Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:42 PM GMT on October 06, 2008
Surprising Tropical Storm Marco has burst onto the scene in the extreme southern portion of the Gulf of Mexico. In just five hours, the tiny storm has spun up to near hurricane strength, a remarkable rapid intensification feat. Visible satellite loops show a tiny storm with a concentrated area of heavy thunderstorms, moving west-northwest at about 10 mph. In another example of why we need the Hurricane Hunters, an Air Force airplane that scrambled to fly Marco with little advance notice found top winds of 65 mph and a 998 mb pressure at 4:19 pm EDT. Satellite estimates using the traditional Dvorak Technique were still classifying Marco as a tropical depression with 35 mph winds this afternoon. It currently appears that Marco is not strengthening, as the latest pass by the Hurricane Hunters through the eye at 5:19 pm EDT found no change in pressure, and peak surface winds of about 60 mph.
Figure 1. Current satellite image Marco.
Marco won't be over water long, but its recent shift to a more northwesterly track may keep the storm over water long enough to allow it to become a Category 1 hurricane.
Hurricane Ike relief efforts
The need is still great for relief in the regions hard-hit by Hurricane Ike. Please consider donating to the relief effort started by wunderground members Patrap, Presslord, and Stormjunkie. Contributions to this portlight.org charity fund are fully tax-deductible, and will go to provide relief supplies for those smaller communities typically bypassed by the traditional relief efforts. More details can be found at StormJunkie's blog.
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