. SCGirl
1:11 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
I am reading everyone's comments about SC. I live about 75 miles north of Charleston. I think we will be fine. My concern is I have 2 daughters attending the College of Charleston. Should I tell them to make plans to head north?
464. killdevilmax
1:07 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
Let me add that the NC Outer Banks need to keep a close eye on this as well and prepare now. Once it makes landfall and turns back north, eastern NC is going to get a big taste of it as well. Advisories should be posted at 1100. Does anyone know when the hurricane hunters are going in?
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
463. Weatherwatcher007
1:06 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
Ophelia's turn is the key. Once the turn is made we will have the best handle yet on the storm. I think the ridge will be a little stronger and force Ophelia onshore near Charleston as a cat one or two BE PREPARED HOWEVER FOR A STRONGER HURRICANE BECAUSE IT IS A POSSIBILITY. I think Ophelia will pick up speed as it moves inland and once it gets close to Columbia it will slow and turn north. We will all know once the turn is made.
462. Weatherwatcher007
1:00 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
EVERYONE LIVING IN SOUTH CAROLINA LISTEN UP. . .

The models have reached a concensus about the area Ophelia will make landfall. ALL MAJOR MODELS NOW PREDICT A SC LANDFALL. When these models are tightly clustered like they are now it is more than likely that somewhere alongg SC it will happen.DON'T TAKE THIS STORM LIKELY. YOU NEED TO PREPARE NOW. As stormj said, you need to be prepared for a slow moving storm. The models may be clustered but WE STILL DONT KNOW WHERE EXACTLY OPHELIA WILL MAKE LANDFALL. EVERYONE FROM THE NORTHERN COAST OF GA TO THE SOUTHERN COAST OF NC NEEDS TO BE READY IN CASE THERE IS A SUDDEN TURN. Everyone needs to be prepared for the worst case sanario, a cat 3. ALTHOUGH IT SEEMS UNLIKELY AT THIS POINT, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN AND IT IS A POSSIBILITY. EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE READY NOW.
461. Weatherwatcher007
12:53 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
I will try to do that StormJ.
460. chicagowatcher
12:53 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
Have fun storm!!!
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 153
459. StormJunkie
12:52 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
This is the real deal 007! Gotta sleep.


See ya later.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16607
458. killdevilmax
12:51 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
STORMTOPX who claimed to be stormtop posted 3 or 4 days ago from a red cross shelter saying he had very little online time available. No one knows if it was the real stormtop or a troll.
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
457. StormJunkie
12:50 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
I have been up all night also all and will be busy much of the day. I have already gotten supplies to last quite a few days as I know our power crews and FEMA resources are pretty tied up right now. Please pass this info on to others. Also please let people in this area know that the models are showing a slow moving storm between a CAT 1 and 3 so if they are not prepared for 15 to 20 hours of hurricane force winds with 4 to 8 inches of rain then they need to leave the area. This one will be a long ride. Please also remind them not to concentrate on the CAT and do not unerestimate that a CAT one for this time can be pretty bad. Also show them the pressure, as it is a good sign of how much power the storm has. Normally a 984 pressure would easily support a CAT 1 cane. Also remind them that she could be approaching as a CAT one and jump to a CAT 3 pretty quick if she so chooses. Intensities are hard to forcast and the NHC discussion states this. Remeber Charley. I am afraid that many in the area will not take this storm seriously, so please try to get them to. I will be back on later and will be on for a while tonight.

See everyone later.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16607
456. Weatherwatcher007
12:50 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
Well the models have reached a concensus. They all take Ophelia into SC

Link

Now its just a matter of where Ophleia will hit. For some unknown reason, the NHC has chosen to follow the GFS model which takes Ophelia farther north. I personally think the GFDL is closer to the landfall spot and I also think Ophelia will move farther inland than forecasted before turning north. SC NEEDS TO BE READY, A HURRRICANE IS COMING. I am ready now and am waiting for the hurricane watch.
455. icebear7
12:47 PM GMT on September 10, 2005
is ophelia elongating? or am i just looking at the maps wrong?
Member Since: August 20, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5

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